TOP 5 “FIRST AID FOODS” FOR ANIMALS
It’s summer! This means our animal friends are itching to go outside. And when they do, they could get themselves into trouble. Whether it’s an encounter with another animal, an encounter with sharp branches, or any other kind of cut and scrape, we can be sure that they more they play outside, the greater the risk.
To keep our animal friends indoors if they are used to being outside would be cruel. So what do we do when they come to us with cuts and scrapes? We could go to the vet, sure. But is that really necessary? Did you know that you probably already have several items already in your home that can treat minor cuts and scrapes? If you don’t already have them, by stocking your shelves with a few of these holistic remedies, you can avoid the unpleasant-for-your-animal trips to the vet and of course those costly vet bills.
Here are five common “first aid foods” that most have in our homes that can be helpful in a pinch:
1) Coconut oil- Coconut oil is often considered a “miracle food”. This is because it has o many wonderful uses for healing (for animals and people) that it should be a staple in anyone’s kitchen. Coconut oil is full of Omega 3’s & 6’s which are essential to anyone’s diet. Especially in the summer heat when our dogs and cats can easily become dehydrated, coconut oil helps to retain moisture in the skin and coat. As well in the dryness of winter, coconut oil does the same. Did you know that water does not always hydrate our animal friends? By adding coconut oil to the diet a couple of times per week, you will be helping your animal to stay hydrated. It is very important to note here that coconut oil is high in fat. This means that only a very small amount of the oil is necessary to make a difference in health. This oil can also help to fight of harmful bacteria in the system, promoting longevity and healthy quality of life. Lastly not least, coconut oil acts as a sunscreen. Even though our furry friends have fur and hair coats, they also have exposed skin on their noses and other areas of their bodies; particularly lighter coloured animals. Applied topically, this oil is a safe and natural sunscreen!
2) Manuka honey- Manuka honey (as opposed to other honey) is particularly helpful. This honey is made by New Zealand bees from Manuka plants. Manuka honey is a known antiseptic which means that applied topically to wounds, it treats against harmful bacteria. Manuka honey also repairs tissue damage due to trauma such as minor cuts and scrapes. Additionally, Manuka honey has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it can reduce swelling of injury, and even reduce swelling of sore joints and muscle tissues if ingested. Though most honey has these qualities, Manuka honey is far more potent due to its elevated levels of hydrogen peroxide and methylgloxal (MG). These aspects are more potent in Manuka honey because of their high concentration in Manuka flowers.
3) Plantain- Plantain looks like a small banana. Though it can be used for cooking, the leaves also have a myriad of medicinal qualities. They treat sunburns, stings, bites, and breakouts. Also, when applied topically, they have anti-inflammatory properties. To exemplify, they can reduce inflammation of swollen joints, muscles and sprains among others. Plantain leaves are high in tannins which are toxic for animals to ingest. This means that if applied to the skin, the leaves must be wrapped in cloth so that the animal does not accidentally ingest the leaves. To achieve the highest benefits of the plantain leaf, it is best applied beneath a warm or cold compress, depending on the nature of the injury.
4) Turmeric- Turmeric is another wonder-food. It has many benefits when both applied topically and ingested. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. To benefit from this quality, it must be ingested over a period of time to take effect. This means that we must add a small bit to our animal’s diet every day as it has a cumulative effect. Some of the benefits of turmeric for animals include; arthritis, joint pain, stomach pain, heartburn, intestinal gas, diarrhea, bloating, jaundice , IBS and more. By adding turmeric to the diet of our animal friends, we can also reduce any chronic itching. However, to effectively reduce chronic itching, we must also add black pepper for efficacy. Turmeric is an excellent mouth cleanser for those with animals who have mouth infections or bad breath.
5) White Vinegar- This vinegar is not just good for salads! It also has many household uses for you and your animal friends. By spraying the vinegar on your couch where the cat scratches, you will find a significant reduction in scratching activity! (Be sure to do a test area for staining first!). Also- if you are the fortunate companion of a horse or dog who always has flies around, spray the animal with white vinegar- avoiding the face- and the flies will fly away. Vinegar is an excellent antiseptic. This means that if your dog or cat has a skin rash, you may find the either in pill form or topically, vinegar is a natural way to alleviate the rash. As an aside, white vinegar spray and baking soda eliminate litter box odour, in home “accident” odours and even skunk spray odour!
These are just five of many household remedies that most of us have in our homes. Instead of rushing off to the vet and potentially causing anxiety for you and your animal friends, give one of these a try next time your dog or cat has a rash, cut or scrape. He or she will be glad you did!