Pet owners nowadays are becoming more conscious about what they give to their dogs especially when it comes to pet medications.
For this reason, many dog owners have been looking for alternatives to the conventional pharmaceuticals that veterinarians often prescribe.
And of all the drug substitutes today, one of the most effective and most popular is neem oil.
What is Neem Oil?
Neem oil comes from the Neem tree, a tropical tree that was originally found and grown in India. For thousands of years, the people in the country have used various parts of the tree for medicinal purposes.
The neem oil specifically is extracted from the seed kernels of the neem tree.
By pressing, crushing, and subsequent purification, neem oil is juiced out of the kernels.
Pure neem oil has a strong, distinct aroma that likens to toasted garlic combined with a slight smell of onion and coffee. Another natural remedy with a strong aroma that is also occasionally used be pet owners is rosemary.
Uses of Neem Oil for Dogs
Neem oil’s most important uses stem from its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties to the skin.
Generally, when dogs suffer from microbe-related skin conditions, they may exhibit excessive itching and scratching, dry or flaky skin, skin discoloration, or hair loss.
By using neem oil as a treatment, the microorganisms causing the skin disease to the dog will be eradicated, thereby stopping any clinical signs exhibited by the dog.
Moreover, because of the oil’s antiseptic properties, recurrence of skin diseases will be avoided, if neem oil is continuously applied to the dog’s skin.
Neem oil is also beneficial when it comes to external parasite treatment and control in dogs.
When subjected to the neem oil, most common dog parasites like ticks, fleas, and mites are killed and removed from the dog’s skin layers.
The active properties of neem oil also tend to linger in the dog’s body for a specific duration, thereby preventing any future parasite infestation.
Additionally, neem oil is also effective in repelling pests like mosquitoes and other biting insects.
For this reason, common diseases transmitted through insect bites, like heartworm and Lyme disease, are prevented.
Aside from the benefits to a dog’s external body, neem oil is also beneficial to the overall internal health of a dog.
Studies show that the oil is an excellent supplement to purify the blood, support liver function, and strengthen the overall condition of the immune system. Additionally, neem oil is also sometimes used to get rid of internal parasites, though it is not entirely effective in dealing with tapeworms.
Advantage of Using Neem Oil
Compared with many synthetic drugs available in the market today, neem oil is purely organic.
For this reason, dog owners who have used both neem oil and commercial drugs have noticed that the all-natural neem oil is relatively safer and shows less harmful side effects.
And for the most part, neem oil is more effective, too. Additionally, by either preparing or buying neem oil medications, a dog owner will spend less money on treating their pets.
Neem Oil Active Ingredient and Mechanism of Action
Neem oil has many components, and the substance called Azadirachtin is its most active and potent one.
When exposed to Azadirachtin, the feeding habit of insects harboring a dog’s external body is reduced. Additionally, the parasites’ endocrine system will be compromised, making them unable to lay and grow eggs or larvae.
Aside from Azadirachtin, the other components of neem oil exhibit antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties.
However, the specific substances and their corresponding roles are not fully known or understood.
Making and Using High-Concentration Neem Oil for Dogs
High-concentration neem oil should be reserved to use only in instances when the dog is exhibiting severe skin problems.
When used in mild skin conditions, neem oil’s high potency could cause the dog’s skin to be overwhelmed, thereby adding stress and prolonging the healing time of the disease.
Additionally, high-concentration neem oil should not be applied to broken skin.
When a dog has an open wound, cracked skin, or oozing sores, it is better to use a highly diluted form of neem oil medication.
To make a high-concentration neem oil, an excipient oil should first be mixed with the neem oil.
Recommended carrier oils include almond oil or grapeseed oil.
A dilution of 1 part neem oil to 10 parts carrier oil should be potent enough to treat most severe skin conditions.
The oils are first thoroughly mixed in a container and subsequently massaged to the problem spot on the dog’s skin for up to several times a day.
If the condition is still unresolved after a few days of this treatment, a 1:1 neem oil to excipient oil ratio could be used less frequently.
Making and Using Neem Oil Dog Shampoo for Dogs
To make a neem oil pet shampoo, a teaspoon of neem oil should be mixed with approximately two tablespoons of commercial dog shampoo.
When choosing a dog shampoo diluent, it should be noted that its ingredients must be mild to the skin of dogs. Excellent examples of this kind of shampoo are those that are oat-based.
Mixing neem oil with a regular dog shampoo should always be done minutes before you intend to use it and shouldn’t be left standing to use a future date.
Having the neem oil come in contact with the commercial shampoo will cause the components of the oil to break down and become inactivated.
Neem oil shampoo is applied by lathering the dog’s fur then gently massaging it until the shampoo comes in contact with the skin.
When the entire body of the dog is covered, the shampoo can be left for around bout 10 minutes before it is rinsed thoroughly with water.
Making and Using Neem Oil Spray for Dogs
To make neem oil spray, one part of neem oil should be mixed with ten parts of water in a spray bottle.
Several drops of mild detergent can also be added to counter the strong natural smell of the neem oil. It is also recommended to use lukewarm water as the oil may harden when mixed with cold water.
Additionally, a day’s worth of neem oil spray should only be made at a time because the neem oil’s potency decreases in the mixture through prolonged period of time.
Before using, the spray bottle must be shaken well for the oil and water to mix thoroughly. The dog can then be sprayed all over the body with generous amounts of the mixture.
Care must be observed when spraying to ensure the mixture does not get into the dog’s sensitive parts like eyes, mouth, and nose.
Cautions When Using Neem Oil
As with any medication, neem oil should be used with caution.
Proper assessment is necessary before subjecting any dog to the product.
In general, neem oil is effective to use with almost any dog.
However, some dogs may be innately allergic to it or have developed sensitivity to the oil through constant exposure.
When irritation or any other unintended effects arise, the neem oil should be washed away immediately off the dog’s skin and fur.
Another thing to note is that it takes time for the neem oil to be absorbed when it is applied to a dog. As such, it may rub away when the dog is immediately clothed or let to lie in bed or on the couch. As a result, sufficient time must be allowed before the dog is allowed to roam, or roll, or play with toys.
All in all, the use of neem oil has shown great potential when it comes to treating skin diseases and repelling parasites on dogs.
It is an alternative medicine that is affordable to make, and easy to apply.