Fleas and skin problems in dogs and cats can be due to external things such as insect bites, mites, fungus infections or an allergic reaction toxins in their environment. Animals that are hypersensitive to fleas may have a severe reaction to even a single flea bite, which becomes red, itchy and swollen. Flea bite dermatitis is a common problem affecting both cats and dogs and leads to chronic biting, scratching and rubbing their skin. Other chronic skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis or dry flaky skin can be due to internal problems like an under performing liver. Herbs can help, but effective treatment will depend on finding the underlying cause. Effective flea control starts inside your pet and in his living space.
Less is More for Cats In general cats are more sensitive than dogs to herbs, and need much less to
produce a therapeutic response. Cats are very sensitive to essential oils,
use them with caution. Cats cannot tolerate salicylates, the alkaloid compounds
found in aspirin. Even a single full strength aspirin can trigger a fatal overdose.
Herbs that contain salicin should also avoided, such as white willow, and birch.
Indeed it is very tough to treat pain in felines at home, you could end up doing
more harm than good. Making sure they are warm and able to rest in a secure
place with access to fresh water may be the best thing you can do.
How to give herbs to pets
- Fresh and dried herbs: Dried bulk herbs, or fresh herbs can be sprinkled on your
pets food, or infused as teas and added to the water bowl. Herbal teas also
may great skin washes for pets.
- Herbal capsules: Dogs and especially cats, have short digestive
tracts. Capsules may pass through them undigested, and cats, well they are not
easily fooled into taking them. You may want to break herbal capsules open and
sprinkle on food.
- Extracts: Glycerin tinctures are usually the first choice for
animals because the sweet taste makes them easier to take than alcohol tinctures.
I personally have used the Animal's Apawthecary line of glycerine liquid extracts
for my cats and found them effective
Alfalfa has great value as daily food supplement for long-term relief of the pain of arthritis and cardiovascular health of animals and humans. It works well in combination with yucca which is commonly added to dog, cat, horse, or cattle feed to optimize the nutritional value of an animal's food, and to reduce unpleasant odors in urine and feces in house pets.
Aloe brings cooling relief to fleabites, reducing itching and scratching, minor burns and rashes. Keep your animal friend from licking it off for as long as possible to maximize the effects.
Dogs love the smell of anise, tuck a small packet of anise and fennel seeds in his doggy bed and blankets to encourage him to sleep there. Fennel has the effect of driving away fleas.
- Catnip acts as a mild sedative and digestive aid to most animals making it very useful in high-strung animals with nervous stomach upsets. Cats famously become intoxicated when they sniff the bruised leaves of this plant.
- Lavender can be used in a massage oil to relieve the pain and stiffness older dogs have in in the morning and makes a good tick and flea repellent for dogs.
- For ringworm infections, thoroughly soak your companion with a strong, cooled sage tea twice daily.
- Valerian is useful in animals to help relax them during stressful events like thunderstorms or trips to the vet.