Pet owners are choosing more natural products for themselves as well as their pets. Natural home remedies and natural vitamins, herbs and creams are not safe for your pets simply because they are natural. Something natural, or the word “natural” on the label, don’t automatically mean that it is safe or your pet, especially if the product isn’t made for pets. What cautions should you take with natural products?
Vitamins are vital to humans and animal health alike, so it’s easy to assume that it’s safe for your pet to take vitamins. All of the daily vitamins your pet needs are built into commercial pet food. Additional vitamins can be far too much of a good thing for pets. If you’re cooking for your pet yourself, or feeding them a raw food diet, adding vitamins based on their size may make sense.
While giving your pet a vitamin isn’t an emergency in most cases, there are a few vitamins that can be toxic. If your pet experiences drooling, abdominal discomfort or vomiting longer than 12 hours after taking one of these, consult your veterinarian.
- prenatal vitamins
- vitamin D
There are good natural supplements on the market and some can benefit pets, especially as they age. We urge that you don’t overdo supplements since we don’t yet know the long-term effects of giving your pet too much of most common supplements. Also, there is little regulation of quality in the supplement industry. Choose a reputable brand, then check with your veterinarian about the right dose based on your pet’s weight, age, breed and medical condition.
Most natural culinary herbs such as rosemary, thyme and basil are not only safe but beneficial. You can sprinkle these on your pet’s food and let them enjoy the savory flavors.
Not all natural herbs are safe for our pets though. Herbs such as Tea Tree Oil, Comfrey Wormwood and others used in natural products (which are completely harmless for humans) can be potentially toxic for pets. For a larger list of these herbs, visit Natural Dog Health Remedies.
Be mindful of Cannabis--a natural herb
Cannabis, commonly known as marijuana or pot, is a natural herb that can be toxic to cats and dogs when too much is ingested. Pets get into their owner’s stash or foods that contain pot. The impact depends upon the quantity consumed, the pet’s size and their health. Riskier symptoms include paranoia, breathing problems, and abnormal heart rhythms. Keep pot and pot-laced foods away from your pet’s reach. If you do see symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.
Owners of pets with certain illnesses have opted to self administer medical marijuana for their pet. There’s just not enough research yet for anyone to be able to safely calculate dosages or longterm effects on pets so we advise caution.
What about natural lotions and personal care products?
When we apply human personal care products--even all-natural ones--to a pet’s skin, what is applied on the skin is likely to get licked off and end up in the mouth. Many lotions, soaps, body washes, ointments, and antibiotic creams contain ingredients that can be toxic to pets. We know of a dog that died from licking ointment applied to its paws. For a full list of toxic ingredients, please visit Healthy Pets.
If you are ever unsure about something your pet ate, natural or not, call us here at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital. We are here every day to answer your call.