When my family adopted our first dog, Rocky, we didn’t just gain a pet; we gained a new family member.
In addition to endless love and cuddles for our furry friend, this also meant countless trips to the vet. No malady was too small — even if it was just a change in his bark, we’d rush off to get it checked out.
These frequent vet visits took a toll on the whole family. As a working pet parent, it was extra hard to allocate time for these appointments. The bills piled up, and poor Rocky was getting all stressed out every time we loaded him into the car, took that drive to the vet, and sat in that sterile waiting room full of other anxious pups.
Now, 15 years later, we’re proud owners of four dogs, and we’ve pretty much seen it all — everything from minor ailments to scary illnesses. We are so grateful for all the amazing help and care veterinarians have provided to us over the years.
However, we’ve also learned that pet owners don’t always have to rush to the vet at the first sign of trouble. Instead, many common ailments can be addressed (and even cured) from the comfort of our homes.
The At-Home Approach
Besides saving our schedules, wallets, and dogs from added stress, home remedies also help our pets avoid unneeded treatment or medication, which can do more harm than good. Why expose them to extra medication if you don’t really have to?
Luckily, more often than not, you can save a trip to the vet by treating these four common issues with at-home remedies:
Doggie diarrhea: This is a very common dog ailment, especially in the summer months. When you first notice the symptoms, try feeding your dog bland foods such as boiled chicken or white rice. This will help settle his or her stomach and get the digestive system back to normal after a few days. Just note that if the condition lasts between 24 and 48 hours, you’ll need to check in with your vet.
Canine constipation: On average, your dog should produce stools once or twice each day. If not, you probably have a constipated canine on your hands. This ailment is more common in hot weather, thanks to dehydration. Treat the problem by encouraging your pet to drink plenty of water. If your dog seems uninterested, try flavoring the water with bone broth.
Uncomfortable UTIs: UTIs are especially common in puppies and older dogs, and the warning signs are easy to spot. Instead of racking up a hefty bill, we test our pets at home with an affordable over-the-counter kit. If they test positive, we first try a homeopathic home remedy like Nux vomica or Mercurius vivus. But, if the symptoms don’t subside after that, a trip to the doggie doc is always best.
Everyday ear infections: Studies say an estimated 20 percent of dogs experience mild to severe ear infections, which rank as one of the top causes for vet visits. Thankfully, at-home remedies work for this malady, too. First, look for signs of infection, which include inner-ear odor and discharge and consistent scratching or rubbing of the ear or head. If an infection is present, try placing a dab of yogurt (a variety containing active strains of probiotic bacteria) in the inner ear and rubbing it well.
Dogs truly are man’s best friend, which means they deserve the best TLC in times of need. Our years of experience as a loving dog family have taught us to care for our dogs in the best way possible.
Whenever appropriate, at-home puppy remedies are the way to go. Your canine companion (and your wallet) will thank you.
Originally from Turkey, Zeynep Ilgaz and her husband co-founded Confirm Biosciences and TestCountry, where Ilgaz serves as president and CEO. Confirm Biosciences is a national provider of diagnostic products for human wellness, animal health, and environmental testing. Ms. Ilgaz received the Most Admired CEO Award in San Diego in 2016, and Confirm Biosciences was recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in 2014 and 2015. Most recently, Ms. Ilgaz has been honored as a finalist for EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 in San Diego.