Coyotes aren’t the only canines that can benefit from the healthy attributes of Rosa species, and in fact, wild roses aren’t the only varieties with healing powers. In fact, all species of rose are useful, including domestic varieties in the garden. The astringent tannins contained in the twigs, bark, and roots of the plant help reduce minor inflammations of the skin and digestive tract, making the herb useful in a broad variety of applications.
My favorite use for the herb is a soothing, healing skin rinse, ideal for relief from flea and insect bites as well as virtually any other case of itchy skin.
To make a skin rinse: First, be absolutely certain that the bushes you are harvesting from have never been sprayed with a pesticide or other chemical agents. Then clip a handful of three-inch twigs from the tips of several stems. Cut them into small (1/4-inch to 1/2-inch) pieces and place in a glass or ceramic saucepan. Cover them with water and place over a medium flame on your stovetop. Heat the mixture until it comes to a low boil, then remove from the heat immediately and allow to stand for at least one hour until cool. Strain the cooled mixture through a sieve, into a measuring cup or other vessel that will be easy to pour from.
The strained mixture, which should be a light yellowish-brown, is then poured liberally over your dog until the skin and coat are thoroughly soaked. Allow to drip dry; do not towel off. This can be done daily, if necessary, to bring down the heat and itch.
To add a wonderful, rosy aroma to your companion’s coat that may also lend a calming effect, add a handful or two of freshly plucked rose petals to the mixture, just as it is removed from the heat.