Introduction To Witch Hazel
Table of Contents
Witch hazel, scientifically known as the Hamamelis virginiana, is, in its root form, a plant whose leaf, bark, and twigs have powerful medicinal properties which can be used to treat haemorrhoids or skin irritations and alleviate minor cuts and bleeding.
Commonly found in our washroom or floorboard cabinets, this magical plant can be used to treat minor health problems of your pet too, provided you know the correct application of it. Let us look at the benefits of witch-hazel, the beneficial effects on your dog, and the side effects caused by it if not used or applied in the correct procedural way.
History of Witch Hazel
Before delving into the application of Witch Hazel for dogs let us look into a brief history of this plant. In the 16th and 17th centuries, New England settlers used this plant to protect themselves from injuries caused by the natives, and by the end of the 19th century, it became quite popular in the United States as a medicinal herb.
Further purification and distillation processes brought in by Dr. Charles Hawes (“Hawes Extract”) and Thomas Newton Dickinson led to commercial production of witch hazel extracts which continued in 1997 until the American Distilling plant bought the rights of producing witch hazel extract all over the world which continues till this day.
Renowned Brands Of Witch Hazel
Since it has a lot of medicinal and other useful household properties, it is always perfect to keep some Witch Hazel for dogs and other household chores like cleaning your windowpanes or blood spots from clothes and soothing rashes from waxing and shaving will be easier using witch hazel. If you don’t know which brand to opt for in your local grocery store, here are the most recommended and affordable brands of witch hazel that are available all over the world –
- Thayers Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel which costs around $20 in Amazon (two 12-ounce packs), and which contains Aloe Vera.
- T.N. Dickinson’s Astringent, (fully natural) costs around $20 on Amazon (two 16-ounce packs).
- Humphrey’s Witch Hazel Astringent, (fully natural) costs around 10 dollars for a single 16-ounce pack.
How To Use Witch Hazel For Dogs In Case Of Fleas?
Although witch hazel is a very organic and pocket-friendly product with lots of medicinal usages, it is not very easy to apply it to your dog and lots of pre-application measures need to be taken when you apply witch hazel to dogs.
Starting, you need to clean your home and yard thoroughly before you start brewing the solution of Witch Hazel for dogs to rid them of fleas. Now, take a gallon of vinegar, and a little more than half a gallon of water. Take the solution and mix it with 15-17 ounces of a juice of lime water. In the resultant mixture, add 8 ounces of witch hazel and put the solution in a spray bottle.
Now, spray the solution all over the house to clean it. After doing so, spray a small amount of the solution on your dog. If he seems allergic to this, stop immediately and use a professional flea killer from your vet, or use some ever-dependable dishwashing soap to kill the fleas. If he seems okay, then spray his body with the solution. Lastly, spray your home and yard to kill all the fleas nearby.
Cleaning your dog’s ears using Witch Hazel
Your pup has a very sensitive ear because its ear ossicles are designed in a twisty and loopy way, which makes them a favourite shelter and breeding place for microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, and other parasites. Ear infections also arise due to wax building upon their ears. An ear cleanser with Witch Hazel for dogs can be used in such cases to clean your dog’s ears to keep them shiny and clean.
The ear cleaner solution for Witch Hazel for dogs can be a bit tricky. Let us go over it one step at a time.
- First, take your witch hazel bottle and pour no more than 3/4th of a cup into a container.
- Take 1 tbsp of boric acid and add it to the bowl. Mix it well.
- Then to the mixture, add 1/8 teaspoon of lavender essential oil and 1/4th cup of aloe vera juice.
- Put the solution in a mixture and mix well.
- Take the solution and pour it into a bottle with a spray nozzle, preferably an old bottle of hair colour applier.
- Secure the cap on the top to prevent any spillage.
Now, when the solution is ready, take your dog outside or make him sit in a small bathroom or a laundry room if he tends to shake excess ear cleaner out, it will be easier for you afterward to clean it off or leave it off outside. Now, the steps for applying witch hazel are as follows –
- Remove the cap after shaking the solution.
- Gently pull the tip of one of the earflaps of your dog.
- Fill the ear canal with the witch hazel ear-cleaning solution.
- Massage the base of the ear using your forefinger and thumb.
- Clean off excess ear cleaner using a sterile gauze pad.
- Repeat the same for the other ear.
Benefits Of Witch Hazel
The benefits of using Witch Hazel for dogs, as aforementioned, surpass many natural medicines. Now let us look at the benefits of the individual ingredients of witch hazel which make it such a beneficial flea killer and ear cleaner for dogs –
- Powdered boric acid, present in witch hazel solutions, is a great antiseptic as well as an insecticide, that helps in finishing off parasites like ear mites and fleas hiding in the ears and the skin.
- Antiseptics like Aloe vera juice contain anti-inflammatory and germicidal properties that moisturize the skin, thus finishing off parasites that thrive in dry skin.
- The lavender essential oil has germicidal properties that help in killing mites and lice in dog ears and helps them maintain a shiny coat.
- Witch hazel, being a natural hemostatic product, helps in maintaining a healthy body temperature for dogs.
Risks Involved With Witch Hazel
There are some slight risks involved with witch hazel. Let us look at them –
- Witch Hazel for dogs, if applied in large doses internally, can cause liver and kidney damage in some rare conditions.
- Some pooches can be genetically allergic to witch hazel. It is always advisable to check before applying witch hazel internally or externally.
As is evident, witch hazel is a greatly beneficial product for your dog, provided they are not allergic to insecticidal ingredients. Keeping in mind your dog’s habit, safely use Witch Hazel for dogs and reap the benefits.