Try these tricks for keeping your pet healthy and happy:
· CATGRASS supplies cats with a ready supply of essential vitamins and minerals often missing from their diets and is a natural aid to hairball removal. Dogs, birds, guinea pigs and rabbits also love catgrass.
· CATNIP can send a cat into a state of euphoria for up to 20 minutes due to a chemical called Nepetalactone that acts as a nerve stimulant when sniffed. Fortunately it isn’t addictive although it was used to trap mountain cats in the past! Use dried catnip to stuff toys of sprinkle under bedding.
· CATMINT is a smaller, more ornamental form than catnip and can be used in much the same way.
· LEMONGRASS releases oils in hot weather that can be used as a deterrent to flies. Try plaiting into a dog collar or planting around the kennel. The citronella oil used in lamps is derived from lemongrass.
· FENNEL is said to repel fleas & lice around hen houses and also gives rise to the saying “Plant fennel around the kennel”. Make a flea deterrent by stuffing a jar with fennel and then filling it with hot vinegar. Leave for a week and then dab onto your dog every day. The fennel helps to deter fleas and the vinegar helps to soothe rashes.
· GARLIC is said to repel fleas when one clove is added to a dog’s meal every day.
· OREGANO has long been used to aid digestion in animals.
· ROSEMARY made into an infusion can be applied to the skin twice daily to relieve irritations.
· PARSLEY is very high in calcium and iron and a few sprigs thrown into a fishpond aids sick fish. It also helps with bad breath, flatulence and arthritis in dogs.
· COMFREY can be used as a poultice on skin abrasions.
· PENNYROYAL is actually a mint with a beautiful fragrance that is said to repel both ants and fleas. Plant around the area where your dog sleeps and scatter some of the sprigs on its’ bedding. Sprigs of pennyroyal can also be rubbed over your dog’s fur to help deter fleas and make it smell better. However, don’t rub it on to your cats as they lick their fur and the taste can make them sick.
· THYME contains a chemical called Thymol that has antiseptic qualities and can be made into an infusion for skin irritations.
· WATERCRESS is often nibbled on by fish and also provides a shelter from above.
A word of warning though, not all herbs that are helpful for humans are always helpful for pets and, in fact, some can be quite dangerous. It is always best to consult a Veterinarean for advice on herbal and natural remedies for pets.