With the higher frequency of side effects from many conventional medicines, alternative remedies are continuing to gain popularity, being more widely incorporated into holistic vets’ medicine bags.
Homeopathy is a form of “energy medicine,” which uses remedies made from highly diluted natural compounds that undergo a series of dilutions in water, alternated with a process called succussion (vigorous shaking). Homeopathic remedies may be derived from animal, plant or mineral forms and range in type from snake venom to poison ivy to oyster shells.
Homeopathic medicine was developed by Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700s. He discovered after many years of work that the more “potentized” (dilute) a remedy was, the more powerful its healing properties actually became. Homeopathy works on the principle of “like cures like,” meaning that the diluted, homeopathic form of a compound can be helpful in alleviating the symptoms that that compound would actually cause in its non-diluted form. For example, the homeopathic remedy Apis Mellifica is made from honeybee venom. In its crude form, bee venom can cause itching, burning and stinging pain. In its homeopathic form, Apis can help to alleviate the burning and stinging pain of hotspots, cystitis, conjunctivitis and insect bites.
Skeptics of homeopathy claim that it cannot possibly work because the remedies are so highly diluted that none of the original compound remains. However, a growing number of clinical trials have demonstrated both the safety and efficacy of homeopathic medicine, and many of these trials were conducted in Europe where homeopathy is more widely prescribed even by conventional and
Homeopathic remedies usually come in quick-dissolving pellets, which can be placed directly on Fido’s tongue. Here are five homeopathic remedies that can be kept on hand for Fido’s basic needs.
As always, it’s recommended that dog guardians consult with a veterinarian who is familiar with the use of homeopathy when using this modality.
Arnica montana is one of the best-known homeopathic remedies. It is commonly used in humans, in both topical creams and oral pellets. Arnica is excellent for bruising, muscle aches, sprains and general injuries, especially where the animal is shocked. Animals who benefit from Arnica may be fearful of touch and restless, constantly moving from one spot to another because of their discomfort.
Apis mellifica, made from the honeybee, is used for insect bites and stings that produce sensitive swellings. Animals who can benefit from Apis are those who may be very hot but not thirsty as their pain is often alleviated by cold.
Arsenicum album is a great remedy for diarrhea, especially digestive upset caused by food poisoning, consumption of garbage, etc. The arsenicum patient often feels chilly, and their symptoms are alleviated by warmth. It’s especially useful in younger animals and for those who are anxious, restless and thirsty.
Carbo vegetabilis is made from charcoal and is used for the alleviation of gas. It is a great remedy to keep on hand for dogs who are prone to bloat. Weakness, shock and general exhaustion indicate the need for carbo veg.
Thuja occidentalis is indicated for the treatment of warts and skin complaints. It is also used to help with adverse vaccine reactions, especially those reactions that cause skin problems.
The Flower Essences
Flower essences are one of the most popular natural remedies. Like homeopathics, they’re widely available in health food stores. While homeopathic remedies are most used for physical conditions (but may also be selected for emotional factors), the forte of the flower essences is in balancing emotional health. Flower essences are liquid extracts made from a variety of individual flowers, plants and trees.
The flower essence system was created by Dr. Edward Bach in the 1930s. The remedies are usually diluted and given orally or in drinking water, or applied to acupressure points.
Glass droppers should not be used to administer these remedies directly into Fido’s mouth. If needed, a remedy can instead be dropped onto the finger and rubbed onto the gums, ears or head.Animals often exhibit behavioral changes in response to underlying emotional issues, stress, jealousy, aggression and worry. Flower essences can help Fido to feel calm and focused by enhancing and supporting emotional well-being.
The best known flower essence product is Dr Bach’s Rescue® Remedy, a combination of five flower essences. Rescue® Remedy is a great choice to have on hand for both general and emergency use. Many people have used it successfully as a complement to conventional veterinary care, such as in emergency situations like heat stroke.
A few popular individual flower essences that work really well for pets are as follows:
- Jealousy: Holly, which is also suitable for those who show aggressiveness relating to past abuse.
- Grief and Homesickness : Honeysuckle, for feelings of abandonment when left alone or at a kennel, and in combination with Star of Bethlehem for mourning an owner who has passed away.
- Exhaustion and Trauma: Olive and Star of Bethlehem as well as Rescue® Remedy.
- Fear: Aspen is especially great for very submissive pets who show nervousness in new situations; Mimulus for fear of known things such as thunder or vet visits; Rock Rose for terror and Red Chestnut for worry that something bad is going to happen.
- Neediness: Chicory works especially for those who demand attention, easily feel jealousy and when being left alone causes excessive upset.
Both homeopathy and flower essences have an extremely high safety record, and few if any side-effects, even when used in conjunction with conventional medicine. For those who are open to the possibilities of healing that can take place with these complementary therapies, they are certainly worth a try.
Lucy Postins is a monthly columnist in Fido Friendly Magazine.
© 2013 Lucy Postins & The Honest Kitchen This article may only be copied with prior written permission from the company. Reproductions must include credit to the author and a link to this website.