“Stick a knife under the bed to cut the pain.” “Chicken Soup is a great cold remedy.”

You’ve heard them all your life, and now the internet has breathed fresh life into old wives tales and home remedies. While we’re on the subject of alternative medicine, we thought we’d address a few of the more common non-prescription remedies for pets that patients ask us about.


Glucosamine chondroitin for arthritis. While there are no scientific studies to prove its efficacy, there is significant anecdotal evidence that glucosamine is helpful. Your best option is Dasuquin, as it has avocado extract, which is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Omega fatty acids for skin/coat problems. Omega 3’s are important to your pet’s health. Like humans, the oil from plants and fish is absolutely beneficial for skin and hair.

Feliway to soothe your cat. Feliway® is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure. It can reduce urine marking, vertical scratching, and sometimes a loss of appetite or decrease in activity.

Dog Appeasing Pheromone for skittish dogs. It is helpful for dogs who are showing fear in situation such as: a different environment, loud noises like thunder, new pets or people in the home.

The Thundershirt – seems to be promising from what our clients have said. Behaviorist say that you should wrap a dog tightly during a storm to help them feel secure so in theory it should help.

Rescue Remedy is another tool to help with behavioral issues of fear, nervousness and anxiety.

Of course, as with anything you give your pet, check with us first!


Any “natural” flea product. Unfortunately, there are none that will even come close to being as effective as the mainstream flea products. (We even saw one that purported to use your pet’s ‘energy field’ to repel fleas.

Wipe on teeth cleaning products. Trust me – we want these to work. But they don’t. Its a waste of money.

Vitamins. Unless we recommend them specifically, any healthy dog eating a well-balanced diet does not need vitamins. Dog foods (have you tried RAW yet?!!) have everything they need.

Formulas to remove tear staining. These don’t work, either. We’ve seen them all tried before.

Note that this is not a comprehensive list. These are just some things we’re commonly asked about. It’s very important for owners to remember that supplements, vitamins and herbal formulas are not controlled by the FDA, therefore there are no standards, no governing body and no rules are enforced. What seems to good to be true probably is too good to be true. If it’s not from a reputable company – don’t trust it.

We only buy our products from companies who have an open door policy and whose reputation in the veterinary community is exemplary. We hope it goes without saying that we will tell you if an alternative medicine is safe – even if we don’t carry it. But our primary goal is to keep your pet – and you – healthy and safe.