My partner and I recently became the proud caretakers of a 7 year old Staffordshire bull terrier named Rex. As Rex’s newly adoptive owners we have spent the first six months getting to know this little ball of muscle, his likes, dislikes, and finding out how we fit together as a family unit. In doing so, we have both fallen head over heels in love with the little guy. So it was quite heart wrenching one morning about a month ago when we woke up to find Rex coughing violently.
At first we thought it might have just been something he sucked into his wide, laughing mouth, but as we took him for a walk, he continued to have episodes of deep hacking coughs. That evening it got a bit worse, his cough came every time he was excited or ran. We realised with that ‘new parent’ type of panic that our dog was sick! Immediately I started thinking of vets and medicines and the bills that would bring in. We were having a tight month so a few hundred dollars for a vet visit plus medicine or investigation was not something I relished. Then in the midst of the worry, I remembered I was a naturopath! I guess panic in regards to our pups health clouded my usually rational mind.
I started doing some Googling, and from his symptoms, it sounded like a case of kennel cough. I had been told by a friend the day before that kennel cough was going around her dog walking park, and although it wasn’t the same park we went to, it is not hard to think of a kennel cough season the way we think of flu season for humans. Being a naturopath can sometimes mean you can’t treat yourself or loved ones, dogs included. So in this instance I contacted a naturopath friend of mine who has just started up an awesome little Facebook page called C.A.T. Complementary Animal Treatments. She advised me about some homeopathics that are specific for kennel cough, as well as recommended a herbal throat spray designed for human, that could be used to numb and sooth the throat of animals too. I went through my first aid kit of homeopathics at home and found I had one of the recommended treatments.
I started dosing Rex with these homeopathics at the recommended amount, 4 times a day. After the first day of 4 doses, he was 70% better, by the third day he wasn’t coughing at all. From my research, kennel cough will usually last 2 weeks at least. I was absolutely blown away with how well this remedy worked on him, and how quickly. The throat spray he hated (understandably, many humans hate it too!) and the little I had left in the cupboard ran out after the first day so I’m not sure how much that played a part, but the homeopathics worked for sure!
So what do you do if you don’t have a naturopath animal specialist friend and a cupboard full of homeopathics? You could join the C.A.T. community on Facebook for tips and tricks for happy pet health, or get yourself some first aid kits for animals from online stores such as Holistic Animal Medicines.
In regards to our Rex, in the time we have had him we have also treated a few hot spots with a natural ointment containing essential oils such as tea tree and lavender. I have also given him Emergency Essence Flower Essences during storms as he is frightened of thunder. It works a treat to calm anxious pets down. Diet wise, he gets the occasional green smoothie for breakfast (which he loves), plenty of bones for healthy teeth, some dollops of coconut oil or raw eggs for a shiny coat and we are thinking of starting him on fish oil and glucosamine for his joints. He is not a young dog, but we plan on spending the next 7 years with him at least, so our priority is keeping him in the best health possible.
Remember natural medicines are not just for humans, animals respond extremely well to homeopathics as well as specific herbal tinctures and supplements. Animals do not have the same biological make up as us though, so it is best to check with someone who knows before dosing your pet up with some of your own supplements or naturoapthic treatments. Certain remedies that aid us can harm them, so getting advice first is always wisest. There are holistic vets around, but personally I like having a little first aid kit at home to use first, and then contacting the vet if needed.
They give us so much love and joy, what better way to love them back with a healthy, long life.