A couple of days ago, I was approached by one of our followers on Instagram (yes, feel free to follow us on Instagram too, on: @ideas_for_home_working or @living_with_a_border_terrier) who asked whether arsen alb, or arsenicum album, is good for dogs who suffer from gastric flu, also known as gastritis.
I have already touched on the validity of holistic remedies for dogs, especially when related to dog cancer and to the management of pain in dogs. But I had never looked into how to treat dog tummy ache naturally before. Until today. So, let me tell you today what I think about it.
What is arsenicum album
Now, to find out what arsen alb is, I had to refer to my trustworthy Wikipedia, which tells me it is the solution prepared by diluting arsenic trioxide to the point where hardly or no traces of arsenic are left in the solution at all.
Traditionally, arsen alb has been applied in classic homeopathy to treat:
- digestive problems
You can appreciate therefore, how homeopathy specialized vets may feel comfortable recommending arsen alb to treat similar conditions in dogs and other small pets.
How to employ arsen alb to treat dogs
As ever, I am always grateful when fellow Border Terrier owners prompt me to do some research on conditions or treatment that I would not otherwise be aware of.
In reading about arsen alb, I found what I found out particularly apt to Borders.
I believe Borders are particularly subject to gastritis. How many times we find our Borders stretching during the day after stiffening their body in a painful manner. You can quite distinguish the different type of stretch I am referring to from the stretch your dog will make when (s)he wakes up in the morning.
Is it because Borders have a congenital predisposition to tummy ache? Is it innate of the breed? or is it inherited from their parents, hence we should check the parents’ medical history from the breeder we get our Borders from? Not at all!!!
The only reason why Border are more inclined to get tummy ache is due to the fact that Borders are scavengers, and food is as important to them as toys, if not more.
Borders will always beg for food: whilst you are cooking or whilst you are eating; they will be begging for more of their food or for more of human food. And they can pick up and munch on any old rubbish from the floor during their walks.
Its’s only but natural, therefore, that their stomach will become more sensitive or inflamed to the point, sometimes, to cause diarrhea or vomit.
But arsen alb can also be used in your dog’s food when your dog becomes anxious due to a scary environment, such as fireworks or travelling.
Likewise, arsen alb is a great pain relief in your dog’s inflamed joints due to arthritis or to any other condition causing extreme pain, such as cancer.
Side effects of arsen alb
The old homeopathic school claims that homeopathy does not have any side effects. The more I read about this, the least convinced I am.
I firmly believe one of the key to wellness is to be measured and balanced in anything we do or eat. So yes, cakes and biscuits and chocolate will make us put on weight, with all the consequences that being overweight brings. But if we have something sweet once every so often, it will not harm us at all. The same could be said for exercise versus strenuous exercise.
It has been found that taking too much arsen alb and/or too often can in fact lead to the same poisoning effect arsenic is so renowned for.
Homeopathy is a natural form of medicine used by over 200 million people worldwide to treat both acute and chronic conditions. It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. In other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if taken in large amounts (from The British Homeopathic Association)
Often in homeopathy nux vomica is seen as an effective alternative to arsen alb.
Nux Vomica for dogs
Nux vomica is the tree whose poisonous seeds are used to produce lethal strychnine.
However, the homeopathic preparation is found to be a god send for binge conditions related to overeating and over drinking.
The difference between arsen alb and nux vomica is in the individual dog that shows signs of pain and distress.
Like with humans, homeopathy looks at the personality of the patient before establishing which natural herb needs to be prescribed.
Nux vomica is said to be more suitable to dogs who have a more aggressive nature – they are those dogs who are happy to be left alone, who are not good socialisers with both humans and other dogs, nor do they like physical contact.
On the other hand, arsen alb is seen as more indicated to sociable dogs.
Naturally, the contraindication for nux vomica as much as with most homeopathic remedies lays in the quantity ingested. If too much or too often, nux vomica becomes poisonous.
ALWAYS CONSULT A HOMEOPATHY SPECIALIST VET BEFORE USING HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES ON YOUR DOG.
Ok, have I ever used arsen alb, or nux vomica on Indy? No, but that’s primarily as I have never really actively looked into homeopathy as a way forward to manage Indy’s conditions.
Would I use it? Now, that is the answer that you probably don’t want to hear. Because the reality of it is that I don’t know.
Whist I am in favour of adopting natural remedies to treat dogs’ ailments, I am not sure that I’d feel comfortable using natural ingredients and components so renowned for their poisonous properties, and at times even causing death.
Let me be clear. I am not dismissing homeopathy and its validity. But let me also remind you that when it comes to arsen alb, or to nux vomica, or whenever using any other homeopathic, the secret is in its preparation and in the amounts you take, or you give to your dog.
I fear (and you can tell the risk averter in me) I may not trust myself when it comes to treating my Indy. My point is that, if I started treating myself with homeopathy and something did not quite go right, I would realise by not feeling well, and could stop myself from continuing the treatment.
A dog unfortunately cannot tell you whether they are feeling under the weather. And it is only when the symptoms are advanced that we then work out the remedies used may have worked adversely in our dog – sometimes when it’s too late!
My personal advice
Yes, my personal advice has to go with Pro-Kolin+, which I have given Indy every time he’s shown signs of tummy ache by stretching.
I do favour probiotic products as wholly natural, but with harmless agents and ingredients. Pro-Kolin+ is another probiotic products, whose main agents are kaolin, which acts as absorbent of gastroenteritis toxins, along with pectin, a thickening agent found naturally in fruit and used to stop diarrhea.
Click here if you want to find out more about Pro-Kolin.
Or leave your comment below if you want to find out more about giving your dog arsen alb or next vomica, or if indeed you have already started using homeopathic elements in your dog’s dinner and want to share your experience and your findings.