Friday, 20 April 2012

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR DOGS, CATS WITH SORE, IRRITATED PAWS, SKIN


In this article:
  1. Typical Reasons Why Paw and Skin Irritations Occur
  2. Recipes for Foot and Body Soaks and Rinses
  3. Why You Should Resist Putting Your Dog or Cat on Steroids and NSAIDs
  4. Natural Alternatives to Steroids and NSAIDs
  5. Understanding Food Allergies
  6. Natural Remedies and Treatments, Diets To Resolve Food Allergies

1.0 Typical Reasons Why Paw and Skin Irritations Occur

Dogs and cats can get sore irritated paws for many reasons, including:
  • A symptom of environmental allergies;
    • 'Hayfever' or allergies to other plants;
    • Contact with (surface, ingestion, inhaling) toxins;
  • A symptom of food allergies;
    • Resulting in:
      • Irritation, inflammation, infection of the paws, skin and ears;
      • Yeast infection - candida;
  • Fungal infections;
  • Abrasions cuts and wounds;
  • Etc.
If your dog or cat is suffering from allergies and/or resulting yeast infections of the paw or skin on other parts of the body (i.e. candida), or has come into contact with poisonous and/or toxic substances - giving your dog or cat a foot soak or overall body rinse is very important to reduce discomfort, help treat the symptoms, remove harmful residue and stop your dog’s or cat’s need to lick and chew his/her paws and skin Toxins left on the paws can migrate into the dog's, cat's blood stream, and over time increase your dog's, cat's  toxic load, compromise his/her immune system and trigger the development of cancer.

If your dog’s or cat's paws have come into contact with road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides it is very important to ensure that you remove the particulate and/or residue from these substances right away. Even if you cannot see anything on your dog’s paws - if he/she was walked on or brushed against surfaces or plants that are treated with these substances, a residue will be present on your dog’s, cat's paws, fur or skin. The toxic chemicals found in these substances can make their way into your dog’s and cat's blood stream by passing through your dog’s or cat's skin or when he/she licks his/her paws, fur or skin.

The most affective way to remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from your dog’s and cat's paws is to provide your dog or cat with a 30 second foot soak. Depending on the size of your dog, you can do afoot soak in the bowl or basin, sink, bathtub, shower or in a small children’s pool.


It is important to note that dunking/placing your dog’s or cat’s paws in the soaking solution is not as affective as soaking the paw for 30 seconds. After the soak just pat your dog’s or cat’s paws dry - do not rub them dry as rubbing can cause irritation.

2.0 Recipes for Foot and Body Soaks and Rinses

Foot Soak Recipe #1 - Warm Water and Iodine
Remove Toxins, Disinfect Paw Wounds, Treat Yeast Infection
for Dogs and Cats

 
Iodine is a naturally occurring water-soluble element. Iodine is an excellent disinfectant as it has both anti-fugal and anti-viral properties, it is also non-toxic for dogs (but should not be ingested, just used topically). Iodine is a common disinfectant carried by most pharmacies. To remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from the surface of your dog’s paws - this soak can also be used to reduce itchy, inflamed, and other wise irritated paws…

  • Fill the container you are using with warm water;
  • Add enough iodine to make the water turn the colour of ice tea;
  • Have your dog or cat stand in or hold his.her paw in the the water/iodine solution for 30 seconds;
  • Then pat your dog’s or cat's paws dry.

Foot Soak Recipe #2 - Warm Water, Apple Cider Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide 
Treat Yeast Infections or Irritated Paw 
for Dogs and Cats

 
Organic unpasturized, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties (primarily from the acetic acid and malic acid in ACV).  

To make this paw soak combine:
One gallon of water with;
One cup of hydrogen peroxide, and;
One cup of organic unpasturized unfiltered apple cider vinegar ACV;

To apply:
  • Soak your dog's, cat's paws or skin for 30 seconds;
  • Allow your dog's or cat's paws/skin to air-dry. 
Do not use pasturized non-organic apple cider vinager such as that typically found on grocery store shelves (i.e. Heinz apple cider vinegar). Pasturized vinegar does not have the medicinal properties that unpasteurized ACV has. 

For detailed information on how to choose a good ACV product and the many health benefits of ACV as both a topical and ingested treatment read here

You can also use just apple cider vinegar between foot soaks - just put it in a spray bottle, spray your dog’s paws and then pat dry. Do NOT use ACV on broken skin as it can sting!


Foot Soak Recipe #3 - Warm Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, fresh squeezed Lemon Juice, Peppermint Essential Oil
Treat Yeast Infections or Irritated Paws  
For Dogs and Cats

 
Peppermint contains cooling essential oils (such as menthol) and has antiseptic and slightly anesthetic properties. 

To make this paw soak:
  • Combine:
    • One gallon of water with; 
    • One cup of organic unpasturized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar;
    • The fresh juice of one lemon, and:
    • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil. 
To apply:
  • Soak your dog's, cat's paws or skin for 30 seconds;
  • Pat your dog's or cat's paws/skin dry. 
Find out more about all of the health benefits of fresh lemon for dogs here.

The Following Herbs can also be Added to the Recipes Above...

Chamomile
Chamomile is a non-toxic soothing all natural additive. Just add a few chamomile tea bags to the liquid solution wait a few minutes and then soak your dog’s feet in the solution. You can also prepare the tea as you normally would (as you would to drink it), just wait for it to cool down and add it to the liquid solution. 

For a detailed list of the health benefits of chamomile read here


Golden Seal
Golden Seal is a non-toxic soothing all natural additive. Just add a few Golden Seal tea bags to the liquid solution wait a few minutes and then soak your dog’s, cat's  feet in the solution. You can also prepare the tea as you normally would (as you would to drink it), just wait for it to cool down and add it to the liquid solution. You can read more about Golden Seal here.




Green Tea
Green tea (use decaffeinated only) is a non-toxic and rich in antioxidants - an aid to healing. Just add a few green tea bags to the liquid solution wait a few minutes and then soak your dog’s, cat's feet in the solution. You can also prepare the tea as you normally would (as you would to drink it), just wait for it to cool down and add it to the liquid solution.



The recipes listed above should be used three or four times a week if you are treating a yeast infection, or irritation due to allergies.

Foot Soak Recipe #4 - Warm Water, Rooibos Tea and Lemon
Yeast Infections or Irritated Paws
for Dogs and Cats

Rooibos is a naturally anti-allergenic and also contains a significant amount of AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) making rooibos tea an aid to the healthy growth and maintenance of skin. To see the recipe for rooibos foot soak and read about the benefits of giving your dog rooibos tea as part of a daily diet you can read this article 'Rooibos Tea for Dogs - Immune System Health, Cancer Inhibitor, Allergy Mediator' 


Don't bother with fancy store bought concoctions. They are not necessary and not better…you have what you need to work an excellent treatment with just the simple off-the shelf items I have mentioned above.

Lathering your dog’s paws with ointments, salves and lotions may make the irritation worse as allergens, toxins and dirt can get trapped underneath the ointment. It is better to use one of these soaks and then keep your dog’s paws dry and clean.
 
If your dog does have a yeast infection (i.e. candida) you really need to treat the symptom (i.e. itchy, irritated paws that may smell like corn chips), as well as the issue. It is important to note that in the case of a yeast infection Prednisone and antibiotics can make the condition worse as they further suppress the dog’s immune system and antibiotics kill the good bacteria in a dog’s and cat's gastntestinal tract gut (GI tract)...


3.0 Why You Should Resist Putting Your Dog or Cat on
      Steroids and NSAIDs

It is far better to resolve the root cause of the condition and use natural alternatives to treat the condition. Natural alternatives have little to no side effects. Steroids, cortecosteroids such as Prednisone and non steroidal ant-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have many side effects including life threatening, life span shortening affects.

To understand more about the dangers of using steroids and NSAIDs you can read here.


4.0 Natural Alternatives to Steroids and NSAIDs

For a list of natural, safe alternatives to steroids and NSAIDs you can read here

5.0 Understanding Food Allergies

If you think that your dog or cat is suffering from food allergies you need to treat the immediate outward discomfort (i.e. irritated paws, skin, ears) and you also need to remedy the root cause of the allergy.

To gain an understanding of the causes and many symptoms of food allergies you can read here.


6.0 Natural Remedies and Treatments, Diets To Resolve
      Food Allergies 
While it is important to relieve the symptoms of a yeast infection due to food allergies - if the root cause of the allergy is not resolved the condition becomes re-occuring - chronic.
Your dog or cat can end-up with chronic skin issues and chronic ear infections.