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10 Common Homeopathic Remedies for Dogs

First, it should be noted that homeopathy is not a substitute for veterinary assessment, diagnosis or care, nor can it replace the importance of emergency veterinary attention in acute care situations. Homeopathic remedies can be used on the way to the veterinary clinic and be used as part of complementary healthcare alongside veterinary medications.

Following a recent survey finding nearly 1 in 2 pet owners willing to try alternative therapies and 29 per cent choosing homeopathic remedies, we decided to learn more. We spoke to Helen Anderson from Sydney-based Animal Equilibrium who holds multiple qualifications in canine health and natural therapies and has been using homeopathic remedies with pets for over 10 years.

What is Homeopathy and how do Homeopathic Remedies work?

A truly holistic therapy, homeopathy is working with mind and body in the context of the patient's environment and lifestyle and has been used in animals for about 200 years.

Homeopathy uses an extremely small amount of a substance to cure the symptoms that would actually be caused by a substantial dose of that same substance. 

The saying “let like cure like” is the basis for Homeopathy. For example, symptoms caused by arsenic poisoning would be cured by taking an infinitesimal amount of the arsenic poison through progressive dilutions known as “potentisation”

Homeopathy was the medicine of the 19th century, developed by Dr Samuel Hahnemann and has received increasing attention more recently given the fact that homeopathy does not have any side effects, is not toxic nor habit forming
There are a large number of remedies, each one has a well defined set of symptoms associated with it, and the remedies and their symptom sets can be found in books called “Materia Medica of Homeopathic Remedies”.

How are Homeopathic Remedies selected?

Selecting a remedy is based on collecting all the relevant symptoms. Once you have all the relevant symptoms, you look them up in a repertory. 
A repertory is a listing of symptoms, and next to each one, is a whole list of remedy names - in fact all the remedies that happen to include that symptom. So what you end up with is a list of remedies associated with each of the listed symptoms

Next you look for the common remedies. You will look for the remedies that are listed over and over again opposite the various symptoms listed. Those are then on the short-list to look up in the "Materia Medica" and choose the remedy that best approximates the symptom set - the one most similar - called the “simillimum”. There are some situations where more than one remedy may be used or alternated

Homeopathic remedies come in different potencies and in forms:
✔️ tablet
✔️ pillule
✔️ liquid form

Once a remedy is selected the potency (strength) then has to be determined and this will vary depending on the acute or chronic nature of the symptoms and the animal’s general vitality. 

In homeopathy, the “law of minimum dose” holds that the more diluted a homeopathic preparation is, the greater its effectiveness will be. 

The strength of homeopathic preparations is indicated by the dilution ratio (C for a 1:100 dilution; X for a 1:10 dilution) and number of successive dilutions. Thus, a 6C preparation is a 1:100 dilution done 6 times. 

Dilutions beyond 12C (or 24X) are unlikely to contain a single molecule of the original substance. In the homeopathic preparation, the water contains the vibrational energetic imprint of the substance. Homeopathic remedies are made from dilutions of plant, mineral and from virtually any substance.

As a general rule of thumb, potencies up to 30C are generally good for physical symptoms and most of the remedies listed below will be best used at either 6, 12, or 30C potencies. The more acute the symptoms, the more frequently you give the remedy.

Remedies can be prepared in liquid form or pillule/tablet form. Most doses are 4-6 drops, and pills or tablets may be 1-2. In acute situations doses every 15 minutes would be recommended. Less acute conditions, up to 3x day. Remedies can be purchased from homeopathic pharmacies and from homeopaths. More and more health food stores are stocking some of the more common single based remedies in X and up to 30C potencies.

The following is a brief list of some useful remedies. It is far from exhaustive but is a good starting point for common canine ailments. 

Top 10 Homeopathic Remedies to help with common canine ailments 

#1. Apis mellifica – great for any type of swelling in reaction to vaccinations, insect bites, hives, rashes, bee stings. Also helps where there is joint swelling with heat. Usually 6, 12 or 30C potency best and dose every 20minutes in acute situations.

#2. Arnica – good for general pain, stiffness due to overexertion, soreness and musculo-skeletal injuries. Also helps reduce bleeding and bruising. First remedy to use after any type of physical trauma. 

Usually 6, 12 or 30C potency is best with a dose every 20 minutes in acute situations. Arnica can be used daily for helping with pain associated with arthritis in older dogs. It can also be used post surgery to help reduce bleeding and bruising.

#3. Aconite – this is well known as the “panic” remedy and great for all forms of emotional trauma and shock, mental anxiety and restlessness. For dogs fearful of storms or noises, this can be a very useful remedy. It can also help with the early stages of all feverish states and inflammations where there is also a level of anxiety. 

4. Arsenicum album or Nux Vomica – both these remedies are great for tummy upsets from eating spoiled food where there is both vomiting and diarrhea. If the dog is particularly anxious, then Arsenicum album is the best choice. Give 6, 12 or 30C potency twice an hour for a few hours. Arsenicum album is also known to help with low level anxiety and with some skin conditions

#5. Belladonna – when there is a temperature, fever and general malaise this remedy can be useful whilst waiting for veterinary attention. Is also well known for its use in reducing the frequency and intensity of seizures

#6. Calendula (can be used both as an oral remedy and as an external ointment) – use for skin infections or any kind of external infection. 

It’s a remarkable healing agent and a tube of the ointment should always be on hand to apply topically to scrapes, infections and wounds. You can also buy a tincture and dilute it 1/10 and flush any cuts or wounds with it. If you take the remedy orally then a 6, 12, or 30C potency taken 2-3 times a day will promote skin and superficial wound healing.

#7. Hepar sulphur – is wonderful to treat painful abscesses anywhere on the body and painful infected anal glands. Also good for any type of infection. A 30C potency is best and during acute phase, dose 2-3 x day.

#8. Hypericum – is an excellent remedy to give for any pain due to nerve damage or injuries to nerve-rich areas. Great for when you cut your dog’s toenails too short. Can also help with spinal injuries and intervertebral disc disease where pain is evident.

#9. Rhus tox – for arthritis that is better after moving around, general musculoskeletal injuries, red swollen eyes, skin infections and skin itching. Great for helping to heal ligament injuries and tendon strains. Rhus tox has multiple uses. Can be used daily with dogs that have chronic arthritis and are very stiff when first moving.

#10. Ruta grav – fantastic for any injury to tendons or ligaments and this remedy works very well in conjunction with Rhus tox and Arnica. The three remedies make up a good set to use for arthritis and general aches and pains in the body. If using daily then 6C, 12 C potencies best. In more acute situations 30C potencies every few hours.

Milo's Story

Milo, a 12-year old Border Collie was not moving as freely as usual and displayed a particular weakness in the hind legs. There was also a past anterior cruciate strain that at times would “flare up” and intermittent lameness evident. Milo’s owners had also noticed some slight incontinence at night. 

In further discussing Milo, the family had also commented that he had always been a bit of an aloof dog, but recently noticed he appeared a bit more apprehensive about changes in the environment and seemed a little “slower” mentally

In looking at Milo homeopathically the choice here was to look at the total symptom picture and to see if a constitutional remedy might fit. 

Whilst the immediate lameness and incontinence were new, the pattern for Milo was one of some physical and possibly mental decline. The remedy Causticum was selected. This remedy has affinity for hind leg weakness, incontinence and depression, working on physical and emotional levels. It has also been used with dogs with early signs of cognitive dysfunction

The potency selected was 30C and a dose of 6 drops was given for a week and then reviewed. Milo’s owners reported improvement in general mobility, but were so pleased to see the frequency of incontinence had reduced and he seemed much more alert. 

The remedy has needed to be repeated for short periods of times , and each time Milo responds positively. Milo’s owners also have Arnica 6C and Rhus tox 6C on hand to help support him when he seems to be a little more sore and stiff particularly after a big day in the park.

written by Helen Anderson, Animal Equilibrium for Australian Dog Lover 

About the Writer

Helen from Animal Equilibrium has been involved in the breeding, training, showing and trialling of dogs for over 30 years and a member of DOGS NSW for that period of time.

She is also a full member of the APDT. Originally trained as an occupational therapist working in physical rehabilitation settings and then branching out to work with animals in 2005. Helen has multiple qualifications in health, natural therapies and training -
 B.AppSc; Grad Dip Hlth Ed; M.Ed; Dip Equine & Human Bowen Therapy ; Cert 1V Small Animal Bowen Therapy; Cert IV Kinesiology ; Certified Neural Organisation Therapist; Cert Small Animal Nutrition (NCTM); Dip Animal Homeopathy(BIH). Dip Biochemic Therapy; Animal Reiki Practitioner Level 111.

Helen completed her Diploma in Animal Homeopathy with the British Institute of Homeopathy and her Diploma in Biochemic Therapies with the Institute of Biochemic Medicine (Asia/Pacific). She has been using homeopathy and mineral tissue salt therapy with her clients for the last 10 years.

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