Many dog owners aren’t familiar with staph infection, because it usually affects humans. However, staph can be dangerous to dogs as well, especially if they are older or have weak immune systems. It’s best to learn more about the signs of staph infection in dogs and how to prevent it, so your pup can stay safe and healthy!
What is a staph infection?
A staph infection is a common type of bacterial skin infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus. It’s usually easily treated with antibiotics, but if it spreads throughout your body, it can become life-threatening.
Staph infection Symptoms in dogs
Symptoms of staph infection in dogs depend on where and how deep in your dog’s body is developed. If your pet’s skin is infected, he may develop crusty sores with hair loss, swollen lymph nodes, or pus-filled bumps called pustules.
Inside your dog’s nose, you may notice crusty sores that bleed easily or recurring sneezing fits—both are signs of nasal staph infections.
Preventing a staph infection
Even though staph bacteria are usually on our skin, humans don’t get sick. Dogs can get a staph infection when these bacteria enter their skin or eyes.
Pets with a weak immune system (because of heartworm disease, diabetes, cancer, or old age) are especially at risk for staph infections. Preventing a staph infection is pretty simple: keep your dog clean and healthy!
What natural medicine can I give my dog for skin infections?
Every pet owner should know what antibiotics, herbs, and alternative medicines are best for treating staph infections and other infections in dogs.
Here’s a list of natural cures that can be found at your local pharmacy. For many people with pets, there comes a time when they must seek care for their furry companions.
But as anyone who has ever visited a vet can tell you, getting treatment is often not cheap or easy. And these days more and more pet owners are being forced to look outside of conventional medicine for help.
The biggest reason? Antibiotics have become so overused on animals that bacteria strains have developed resistance—meaning some illnesses now can’t be cured by common drugs.
Fortunately, while over-prescribing antibiotics are causing bacteria to mutate into drug-resistant strains (and giving rise to deadly superbugs), it also gives us an opportunity to try other treatments that may work just as well.
So if you want to treat your dog for a serious infection, but don’t want to risk misusing medication, here are several natural alternatives worth considering.
One of nature’s most powerful superfoods has been used throughout history both as food and as medicine. It contains allicin, which studies suggest is effective against E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, and Mycobacterium avium complex.
If your dog eats garlic regularly – however pleasant his breath may smell — chances are he will contract fewer infectious diseases.
Note: If your pup hates garlic puree mixed in his food, buy him chewable garlic tablets instead.
Another good option is to give him garlic oil orally; put one drop per 10 pounds of body weight directly under his tongue three times a day. Though it doesn’t taste very good, he will accept it better than pills.
This herb has been used for centuries to make cold compresses to treat fever and swollen lymph nodes in humans.
It reportedly helps cure puffy eyes and headaches in dogs with allergies, reduces inflammation associated with arthritis, and helps wounds heal faster than normal.
To prepare a compress, combine equal parts goldenrod, chamomile, and lavender and place in muslin bag. Boil for 20 minutes in a pot of water, then strain and let cool.
Use it to wrap around your dog’s eyes or paws.
Take note though: Goldenseal is toxic to cats, so never use it on them! Also do not give your cat any of these herbs. Also, never use fresh herbs with your pet, as it is dangerous. Use dried herbs or herbal tinctures and avoid using them on pregnant dogs or dogs that are ill.
Sometimes called milk vetch, astragalus is a member of the legume family that’s been used in China for thousands of years to treat illness and boost immune function.
It works especially well for keeping dogs from contracting upper respiratory problems.
To use it as a home remedy, mix a teaspoon of astragalus powder with juice or enough honey to form a paste and give it to your dog every morning on an empty stomach.
While most mushrooms are only beneficial in small doses, reishi is an exception. It’s been used medicinally in Asia for thousands of years and has been shown to boost immune function significantly.
You can give your dog reishi in capsule or tablet form, or you can opt for fresh. Either way, be sure to check with your vet first, as too much of a good thing is never a good thing.
Traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat various ailments, bitter herbs are high in antioxidants and have been found to boost immune function and increase white blood cell production.
They can be given to dogs safely when mixed with other remedies, such as garlic and ginger. Try mixing them with your dog’s meal or adding a spoonful of ginger tea to his drinking water.
Antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatory properties help prevent joint pain, such as limping and stiffness, in dogs. To use parsley for treatment, add about a tablespoon of parsley leaf extract to your dog’s food daily.
Alternatively, boil 1⁄4 cup of fresh parsley leaves in 1 cup of distilled or boiled water for 15 minutes and let it cool before adding it to her food.
Continue to give her parsley each day until she’s feeling better.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oils can help treat skin conditions like eczema, arthritis, and other inflammatory illnesses.
To incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your dog’s diet, cook his food with salmon or trout.
However, it’s important to remember that too much omega-3 can be harmful. Stop giving your dog salmon if he experiences loose stools or if his breathing becomes labored.
Oil of oregano
Oregano oil is a natural antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic that helps kill off most kinds of bacteria.
It’s been used in folk medicine to treat toothaches and diarrhea in dogs, as well as many other illnesses. It can be applied topically or taken internally.
Note: If you decide to give your dog oil of oregano, talk to your vet about how much he should take and for how long.
Rosemary has been used for many years as a medicinal herb. It’s loaded with vitamin C and antioxidant polyphenols, which have been found to reduce inflammation in dogs suffering from arthritis.
To use rosemary for treatment, sprinkle it on your dog’s food or give him rosemary tea.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of illnesses in many different cultures. It helps reduce inflammation and fights bacteria that cause ulcers.
To use ginger as a remedy, peel a fresh piece of ginger root and cut it into slices about 1/2-inch thick. Add these slices to your dog’s meals once or twice per week.
If you prefer to give your dog ginger tea, steep fresh gingerroot in boiling water for at least 30 minutes.
Horsetail is an herb that can be found almost anywhere and has been used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years.
It’s safe to use and contains many active components that promote healing.
To use horsetail for treatment, brew a strong tea by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tbsp. of fresh or dried horsetail herbs. Allow it to steep for about 5 minutes and give your dog a cup per day.
It might seem counterintuitive to use oil as a moisturizer, but coconut oil is actually great at healing dry, cracked skin—especially when used on dogs with mange.
It’s thought that lauric acid, a fatty acid found in coconut oil, plays a role in healing.
To use coconut oil for treatment, warm it slightly so it’s easier to apply. Apply a thin layer directly to your dog’s skin and fur, massaging gently into his coat as you go.
Continue to give him regular treatments throughout treatment.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples with yeast and bacteria. It’s a natural detoxifier and is also thought to be an antiseptic.
To use apple cider vinegar for treatment, mix 1 part vinegar with 10 parts water (or more, depending on how strong you want it). Before adding it to your dog’s food or water, test it by giving him a small amount—about half a teaspoon—to make sure he doesn’t have an adverse reaction.
Continue to give him regular treatments throughout treatment.
Certain probiotics, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus reuteri, help keep skin healthy.
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help improve digestion and boost immunity.
To use probiotics for treatment, add a bit of yogurt to your dog’s food. If you want to make your own yogurt, mix one cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt with 1 quart of skim or low-fat milk and let it sit at room temperature for 8 hours.
Store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator and give it to your dog once per day.
Many skin infections can be treated effectively with antibiotics. To use antibiotics for treatment, talk to your vet about which type of antibiotic is right for your dog.
Unless you have a prescription, it’s generally illegal to buy antibiotics over-the-counter and then give them to your dog.
Yeast infections in dogs can be treated with a wide range of drugs that are available by prescription or at pet stores and online retailers.
To use an antifungal drug for treatment, make sure you’re following all directions from your vet.
Most antifungals come with warnings against using them more than three times per month or when dealing with secondary infections (such as bacterial infections), so be sure to follow those guidelines if they exist.
Dogs can become infected with a type of bacteria known as staphylococcus. This is usually done through cutaneous contact, or by coming into contact with an object that has been contaminated by humans. While it’s rare for dogs to be diagnosed with a staph infection, it does happen and pet owners should be aware of what symptoms mean their dog might have contracted staph infection.