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You use natural remedies on yourself — why not use them on your pet?

Alicia is a writer and editor who spends entirely too much time on the computer and is convinced that wine makes her more productive. She has a passion for giving back which typically involves weekends spent with sick children or a home...

Building an all natural medicine cabinet for your dog or cat is not as hard as you think

Homeopathic remedies, they're not just for people anymore! Herbal tinctures and natural health aids can also do wonders for the health of your pet.

Some natural remedies actually work better than pharmaceuticals dished out by doctors, and are less likely to cause side effects. Keeping a few products on hand might just save you that super costly trip to the vet.

More: Our favorite superfood spice should be added to your dog's diet

Building an all natural medicine cabinet for your critter is really not that hard. Here are some herb and plant basics to get your started, but before you do, remember to always check with your vet before giving your pet anything new.

1. Rescue Remedy

Rescue Remedy is homeopathic tincture made from flower essences developed by Dr. Edward Bach. The product is particularly helpful for stress. Whether your animal suffers from separation anxiety, stress from a recent move or even the death of another pet or an owner, Rescue Remedy can help.

Rescue Remedy comes in drops or spray, and is available at most natural food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts. You can also purchase online here.

2. Aloe vera

# #aloevera is great for the #colon and #immune health #immunesystem #healthyfood #healthyliving

A photo posted by (@doc_rami_shaath) on

Just like with humans, the aloe vera plant is helpful for skin issues in animals. Aloe vera is great for soothing your pet's skin if they have hot spots or an allergic reaction, according to The American Animal Hospital Association via The Nest.

However, ingesting aloe vera can be harmful for dogs and cats and might result in nasty case of diarrhea. To be safe, be sure to bandage the area you apply aloe vera to your pet, and provide adequate supervision to ensure they don't lick it off. You also want to be careful to only apply the gel part of the plant. The white sap around the edges contain latex, which can also be harmful.

Aloe can be purchased by the bottle at many stores, but it's best — and more cost effective — to just get a plant and break open the leaves yourself.

More: My dog's dry skin turned out to be a serious medical condition

3. Calendula

Building an all natural medicine cabinet for your dog or cat is not as hard as you think
Image: Amazon

Calendula oil's antimicrobial and wound-healing properties make it a must-have for treating minor cuts, insect bites, abrasions, eczema and poison ivy, according to It can also be used on sprains and bruises, as an eye wash for conjunctivitis, or for the treatment of inflammation or ulceration of the digestive or urinary tracts.

You can purchase calendula extract formulated especially for pets on Amazon here.

4. Hypericum (St. John’s Wort)

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, St. John's Wort helps to reduce anxiety, depression and psychological stress in cats and dogs — so it comes in real handy during thunderstorms and visits to the groomer or vet.

VCA also says that scientists have identified a chemical basis for the herb's ability to relieve pain in a way similar to opiates, so St. John's Wort is very useful for pain management in dogs and cats. In addition, "topical application of the essential oil prepared from St. John's Wort may help with mild contusions, muscle aches, and minor skin irritations."

St. John's Wort should not be used in conjunction with any other medications, so be sure to check with your vet before giving any to your pet.

5. Echinacea

Building an all natural medicine cabinet for your dog or cat is not as hard as you think
Image: Amazon

According to Dogs Naturally magazine, echinacea can work wonders in helping to support your pet's immune system. However, it can be harmful for dogs who suffer from immune mediated diseases, so check with your vet.

You can buy echinacea formulated for dogs and cats on Amazon here.

6. Arnica

Building an all natural medicine cabinet for your dog or cat is not as hard as you think
Image: Amazon

Arnica is sometimes referred to as "homeopathic aspirin." It can be used after any injury, trauma or overexertion. It has been used to reduce pain and can promote healing after surgery. It's also said to work wonders in dogs with arthritis, says

Check out for great tips on how to treat your pet with arnica.

More: Don't ignore your dog's bad smell — it could signal a serious health issue

Always be sure to talk with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pet’s health. Some herbs and natural remedies that are completely safe for humans can be toxic to dogs and cats, so do your research before giving your pet something new. Just like with medications, allergic reactions can occur even if some herbs or remedies are technically considered safe.

Originally published April 2012. Updated Oct. 2016.

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