However, while natural remedies may be the best solution to numerous health conditions, the FDA prohibits such products from making medical claims. For this reason, many highly effective natural products are overlooked because companies that manufacture them are usually not permitted to tell customers what their products do. For this reason, it’s very important for pet owners and care professionals to do their own research before purchasing any medicinal product.
Grooming with Purpose
Professional groomers recognize the value of offering specialized grooming services that serve a purpose. For example, small investments in high-quality healing salts can yield big returns both for their businesses and for their pet clients. Salt scrubs help to eliminate pet dandruff by loosening dead skin cells and they also can help alleviate pain in senior pets.
“Our invigorating blend of Dead Sea salts and natural minerals eliminates dandruff, draws toxins from the skin, relieves itching and is a perfect solution for senior dogs with achy joints,” said Dr. Adelia Ritchie, president of DERMagic Skin Care for Animals, Inc. “Just add a cup to a warm water bath and let your pet soak as the healing salts ease pain and decrease inflammation.”
Clays are also making a comeback. The detoxifying effects of specialty clays have been known for centuries. But now, the pet industry is catching on and groomers can offer mud baths to pets.
“Tight, overused, sore muscles can cause a multitude of issues on a body, including blocking nutrient-rich blood and altering the skeleton structure,” said Jacqueline Hynes, founder of Madra Mór. “Mobility Mud is infused with peppermint and menthol, providing a cool sensation that naturally stimulates circulation to help relieve blocked energy and flush toxins while nourishing and hydrating the skin.”
Topical Wound Care
“Our skin salve and spray products are antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic, as well as anti-hemorrhagic and anti-inflammatory,” said Tony DiLeva, owner of Dr. Rose’s Remedies. “They also cool and nourish the skin, heal burns and lacerations, and have been shown to heal surgical incisions up to 30 percent faster.”
Natural ingredients such as foods and essential oils can be used as treatments in a similar fashion.
“Products made with pure essential oils that have been properly diluted can be safely applied directly onto the skin,” said Vicki Rae Thorne, certified aromatherapist, master herbalist and founder of Earth Heart. “For example, customers have used our Guard Well mist to soothe dry irritated skin, scratches, scrapes and hot spots by spraying 1 or 2 mists directly onto the affected skin, and repeating as needed. Make sure to read the labels of all products so you know the scent is from pure essential oils, not synthetic fragrance oils.”
“As pet owners know, accidents will happen with their pets,” said Ron Shay, general manager for Nevoa Life Sciences. “Whether it be minor scrapes, cuts, bites, rashes or those pesky ear and eye irritations, it’s important to be prepared. That’s what the Dr. Emmo’s line of products is really all about: A proactive line of first aid and day-to-day all-natural, nonantibiotic, antimicrobial products designed to kill and remove bacteria to safely maintain healthy pets.”
Topical Care for Fleas and Ticks
While chemical flea and tick topical treatments will always be an important part of the pet industry, natural solutions to pest control are gaining momentum as consumers seek out safer ways to treat their pets.
“I prefer natural botanicals over pesticides for treating fleas and ticks, and there are a number of good natural products that work without harsh side effects,” said Nancy Scanlan, D.V.M., executive director of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and past president of the Veterinary Botanical Medical Association. “Herbal flea and tick products tend to be safer than pharmaceutical or pesticide flea and tick products, but all products that are formulated to rid pets of fleas and ticks pose some percentage of risk.”
“The lavender aroma of Epi-Pet’s Skin Enrichment Spray provides a calming, therapeutic effect on hyperactive pets while providing six natural insect-repelling properties,” said Dr. Michael Fleck, owner of Epi-Pet. “The cedar mint scent also has six natural insect-repelling properties, while the unscented skin spray offers relief from skin irritations without the essential oils. It also helps aid in hairball reduction in felines when used daily.”
Calming and Therapeutic Aids
Keeping pets calm during thunderstorms, visits to the groomer and during travel is a frequent concern among pet owners, and natural topical aids can be hugely beneficial in preparing pets for these events. “Our Canine Calm and Travel Calm mists can be gently massaged into a dog’s outer ears,” said Vicki Rae Thorne. “Sometimes multiple applications are necessary; and because the essential oils are properly diluted, this can be done safely. We suggest waiting about 10 minutes between applications, and to think of Canine Calm and Travel Calm in terms of training a behavioral response rather than an instantaneous fix.”
When selecting a remedy for your pets, be certain that you understand the risks versus the rewards, particularly when it comes to immuno-compromised animals and other sensitive pets.
“Talk to the companies, ask other pet owners and do your homework,” said Dr. Ritchie.