Do you have a dog who is active in sports or prone to injury? As the weather improves, your dog will become more active and more prone to sprains and strains. There are a few valuable remedies you might want to have on hand, in case of soreness or emergency. Here is a partial list of remedies you shouldn’t be without:
Known as the ‘Rusty Gate Remedy’, Rhus tox is a must to have on hand for pain due to arthritis or other musculoskeletal injuries. It is primarily useful for joint pains and sprains. The main indication for Rhus tox is a dog who is stiff when rising but loosens up with activity. There may be accompanying skin symptoms which will appear like a Poison Ivy rash – in fact, Rhus tox is derived from Poison Ivy. Dogs needing Rhus tox are often chilly and symptoms will be worse in cool, damp weather. Dogs who require Rhus tox will also be somewhat restless as they shift position frequently to ease their pain.
If you are to have one remedy in your house, Arnica could very well be it. It is the first remedy to consider with any soft tissue injury. Useful for bruising to any soft tissue caused by trauma or falls, Arnica will help reduce shock symptoms and reduce bleeding. Typically, a dog who needs Arnica will shift position frequently and may be fearful of being touched. If you are unsure of which remedy to give, start with Arnica.
This remedy is also indicated for joint injury and is the first to be considered if a fracture or bone bruise is suspected. Ruta has a specific action on the periosteum (outer shell) of bone although it can be used for a variety of soft tissue injuries. Ruta can be useful for sprains or fractures that are healing at a slow rate and is often a good follow-up to Arnica. It has an affinity for the feet, hocks and lower back. Like Rhus tox, dogs who need Ruta will be worse in cold, damp weather and rest may also worsen the symptoms.
If you suspect injury to nerves or areas rich in nerve endings, consider Hypericum. It can also be useful for wounds, cuts, burns and bites as it will help prevent infection. Hypericum should be considered if there is injury to the toes, nails, tail or spine. Because it has an affinity for nerve-rich areas, Hypericum is an outstanding remedy for back and especially neck pain. Derived from St. John’s wort, Hypericum will also be effective for depression or irritability following injury, stress and shock. Dogs who need Herypicum will worsen with cold applications and touch.
Unlike Rhus tox, dogs who need Bryonia will show worsening of symptoms with movement.They will be stressed by any movement and may cry out with even small movements. In contrast to Rhus tox, dogs requiring Bryonia can not tolerate the heat and will seek out cool air. Their joints will be warm and swollen and the pain will be relieved with pressure, so you may see the dog rubbing or lying on the affected area, or if it is a limb, he will put pressure on it when standing.
Potency and Dosage
For acute injuries, a 30c to 200c potency is best. If you are not quite certain of the remedy to use, stick with the 30c. If the symptoms are sudden and fairly severe, give one dose of 3 pellets and evaluate the results. More severe cases might show improvement in minutes whereas other injuries might take 24 hours to see changes, if any. If you see no improvement, you might want to try a different remedy. If you do see improvement, then stop and wait. If the symptoms appear to be returning, repeat the dose. Depending on the dog and situation, you may need to repeat the dose anywhere from five minutes to a week.
For chronic conditions such as arthritis, a lower potency such as 6c might be more beneficial. For flare-ups, you might need to dose two or three times per day whereas a maintenance dose might be once or twice a week.
With a little foresight and a small investment, you can be ready when you dog becomes more active this summer. If he has not had his usual amount of exercise over the winter months, remember to increase his daily exercise slowly to prevent sprains and strains.