As dogs and cats age they, and their owners, are faced with different issues than when they were younger. An increase in physical ailments and the need to work harder to keep our beloved pets active and healthy often means increased trips to the vets and medication. However, just because your pet is aging that doesn’t mean that there aren’t natural ways to help your pets have the best golden years they can.
There is a myriad of herbs that can help your older dog stay strong and healthy. One of these is alfalfa, which is an herb rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorous as well as vitamins B6, C, D, E and K. Alfalfa is also known to break down starch, protein and fat which assists older dogs with their digestion. Alfalfa can also be used to treat arthritis and joint pain as it supports connective tissue and collagen. Astralagus is a traditional Chinese herb and is used as a tonic that supports the immune system. For your older dog, astralagus can strengthen his resistance to stress. Astralagus is similar to echinacea in its purpose and properties and the two can be used interchangeably.
Dandelion is effective in aiding your older dog with digestion and helps stimulate liver function. Ginko, is another herb that can provide many benefits for your aging dog. It is effective in enhancing your older dog’s long term and short-term memory. It is also known to improve the brain function of aging dogs who display diminished mental clarity or unusual behavior due to brain dysfunction. Milk thistle is a very effective herb that enhances the liver function in dogs, so this is an ideal herbal supplement for those dogs suffering from liver problems. Hawthorn is an herb that improves blood circulation and can strengthen your dog’s heart. Nettle is an effective, natural way to soothe your older dogs entire body as they continue to age. Use one or two of the herbs mentioned above for one month, and then switch to two other ones the next month. As with all herbal remedies, dosage depends upon size and health of your dog.
Antioxidants are also an effective way to ease your dog and cat through older age. Thyme, Basil, Oregano and Rosemary are very healthy natural tools for strengthening your dog’s overall health. Simply sprinkle some of each dried herb, or create a mixture of all and sprinkle, over your dog’s food twice a day. Tumeric is also a very effective antioxidant which can prevent excess cholesterol accumulation and keeps the heart healthy. It is also known to have cancer fighting properties. However, some dogs do not like the taste of turmeric so have your dog try it out before adding it to all of his food. Green tea, we know has wonderful benefits for humans, so it should not be surprising that the same holds true for dogs as well. It is a powerful antioxidant and is also known to have cancer fighting properties.
Pain is an issue that often plagues dogs as they age but this does not mean that your dog has to take narcotics to feel relief. There are several effective herbal remedies for pain management. One of these is feverfew which is an anti-inflammatory and is one of the most commonly used herbal pain relief treatment for humans. It can be equally as effective for your dog or cat as it is on humans. Feverfew is often used as a natural aspirin alternative for cats, since aspirin is toxic for cats. To use feverfew as a tincture or tea for your dog or cat, use 12 drops of the tincture or ½ tsp. of a strong tea for each 20 lbs. of the dog’s body weight, 2 times a day. Make sure to give it with meals.
Skullcap is an herb this is very good at soothing nerve pain. It is commonly used to relieve pain resulting from nerve-related injuries or disease. An alcohol tincture can be fed to your dog for pain relief for up to one week. For each 20 lbs. of the dog add 12 drops of the tincture to the dog’s food twice a day. St. John’s Wort is effective to manage your dog’s pain stemming from injuries resulting in the muscles, joints and nerve endings being crushed. Topically, a tincture, oil infusion or salve can be applied to the affected, painful areas. Ginger is an antispasmodic which makes it a perfect remedy your dog’s stomach and back pain. Used topically, it an be made into a poultice for the treatment of muscle pains and strains.
There is no reason not to our pets the best natural alternatives as they move into their golden years as we have in their younger days. Please make note that though many of these remedies mentioned can be used for cats as well dogs, not all have been screened for cats. Please do the research before trying any remedies on your cat.