Henna and Healthy Dogs

Night time in a palace salukiHennaed Saluki from "Nighttime in a Palace,"  (1539 to 43, Iran) folio attributed to Mir Sayyid 'Ali, Arthur M Sackler Museum, Harvard Museum, 1958.76.

In the context of this Safavid image, favored pets were ornamented with henna at holidays; dogs were also hennaed for their health!   Pure henna has anti-inflamatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial actions on skin, and can relieve a number of minor skin irritations in dogs as well as other animals.  

This is my dog, Rumple.  Every summer, in warm, moist weather, he has an outbreak of ringworm, dermatophytosis, a parasitic fungus that feeds on keratin found in skin and hair. It infests his belly and the itching makes him miserable.  At the left, you can see the typical circular ringworm patch by a nipple; Rumple had been chewing at this and several other ringworm outbreaks for days.  
paste onI smeared Ancient SunriseŽ henna paste onto Rumple's whole belly, to cover all of the ringworm patches, and any that might be emerging.  Use ONLY henna that has been independently tested to be 100% pure henna, and to contain no PPD, additives, pesticides, lead, or adulterants!  Some of the chemicals used to adulterate henna can kill dogs!  

Lawsone, the dye molecule in henna, is anti-fungal, and will penetrate the skin.  Mix henna with a mildly acidic liquid, and let the paste rest overnight to release the lawsone.  

The ringworm fungus network extends underneath the skin beyond the visible ring.  If you have a single patch to treat, smear henna paste at least 2" in diameter farther than the visible ring. 

I let the henna paste dry on Rumple's belly and left it for six hours.  He immediately ceased chewing the itchy patches of ringworm, and did not show any signs of discomfort from the moment I massaged the henna onto his belly.  
stainedAfter six hours, I washed the dried henna paste off of Rumple's stomach. His skin and hair was lightly stained orange.  You can see that the redness and inflammation improved rapidly. The black patches in the skin also began to fade.  

One week laterAfter seven days, the ringworm patch had faded significantly, and the belly skin became healthy and more pink.  Rumple did not lick the patch or give any other indication of experiencing discomfort.

A single application is usually enough to wipe out the ringworm. If a new infection occurs after the stained skin has exfoliated, I reapply henna.

Over the last seven years, I have regularly used henna on Rumple's ringworm and hot spots that bother him in summer weather. Pure henna has anti-inflamatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial actions on skin, and relieves a number of minor skin irritations.  
Detail of henna on Saluki hunting copied from collected Works of Mir 'Ali -shir Nava'i, plate 13, Folio  350, Verso, Bahram Gur Hunting with Azada,  late 15th century.

This Saluki is hennaed in the same pattern as in the image, "Nighttime in a Palace" above.  Dogs often have annoying invasive yeast infections in their ears and on their paws in damp, warm weather. Hennaing their ears and paws may keep them comfortable.

Henna on the paws of hunting dogs also protects them when running on rough ground. Dogs whose paws have been hennaed are less likely to get inflamed cracks and cuts on their pads. Henna helps these skin injuries heal more quickly by reinforcing the skin's keratin and deterring invasive bacteria and yeasts.  
running Saluki

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