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Common home remedies for your dog

Vladimir is a regular contributor to PetMD, the largest global source of pet health information. PetMD's content is created by veterinary professionals and covers 9 different species.

Cures for Fido

Whenever you're feeling under the weather, you can go and take medication for whatever ails you. But did you know you can treat your dog with some simple home remedies, too? Try these 7 home remedy tips for dogs. (Make sure to check with your vet, of course.)

Home Remedy Tip :

Vitamin E isn't only good for treating those pesky wrinkles on your face, it's also great for your dog's dry skin. You can give a doggy massage by applying vitamin E oil to the skin, or pop your dog a pill (of vitamin E, that is).

If you give the vitamin orally, check with your vet on the recommended dosages for your specific dog breed.

Home Remedy Tip :

Flavorless electrolyte-replacing liquids (e.g., sports waters or pediatric drinks) not only help athletes replenish fluids and babies rehydrate after illness, it can also supply your sick pooch's body with much-needed fluids after a bout of diarrhea or vomiting.

Consult your veterinarian as to the appropriate dosage amounts when using these types of liquids for your dog.

Home Remedy Tip :

Plain yogurt is a healthy treat for your dog. The live acidophilus in the yogurt keeps the bad bacteria in the intestines down to a manageable level. If your dog is on antibiotics, a little yogurt will help keep yeast infections at bay. You can also give your dog acidophilus pills -- wrapping the pills in bacon is strictly optional.

Puppies are especially prone to yeast infections, so a little plain yogurt as a snack (or even dessert) can help keep things in balance.

Home Remedy Tip :

Chamomile tea. This tea uses the natural disinfecting effects of the chamomile plant to settle upset doggy tummies. It can also alleviate minor skin irritations once it is chilled in the fridge and sprayed onto the affected area on the dog's raw skin. The dog should feel an immediate soothing effect as the chilled tea kills the yeast and/or bacteria on the skin.

Home Remedy Tip :

An itchy dog can be quite an annoyance, especially as it goes around scratching itself on any piece of furniture it can reach. Forget the backscratcher. Buy some finely ground oatmeal (as in baby oatmeal cereal) and stir it into a bath of warm water. Your dog will thank you, trust us. Dogs with skin allergies, infections and other diseases which cause itchiness have been shown to gain immediate relief with this approach, too.

Home Remedy Tip :

Dogs can be like kids at times, and as such they are bound to suffer from wounds and swellings occasionally. Try treating these ailments with Epsom salt soaks and hot packs next time. A bath consisting of Epsom salt and hot water can help reduce the healing time and the swelling, especially when combined with prescribed antibiotics (and under veterinary supervision).

If soaking the dog in the Epsom salt (twice a day for five minutes) isn't convenient for your schedule or the location of the dog's wound, a clean towel drenched in the same solution can be applied to wounds with an almost identical effect.

Home Remedy Tip :

Does your dog have fleas? Never fear, try some borax powder. The standard stuff at the store will work wonders on the fleas by poking holes in their crunchy insect exoskeletons.

A good way to make sure those parasitic suckers get annihilated is to sprinkle the borax on your floor then sweep or vacuum up the excess. Those invisible borax crystals left behind will kill the fleas and you won't even have to lift a finger. It's inexpensive and practically non-toxic compared to an appointment with the exterminator.

Home (or holistic) remedies aren't just for those Hollywood types anymore. It's important to take care of your dog when it's feeling a little under the weather, and on a day-to-day basis. Most of all, it'll help keeping your baby from crying like a hound dog.

For more pet health information, visit PetMD.com. And don't forget to visit PetMD's new Topic Centers.

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