You’ve seen them before. The small amber vials of liquids and pellets lining the walls of many health food stores are enticing and mysterious, aren’t they?
When you first begin to explore homeopathy for your dog’s joint health, all the choices can seem overwhelming. Which is why we are going to break it down for you and help you choose which remedies can help your dog’s joints.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is defined as a system of medicine that utilizes micro-doses of natural substances, including herbs, bark, seeds, flowers and minerals (just to name a few). It is based on the Principle of Similars (i.e., “Like cures like”) and has been used for thousands of years.
While the modern practice of homeopathy was founded in 1810 by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, the principles of homeopathy can actually be traced back to the ancient Greeks.
What makes homeopathy so interesting is that it seems to defy our usual “more is better” mentality. Instead, treating your pet’s joints with homeopathy requires giving remedies that contain only minute amounts of the medicinal substance with the goal of stimulating the body’s own defenses.
Each homeopathic remedy contains extremely teeny, tiny dilutions of substances and the more dilute a remedy, the more powerful its healing ability.
Wait a minute… So if the remedy barely contains any medicine, how on earth can it possibly work?
Homeopathic remedies work because they don’t act in the same way as traditional drugs and instead act on an energetic level. More specifically, they harness or stimulate the body’s innate healing abilities.
While traditional treatments can rely on techniques that counter the healing process and suppress symptoms, homeopathic remedies help enhance a natural process that your body is already designed to do: heal itself.
This means that homeopathic treatments are able to work on the root of the problem versus simply masking the symptoms for temporary relief. The result is a deeper form of treatment that can have a powerful and lasting impact on your pet’s health.
Best of all, homeopathic remedies are usually very safe and have no side effects. The one caveat is that you must take care to choose the correct remedy otherwise you can risk making the original problem worse. This means that it is important to work with a trained veterinarian to ensure your pet gets the best remedy for his or her problem.
How to choose a remedy
Unlike traditional medications, which are more of a “one size fits all” approach, homeopathic remedies are highly specific and are selected based on how the individual patient experiences his or her illness.
For example, if your dog has stiff joints, your choice of remedy might depend on whether or not your dog is worse or better when he first gets up after resting. Or whether or not the stiffness is affected by the temperature or dampness in the air.
Choosing the right remedy requires specific knowledge about the patient, the problem and the possible remedies which means it’s always best to consult with a professional if you’re unsure.
Not sure where to start? Begin by building a homeopathy first aid kit!
Joint issues are not the only thing that homeopathy can help manage and may pet owners are introduced to homeopathic remedies for their day-to-day pet care needs. Dogs Naturally Magazine recommends these 12 Handy Remedies to keep on hand as part of your homeopathic first aid kit:
Apis mellifica – great for bee and other insect bites. Give every 20 minutes for a few doses after a bee sting.
Arnica – good for general pain, stiffness due to overexertion, soreness and musculoskeletal injuries.
Arsenicum album – great for GI upsets from eating spoiled food where there is both vomiting and diarrhea. Give twice an hour for a few hours.
Borax (the remedy, not the powder) – excellent for fear of thunderstorms and fireworks. Give this at the 6c potency twice a day for a month during the season.
Calendula (can be used both as an oral remedy and as an external ointment) – use for skin infections or any kind of external infection. It’s a remarkable healing agent and a tube of the ointment should always be on hand to apply topically to scrapes, infections and wounds. You can also buy a tincture and dilute it 1/10 and flush any cuts or wounds with it.
Hepar sulphur – is wonderful to treat painful abscesses anywhere on the body and painful infected anal glands.
Hypericum – is an excellent remedy to give for any pain due to nerve damage or injuries to nerve-rich areas. I once closed my finger in a window and learned firsthand the wonders of Hypericum. Great for when you cut your dog’s toenails too short.
Myristica – phenomenal remedy for anal sac infections and chronic anal sac problems.
Rhus tox – for arthritis that’s better after moving around, general musculoskeletal injuries, red swollen eyes, skin infections and skin itching.
Ruta – fantastic for any injury to tendons or ligaments and this remedy has a real affinity for the knee so you would use it immediately after any knee or cruciate injury.
Silicea – pushes foreign bodies like splinters or foxtails out of the skin.
Ledum – the first choice for any type of puncture wound, including those from insect bites. Insect bites that require
Apis will be hot and red whereas bites that require Ledum will be cool and appears bruised.
How do I give my pet homeopathic remedies?
When you first start working with homeopathy, there are a few rules to follow to ensure your pet gets the most out of their chosen remedy:
- Homeopathic remedies need to melt on the gums so they should not be hidden in a treat or put in food. Instead, drop the pellets directly into your dog’s mouth or dissolve them in a small amount of water. Dogs have a built in pouch in their cheek that you can pop the pellets into and allow them to slowly dissolve.
- Homeopathic remedies should be handled as minimally as possible and it is best to drop them straight from the bottle into your dog’s cheek
- Timing is everything! It is best to give homeopathic remedies at least 45 minutes to one hour BEFORE feeding your dog
- Because homeopathy is an energy medicine, the remedies should not be stored next to heavy electromagnetic appliances such as televisions and computers or left in the bright hot sun for a long time.
Where can I find a Homeopathic veterinarian near me?
This is the easy part! You can find a list of certified homeopathic veterinarians in the United States by visiting The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy website.
If you’ve been thinking about homeopathy for your pet’s joint issues be sure to consult with your veterinarian and go slow.