Rubbing a little coconut oil on a skin sore, administering an aspirin to your limping dog, or diffusing some eucalyptus oil for a congested cat may sound harmless, but sometimes these quick fixes aren’t as innocuous as they seem.

At Kings Trail Animal Hospital we too often see well-intentioned home remedies for pets gone south and want to help you to avoid the trap of causing more harm than good.

Potential Problems

If you do an Internet search for just about any pet problem, you are bound to find a Pinterest board or an opinion from a friend on Facebook about how to handle it. Some of this information can be helpful, but some may be just plain dangerous.

Even more innocuous tips and tricks can cause harm in a round-about way. Keeping a veterinarian involved in your pet’s care is the best way to avoid:

  • Causing a delay in your pet receiving proper care (this can result in your pet suffering with an issue longer than necessary and could even worsen the prognosis)
  • Wasting money
  • Interfering with our ability to make an efficient and correct diagnosis
  • Limiting our ability to prescribe medications and perform treatments as we need to
  • Cause unintentional harm or toxicity to your pet

While you know your pet well, examination by a licensed veterinarian is the best way to ensure a proper diagnosis. We want the best for your pet and allowing us to intervene early is often the most cost conscious and effective way to help your critters.

Common Home Remedies for Pets to Avoid

While we hope that you will give us a call right away when your pet is not well, we know that many times our clients turn to the world wide web first. We want to share with you some of the more common pet home remedies that we see that should be avoided.

Skin troubles — Homemade ear cleaners and shampoos containing things like alcohol and peroxide can be irritating and even painful if sores are present. Likewise, while coconut oil or apple cider vinegar are unlikely to cause major harm, feeding it or using it topically is unlikely to help in any significant way. Don’t mess around if your pet is in discomfort.

Tummy woes — Sometimes we recommend feeding a bland diet to pets who are experiencing tummy trouble, but always let us guide you when it comes to changing your pet’s diet. Home remedy concoctions of things like milk and raw eggs may perpetuate the problem. Anything more than a single episode of vomiting or diarrhea warrants a visit in to see us.

Take an aspirin and call me in the morning — While pets can and are prescribed many human medications, often their dosing is different. There are also human medications that are absolutely toxic to pets. For instance the same Tylenol that we give infants is devastatingly deadly to a cat. Sometimes even medications previously prescribed to a pet may be inappropriate in certain situations. Best to give us a call before administering anything at home.

Parasite prevention — Things like garlic, diatomaceous earth, and over the counter flea dips are at best ineffective and at worst toxic to our pets.

Internet gurus — Beware the Internet site trying to sell you advice or products. Many “doctors” who are not even veterinarians are eager to sell diets, supplements, and even things like allergy tests over the Internet. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Essential oil overload — Essential oils do have some properties that can be helpful in certain situations, but it is important to use them responsibly. Be aware of potential safety concerns and never apply them directly to your pet without guidance.

Home remedies for pets may be tempting, but they are rarely helpful or effective. Consulting with us is the best way to prevent problems as well as to help your pet sooner when trouble arises. Be sure to use a little common sense when it comes to do-it-yourself pet care and don’t forget that we are on your team.