Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find some frequently asked questions about homeopathic remedies and alternative treatments for pets.
What are the benefits of homeopathy for pets?
Homeopathic formulations are specially prepared, refined dilutions of herbs, minerals and other natural substances and present an effective alternative or accompaniment to many conventional medicines. Homeopathic medicine is a great alternative treatment option for pets and is often used as a last resort for treating chronic and recurring conditions.
Some of the advantages of using homeopathic remedies include:
- Works with the body’s natural immune system
- Effective for both the prevention and treatment of problems
- Treats a wide variety of conditions
- Has fewer side effects than conventional medicines
- Can be used safely in conjunction with other medicines or supplements (just not at the exact same time)
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a branch of medicine that uses natural substances derived from plant, mineral and animal sources that work in conjunction with the body in supporting and stimulating the body’s natural healing processes so that it can heal itself. Discovered by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in the late 18th century, homeopathy is based on the principle of “like cures like,” or substances that would cause a symptom if taken in large doses, may stimulate the body’s natural healing processes to heal the symptoms when given in a diluted dose.
Used for centuries on humans, homeopathic remedies are gentle on the system, and have also been adapted by holistic veterinary specialists in the treatment of pets. This alternative medicine has been used with great success treat all kinds of animals having a wide variety of both acute and chronic conditions, including: arthritis, inflammation, bites, sores, allergies, diarrhea, and more.
How is a homeopathic remedy made?
Homeopathic remedies can be one plant, or a mixture of several plants given in diluted forms, and the more diluted these substances are, the more powerful they can be. The remedy is derived from plants that are usually dissolved with alcohol and water into a tincture or ground into a powder from which a tincture is made. One part/drop of this “mother tincture” is then dissolved again to make the formula. The typical dilution scales used in homeopathy are C or X scales (the X scale is also referred to as the D scale).
In the "centesimal" or "C scale", 1 part of the tincture is mixed with 100 parts of the solvent to get a 1C potency. In a "D scale" 1 part of the tincture is mixed with 10 parts of a solvent. The newly diluted mixture is shaken vigorously so that it “energizes” the dilution. After being diluted one time, the tincture is called 1X or 1C, depending on the proportions. A 2C dilution requires a substance to be diluted to one part in one hundred, and then some of that diluted solution diluted by a further factor of one hundred. The diluted remedy continues to be diluted over and over so that a remedy with 24C potency, for instance, has undergone 24 dilutions.
Potencies up to 30C are often referred to as low potencies and those of 200C and higher are referred to as high potencies. The lower the potency, the more frequently the medicine typically needs to be re-administered.
Is the remedy really safe for my pet?
Although some of the homeopathic remedies may contain plants or minerals that may appear to be harmful to pets, they are in fact safe. As mentioned above, homeopathy works on the principle of “like curing like” so similarly to how a vaccine contains a bit of the ailment to condition the body to heal itself, so does the remedy contain the plant that has similar properties to the symptoms being experienced. So for example, poison ivy may be used to treat itching or red welts.
The other important thing to keep in mind is that the actual plant has been diluted so many times and to such a degree that only the energy of it remains in the Homeopathic remedy. Enough to stimulate the body to heal, but not to harm.
What if my pet is taking other medicine or is on a special diet
Homeopathic remedies have no contra-indications and can be used safely with other medicines, supplements or special diets. However, the remedy should not be given at the same time as another remedy or medicine. Wait at least 15 minutes between administrating the different medicines.
I tried it and it doesn’t seem to work
Homeopathy works more effectively from frequency rather than quantity. If you are not seeing the results you expect, try breaking up the dose into several smaller doses and giving it to your pet more frequently. The remedy can even be given every 15 minutes 3-4 times in a row to get the most effect.
The key to a successful treatment of course relies on the ability to match the remedy to a pet’s symptoms and to fully understand the pet’s lifestyle, medical history, source of the pain or issue and any other factors that may be influencing the condition. As each animal is unique, it is always recommended that if you have any concerns or are not seeing a change to seek a professional homeopath or holistic vet that is familiar with your particular pet.
How to use and care for the remedy
Follow the recommended dosage on the bottle or consult a homeopathic veterinarian. The dose can be decreased or increased depending on the animal’s need.
Homeopathic remedies can absorb the essence from your skin so try not to touch them with your hands but rather shake the pills out into the cap or onto a spoon. Dogs have a built in pouch on the side of their mouth so the remedy can go directly there. If your pet won’t take the remedy, then it can be crushed and dissolved with some water or given with a bit or food or inside a pill pocket.
Store the remedy in a cool place and keep it away from strong scents and essential oils as they can negate the effects of the remedy.
For how long do I keep giving the remedy?
Continue to give the remedy to your pet as long as they need it to feel better. If the animal is doing well, the dose can be reduced or the remedy can be given only a few days a week for maintenance. If the animal starts feeling worse, then go back to the regular dose.
I heard that homeopathy is just a sugar pill or a placebo
There has been a lot of controversy in the medical profession about the validity of homeopathy, with some people claiming that homeopathic remedies are just a sugar pill or a placebo. An important point we want to make is that homeopathy does not cure everything and is not a replacement for seeing your vet and in severe cases, but it can be a wonderful alternative holistic treatment to aid in the healing process. There are many homeopathic remedies each dealing with very specific situations, and as each animal is unique, we always recommend that you check with your holistic or homeopathic veterinarian for your pet’s specific medical condition.
One thing to consider when evaluating or questioning the effect of a homeopathic remedy is that unlike a human, an animal cannot be convinced that a placebo is actual medicine, they will either heal and feel better, or they will not - you cannot trick them into it.
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