Castor oil has long been used as a natural skin care remedy. Even the ancient Egyptians used it for treating eye irritations. These days, castor oil is still the subject of many raves, thanks to its soothing and skin-healing properties.
Did you know that castor oil does so many things to dogs, too? It’s used to treat skin problems and even cancerous tumors. Interesting, isn’t it? Read more to know the amazing benefits of this “miracle oil” to our furry little friends.
Is Castor Oil Safe for Dogs?
Yes, it is definitely safe for canines. However, castor oil is only safe for external use. It should not be ingested because the castor beans, where the oil comes from, are considered to be toxic for dogs in high amounts. The beans have ricin, a naturally occurring substance that can cause oral irritations in dogs.
The ricin, which can only be found in castor beans, can cause gastrointestinal upset both in humans and in animals. It is a natural laxative so the dog will eventually vomit and have the runs if he accidentally ingested castor oil.
If you suspect your pet just ingested castor oil, call the animal poison control center or the veterinarian. In cases like these, vets usually prescribe antacids to help soothe the dog’s stomach. Pepcid or Prisolec can be given twice a day for around three days. If the oil ingestion is followed by diarrhea, your vet may recommend Pepto-Bismol.
The recommended dosage for Pepcid is 1 milligram for every pound of body weight. For Prisolec, it is 0.25-0.50 milligram for every pound. If your vet prescribed Pepto-Bismol, you have to give your dog 0.5-1.5 milligram per each pound of his weight.
Aside from the conventional treatment, vets also recommend fasting as it helps relax the pet’s stomach. A little amount of water should be enough to keep your dog hydrated while you are helping him getting rid of the toxic substance from his body.
Uses of Castor Oil in Dogs
- For skin problems – dogs face many skin issues, ranging from the allergy symptoms down to dryness because of the weather. Castor oil can soothe those skin issues due to its undecylenic acid. This organic compound, which is a type of an unsaturated fatty acid, can be used for treating skin irritations caused by fungus.
- For fleas and ticks – flea infestation is another issue many pet owners deal with. There are fast and easy ways to get rid of fleas and ticks, but if you prefer a natural approach, you can never go wrong with oils. Castor oil is one of the best oils in preventing flea infestation in dogs. It can kill the fleas by drowning them.
- For tumors – castor oil can stop the growth of tumors. The American Cancer Society revealed that cancer doctors are now counting on this oil as a means for transporting chemotherapy medications to malignant tumors.
- For cataracts – some pet owners also use castor oil for cataracts because it is capable of healing the oxidative damage brought by free radicals. Ask your vet about pharmaceutical grade castor oil as this is the one recommended for treating cataracts.
- For fur loss – in humans, castor oil is a popular treatment for hair loss. The same is true for dogs. This oil promotes hair regrowth as it contains antioxidants that support scalp stimulation.
How to Use Castor Oil for Dogs
Castor oil can be applied directly to the affected area. Simply massage it on your dog’s coat to help him feel at ease. If you don’t want to apply it using your hands, you may use cotton balls. Dunk them on hot water first them put a few drops of the oil right onto the cotton balls.
One of the struggles in applying anything to dogs is stopping them from licking the substance after. It’s part of their natural instinct to lick a wound or itchy area. You may use a protective device like a soft e-collar to prevent him from licking the castor oil.
Castor oil can also be used as an ingredient for making a DIY dog shampoo. You can mix it with olive oil, which is also good for the skin. Like castor oil, olive oil is known for its powerful skin regenerating properties. You can also drop a small amount of castor oil in your pet’s shampoo.
Meanwhile, for treating canine cataracts, you simply have to put a single drop of castor oil on the affected area. This is best done every day before bedtime for two to three weeks or until the cataracts have been dissolved.
How to Choose Castor Oil for Your Dog
With any kind of oil, the best ones to use are the cold pressed ones. Compared to expeller-pressed oil, they have a better aroma and nutritional value. This is due to the fact that they were processed using lower temperatures.
Also look for castor oil labeled with the USP grade. This means the oil was produced under the standards of United States Pharmacopoeia. It’s important to use a pharmaceutical grade castor oil especially if you are planning to use it for canine cataract.
Castor oil is an effective homeopathic remedy for skin problems and cataracts in dogs. It can be used for massaging your pet or added to your pet’s shampoo. While it is proven effective, it may come with certain risks so use it extra care. Keep it in a place out of your dog’s reach because it can be poisonous when ingested.