Natural Remedy for Distemper in Dogs

Natural Remedy for Distemper in Dogs


I found a natural remedy for distemper in dogs while living in Ocean Beach some decades ago.  We found an ad in our local paper for a pedigree golden retriever puppy for sale for $50 while at the time the going price was $400!

We went to look at him, Tyler de Diego, whose father was a champion and we instantly fell in love with him. After bringing him home we remarked on how mellow he was for a puppy.

It turned out that the reason he was so mellow was that he had distemper, a viral infection that causes high fever, nerve derangement and usually death. What we noticed then was that he was eating the Hibiscus flowers growing in our yard.
I looked up Hibiscus to see what he was up to and found that it was most appropriate for his condition.


Hibiscus flowers are incorporated in a tea beverage known as “Agua de Jamaica”, a delicious, refreshing and a very popular beverage throughout Mexico.
It is classified as an antipyretic (lowers body temperature) and febrifuge (reduces fever).
The colorful pigments in the flowers indicate a high antioxidant value, another asset when dealing with viral infections.

Hibiscus tea

Animal Studies

In one study in rats, hibiscus extract increased the number of antioxidant enzymes and reduced the harmful effects of free radicals by up to 92%. 
Another rat study had similar findings, showing that parts of the hibiscus plant, such as the leaves, possess potent antioxidant properties.

Best natural remedies for distemper in dogs


Hibiscus is a great natural remedy for distemper in dogs. It is a genus of plants in the Malvaceae (Mallow) family native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world.
It has the following Properties:

  • antibacterial
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiparasitic
  • antiseptic
  • digestive
  • diuretic
  • refrigerant
  • sedative
  • stomachic
  • tonic

The flower petals have been used for hair and skin care products, teas and homemade wines.

Hibiscus tea is delicious and easy to prepare at home

Simply add hibiscus flowers to a teapot and pour hot water over them. Let it steep for five minutes, then strain, sweeten it if desired and enjoy.

Hibiscus tea can be consumed hot or cold and has a tart taste similar to that of cranberries.

For this reason, it is sweetened with Licorice root (Glycryyhiza glabra), honey or sugar and sometimes flavored with a squeeze of lime juice to balance the tartness.

Dried hibiscus can be purchased at your local health food store or online. Hibiscus tea is also available in pre-made tea bags, which can simply be steeped in hot water, removed and enjoyed.


One of the books I recommend in classes is Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. It’s an excellent herbal for animal care. She is especially knowledgeable in herbal care and feeding of dogs.
She recommends garlic as a natural remedy for distemper in dogs.
Getting a dog to ingest garlic could be a challenge but I have had some experience with eating raw garlic myself. I learned that by biting into a lemon then chewing on raw garlic, you don’t get the burning in your mouth. When it starts to burn, simply bite into the lemon again.

Is it safe for dogs to eat garlic?

An article by By Anna Burke of the American Kennel Club states, “Garlic might be good for us, but dogs metabolize certain foods differently than we do. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, garlic and other members of the allium family, including onions, contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs but not to humans.

Thiosulfate causes oxidative damage to red blood cells, resulting in hemolytic anemia. Symptoms of anemia include pale mucous membranes, rapid breathing, lethargy, weakness, jaundice, and dark colored urine. Garlic toxicity also causes symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, depression, and dehydration.”

How much garlic is toxic to dogs?

“Studies have found it takes approximately 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilograms of body weight to produce harmful changes in a dog’s blood. To put that into perspective, the average clove of supermarket garlic weighs between 3 and 7 grams, so your dog would have to eat a lot to get really sick. However, some dogs are more sensitive to garlic toxicity than others, and consumption of a toxic dose spread out over a few days could also cause problems.”

“In studies, garlic as a health supplement for pets has not produced consistent positive results. While very small doses might be safe for most dogs, the lack of conclusive evidence and the known risks should be taken into consideration. If you do decide to feed your pup a garlic supplement, always consult your veterinarian.”


Mixing herbs into a palatable paste to get them down kids (of all ages), dogs, etc.

lemon juice
powdered Vitamin A
milk powder

Tyler lived another ten years becoming a beloved family member. And by the way, having been cured of distemper, he never ate the Hibiscus flowers again.

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