Five Natural Home Remedies for Dogs

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

When your beloved furry friend is sick, s/he’s depending on your best guess and instincts to figure out what’s wrong and how to treat it. And, as with an infant or toddler, your pet’s inability to articulate the problem in words can be unnerving, and make you feel helpless too. Having home remedies on hand can help you make your dog feel better faster. Of course, in a crisis situation you should, first and foremost, consult with your veterinarian or an emergency clinic.

Holistic Veterinarian Roger DeHaan, DVM suggests having the following five home remedies on hand – all of which are available in health food stores – to help with common dog situations:

Fatty acids

As mentioned in How to Switch Your Dog to a Better Diet, dry, flaky, itchy skin can indicate that your dog’s diet lacks the nutrients s/he needs to thrive. Supplementing the diet with healthy unsaturated fatty acids is a good home remedy for your dog’s dry skin – it can also help with weakness and poor appetite. For long-term benefits, try rotating olive oil, flaxseed oil, and cod liver oil on alternate days; each oil has somewhat different properties. For cats/small dogs, add 1 teaspoon of flaxseed or olive oil 5 days a week, and 1/2 teaspoon cod liver oil twice a week to food; double this dosage for medium sized dogs. Enhance food for large dogs (over 60 pounds) with 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed or olive oil, and up to 2 teaspoons of cod liver oil.

Rescue Remedy

For stress, nervousness, and travel anxiety, try this calming remedy. Apply a few drops of this flower remedy in drinking water, onto food, or directly in the mouth.  It can be given many times daily for as long as needed.


This well-known herbal tincture combination helps with infections (bites, lacerations) and signs of upper respiratory illness (runny eyes, runny nose, coughing). Give 3 times a day. Small animals take 3 or 4 drops, medium sized dogs about 10 drops, and large dogs 1 or 2 dropperfuls. Discontinue after 10 days. If illness persists, be sure to see your veterinarian. To administer you can add it to food or mix with tuna juice or apply drops directly on wounds.

Activated Charcoal

Use whenever your canine companion consumes spoiled food, drugs, or toxic chemicals and develops acute diarrhea, a gurgling stomach, or extreme lethargy. This universal poison antidote binds toxic substances in the digestive tract and removes them from the body.

Give 1 to 8 capsules, or 1/2 to 3 teaspoons of powder, depending on how big your dog is. Treatment may be repeated in 10 to 30 minutes in emergency. If your dog will still eat, you can put capsules or powder in tuna juice, beef or chicken broth, or yogurt, to get your dog to swallow the charcoal. If your pet is vomiting, this means they are expelling the toxins naturally.  After vomiting subsides, you can use charcoal to clear residual toxicity.

Nux vomica 30x

This common homeopathic remedy, which you can administer in either liquid or pellet form, quells vomiting and nausea. In acute situations, administer in the mouth every 15 minutes for 1 hour, and then every hour for 4 hours.

Roger DeHaan, DVM, has practiced veterinary medicine for more than four decades, specializing in nutrition and integrative healing modalities.  He has contributed numerous articles to veterinary journals and pet magazines. Dr. DeHaan’s practice is located in Kings Point, NC.  His website is

See also Martin Zucker’s book, Veterinarian’s Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs, available at

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