11 Must-Have Natural Home Pet Remedies

Analysis by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

home remedies for dogs

Story at-a-glance -

  • You can soothe and treat dry skin, upset stomach and skin ailments in your dog using natural products you may already have at home
  • If your dog has dry, itchy skin, try massaging vitamin E oil into her fur
  • Chamomile tea can be used for gastrointestinal disorders, skin irritation and anxiety due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and antidiarrheal activities
  • Coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties, including being antifungal and antimicrobial, making it wonderful to apply topically to your dog’s skin
  • Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap are the key ingredients to have on hand if your dog ever gets sprayed by a skunk

Minor ailments like dry skin, upset stomach and minor wounds don’t always require a trip to your veterinarian and may be better off treated with natural home remedies. In some cases, you may have some of these natural products in your cabinets already, just waiting to offer relief or health support to your dog.

If you’re not sure, always make an appointment to see your veterinarian — it’s better to be safe than sorry. However, keep the following remedies in mind when you’re looking for natural healing support.

Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that supports healthy skin formation and turnover rates. If your dog has dry, itchy skin, try massaging vitamin E oil into her fur. The oil will also help to protect against ultraviolet radiation from the sun (especially helpful if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors or has white fur).

If you don’t have vitamin E oil, you can break open a vitamin E capsule and apply that — it can also be massaged into warts and calluses.1

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile has an impressive number of benefits due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and antidiarrheal activities.2 It’s useful for soothing gastrointestinal disorders, so if your dog enjoys the taste, you can let her lap up some cooled chamomile tea to calm an upset stomach (you can also add it to your dog’s food or add a few teabags into your bone broth).

You can also add chamomile tea to a spray bottle and spritz it onto irritated skin. You can also use a cooled teabag applied to raw skin for immediate soothing. Chamomile tea also works well to calm your dog’s nerves during veterinary visits or thunderstorms. When brewing chamomile tea for therapeutic purposes, let the tea bags soak for about three hours to allow the maximum amount of polyphenols to be released into the tea.

Yogurt

Plain yogurt, ideally raw and grass fed, is a natural source of probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, to help balance your dog’s microbiome. Probiotics are important not only for healthy digestion but also may boost your dog’s overall health and even alleviate stress and anxiety.3

Epsom Salt

Epsom salts can help to soothe inflamed, swollen joints such as may occur in arthritis. They may also improve dry, itchy skin. Your dog can soak in an Epsom salt bath — use about 1 cup of salts per gallon of water — but be sure she doesn’t drink the water. You can also soak a washcloth in mixture of Epsom salts and water and apply it to problem skin areas.

Coconut Oil

This all-purpose oil is excellent for your dog to eat, as it’s a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides that benefit brain health. I recommend feeding 1/4 teaspoon of organic, cold-pressed, human-grade coconut oil for every 10 pounds of body weight twice daily for dogs (and kitties).

As a remedy, coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties, including being antifungal and antimicrobial, making it wonderful to apply topically to your dog’s skin. You can use it to clear up conditions like flea allergies, eczema, itchy skin and contact dermatitis. It can also be applied to dry skin, cuts, nail issues, hot spots, wounds, stings and bites.

Apply the coconut oil liberally to your dog’s fur, nails and pads (particularly on problem areas, but it can also be used all over to add shine), then let it soak in for about five minutes. Give your dog a quick bath and rinse after the coconut oil to remove some of the excess oil. Coconut oil also works well as a carrier oil when you want to use essential oils (see below).

Essential Oils

Essential oils can provide emotional, physical and mental benefits for dogs. If your dog gets anxious or has phobias (such as noise phobia), adding a few drops of lavender oil to his collar or bedding may help. Oregano oil is another powerful oil that has antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties. Diluted oregano oil can be used to help clean ears, soothe irritated gums and calm itchy skin.

Many essential oils also act as natural pest repellents. Geranium, lemongrass, neem, tea tree and catnip oil are among those that may help deter mosquitoes, fleas and ticks.

Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda and Dish Soap

These are the key ingredients to have on hand if your dog ever gets sprayed by a skunk. To remove the pungent odor, mix together 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and 2 teaspoons liquid dish soap. If you have a large dog, double or triple the recipe. Apply the mixture to your dog’s dry fur (avoiding the eye area), lather it up and rub in for about five minutes, then rinse. Repeat the process as needed.

Licorice Root

Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, a natural anti-inflammatory that may be useful for a variety of canine conditions. For skin health, apply licorice tea, salve or oil topically to help soothe psoriasis, eczema, flea-bite allergies and other sources of itching.

Licorice root also offers benefits to liver health and immune system function, and may be beneficial for treating gastrointestinal issues, respiratory problems, urinary tract infections and more. Many dogs enjoy its sweet flavor. Ask an integrative veterinarian if you intend to use licorice root orally for your dog, but a general dosage is 12 to 20 drops per 20 pounds of body weight, twice daily.4

Ginger

Ginger is excellent for soothing nausea, vomiting and other tummy troubles. Ginger oil can be massaged onto your pet’s stomach or you can feed small amounts of fresh ground ginger (add it to a meatball or other treat). Use about a pinch (1/16th teaspoon) for kitties, 1/8th teaspoon for small dogs under 10 pounds, 1/4 teaspoon for medium-sized dogs, 1/2 teaspoon for large dogs and 3/4 to 1 teaspoon for giant breeds.

Manuka Honey

If your dog has a resistant skin infection or a hot spot, try applying some medical-grade manuka honey, which can eradicate hundreds of strains of bacteria, including certain antibiotic-resistant varieties.5 I use manuka honey extensively on my patients, and you can view photos of its remarkable effectiveness for wound healing here.

By keeping natural remedies like these on hand, you can be ready to offer natural relief to your dog when you need it. If you’re interested in using natural remedies to support your dog’s health for more serious issues, an integrative veterinarian can help you achieve the best results and healing potential.