Pets and farm animals are prone to many of the same problems suffered by their human companions, but unlike us, they never question the efficacy of natural remedies as they feel "part of" nature.
Several years ago, TIME magazine ran an article about monkeys who would travel miles in the jungle to find a specific plant for stomach problems. Cats and dogs seek out a specific type of grass (quack grass) every month or so to eat that then causes them to vomit up any impurities, thus cleaning out their digestive tract.
When I first began using herbal remedies, I was told that mostly they worked due to the "Placebo Effect"- but using herbs extensively with babies and animals, who never even knew they were being treated -and with good results- led me believe that notion was limited. I have since used herbs and homeopathic remedies on my pets and livestock and have found that the difference in usage between animals and people depends largely on dosages and methods of administration. Any of you who care for animals know that they, like us, are multi-dimensional and need support and nurturance of the body , mind and spirit.
~ BODY ~
A nice, shiny coat, bright eyes, wet nose and a vibrant personality point to a healthy animal. Those allowed outside who can take advantage of some of the foods their species needs and get exercise, do best, but we can duplicate some of their needs and desires reasonably well. The following is a formula for ANY animal that addresses the vitamin/mineral requirements of all body systems:
"HAPPY BEAST"-Herbal Formula
3 parts NETTLE Leaf
2 parts COMFREY Leaf
1 part DANDELION Leaf
1 part CHICKWEED
1/4 part BREWERS YEAST
* These should be dried and then powdered to sprinkle in house pets wet foods. Livestock will eat Comfrey and Nettles raw, but will eat these and the other herbs powdered mixed in with their feed.*
* Animals absorb nutrients more efficiently than humans-so for house pets, 1-2 teaspoons per day is sufficient. Livestock should have 1-2 Tablespoons.*
~ MIND ~
We will never know the minds of animals-especially cats, but we do know they love, care and can sense when their humans are in danger. They also get lonely and some are neurotic- especially if left to their own devices too long. Livestock also are subject to nervousness surrounding weather changes, mating behaviors and personality conflicts with herd mates. For extreme cases, or emergencies, RESCUE REMEDY (Bach's Flower Essence) works wonders. For longer term issues, Dried WOOD BETONY (alone or added to the above formula) helps very nicely. For female animals or those that seem unusually needy/sad/lethargic, also add some LEMON BALM -which does the trick.
~ SPIRIT ~
While animals have the benefit of our companionship, they are still not able to do all the things their innate natures desire- the downside of domestication. But we can keep their spirits alive by making them happy with similar activities or foods.
Livestock need to be uncrowded, and have fresh water/air and light--and good pasture--and treats of apples/carrots/fresh nettles or pea hulls......or... "Treat Balls": (All Following Recipes from: ThatsMyHome.com)
1 cup oatmeal 1/4 cup molasses
1 cup flour 1/4 cup water
1 cup shredded carrots 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
Mix dry ingredients, then add liquids.
Mix and then roll into 1 1/2 " balls.
Bake on sheets at 350 for 15 mins.- or until golden brown.
Let dry in the oven overnight. Store in airtight container.
Cats and dog like to play, chew and sleep.
CATNIP does not need to be contained in a ball or mouse--unless you like that idea. Cats will roll in catnip plants or roll all over the floor if dried catnip is sprinkled ~ and they will do the same with VALERIAN. Of the two, cats actually prefer Valerian, which makes them more playful and sleepy.
Dogs mostly like to eat--but they need hard things to mimic the bones they would naturally eat in the wild. Good dental care depends on it- and a crunchy biscuit to chew is better than your table leg or slipper.
Try making your own pet treats--a great activity for kids on rainy, housebound days.
2 Tbsp. yeast 1 1/2 cups broth
1/2 cup water 2 Tbsp. honey
5+ cups wheat flour 1 egg
2 Tbsp. parsley 1 Tbsp. molasses
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup corn meal
Mix yeast with water and then stir in other wet ingredients. Mix in dry ingredients. Knead. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick on floured surface and use dog biscuit shaped cookie cutters. Put 1/2 inch apart on ungreased sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 mins. Let cool in oven overnight and store in airtight containers.(* Can add 1 Tbs. OREGANO-dogs love it and it is anti-bacterial and aids digestion)
1 and 1/4 cup oats (ground) 1 egg
1/8 cup beet powder 1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup powdered milk 1 Tbsp. molasses
2 Tbsp. wheat germ 2 Tbsp. butter or oil
1 tsp. catnip
Combine liquids and then add dry ingredients. Roll out 1/4" and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Put on oiled sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 mins. Let dry in oven over night and store in airtight container.
For more in-depth information about caring for animals using herbs and alternative healing you may be interested in the on-line class: Animal Care... Naturally (Available Soon)