Growing up on a hill-country farm around horses, sheep, goats, cattle, working and show dogs, along with a fair share of vets, farm hands and trainers you tend to pick up a pocketful of invaluable tricks – and come up with a few of your own.


Here are a few of my favourite little curatives for dogs – simple little remedies that can make the world of difference for a bunch of common problems.


Flotsam & Epsom


‘Hucklebutts’, ‘bully runs’, ‘the zoomies’ …it doesn’t matter what you call them, every bull terrier lover knows to stand clear and watch the hair-pin turns, Tassie Devil spins, porpoise dives and flailing limbs with awe, laughter and the odd cringe! We also all know the strains, tears, bumps and bruises that are occasionally left in the wake of this variety of joyful, reckless abandon. There’s a simple mineral solution, which may already be in your bathroom cupboard, that can help ease the discomfort and speed up healing of your wildling’s post-play injuries.


When I was a kid I always remember my granny mixing up an Epsom Salts solution for me to soak my feet in after a particularly full-on soccer match, or adding a couple of handfuls to a warm bath after a sports tournament, and the blissful relief it gave. I also remember my mum soaking the feet of lame horses in Epsom Salts to the same effect. As it happens, Epsom Salts are just as wonderful for dogs! When Lulu sprains a toe, knocks a knee or wrenches a dew claw (hucklebutting, of course) Epsom Salts is my go-to solution. A warm Magnesium Sulphate (Epsom Salts) solution is a gentle, economic and safe solution that can help relieve pain and inflammation, discourage infection, and ease muscle tension for dogs just as it does for humans.


For Lulu I generally use a heaped Tbsp of Epsom Salts in approx 500ml of warm water in a appropriate soaking container, and soak the appendage in question for at least 5 minutes once or twice daily. I’ve found it’s particularly useful for dew claw injuries as it does seem to provide noticeable relief from pain and inflammation, with the added benefit of helping the effected toenail dry out which can enable a torn nail to detach relatively quickly after injury, providing the greatest relief of all.

The Bald Truth


It’s always such a relief when a dog comes safely through surgery or any invasive veterinary tests. Many veterinary procedures (and some grooming techniques) involve close clipping of the fur in patches. Once the procedure has long passed and the wound has healed, months later, it’s not uncommon to find that the area where the coat was clipped away is still as bald as the day it was clipped! Weird, right?! Post-clipping alopecia is not an uncommon problem. It can sometimes take months, if not a year (or more) for hair to grow back. There is however a simple, natural curative for this strange brand of canine baldness.


Melatonin, a hormone naturally secreted by the pituitary gland, has been very successful in help dogs (and cats) in the treatment of coat loss and hair re-growth. When looking for a solution for Lulu’s recent post-clipping alopecia (an area at the base of her tail where a skin tag had been removed) I came across a number of articles on the use of melatonin. Being familiar with melatonin myself (my mother and brother have both used it for years to regulate sleep patterns), what I was reading made sense and it was something that I was comfortable trying.


The recommended dose for a dog of Lulu’s size (25kgs) is approx 3mg daily. I used Now Foods Melatonin 3mg caps, emptying one capsule into Lulu’s evening supplement mix, added to her dinner. Because melatonin effects the sleep cycle, it’s important to always feed it in the evening (when it would naturally be produced by the body), and not in the morning or during the day to prevent confusing the body’s natural hormonal processes, which can cause drowsiness and effect mood.


After about 4 weeks of a 3mg daily dose the clipped area at the base of her tail had completely grown back with soft, thick, glossy coat (after about 3 months of baldness, prior). Another natural, non-invasive curative that works beautifully!



Tummy Trouble


There are often differences between treatments that are safe for humans and safe  for dogs. However these 3 brilliant little natural remedies do wonderful things for everyone in the family when it comes to a grumbly tummy!



Golden Seal Root – Used traditionally in Native American medicine, and in common use by herbalists and naturopaths today, the root of the Golden Seal plant is known for its antimicrobial, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties making it a unique natural digestive aid and one of my personal favourites.


Goldenseal root contains the natural antimicrobial alkaloid berberine, proven effective against a number of disease-causing bacteria species including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Entamoeba histolytica, along with common offenders of bacterial gastroenteritis; E. coli and Salmonella typhi. Goldenseal’s ability to offer gastro relief is multi-faceted – its game is strong when combating tummy upsets caused by bad bacteria, and as an astringent it also soothes mucosal tissues and can help heal inflamed cells. I often use Goldenseal myself, it’s one of my go-to herbs for digestive relief and at the right dosage it’s safe for dogs too and works wonders for Lulu on the odd occasion she has an upset tummy (usually from eating something she shouldn’t have).


The Goldenseal I use is available from iHerb with worldwide shipping HERE (wherever you buy your Goldenseal, please be sure that it’s sustainably sourced as wild Goldenseal is endangered).


Dosage: I take 1 capsule myself at the suspicion of food poisoning, or mix the contents of 1 capsule with liquorice root powder, slippery elm powder and water to make a wonderful tummy soother for indigestion, as needed up to twice daily. Lulu is just under half my weight so I give her between 1/3 and 1/2 a capsule emptied into a little bit of fresh mince the moment I see her get the I-need-to-go-outside-and-eat-grass crazy eyes, or any other signs of gastro distress (i.e. bloating, gas, diarrhoea). It never seems to fail to have her playing, wagging her tail and obviously feeling better within about 10minutes – like magic!


IMPORTANT: Goldenseal is an amazing curative in small doses but can be toxic in large amounts. I take care never to give Lulu (she weighs 25kgs) more than 1/2 a capsule (285mg) more than twice daily, and I don’t supplement with Goldenseal for longer than a week at a time.


More on Goldenseal HERE.



Probiotics – These little guys are an amazing, well, more than that, let’s say essential, supplement for preventing upset tummies and promoting healthy digestion (with the added bonus of healthy skin and immunity!).  Beneficial ‘good’ bacteria plays a vital role in healthy digestion, nutrient absorption and defence against pathogens and toxins.


The aim should always be to ensure that good bacteria is the dominant force in the gastrointestinal ecosystem. When a dog’s diet is less-than-optimal (and particularly after a course of antibiotics) it’s easy for bad bugs to infiltrate and overrun the good ones – this is called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis dramatically alters the defence mechanisms of the gastrointestinal tract, significantly impacting the immune system and inflammatory responses. Symptoms of dysbiosis can include joint stiffness, itchy skin, fungal infections (ears, skin), acute environmental allergies, lethargy, irritability, loss of appetite, bloating, diarrhoea, gas.


Regularly supplementing with a quality probiotic will strengthen both a dog’s digestive processes and immune system making them less prone to tummy upsets and other health issues. As a more immediate treatment, a quality probiotic can be very helpful in combating an influx of the type of bad bacteria that cause gastroenteritis/diarrhoea – it can provide relief and balance to supplement with quality probiotics more frequently during and after a periods of gastro distress (and during/after antibiotics). Read more about the importance of probiotics on the Lulu’s Menu page.


Dosage: For Lulu I supplement daily, emptying 1 capsule of a simple acidophilus and bifidus probiotic (1mil CFUs) into her food. I generally use the Blackmores brand available from Chemist Warehouse:


For those outside Australia there’s a pet specific probiotic formula available from iHerb with worldwide shipping:



Swedish Bitters – Swedish Bitters is an herbal elixir believed to go back as far as ancient Babylon and Egypt, the modern resurgence of which is credited to Swiss renaissance physician and botanist, Paracelsus. Recipes vary, but most contain a core group of about 10-15 herbs (angelica being the primary ingredient), the tincture of which is renowned as a digestive tonic that soothes and stimulates digestion, promotes healthy bile, acid and enzyme secretion, alleviating bloating, flatulence, gas, cramps and nausea. Lulu loves it and a little bit in a small bowl of water genuinely seems to settle her stomach (mine too! Although I prefer drinking out of a cup… ).


I use Deer International Swedish Bitters which is camphor-free making bit much more palatable (camphor is a traditional ingredient of Swedish bitters), but there are many recipes for Swedish Bitters available online for those who want to make their own and include or exclude ingredients as desired.


Dosage: In cases of obvious nausea, bloating or gas I give Lulu 1 tsp of Deer brand Swedish bitters in a small bowl of water (approx 25oml) as needed – although she usually only drinks about half of that before getting side-tracked (likely because by the time she’s lapped up that much she’s already feeling better).



Lix North | Artist, Illustrator, Photographer. Owned by The Lulu Bully.


I grew up on a farm in rural New Zealand. Forever fond of my gumboots and jumping in muddy puddles, my childhood best friends were the farm working dogs (huntaways, bearded and border collies) and the family spaniels. Animals have always been an intrinsic part of my life, I spent a lot of my youth caring for farm and domestic animals, hand rearing orphaned animals and watching and assisting farm hands and vets. One of my earliest memories is the magic and awe I felt as a toddler watching my grandmother help a litter of puppies into the world. As legend has it, my first word was ‘woof’.


My passion for holistic health was born from the challenge of living with a bunch of pesky polymorphic gene mutations. 20+ years spent studying holistic principles and gaining a basic understanding of metabolic, enzymatic and genetic processes empowered me to manage my own sensitivities, methylation and immune issues at a level that conventional medical science alone was unable to offer. So, as Lulu’s sensitivities became apparent the most obvious solution seemed simply to apply the very same level of research and holistic care.


For fine art by Lix North visit For illustration, graphic art and photography visit

The content on is a fluid, living collection of notes, personal thoughts and experiences, regularly edited, tweaked and updated as my ideas evolve. All opinions are my own and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, nor prevent any disease. Information provided and products mentioned are not necessarily approved by any governing body or health professional. Discretion, common sense and personal responsibility are advised when applying any of the ideas expressed to your own personal situation.