This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Some natural remedies
The following ones have all been tried and tested by the dog owners who recommend them.
Please don’t use these in place of medication, treat them as supplements only. Also remember, things you may know of that are good for us are not necessarily good for our pets – dogs are a different species from us after all.
If you have tried and liked anything that is not in this list, do share it with us. Write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or else post a comment here.
Vishala Suvarna (Mumbai) recommends aloe vera gel, taken fresh from the plant. Give about one tablespoon daily. (Her own mix-breed dog Bobby was given this daily, for most of the 21 years of his life!)
My recommendation is okra (bhindi). For a regular sized INDog (13 – 18 kg) take about 5 bhindis, chop them into small pieces and boil in about half a cup of water for 15 minutes. The water will reduce and become brown and sticky with the juice from the okra. Add this to the dog’s food. You can remove the okra pieces if you like. In my experience most dogs (and many cats too) accept this addition to their food without fuss. If not, you can always force-feed it with a syringe.
Dry and itchy skin
Supriya Dasgupta (Bangalore) suggested two remedies:
“For dry skin, and itching I use the fresh gel from home grown aloe vera plant leaves. I break off a bit of the cactus leaf and split it in half, the gel being contained inside the thick leathery leaf. I just squeeze out the gel directly onto the affected part. It is an excellent moisturizer for really dry skin. My dog who has a host of skin rashes and runs into those ugly scaly patches on her rump and back thighs, seems to benefit when aloe vera gel is directly applied.
I also use coconut oil or sesame (til) oil on the dog's body as regularly as possible, though she licks off the oil – it’s tasty!”
Yvonne de Kock (New York City) applies neem oil on her dog’s occasional mange patches. She recommends the doggiesparadise site as a good place to order neem products (if you live outside India, of course).
Last year Lalee got itchy skin during the monsoon and scratched herself till she'd made little bleeding cuts on her skin. I applied a mix of crushed camphor, turmeric (haldi) and coconut oil all over her body. I kept her muzzled and tied up for 30 minutes, then bathed her with Margo soap (a very good neem soap). She stopped scratching immediately after this bath.
Parasites – intestinal worms
A few drops of fresh neem juice daily, for about five consecutive days every month, will help keep your dog worm-free. Crush the leaves till the juice comes out. I think half a teaspoon for a medium-sized INDog is enough. This is going to be very bitter, so perhaps you should mix it with something sweet and then force-feed it.
Lalitha of Adopt-a-Stray has something very interesting to share about neem: “Neem is awesome for deworming. Here is the wonderful thing about neem though...it doesn’t kill worms/parasites...it sterilizes them, so they cannot multiply. And it weakens them. Actually, neem is wonderful for fleas too. Unfortunately, because of the way neem operates, a flea will live through its cycle even though it cannot lay eggs any more. Any eggs that have already been laid will also hatch. So a natural way to deal with fleas is to treat them with methods like combing/diatomaceous earth to get the existing fleas and eggs off the dogs/cats. I am guessing it will work for ticks too.”
I supplement conventional deworming with one tablespoon raw carrot grated and mixed in food daily. You can also add one teaspoon of crushed/powdered pumpkin seeds (not the mix of four or five seeds most grocers keep – pumpkin seeds only). This provides roughage to push worms and eggs out of the intestines.
I’ve also tried fresh pomegranate juice for a cat – I’m mentioning it here because it may help dogs as well. I gave the cat about 5 ml daily, so for a dog I guess you could try 10 or 15 ml. Either the pink pomegranate or the paler one will do, though the paler one is said to have more medicinal value, for humans at least.
I know of one case in which wood apple (called bael in Bengal and elsewhere in India) helped a dog to throw out all her worms. We don’t get this fruit in Mumbai but it is well known in many parts of India and considered very good for the digestion, though it doesn’t taste too nice. Like many other kids in the north and eastern part of the country, throughout childhood I was made to drink a glass of Bael juice daily in summer. I have absolutely no idea whether it is generally suitable for dogs, but I do remember our servant giving it to our dog Elsa when worms were seen in her faeces. She instantly vomited (many kids would tell you that bael juice makes them feel the same way)! But the good thing is her worms all came out.
Lalee had a very persistent problem with red, runny eyes. It seemed like an allergic reaction to something outdoors. She would come back from her walk with her eyes streaming, and visits to our seaside house always made it much worse. Finally she actually developed conjunctivitis, with inflamed eyelids covering most of the pupil. In addition to her medication, I started washing her eyes with tea water (I mean tea cooled and strained, obviously with nothing added to it!) It’s worked wonders and she looks quite normal now.