When your dog is feeling under the weather or has a painful sore, it can be hard to tell if they need to go to the animal emergency room or if there are home remedies that can be just as effective without the cost. Below are three common pet health issues and favorite home remedies that vets use–plus tips for spotting a true emergency.  

1. Hot Spots: Hot spots on your dog can be incredibly irritating and painful. They are typically caused by an allergy or insect bite, and often occur when your dog licks the affected area too much. This is especially true for long-haired dogs, as their fur can trap moisture and promote an overgrowth of bacteria. This creates a vicious cycle of irritation and misery for your pet. To treat a hot spot on your dog, you should first use grooming clippers to trim the fur around the area without getting too close to the skin. Gently clean the area with a damp cloth or gauze pad two to three times a day. You may need to place an Elizabethan collar on your dog to prevent them from licking the area, which can restart the cycle. If the hot spot is caught early, this approach should help. It is ideal to avoid using an antibiotic ointment on the wound as it will attract dirt and may be more irritating to your pet. If your dog’s condition doesn’t improve after a couple of days, it’s best to take them to the vet. They may need oral antibiotics for treatment.

2. Upset Stomach: If your pet is vomiting due to inflammation of the stomach or intestines, it’s best to withhold food for 12 hours, but make sure fresh water is available. Afterward, give them a small amount of bland food, such as boiled chicken. It’s important to give the right dose, so consult your vet first. There are a few antacids used in humans that may also be used in pets, but again be sure to check with your veterinarian first. If your dog has been vomiting during the fast, their small meal upsets their stomach, they have no interest in food, or they become lethargic, it’s best to take them to the vet right away. 

3. Allergic Reaction: If your pup is exhibiting signs of an allergic reaction, such as redness to the skin, puffiness and swelling, Benadryl may be helpful. However, make sure to check with your vet for the correct dose and avoid multi-symptom formulas. Additionally, give your pup a bath using mild dish detergent, such as Dawn, as they might be reacting to an irritant on their skin. If the swelling doesn’t improve or gets worse within a few hours, or if your pet has difficulty breathing, it’s time for an emergency visit to the vet. 

Before trying these remedies out call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and your veterinarian for assistance and advice. If these remedies didn’t seem to help or your dog’s condition worsened, take them to the animal hospital right away.