The Dangers of Natural and Alternative Treatments for Pets
In today’s increasingly medicated world, many of us are turning to natural and alternative treatments. This can be an excellent option for a number of conditions. However, it’s extremely important to remember that natural remedies carry risks as well. In fact, some can be toxic and even deadly. Before attempting any natural treatment on your pet, it’s important to thoroughly research its safety. Always check with your veterinarian if you are unsure.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil is commonly recommended for a number of conditions. While tea tree oil is considered safe for use on humans, it can be deadly to pets. Over 75% of pets exposed to 100% tea tree oil will have an adverse reaction. Symptoms typically develop within 12 hours of exposure and can last up to 3 days. Lethargy, muscle in-coordination and elevated liver enzymes are common with exposure. Before using tea tree oil of any kind on your pet it’s extremely important to consult your veterinarian and dilute the oil to .1 to 1 percent. That’s a dilution of one drop of tea tree oil to 100 drops of a carrier oil such as coconut oil. Tea tree oil should never be given orally to pets.
Many people turn to hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds. However, this home remedy should never be used on pets. Hydrogen peroxide not only kills the bacteria in a pet’s wound, it also destroys the cells necessary to heal the wound. This dramatically slows healing time and can even increase the chance of problems later. Instead of hydrogen peroxide, clean bites and wounds on pets with plain water or a saline solution like the one you use to clean your contact lenses.
Many people believe that garlic can help prevent fleas and other parasites. In fact, the Internet is full of suggestions such as putting fresh chopped garlic on your pet’s food or giving them over-the-counter garlic supplements. The problem with these options is that there is absolutely no scientific proof that it works and garlic can be toxic to pets. Garlic contains substances that damage red blood cells in both dogs and cats. Giving garlic to your pet can quickly lead to life-threatening anemia.
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