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Dog Treatments Used During the 1800s

One thing the 1800s and today have in common is the same large gap between those in deep poverty and the extreme wealthy. There was not much difference between dog treatments used during the 1800s, whether you had money or not. Everything was based on impurities of the blood — people and animals alike — with doctors and healers focusing on the ancient idea of “purging the blood” from corrupt humors in the bowels and blood.

An over-all medicine at the time was Brandreth’s Vegetable Universal Pills, compounded from aloes, colocynth and gamboge. t was fed to cats, dogs, horses, oxen and pigs — guaranteed to expel anything and everything. Another popular mixture was Paine’s Celery Compound, made from celery and coca with 21% alcohol. Manufactured by Wells & Richardson Company of Burlington, Vermont, it was popular until the 1920s, sold as a nerve tonic to drive out poisonous humors of the blood.

Old West sanitation

dog treatments
Image purchased from istockphoto on Dec. 23, 2013

Sanitation in the Old West from 1850 to 1900 was nonexistent to crude. Men and animals toileted in streets, while garbage disposal was not heard of in the early 19th century. The odor of outdoor toilets hung thick in the air, with flies laying eggs around them and piles of horses manure piled behind horses tied in front of saloons and public buildings. Trash was thrown by pioneers onto back yard piles to rot, along with piles of manure from cattle, mule and horses. Laying in rotting piles were  household waste from both the poor and the rich, urine, feces and even fetuses.

In cities, filth accumulated in alleys until some caring individual would haul it to the edge of town and left in piles. Eventually, trash dumps developed but they were located within the town limits.


Residents of Washington, D.C. dumped garbage and slop into alleys and streets, pigs and dogs roam freely, and rats and cockroaches infested most dwellings including the White House.

Hog pens were always built close to the houses, in order to make it easier for the farmer to care for his hogs in the winter months. It was in the hot summers when diseases spread from animal to animal, due to the filth Because of this type of atmosphere, stray dogs carried rabies by the hundreds, in addition to rabies from wild animals. Chickens, cows, dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, hogs, burros and horses were unrestrained in small, developing towns, spreading disease as they went. Hogs were left to run in order to eat accumulated gargage on the streets and alleyways. In the middle of this, small children ran barefeet in the summer months.

“Richard Geoghegan joined the gold rush to thee Klondike in 1897. When he was appointed court clerk in Fairbanks, Alaska, he wrote to his niece, ‘Water is a precious thing here, they have to go many miles to get it, because what they get in the river is evil and people cannot live on it; to tell the truth, it is mostly mud and dead dogs … ‘ ” (Medicine in the Old West)

Unfortunately, disease originated from animals. Pigs and ducks caused influenza, while cattle caused smallpox and tuberculosis. The common cold in mankind came from horses,  while measles came from dogs and cattle … originally coming from a mutated form of canine distemper. The idea that insects were agents of disease transmission was ridiculed by people of this era, such as fleas and mosquitoes, what we have found today to be carriers of major diseases.

dog treatments
Image purchased from istockphoto on Dec. 23, 2013

By the late 1800s, animal and dog treatments became popular as diseases in humanity spread rapidly, and patent medicines grew in numbers for both animals and people. Lung salve was used for dog fights, dog bites, lung problems, sore throats and croup. In people, it was used for inflammation of the liver and kidneys, peritonitis and appendicitis. Purging of the blood became a thing of the past, medicine was consumed that was to cure all ailments.

It was about this time that the Snake Oil Salesmen became so popular, with rattlesnake oil prized above all others. A very popular snake oil was wintergreen oil mixed in white gasoline. However, the ones that worked were alcohol, opium and cocaine. Of course, they were very addictive and the drug effects made them extremely popular.

Dog treatments used during the 1800s for diseases began with Dr. Wilhelm Heinrich Schuessler, an 1800 German physician who found that tissue salts, or cell salts, aid the basic functions of cells in both animals and humans. Tissue salts treat diseases in animals and humans by supplying the body with deficient cell salts. Dr. Schuessler came to this conclusion after he found that the body cells contain a balance of three things: water, organic and inorganic constituents. The entire body is dependent on this balance, a balance supplied by nature and animal tissue.

  • Three calcium minerals –  Calcium Fluoride, Calcium Phos, Calcium Sulphate
  • Three potassium minerals – Kali Mur, Kali Phosphate, Kali sulphur
  • Three sodium minerals – Natrum Phosphate, Natrum Sulphur Natrum Mur
  • Plus Ferrum Phosphate (iron), Magnesia Phosphate (magnesium), Silicea (silica)

During the 19th century, living conditions were as filthy as that of the middle ages, with epidemics killing complete populations. The average life span of an adult was age 4o. Around 1850s, soaps, and disinfectants began to control diseases. Dogs and other animals were treated to stop the spread of diseases, with dog treatments used during the 1800s caused the death of children to decrease. Adults lived to age 74 years of age.


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