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Don’t Try This at Home: Home Remedies for Pets

Your vet wishes you wouldn’t do these things

Don't try this at home pet remedies

Before you try a home remedy for your pet, run it past your vet. It goes without saying that most pet parents have the best interests of their dogs and cats at heart. Sometimes, though, even the best intentions can cause more harm than good. On this week’s FB Live video, Dr. Jennifer Bentley of Veterinary Referral Center of Central Oregon offered advice on what NOT to do when your pet has a problem.

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Human Medication Can Be Harmful to Pets

While some human and pet medications overlap, it is never a good idea to share medications that have been prescribed for a human with your pet. Over the counter medications are equally if not more harmful. Tylenol (acetaminophen), for example, is extremely toxic to dogs. Even one capsule harms red blood cells in cats and can result in fatal toxicity.

Even if your pet is on the same thyroid medication as you, dosages vary widely. An effective dog’s does is typically 10 times that of a human. Leave it to your vet to prescribe the correct dose.

Do Not Induce Vomiting with Hydrogen Peroxide

If you’re tempted to try to clean a wound or induce vomiting in your pet by administering hydrogen peroxide, don’t. Hydrogen peroxide can be used safely on intact skin, but is an irritant when swallowed or used on broken skin.

Vomiting, while it may be an effective way to expel whatever non-corrosive substance your pet may have eaten, it is not benign, according to Dr. Bentley. Your vet has other ways of safely inducing vomiting if necessary, such as apomorphine, which stimulates the nausea center in the brain and avoids the irritating effects of hydrogen peroxide.

As for treating the skin, hydrogen peroxide used on an open wound actually injures the skin cells further.

Leave that String Where It Is

Tempting as is may be, if your pet has a string trailing from its rear end, leave it be. Known to veterinarians as a linear foreign body, pulling on it can act as a wire cheese cutter on the intestine. Foreign objects should be removed surgically if they are not naturally expelled.

Dental Scaling Is a Pet Parent No-No

Scraping the teeth with a dental tool does little to remove plaque and runs the risk of lacerating the gums. Also? Your dog doesn’t like it.

Beware of Bandaging

Bandaging is actually quite technical and difficult to achieve at home. It is not only necessary to use an appropriately thickness and size, but also critical to have the right technique. Improper bandaging can lead to pressure sores and, in extreme cases, amputation.

Save the Salad Dressing for the Caesar

The internet and other unofficial sources share quite a lot of home remedies for pets that are not only untested, but potentially harmful. For example, a mixture of oil, rosemary, and sometimes even vinegar inside the ear can lead to ototoxicity, and ultimately, deafness.

Go Gentle on the Bathing

Dogs, especially short-coated breeds such as bulldogs, can suffer from overly aggressive bathing. Vigorous scrubbing can actually jam hairs back up into the follicle, causing an infection known as furunculosis. It’s treatable, but it is best to avoid it altogether with a gentle wash.

Be Your Pet’s Hero

Not all treatments administered at home are verboten, according to Dr. Bentley, but to be the hero your pet knows your to be, check in with your vet before taking matters into your own hands. When in doubt, call your vet before trying a home remedy on your pet.