Home Remedies for Pets

Remedies for Fleas, Dry Skin, Cuts, Skunk Spray, and More

May 13, 2020

Here are some valuable home remedies for dogs and cats that can keep your pet happy and healthy. From getting rid of fleas to caring for dry skin, let’s get those dog tails wagging and cats purring. 

Home Remedies for Fleas

Use these home remedies to get rid of fleas on pets and in the home.

Remember: He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.

  • Place a flea collar in the bag of your vacuum cleaner. Any fleas you sweep up will stay put in there.
  • If you don’t want to use a flea collar with insecticides, active ingredients such as cedar, lemongrass, rosemary, and marigold won’t exterminate fleas, but will deter them.
  • Give your dog a flea bath with limonene shampoo, and flea-comb him down thoroughly while he’s in the water so the fleas drown.
  • As a flea deterrent, try adding a teaspoon of vinegar to each quart of the animal’s drinking water. It helps keep pets free of fleas and ticks but is not harmful to the pet itself. Learn about the other helpful household uses for vinegar.
  • Sprinkle borate powder into crevices of couches and chairs.
  • Stock your yard with off-leaf larvae-eating nematodes (available at pet and garden stores). Nematodes will also help to bring down your Japanese beetle population.
  • Getting proper nutrition for your pets is the best flea prevention. Add brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food, as well as essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6. Check out these tips for proper pet nutrition.
  • Spray window and door screens with distilled water containing several drops of bitter orange essential oil. (Fleas hate citrus scent and will avoid crawling in through the screens.)
  • Learn everything you need to know about fleas. Try this page for even more home remedies for fleas.

Photo Credit: Crestock.

Itchiness: Dry Skin on Dogs and Cats

  • Oatmeal Bath: Put uncooked oatmeal or rolled oats into a sock or nylon stocking and run a tubful of warm water over it. Soak your dog (cats will rarely let you do this) in the water for 5 to 10 minutes. Oatmeal-based shampoos are also available at pet stores. Find out more about oatmeal’s soothing benefits.
  • Aggravated skin sores, also known as hot spots, can make your pet miserable. If you see a hot spot developing, clip about one-half to one inch around the sore to prevent hair and other dirt from further aggravating it. Clean the sore with hydrogen peroxide on gauze or a cotton ball, and after it dries, spray the area with cortisone cream. Do this twice a day until the sore starts to dry out or a scab begins to form.

Home Treatment for Cuts, Scrapes, Abrasions

  • Mix together 1 pint water, ½-teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon calendula tincture.
  • Soak an injured paw in the solution. If the wound is on the body, put the solution in a squirt bottle or large syringe and gently apply it to the injured area.
  • Repeat the soaking or application every 4 to 6 hours for the first 24 hours.

Home Treatment for Bites and Scratches

For serious bites and scratches, take your pet to the vet. For smaller wounds:

  • Rinse out the fresh wounds and punctures with large amounts of this solution: 1 pint water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon Echinacea/goldenseal tincture.
  • Hydrogen peroxide may also be used to clean wounds, but it can damage delicate tissues.
  • Cat wounds are notorious for forming abscesses. If the abscess is draining, clean it with with Echinacea/goldenseal solution. Always wear latex gloves while handling an abscess.


How to Heal Tissue Trauma

  • If your pet falls, gets stepped on, is in a fight, or is otherwise bruised, the common homeopathic remedy arnica can speed recovery. Give two pellets of arnica 30c once per hour for three hours following the injury.

What to Do if a Pet Is Choking

You can perform the Heimlich maneuver on animals.

  • Lift a small pet, or reach over the back of a large one and raise the back legs, so that the rear end is elevated over the head.
  • Place your hands around the lowest part of the chest and give a quick, gentle thrust inward and upward. 
  • Remember to scale the force of your thrust to the size of your pet. For small pets, imagine you are performing this on an infant or toddler.

Pet Indigestion or Loose Stool

  • When your dog scavenges something from the compost pile, it irritates the bowel, creating nerve impulses that signal the gut to speed up. When food moves too quickly through the gut, the result is loose stools. In dogs and cats with chronic inflammatory bowel disease, the gut responds as if irritated at the slightest stress or change of diet.
  • The herb slippery elm, available as powder or capsules, coats the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, counteracting the irritation and allowing stools to firm up. Put 1 tablespoon of the powder (break open capsules) into 1 pint of water and bring to a boil to thicken. Let it cool, and administer by mouth. Give a teaspoon or less to small pets and several tablespoons to large dogs every 2 to 4 hours, until the gut settles down (usually 8 to 24 hours).
  • Also, be sure to check our list of foods that are poisonous to pets so that you can keep your furry friends from too many stomach aches.


Burrs in Fur: Tips for Grooming

  • For dogs, comb the burrs in their fur with a metal comb immediately. If burrs are badly tangled, rub vegetable oil on your fingers and work the lubrication slowly through the fur until you can pull the burrs out.
  • Cats typically will want to take care of their own grooming, but you can help by gently working through the mess with a wire brush. Most cats won’t let you cut the fur or lubricate it the way a dog will. (We suggest wearing long sleeves… Maybe even two layers.)

Remedies for Itchy Ears

  • The contents of a vitamin E capsule can soothe red or inflamed areas of the ear.
  • A gentle cleaning with a cotton swab or gauze dipped into vegetable oil can help to remove a buildup of wax and dirt.
  • Remember that dog and cat ear canals take a right-angle turn at the base of the ear, and be careful not to jam anything deep into the ear canal.


Home Remedies for Sore or Runny Eyes

  • A simple rinse of saline solution can help a mild eye irritation. Continue eye drops every four hours, until clear.
  • If symptoms persist, consult with your vet.

How to Ease Pet Arthritis

  • Massage helps to relieve muscle tension that contributes to pain. Be gentle. Start from the center of the body and work your way outward. If feet are too sensitive, leave them alone.
  • Nutritional research suggests that supplements containing chondroitin sulfate and glucosaminoglycans can help inflamed or damaged joints. Check with your vet or health-food store.
  • Egg-crate foam and other creature comforts can bring relief to older and arthritic pets. Buy enough foam for two or three beds, cover the foam with washable covers (easy to make from old towels), and put them into the places your pet likes to sleep.
  • Find more tips about caring for an elderly pet.
  • How old is your dog? Find out your dog’s age in dog years with our dog age conversion chart.


How to Get Rid of Skunk Spray on Pets

  • Bathe your dog in a mixture of 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid soap. Work the solution into the fur (avoiding eyes), then rinse.
  • To rid the stench from your pet, douse him with tomato juice, leaving it on for several minutes before rinsing it off. For a large dog, a single washing can require several cans of tomato juice. You may have to repeat the procedure, but the odor will eventually work itself out of your pet’s coat.
  • Get more tips for dealing with that gross skunk spray smell.

Check out these tips for pet home safety so that you never have to use these home remedies! Also, try our ideas for pet-proofing your home.

Is your pet a bit overweight? Check out these tips to help them lose the pounds.


Note: The Old Farmer’s Almanac does not have professional vets on staff, so please do not inquire about serious pet health issues on this page. Contact a vet immediately if your pet develops serious symptoms, such as trouble breathing, urinating, or moving, or if s/he shows signs of shaking or weakness, seizures, confusion, fever, vomiting (unless it’s a hairball), swelling, deep wounds, bleeding in urine or poop, or other ailments that may indicate that the pet requires prompt attention. If your vet office is not open during an emergency, there are 24-hour veterinary hospitals that you can call for advice; check with your vet beforehand to get the number of one, or search online. If your financial resources are limited, your vet may be able to work with you to develop a payment plan. There are also other options for financial assistance, including pet insurance (for future ailments); for advice, consult a local animal shelter or local branch of an animal welfare association, such as The Humane Society.

What are some of your favorite home remedies for your pets?

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Yes and no

While I understand Farmer's Almanac's history of home remedies, tips and tricks for a variety of subjects, these days, pretty much everything pet-related can be handled in more effective ways by a vet. Why go through battling fleas at all when a simple, monthly topical or tablet can keep fleas off your pet, out of your house and put an end to a host of potentially horrible illnesses from parasites? Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes - all dangerous to your pets. Keep heartworm, lyme disease and others out of your life with safe, effective medication. As for stomach upset, usually skipping a meal or two will resolve it but definitely consult a vet. General care and grooming tips - these are great.

you should NOT use hydrogen

you should NOT use hydrogen peroxide on dog wounds according to my vet

Pug Nose's

I clean Rosie's nose once a day but it is still raw looking and she keeps licking it after I put salve on it. Any suggestions?

raw nose

The Editors's picture

Make sure any moisturizing nose balm is well rubbed-in. It’s normal for a dog to lick lotion or something that they sense or smell. It’s not clear why your dog’s nose is raw? It could be allergies to food or something in the environment, such as weeds. Some pets need decongestants or antihistamines. If this continues or the dog’s nose cracks, you should visit the vet. 

Some worries for my hamster

I have this pet mouse who developed some kind of skin condition....
reddish patches on her back......allergies
She is about one year old now!
any suggestions of the home remedies that are effective on all hamsters????.......
Thanks a lot!

Some People Do NOT Need to Own an Animal

I've read 3 pages of these comments and I'm appalled at the number of comments concerning serious health conditions. What exactly do you expect to happen when you write to this home remedy sight when your dog is having seizures or bleeding out of his anus or in terrible pain for reasons unknown to you? Do you think a veterinarian is going to POOF! APPEAR BEFORE YOU IN YOUR HOUSE LIKE A GENIE?? People like you Do NOT have the good sense God gave a goose and you are NOT Competent enough to try and care for a pet. You'll probly be fortunate to be able to take care of yourself. I pity any children you may have and I hope they have been blessed with with better sense than than their incompetent parent. Why would anyone feel compelled to list their personal problems at home such as your husband's lack of employment and his job occupation? What has THAT got to do with a home remedy for SIMPLE ANIMAL AILMENTS?? The key word here is SIMPLE for all you SIMPLETONS out there who dont have the sense to know that dogs need to be wormed and given shots to be healthy & prevent them from dying and if you DONT know the basics of caring for a pet then PLEASE DONT GET A PET AND MAKE IT YOUR NEWEST VICTIM!!! GEEZ!!

Hot spots, minor cuts, rain rot (other skin probs caused by fung

I have used MTG (Mane,Tail & Groom ) by Shapley's for many many years with great results on my horses, dogs and cats ( and myself!). Available at most farm supply stores.

Puppy hydration

Recently given a a dying pup. Gave her a squirt of water with a baby medicine syringe and her colic cleared right up.

Focus on Grooming and Hygiene Of Pets

Like Humans pets also required grooming & hygiene needs. so we should always focus on cleaning pets' ear. I appreciate your blog for home remedies for pets problem, you have explained everything well, I will share this article to my other friends also so that they will also take advantage of your informative blog.

Aging Dogs and Arthritis

I started feeding my Abby, a 10-year old Great Pyr, 4-Health Dog Food adult dog formula. It contains glucosamine for joints and the food itself is natural. She especially loves the lamb & rice mix. The food is pricy, but I noticed a dance in her steps soon after I started feeding her the new brand.

Hydrogen peroxide

Is not ok to use on an open wound or hot spot! Ask any vet!

Tummy Issues, Skunk Issues & Joint Issues

I have had pure bred Shepherds my whole life, since the early 1980's, all trained and all wonderful, beloved and special in their own way. First, with the larger breed animals, always good to get their stomach tacked, it is a preventative surgery that down the road can literally save their lives!

Also, because they are the larger breeds, I give my pure bred Shiloh Shepherd 2 heaping tablespoons of 100% pure pumpkin. It keep him regular, if his stomach is upset it help, it also help if he is constipated or has diarrhea. Also help if he just got sprayed in the face by a skunk, and is dry heaving, lol. All around has many great health benefits, also even more so for cats.

For skunk sprays, trust me, one wash is all it takes. Equal parts hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and Dawn liquid dish washing soap (it has to be Dawn, very specifically), mix all together, one wash and the smell is gone. Also helps with dead animal smells, which thankfully my dog doesn't roll around in, but if he did!

Last, but not least, CBD oil is GREAT for joint and or muscle pain or even if they are anxious, not sleeping, again, the health benefits are all there.

The thing is, I don't like riddling my dog with medicines, unless absolutely (and I do mean absolutely) needed, I'd much rather take the natural route. So if this helps someone, great, I hope you may give one of these a try, I can't speak highly enough about it.

**SIDE NOTE: I've never owned a small breed dog, so I can't say how much or what might work/not work, and for that I do apologize.

Colloidal Silver and other tips

I've been taking in dumped and abandoned cats and dogs since 2000 and currently have 10. That number is only possible because they are healthy. I don't vaccinate beyond their initial shots, don't use poisons (flea/tick/etc.) on or in them, and I feed them quality food (no dry food for cats AT ALL and dogs get raw and good quality kibble with bone broth every meal). One of the best things I've discovered in the last couple of years for treating 95%+ of all of their issues (environmental allergies, open wounds, eye issues, mouth/tooth/gum issues, ear infections, etc., etc.) is colloidal silver. It builds immunity and is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral so it works on a number of things and won't harm the animal in any way. With so many animals I make my own (phone charger, alligator clips, and silver rods), but you can buy it at health food stores or on Amazon. I personally have used and recommend Sovereign Silver brand before I started making my own. There are charts online and I even wrote a blog post about it, but the gist of using it is that you are better to give too much than too little. There is actually no such thing as too much, but you can give too little (it won't help). A drop in each eye or ear 2-3x a day is usually sufficient for those things, and I just add it to food and water for general maintenance of my cats and dogs. In any case, I share a lot of what I've learned on my blog and also use earthclinic.com for home remedies for both myself and my pets. It is an excellent resource site. I lost a dog to vet prescribed medication for her arthritis and when I researched it, I was horrified to learn just how crooked the vet and pharmaceutical system is when it comes to prescribing and administering dangerous and unnecessary medications that only treat symptoms or are pushed for monetary reasons. I encourage ALL pet owners to do a search of the side effects of ALL vet prescribed or OTC pet products before they give them to their pets, as many products on the market have a long history of harming and killing cats and dogs without any repercussions. Your vet won't warn you about any of that and will insist it is all safe. It's not.

tell me more

Do you have a link to your blog? I would like to learn more.

Chapped Nose

This is not precisely home-brew, but it does not require a vet.

The Natural Dog Co makes something called Snout Soother, which is kinda like a good-sized tin of chapstick for dogs. It's made of a mix of organic oils, vitamin E, and herbs, and it really does the job.

I tried it after going to the vet -- I looked up her diagnosis on line, and all the articles said "You'll have to get a sunscreen for your dog's nose," and recommended Snout Soother.

When I read about it, that seemed like it might be enough in itself -- and it was. Great stuff -- and you get a lot of it for not much $$.

Non-Skunk Stink

Forgot to mention -- haven't had to deal with skink spray, but have had dogs who loved to roll in decomposing little corpses. Dr Bronner's peppermint soap works like a charm to get rid of that horrendous odor.

Chapped Nose

I tried everything on my dogs chapped dried out nose and nothing worked. I then tried O'Keefe's working Hands hand cream. After about a week it started to clear up. After a month it was as good as new. that stuff worked like a charm.

Drying up fluids in my cats ears

Hi does anyone know of a home remedy to dry fluids in my cats ears?

ear troubles

The Editors's picture

If a cat has fluid in its ear, it can be a sign of several things, such as an ear infection caused by bacteria or fungus. Sometimes an infection can be caused by ear mites (signs of which can be dark crusty or waxy material inside the ear, sort of like coffee grounds; cat prone to shaking or scratching its head). There are remedies available at pet stores for mild ear mite infestations, but if your cat has a severe infestation, or if you suspect something else is causing the fluid, such as a bacterial or fungal infection, it is best and safest for your pet to consult a veterinarian. Hope your cat feels better soon!

home remedies for pets

Thank you for this article. I've been treating the easy stuff for years using the methods you've mentioned with great success. I had a Maine Coon cat that would get awful colds. His whole ruff would get stiff from the mucus. I took him to a vet several times thru the year but at $125-$150 a crack it was getting quite expensive. I've always treated myself and my two-legged kids with echinacea at the first sign of the sniffles and it would usually stop a cold dead in it's tracks.Well, It worked on Er-so-bad (Guess how he got his Maine Coonie name! I used the liquid from Nature's Way with a 1:4 extract. I wouldn't use it on a kitten under 6 mos old.) Start with .25ml (dropper is marked). You can wash it down with a little water but DO NOT force it down the throat. You don't want the cat to choke or aspirate the fluid into it's lungs. My cats produced alot of saliva, almost like a light foaming. If they keep it down you should see a marked improvement the next day. Even if some comes back up, they are still getting some of the benefits. Keep it up for at least a week. Oh while I'm on this, I have been told to NEVER give a cat any aspirin product EVER because it is FATAL!

Poor kitty

My cat has what seems to be little scabs down his back, there hair along the spine area is also thinned. He doesn't have fleas and i don't notice any biting or scratching of the area.

scabs on cats

The Editors's picture

Awww. Scabs can be the cause of a number of issues: food allergies, ring worm, and others. We would suggest you take the kitty to the vet to be sure to treat the right issue.

itchy dog

We have found that adding coconut oil to their meals - the itching stopped

Hopefully a helpful tip!

I found your site very and booked marked it for the future. Thank you so much! I seen several of your readers have a hard time like many of us do pay for a costly vet bill so I hope to help. I worked at a vet office at one time and 99% of vet offices take a credit card called " care credit " and it can be used for people too it low rate and fairly easy to get approved for! I hope it helps some of your fur babies if you have no choice but to go to vet. God bless! :-)

Care Credit Card

Thank you A. Clark for that information. That card was a lifesaver for my dog who became very I'll. She's fine now, thank goodness.


Whenever my dogs roll on their back to scratch it, I sprinkle medicated body powder on them and rub it in. Seems to relieve the itch every time.

Skunk spray

My dog got sprayed and the only thing tomato juice did was stain her fur pink. I filled the laundry tub with warm water and Dawn dish detergent and washed her down. Not only did Dawn remove the skunk odor, but she smelled good too. The following day I gave here a bath with her own doggie shampoo. For her nose and eyes, I gently rubbed a wrung out washcloth in the areas. She did have a faint scent in her nostrils for several days, but the soapy cloth worked very well on her face and inner ears.

skunk spray

tomato juice does nothing except dull our sense of smell to the degree that we think it works. it does not. Soap and scrub.

Skunk Spray

While it is admirable to try to tackle a skunk sprayed dog at home, instead please consider taking your pet to a professional groomer. The pros have the facilities, products and skill necessary to bring your dog back to his fresh and clean pre skunked condition. Its a win - win!

Vinegar for fleas and ticks

The article mentioned putting vinegar in the drinking water. That sounds good as we drink switchel. It would seem that cider vinegar would be the right one to use but thought I would check. Thanks