Many people do not realize that there are numerous herbal and homeopathic remedies that can save them thousands of dollars on their veterinary bills. This is not to say that I feel that traditional veterinary procedures are not important. In fact, I believe in achieving balance in all areas of life, including working hand in hand – or should I say hand in paw – with your veterinarian.

The point is that by expanding our knowledge of simple herbal and homeopathic remedies and knowing when and how to use them properly, we can save money, time and avoid the unnecessary stress that countless trips to the vet’s office can cause to our sensitive pets. Learning to pay close attention to our furry companion’s energy level, eating, drinking, bowel movements, eyes, ears, skin and so on is the first step to stopping minor problems before they escalate into major ones (thereby making a trip to the vet’s office unavoidable). Since our dogs cannot verbalize when something is wrong, it is our job to pay attention, take note, and then take appropriate action.

I know what my dog Cypress wants by her eyes, grunts, sighs and overall body language. I accompany her into our yard every time she goes potty. This enables me to know if she has a problem and give her the correct remedy. For example, one day Cypress seemed to need to go out every half hour or so to urinate. After a few hours I noticed that when she squatted, not much urine was being released. Then and there I knew she had a bladder problem. I gave her three cranberry gel caps (Note: She is a large dog, smaller dogs will require a reduced dosage) every three to four hours along with two capsules of an Ayurvedic herb called Gokshura[1].

By evening there was less urgency to urinate, and by the following morning she was much better. I continued the treatment for two more days in lower dosages to ensure that the problem would not resurface. Had I not gone out with her each time, she could have suffered for a very long time and the end result could have been disastrous.

Another reason to accompany your dog to the bathroom is to observe the condition of their stool. If it is runny, I give Cypress catnip capsules, peppermint extract, evening primrose, coriander and cumin. If she is constipated a dose of goldenseal, cod liver oil and flaxseed oil usually does the trick. Another sign to watch for is frequent burping, gas or stomach grumbling. This can be alleviated with ginger extract, peppermint and catnip.

It is good to know which herbs and homeopathics to have around for emergencies. Goldenseal/Echinacea alcohol free extract can be used for a wide variety of problems including a weakened immune system, eye infections, ear infections, cuts and scrapes. For eyes and ears, dilute a small amount with water and wash the affected area several times daily while simultaneously administering orally two to three times a day until the condition improves. Once the problem subsides, give your dog acidophilus capsules morning and evening for at least one day to replenish the friendly intestinal bacteria which goldenseal’s antibiotic activity destroys.

Now let’s talk about stress. Stress is a major cause of many our pet’s ailments, so by being more sensitive to your dog and the things that cause them stress you can prevent many stress-related ailments. For example, we had recently moved to Florida and had not previously experienced the Fourth of July in our new home. My husband has a job that frequently requires him to travel abroad. This, in and of itself, will increase a dog’s stress due to separation anxiety. Add to this already stressful reality loud thunderous booming of fireworks for hours on end and it is enough to send any mild mannered pet over the edge. Even I became stressed out, so I could only imagine the effect this had on Cypress. The remedy was to first close all the curtains, then turn on soothing music loud enough to drown out the fireworks while speaking to your pets to calm them. Next, give your pet some homeopathics for stress such as phosphorous, ignatia amara or stramonium. You can find a good homeopathic calming formula at my website:, then clicking on the Dr. GoodPet link. There you will find a product called, “stress calm” which is excellent in these situations. If you do not have homeopathics, you can give your pet some herbal extracts for stress such as black cohosh, passion flower, skullcap, valerian, chamomile and catnip. Also there are herbal remedies made especially for stressed out pets. One that comes to mind is Animal’s Apawthecary – tranquility blend. It contains valerian, skullcap, oats and passion flower. You can find this by going to my website, then clicking on the Mountain Rose Herb link where they sell many herbal pet formulas as well as single herb extracts.

Finally, always provide fresh purified drinking water for your dog. I have several water bowls strategically placed throughout the house and on the deck to encourage my pets to drink since they are older and sometimes don’t feel like making lengthy trips to a single water bowl. This as well as fresh air, exercise and quality petting time will ensure a happy, healthy and long life for your furry friend. Most of all do not forget to schedule regular annual checkups for your pet with their veterinarian (every six months for older dogs), and always be mindful of what your pet is trying to tell you.

Author's Bio: 

Pamela Nations-Weissman has a B.S. in Natural Health from the Clayton College of Natural Health ( and has over twenty years experience in the health care industry as an herbalist, nutritionist and homeopath, along with over nineteen years experience in the field of alternative veterinary medicine. She maintains a full-time practice in Port Richey, Florida and through her website: Her fields of expertise include: Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, Native American herbology (Ms. Nations-Weissman is part Cherokee), Homeopathy, Nutritional Foods and Supplements and Holistic wellness practices (such as exercise, yoga and meditation).