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

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I have a dog who has got a

I have a dog who has got a lump under his top right eyelid. I have been watching it carefully and it does not seem to grow in size. The vet wants $200 for a surgery to take it off. I am on a fixed income and don't have that money. What do you think it might be and suggest? Thank you.

Natural remedies for a hernia

Natural remedies for a hernia in cats?

my friend's cat has developed a hernia due to a botched spay job (she was pregnant so it was complicated situation and the cheap clinic she used didn't handle it correctly somehow) and now she has developed a hernia. She's not passing poop and is regurgitating her food. the good vet she took the cat too subsequently has put her on antibiotics for a chest infection and bandaged the hernia area to give it support and recommended that she wait and see. Anybody have any recommendations for a natural remedy that would support this little critter? We are in India so homeopathy and ayurvedic medicines are accessible but many herbs available in the west are not. Any advice would be welcome. Does she need rehydration salts or anything like that? Thanks! Hilda

Hi well wishers My pet goat

Hi well wishers
My pet goat two yrs.approx. old. Since three months earlier we found decreasing her health by 50%.She had been cried one or two times in a week or ten days but now she cries more seriuosly daily.She keep her head downward and steady position.I think the digestion system is normal as well as the normal urine.Please
kindly refer the best advise to recover her health. She has two kids five months old.

Dear God help this little

Dear God help this little animal...
Did you check her legs for sprains. Also her back disc's. That can cause an animal to lower their head...and make them cry. Ooo poor darlin hope you find relief soon!!
Thank you God for Your help! Peace be with you!

Our female Shih Tzu is 6

Our female Shih Tzu is 6 years old and we recently noticed a small bald spot on her right shoulder. There is no wound or sore spot, but it seems to be getting more noticeable. It does not look like any mange that I have seen before, but not sure what could be causing the problem. She is not scratching or biting at the area, but we would like any suggestions as to what the problem could be, and any suggestions on a simple solution. Thanks.

Hair loss can be caused by

The Editors's picture

Hair loss can be caused by several things, including allergies (such as to flea saliva, shampoo, carpet deodorizer, food), stress, hormones, bug bites, ringworm, follicle infection, mange, etc. Check if the area is scaly or dry, or has a red ring around it (which might suggest ringworm, which is a fungal infection). If the bald patch continues to increase in size or develop redness, or there are signs of discomfort, we'd suggest talking to a vet. In the meantime, consider whether your dog had been exposed to something new in her environment that might be causing an allergic reaction. Hope this helps!

my dog has an abcessed nail

my dog has an abcessed nail and i do not have the money to take him to the vet for them to treat him do you know any home remadys to help him

there are two street

there are two street puppies(5-6 months) near my house and they have juandice(says the drug store guy). not eating food and urine is yellow also loose motion. the guy recomemded a tonic for liver also a tablet named "silybon - 70"(tablet). they are street dogs so not a lot of people help me saving them , it's just me and my aunt and hopefully you. we force feed them the tablet by desolving them in water , the water contains "oral hydrastion salt" but they don't eat anything just drink water my guess is that they have sores in their mouth due to the juandice is there any home remedy or a common medicine that can get rid of the sores and make them eat properly?

p.s. there are no vet in the area so that is not an option.

Hey Tanmay! When you force

Hey Tanmay!

When you force the puppies to take the tablets, do you *see* yellow skin in their mouths and the whites of their eyes?

I wonder if these puppies need to be wormed; do they have pot bellies but ribs are showing? If so you can go online at Amazon and order Pyrantel Pamoate 50 mg suspension in a 16 oz bottle - should run you $20.00 or so. Give the puppies 1cc per every 10 pounds of body weight. The stuff is made for human consumption so it tastes like vanilla ice cream. Worm them once a week for the first 2 weeks and then wait 2 weeks and worm, then wait another 2 weeks and worm; this regimen will knock out the adult worms and then clean out any worms that may hatch from eggs later on.

Hi Tanmay, I agree with the

Hi Tanmay,

I agree with the other person who suggested that they may need to be de-wormed. Puppies of this age, especially on the street, can pick up parasites which lead to these kinds of symptoms. If they don't have worms, the treatment won;t hurt them. If you can get them at a pet food store or a pharmacy, use de-worming tablets for cats (not for dogs!) and give them the recommended dosage. If you can't get that, get a general de-wormer at the pharmacy although I am forgetting what the name is. Of this general de-wormer (comes in a small box that's white with red lettering) , give them 1/5 mg for three days in a row. Ask for a small plastic syringe in the pharmacy, put the pink liquid in the syringe and stick this gently into the side of their mouths and squirt. Don't push it in so hard that you hurt them or choke them. Just the tip of the syringe has to be in the mouth. if you can't get ay of this, send me your address and I will courier it to you from Delhi. Best luck, Hilda

My cat(5years) has a lot of

My cat(5years) has a lot of fleas and has been scratching to the point were she had been cutting herself while she scratches and little patches of hair is falling off in the parts she scratches. She also sleeps all day and only comes out from under the bed once or twice then goes back to sleep.

My cat's wound does not heal.

My cat's wound does not heal. She has a wound in her tummy. I took her to the vet and the vet gave her the cat cone. It worked for the first two weeks but now she can reach the scab and once again she began licking it.
Are there any home remedies that will prevent her from licking her wound? I don't know what else to do. I've tried bandages, plasters with bitter taste etc....
Thanky you

Hey Andrea! In my experience

Hey Andrea!

In my experience cat's don't fiddle with a wound unless there is a problem; its entirely possible the wound is abcessing and your cat is attempting to reopen the wound to release the pus and trapped toxins. This might be worth a return trip to the vet to rule out an abcess.

My dog has IBD. Can I give

My dog has IBD. Can I give her baking soda? I have heard that baking soda is used to cure cancer and I am afraid my dog can end up having cancer.

We'd recommend that you talk

The Editors's picture

We'd recommend that you talk to your vet about this; they may know how/if baking soda can react with dogs internally; if it might help/hinder IBD; and if it is safe, what the recommended dosage and frequency would be for your dog's health condition, size, age, and breed.
As for humans, the American Cancer Society says this about baking soda and cancer:

Do not live in fear; fear

Do not live in fear; fear does not protect-faith does. Our wonderful God who created us and our pets, loves our pets as we do. Pray over you pet. Receive Jesus into your heart. As for IBD, I would personally try using Colloidal Silver orally for your pet. I have a cat who had/has systemic fungal infection and a red growth in his mouth. I have been treating him for awhile but the fungal infection was really showing on his coat. I just about 2wks ago decided to try colloidal silver as it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti a lot of other things. I have been giving him about 1cc a day in a syringe without a needle 2xday & his skin is clearing up magnificently. I have lost at least 2 or 3cats to IBD in the past, now knowing about the colloidal silver then. I really feel this could help a lot. After much research and looking at a comparison chart done by a company not associated with any particular brand, the brand which shows the best ratings is Mesosilver 20 ppm. I usually get it from Colloids for Life-lowest shipping and great service.

Hey Angela! You can safely

Hey Angela!

You can safely give your dog baking soda - one half teaspoon into one litre of water is a maintenance dose to help balance PH; a crisis dose would be one teaspoon into one litre for up to 5 days.

The bigger issue for a cancer concern is a correct diagnosis; if your concerns are valid, then quick surgical intervention may be needed to spare your dog further pain and discomfort and save his life.

Hello my dog got bit by a dog

Hello my dog got bit by a dog & his wound is closed and healed but i noticed this ball were his wound is , its inflammation or something im not sure/: please help !

Hey Kimberly! It sounds like

Hey Kimberly!

It sounds like your dog's healing wound is abcessing and infection is trapped inside the healed over wound. You *might* try to lance it, but unless you know what you are doing you might just ended up getting bitten. If it does not go down in a day or two I would take my dog to the vet as worst case scenario the abcess goes septic/blood poisoning and you could lose your dog.

I have used Pet Alive Detox

I have used Pet Alive Detox Plus formula for my one cat, who is neutered, but in summer often gets in spats and ends up either with an abcess or one time, I felt some large tumor like growths on him; I was scared at 1st thinking the C word-I gave him the Detox formula as directed and they went away. I am thinking now it could have been internal abcesses & my budget would have been too small for major vet intervention, anyway. The thing for me was to keep giving the remedy for several days after I could no longer feel the lumps. This has happened twice with this cat & the 1st time, the lumps came back quickly. I believe I did not give him the remedy long enough. Also Pet Alive makes C-caps for any pets who may have been diagnosed with cancer. Just for knowledge-my one cat years ago was savagely bit/mauled by a dog. He had 2 major surgeries from this and several years later developed cancer in the injury area. So I would use the Detox for sure to make sure toxins & such are out of a pet's system. Hope this helps!

Have old cat now deaf, has a

Have old cat now deaf, has a limp, sleeps most of the time. Appetite alright as long as food pointed out to him. However the last 24/48 hours has seen a new and unpleasant problem arise. Yesterday the crows were up in the tree over him.Today he has been covered in flies which I discovered are horribly laying eggs on him. I've put diluted penny royal on him but this did not work altogether. Tomorrow I shall try apple cider vinegar (as noted in a post elsewhere for dogs). Some would say the solution would be to keep him in doors but he would absolutely hate this and be more distressing to him than the flies (which he doesn't seem to notice, yet anyway). Him being covered in flies however distresses me therefore if anyone knows a good fly deterrent that I can use on him, I would gratefully appreciate the input. I can't seem to find anything on line about flies on cats (lots for dogs). He may be sleeping the rain sometimes,(sometimes he takes shelter in the carport) I'd rather he didn't sleep in the rain but can accept it, I cannot accept the flies covering him however as if he were already dead. Bartholemew has been a great cat, he was a rescue cat and has had 11 years with us on acreage after an earlier life as a farm cat. So please no 'keep him indoors' as advice, that is not who he is. Also there are no flies anywhere else, just finding him. I've had a few cats (older rescue ones who have passed) but never come across such a problem before and asking around I haven't found anyone else whose experienced it either. Thanks.

Depending on what type of

The Editors's picture

Depending on what type of flies these are, they may be biting flies or flies that are attracted to sores, feces/urine/saliva, matted fur, etc. Check to make sure that he does not have any wounds that might be attracting them; these would require immediate treatment.
If no sores/wounds are found: Older cats may not groom themselves as often. Therefore, there might be something on the coat that is attracting the flies. You might try bathing the cat (be sure to dry him thoroughly, for his health) to clean him of any possible material that might be attracting the flies. Ask a vet as to the best way to go about it (use lukewarm water), or have a pet groomer bathe him. He might also be visiting an area that flies like, and that plant residue or other material might be getting on his coat.
In case you haven't seen it, this Web site discusses various fly problems of animals:
Hope this helps!
Best wishes,
The Old Farmer's Almanac team

I found this site on line,

I found this site on line, tho their product does not seem to say the product for cats keeps flies away. You could try sending them an email tho: http://atlastflyspray.com/
If your cat has a tumor, you could try the Colloidal Silver I mentioned in another recent comment to another person. It is amazing for a lot of different ailments-from very serious to not so serious. The product I have researched as being top notch is Mesosilver 20 ppm. Hope this helps

I don't see a home remedy for

I don't see a home remedy for mange mites, be they sarcoptic or demodectic, so I thought I would offer one that has worked for me.

This is Ted's Mange remedy, found on the Earth Clinic website.

Borax laundry booster - the plain stuff with NO scent.
1 -16 oz bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide

I get both of these from the grocery store.

Empty hydrogen peroxide into larger bottle - I use an empty 1 gallon vinegar jug. Add to this 32 oz filtered or distilled water - I just refill the hydrogen peroxide bottle twice - and dump into the jug. What this does is change your 3% hydrogen peroxide into 1% hydrogen peroxide.

Next add 1 cup of the borax crystals and shake. There should be some undissolved crystals in the mixed solution - this is just right. I try to use hot water from the kettle on the stove, that or sit the jug of mixture in the sink full of hot water while I bathe the dog.

Bathe the dog - use whatever shampoo and rinse well. Squeeze out excess water and make sure the tub is drained. I then plug up the tub. Now pour the mixed up solution over the dog. I use a small sponge to soak up the solution from the bottom of the tub and squeeze it out onto the dog again and again, making sure I get the head and underneath. Keep squeezing solution over and over onto the dog for about 15 minutes - 30 minutes is better. Then pull the stopper from the tub and let the excess drain. DO NOT DRY THE DOG OR RINSE THE DOG. The solution has to remain wet as it is still working. Allow the dog to air dry. I just pop mine into their crates and I remove any absorbent bedding.

If you are worried about poisoning your dog keep in mind that borax has the same toxicity as table salt. The solution doesn't seem to hurt the eyes or sting any sores on the skin. Some dogs feel instant relief!

Dip the dog 2-3 times the first week, and then once per week for up to 2 months; 8 dips should resolve the issue and if it does not, then you likely are not dealing with mites OR the environment is reinfecting the pet and needs to be addressed as well to resolve the issue.

Hi, I have had cats and dogs

I have had cats and dogs all my life, and I am absolutely puzzled. Inside my home currently I have four cats, and one Sheltie, this dog has been with us for over a year and is a rescue animal. She is about nine years old and is very attached to me. We have worked together to decrease her anxiety. The last three weeks she has been peeing in the house, and will even walk as she goes. There is no warning, and often it is right after she drinks. She does not act as though she is in pain. Right now our funds are so tight that I don't have enough to go to a vet, even our own vet will not allow payments. So, I am open to ideas and suggestions. Thank you.

Although we are not

The Editors's picture

Although we are not veterinarians, could it be that your dog might have a urinary tract infection? You can search online for "urinary tract infection" and "dog" for some more information about this. Or, it could be something else that is upsetting her (physical or emotional).
Would your vet (or vet technician) be able to at least offer some advice over the phone? Would there be another vet in the area that would allow payments over time?
The ASPCA has some advice on financial aid for vet bills. See the following, then under "Pet Care" see "Financial Help With My Vet Bills"
The Humane Society has a page as well:
Local animal shelters may also be able to advise you about care or aid.
Hope this helps!

My 7 years old daughters two

My 7 years old daughters two 8 month old kittens have worms, safest home remedy needed asap

Please contact a vet. Worms

The Editors's picture

Please contact a vet. Worms can be dangerous in kittens and young pets. It is important to treat intestinal parasites in your pet because they can be transmitted to humans. The vet will identify which type of worm (as there are several) and the worms can easily be removed by the administration of a dewormer prescribed by your veterinarian.

Do a search on FOODGRADE

Do a search on FOODGRADE diatomaceous earth. It is natural and used for worms/ parasites. Find the correct dosage. It can be used on dogs, cats and also humans. It is real cheap and lasts a long time.
You can use this in their daily food. And people can also eat it in their food or drink it in juice or smoothies.
It's much better and natural for all.
Just make sure it is foodgrade and NOT for pools.

My dog has been takin what I

My dog has been takin what I think it is called a (turn) where he looses his train a thought, can hardly walk and has the shakes that lasts for about 5 mins . I was wondering if anybody knew any home remidies to help cure it . Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks