Are Antibiotics Safe for My Pet?

Antibiotics have been a long trusted treatment in the fight against sickness for both humans and pets. In recent years however, their reputation is being challenged. While they effectively kill off the harmful bacteria making one sick, they also kill the beneficial bacteria that our immune systems rely on to protect against viruses, bacteria and other infections. This realization has many doctors recommending that their patients take a good probiotic supplement after the course of antibiotics in an attempt to restore the gut bacteria back to “normal.”

However, some researchers such as Martin Blaser of New York University’s Langone Medical Center says that the antibiotics effect on the gut bacteria is not reversible and some healthy bacteria may be lost for good. 

Most humans and dogs are often subjected to multiple rounds of antibiotics in their lifetimes. With their new understanding, researchers are actively investigating antibiotics long term impact not just on the intestinal flora, but in creating antibiotic resistant superbugs. In an attempt to avoid this serious outcome it is good to consider more natural antibacterial solutions that are gentler on the beneficial bacteria.

Here are eight natural antibiotics you can consider for your dog:

Tea tree oil (external use only)

This essential oil can be used to clean and dress wounds to prevent and treat infections. It is best to dilute in water when using as a wash or mixed with a carrier oil such as olive or almond oil in a 3:1 dilution when applying to wounds.

Grapefruit seed extract

Many prestigious universities and independent laboratories have tested grapefruit seed extract against more than 30 fungi, 20 bacteria and a host of viruses and protozoa. In almost all of these cultures grapefruit seed extract exhibited significant antimicrobial activity at low concentration.

Echinacea

This herb effectively fights bacterial and viral infections by stimulating the immune system.

Goldenseal 

Native Americans used this herb for centuries for infections, venereal disease, and ulcers. That’s probably because goldenseal prevents bacteria from adhering to cell walls so it can’t grow. It cleanses the body, has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and strengthens the immune system.

Garlic

A natural antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral agent best known for its sulphur compounds, particularly allicin. These are the main phytochemicals that boost immunity and act as natural antibiotics.

Oregano Oil

Researcher Paul Belaiche, author of “Treatise on Phytotherapy and Aromatherapy” reported that oregano oil killed 96% of all pneumococcus bacteria. Oregano oil was also shown to eliminate 83% of streptococcus, which is linked with strep throat, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, toxic shock syndrome, cystitis, and wound infections.

Olive Leaf Extract

Professors at the Department of Biomedical Science at CHA University in Korea found that olive leaf extract was potent against various bacterial microbes. Their research also showed olive leaf exhibited free radical scavenging abilities which are linked with aging and disease.

Honey

Munaka honey sold in health food stores, has a higher concentration of antibiotics than other honeys. Third world countries have long used wild honey to spread over wounds and burns allowing them to heal with minimal scarring and few infections. Many regard tea with lemon and honey as a time honored drink when a human cold or the flu has hit.

Eating the right foods can prepare our pets and our own immune systems to fight off different bacterial infections before they can get us down. The beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods like kefir, have been shown to calm the immune system and reduce inflammation, shorten the duration and severity of colds, relieve diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, reduce allergic responses, stimulate the immune response, possibly reduce the risk of certain cancers; and improve the overall health and function of the gut.

In some instances antibiotics can not be avoided and can be life saving.  Yet, in light of recent research, it might be best to save them as a last resort rather than a first line of defense. Even still, their use can often be avoided altogether with a fresh, whole food diet rich in fermented foods with the inclusion of natural herbs and remedies.

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