5 natural home remedies and medicines for dogs and cats

Since deciding to focus on natural holistic solutions to pet health more than 25 years ago one of my stated objectives has been cutting down the number of times my clients have to bring their pets to see me at the clinic.

Of course, if your pet has a serious issue, a visit to their friendly vet should be the first port of call, but for minor injuries and ailments there are some very simple effective home remedies I thought I’d share with you here today.

All items mentioned in this article are easy to buy at your supermarket or health food store, or you may even have them in your cupboard already!


A great soothing agent for sore, irritated skin, pour cooled chamomile tea in a clean spray bottle and apply liberally to relieve itchiness. Cold chamomile tea is also safe for use as an eyewash for complaints such as conjunctivitis (but make sure there is nothing more seriously wrong with the eye, like an ulcer or foreign body lodged within). Naturally, if the eye is still sore after a few hours, please seek veterinary attention. You can also combine chamomile with calendula, to make a “super brew” topical body wash.

Neem Oil

I always recommend targeting only the parasites present on your pet (rather than a year-round pest control regime) and neem oil can be quite effective against fleas. While you can use it topically, I recommend using a pet shampoo containing neem oil and simply washing your dog every couple of weeks. Adding a few drops of cedarwood essential oil (aim for 2% oil in a shampoo base) will make the super flea killer !!

Tip: A natural diet of balanced fresh meat and vegetable matter is the best way to optimise your pet’s health, and to minimize worm and flea infestation.

Rose Geranium Essential Oil

A prevention protocol is vital if you live in a tick-prone. That protocol should include daily grooming and checking for ticks. Rose Geranium essential oil can serve as an effective tick repellent. Simply add a few dabs to your dog’s collar and on the base of their tail before they head outside.

Tip: Rose Geranium Essential Oil is not recommended for cats as they can be more sensitive to topical treatments and will lick a lot more off their coats.

Aloe Vera

Pure Aloe Vera jelly speeds the healing of all sorts of cuts and skin injuries. When combined with Manuka honey it also makes a fantastic healing gel for large wounds. Aloe Vera juice is also a potent laxative and can aid with constipation. A dilute version of this combination (20% aloe vera, 10% Manuka honey, 70% sterile saline) makes a fantastic and highly safe eye wash – keep refrigerated. Adding 2% lemon grass oil to this combination makes an awesome ear cleaner also – BUT not to be used in the eyes !!

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a powerful natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. It can be used on skin lesions and you can also use a drop or two in your pet’s ear canals. However, it’s important to avoid using it where it can be licked off (again especially relevant to cats). Dilute it to about 25% if in doubt. Add lemongrass oil as above to make a super mix. You can always fit a head collar for a couple of hours after application to prevent any chance of your pet licking and ingesting the oils.

To reiterate, these hints are designed to treat minor ailments only. For serious problems please always seek veterinary advice.

Dr Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons), Founder of Vets All Natural.

Dr Bruce Syme is a practicing vet and expert in natural pet nutrition, has spoken at the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference, and provides regular comment on TV and Radio.

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Dr. Bruce Syme, unless otherwise noted. The information is not intended as medical advice, it simply shares the knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Bruce and his community. Pet health care decisions should be based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified pet health care professional.
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