Over the past few years I have learnt a lot about what natural remedies can be used for doggy problems, rather than immediately rushing off to the vet and getting all sorts of chemically badness that might not always be necessary. If you keep a few of these in your cupboard it may help prevent problems, and also aid some problems quicker (and cheaper) than a trip to the vets...
Coconut Oil - I've been giving Patch and Aslan coconut oil for years now - half a teaspoon a day will do it for smaller dogs, or a teaspoon if you have more of a T-Rex. It's great for their skin - just as it is for ours - it can even help clear up skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, dermatitis and itchy skin. It also improves the condition of their fur and can help to moisturise the driest skin. You can apply coconut oil directly onto cuts, bites, hot spots and wounds to aid the healing process. It can help with yeast infections, and also aid in a faster recovery from kennel cough. It can help with doggy odour and breath - you can even brush your dogs' teeth with it if you wanted to. It's also great for brain health!
Spirilina - This can be put as a powder in your dogs food, or taken in tablet form. It helps to boost the immune system, which can reduce the risk of infections, cancer, and autoimmune disease. For a more sciencey read on the benefits of giving your doggo spirilina - Dogs Naturally have written a great article on it.
Tumeric - If your dog suffers with arthritis or is in pain for some reason - tumeric could help. It is a powerful antioxidant which means it neutralises free radicals (very sciencey) which cause the pain. It can also be used to detoxify the body, purify the blood, stimulate bile production in the liver, disinfect wounds, and as a stomach tonic. In addition, it has been used it to treat diarrhoea and other stomach ailments, as well as to eradicate ringworm. It has also been used on wounds to cleanse and stimulate recovery, keeping harmful bacteria away.
Slippery Elm - This stuff is brilliant if your doggo ends up with a tummy upset. The inner bark of the tree is packed with nutrients like vitamins A, B complex, C, K, calcium, magnesium and sodium. If your dogosaur gets diarrhoea, it helps the digestive system by reducing inflammation and lubricating the digestive tract. If he suddenly gets diarrhoea, you can try fasting, feeding bland food and giving probiotics along with slippery elm to ease symptoms. It can also help with constipation, because of it's lubrication properties. You can also use it if your dog has a cough.
Eye Bright - This stuff has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties, that, as you would guess by the name of it, has a great effect on eyes. If your dog gets conjunctivitis, or even just gets some dust in his eyes, or a piece of grit, you can put a bit of this on a cotton pad and clean his eyes with it. It really is brilliant, and you shouldn't have to use it more than once or twice to start seeing an improvement.
Aloe Vera - This is beneficial for dogs in the same way as it is for us. It can soothe wounds and help them heal, help with allergic reactions and hot spots, and has even been known to help with cancer.
Hemp Oil - This has been proven to help fight cancer, reduce joint pain, and improve the condition of the skin and coat.
Sea Kelp - Putting sea kelp in your dogs food is a good way or reducing plaque on their teeth. The mix of salts and minerals in Kelp help keep the dog's entire glandular system, the pituitary gland, the adrenal gland, as well as the thyroid gland, the glands that regulate metabolism, healthy. It can also help with itchiness and skin conditions, and is a good source of iron and calcium.
Manuka Honey - This stuff is great for putting on cuts and burns to aid the healing process (as long as your dogosaur doesn't lick it off!). You can also use it to help with kennel cough (by adding it to your dogs' food), allergies and digestive issues. Because it is high in sugar, however, if your dog is elderly or overweight I would probably speak to your vet first - it also isn't recommended for dogs under one year of age as it may contain bacteria than a pup struggles to fight off, where an adult dog would cope fine.
So, there's 9 useful, healthy, natural ideas for your dog to keep in ship shape. If you want to learn more about natural ways to help your dog, Dogs Naturally Magazine is a winner.