Neem oil has been used for thousands of years in India and other parts of the world for a variety of health problems and diseases, both in humans and in animals, and many Ayurvedic remedies contain neem oil. For dog owners who prefer natural remedies to pharmaceuticals for Fido, neem oil may provide relief from myriad conditions more commonly treated with powerful chemicals.
Origin and Use
Neem oil is extracted from the barks and leaves of the neem tree. It is valued as an insect repellent and pesticide, and is commonly used to treat skin problems.
In dogs, neem oil is most commonly used to repel and kill fleas and ticks. It has also been used to kill mange mites that are more commonly treated by western veterinary medicine with prolonged-use medications.
While no clinical studies into the effectiveness of neem oil on dogs have been conducted, you can judge for yourself whether it’s the miracle herbal cure many websites say it is by trying it out on your dog. It’s a relatively safe product, as long as you use it properly.
The Discover Neem website recommends using a dog shampoo with neem oil to prevent and kill flea infestations and promote a healthy coat and skin. Do not feed your dog neem oil, however, warns the NaturMix USA website, as it is very powerful. It also advises against applying pure neem oil on the skin, suggesting instead to dilute it in a cream or ointment. Just a few drops of neem oil in a lotion will do the trick, according to the website. If adding it to a shampoo, use ½ oz. neem oil to 1 oz. shampoo ratio. For killing intestinal parasites, feeding your dog neem leaf instead of neem oil is the safest bet.
Some dogs may experience an allergic reaction to neem oil. Most commonly, you may see a rash or red spot appear where neem oil was applied. If so, simply wash the area. NaturMix USA suggests conducting a small spot check to ensure your dog is not sensitive to neem oil before applying a product containing it over his entire body. If your dog experiences a stronger adverse reaction to neem oil application, consult a veterinarian immediately.
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Cynthia Gomez has been writing and editing professionally for more than a decade. She is currently an editor at a major publishing company, where she works on various trade journals. Gomez also spent many years working as a newspaper reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northeastern University.