Dogs and cats can suffer a wide range of skin and coat issues, including itching, inflammation, soreness and other problems. Tonics are designed to soothe, protect, heal and strengthen the body. Skin and coat tonics for dogs and cats include those made of herbs, sea vegetables, fatty acids, minerals and cell salts.
Philosophy of Tonics
Tonics are substances taken on a regular basis to promote health. They are made with ingredients believed to enhance health in specific ways; these may be herbs, algae, minerals, fatty acids or other ingredients. The philosophy of ingesting tonics is steeped in ancient medicine systems including herbalism, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Chinese tonic herbs, for example, are designed to help restore the body's ability to heal and regulate itself, says the Dragon Herbs website.
Common Cat and Dog Skin Problems
Several common cat skin conditions plague the feline world. They include abscesses, mites, dermatitis from fleas or allergenic substances, food sensitivity resulting in irritated skin, ringworm, glandular malfunctions, sunburn and even feline acne. Dogs suffer similar fates, experiencing mites, fleas and ticks, food sensitivities, hair follicle infection, yeast infections, tumors, impetigo, seborrhea, ringworm and hot spots. Dr. Greg Martinez, a vet from Gilroy, California, says pet skin health is the second most common problem he encounters, following obesity.
Herbs and Cell Salts
Native Remedies, an alternative health company out of Boca Raton, Florida, notes herbs as components in skin tonics for cats and dogs. The website suggests dandelion, for example, which it says contains skin-protective zinc and fatty acids. In addition, they recommend horsetail, also rich in zinc along with silica to expedite healing. They also note Kalium sulphate; this homeopathic cell salt contains potassium and helps oxygenate infected cells and helps combat the corresponding inflammation and soreness.
Sea Vegetables and Fatty Acids
Some seaweed varieties are recommended components in skin and coat tonics. Spirulina is rich in antioxidants and B-vitamins. Bladderwrack contains concentrated levels of minerals including potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and iodine. Regular use supports skin and coat condition, says the Native Remedies website. Essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 can also improve skin and coat, shares Dr. Donna Spector. When it comes to dietary essentials, Dr. Martinez stresses nutritional improvement can also improve skin and coat.
Including Professional Guidance
Some skin ailments are reflective of a more serious medical issue, so if your dog has a skin condition, involving your veterinary care provider helps ensure your pet gets the best medical treatment. When you're creating a tonic, consulting with a holistic practitioner can also help you design a recipe with the most appropriate dosages and ratios of herbs, fatty acids, cell salts or other ingredients. The Native Remedies website has some information on ingredients and recommended dosages.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.