Herbal dog remedies
Herbal remedies for helping heal your dog's allergies and improve its health
All about herbal dog remedies
Herbs have long been used to treat and prevent sickness in people, and apart from smelling good and adding an extra "something" to cooking, certain herbs can help improve your dog's quality of life, too.
Herbs contain antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, chlorophyll, minerals, trace elements, vitamins, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, proteins and sugars all in a natural form, just as Nature intended.
In fact, the use of herbal dog remedies is becoming more and more popular as many pet owners seek natural and effective "at-home" ways to treat and heal their pets.
It is important to bear in mind though, that whilst most herbs are perfectly safe for dogs, some can be toxic especially if given in combination with conventional medications/drugs.
So please don't go it alone, seek guidance from an holistic veterinarian who will evaluate your dog’s allergy symptoms/health conditions (e.g. hair loss, intestinal worms, gas and many more) and prescribe an herbal remedy/s in the correct amounts to balance your dog's body.
Dogs seem to instinctively know that eating certain herbs and or plants has a positive impact on their health - eating grass to bring on vomiting to be rid of something toxic is an excellent example of this.
Once your vet has set out a "herbal dog treatment plan", why not consider growing your own herbs? You don’t need a lot of space, in fact a window box will do the trick perfectly.
This way you can be sure the herbs are organically grown and you may even end up saving a few dollars on visits to the health store. And lets face it, saving money is always a good thing.
If you are wondering about what herbs will work best to treat specific conditions and allergies for your dog, think of it as if you were treating yourself. For instance, in the same way that chamomile will help to soothe your nerves and send you off to sleep, it will work in exactly the same way for hyperactive pets who need to slow down.
To include herbs in your pet's diet, try picking fresh herbs from your window box or garden; either chop them up finely or use a mortar and pestle and then mix them into your dog's food. Alternatively you can always make teas with herbs and either mix the tea with their food or give it them to your dog orally with an eye dropped. You can also buy tinctures of herbs from reputable health stores.
Certain herbal teas can also be very beneficial for pouring over your pet as a wash to sooth itchy skin and kill parasites.
Herbal dog suggestions to stop your dog itching and/or to treat other ailments Nature's way
Herbal Dog - Aloe Vera
This spiky leafed herb is pretty amazing stuff. Its benefits and medicinal value has been appreciated since ancient times, helping to heal wounds and even stomach ulcers in humans. Fortunately the herb is equally as good for dogs.
When treating insect stings and bites, burns, scrapes, and minor irritations break the leaves open and apply the gel directly onto the skin.
In a diluted form, aloe vera form can be given internally to help your dog with conditions such as constipation, gas and infection.
It is extremely important however for pet owners to be aware that aloe vera can be "toxic to pets" if eaten in its pure, undiluted, and concentrated plant form. As such it can cause the following conditions ranging from mild to severe symptoms:
- Changes in urine color
- Tremors (rare)
If you feel your dog has eaten aloe vera in plant form and it is showing one or more of the above symptoms, to the point where you are concerned. Please call the "Pet Poison Helpline". This is a 24-hour animal poison control service available throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean for pet owners, and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet.
Herbal Dog - Calendula (flowers) or Pot Marigolds
The bright and yellow flowers of this easy-growing herb have magical powers when it comes to treating stings, bites, cuts, scrapes and wounds, both on humans and dogs. Whilst the herb has many different applications (including anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and the cooking pot), it is mainly used to sooth and heal wounds.
Taken internally, the herb can:
- Aid in reducing inflammation of the dog's digestive system.
- Stimulate its immune system.
- Aid in proper liver function.
If you have a dog itching from allergies its a good idea to make a tea from the flower petals. You can use the tea as an entire body wash to sooth its itchiness and also to kill off any bacteria that may be lurking around on its skin or in its coat.
A word of caution - although Calendula is considered to be one of the safest herbs for humans and dogs, it is potentially toxic to cats. Please don’t share this herb with your family cat.
California Poppy, Chamomile and Valerian
A combination of these 3 herbs in equal parts is often used to treat psychological behavior in dogs, and in particular hyper dogs. All 3 are natural relaxants for dogs, and also have added health benefits of:
It is worthy of mention that valerian by itself is useful in reducing seizures in dogs suffering from epilepsy. However, it must also be noted that valerian:
- Can lead to intestinal problems if the dog is given too much.
- Should never be given to dogs that are about to bred.
Dandelion is a universal wild plant, rich in vitamins and minerals, and found growing everywhere including in domestic lawns and gardens. It is an absolutely amazing herb to help heal your dog and is distinguished for its multi-purpose ability to:
- Cleanse the blood circulatory system.
- Help the liver and kidneys rid the body of toxins and noxious substances.
- Stimulate the flow of bile from the liver as well as other digestive juices.
- Maintain potassium levels.
- Act as a mild pain killer due to its high level of lecithin.
- To control bowel movements.
- To act as a mild diuretic.
To include dandelion in your dogs daily diet, gather some fresh leaves from your garden or window box, chop them up finely and mix them into its food.
For every 20 pounds of body weight give it 1 teaspoon of chopped leaves. Of course you can also make dandelion tea and mix that into its food of give it by eye-dropper.
Eyebright for dogs is an amazing herb to help with all conditions pertaining to the eyes, from irritations and inflammation to acute infections.
Eyebright will also help with atopic allergies, and allergies involving the upper respiratory tract from ears, eyes, sinuses and nasal problems in general.
It is also an excellent herb for your "herbal dog" first aid kit for eye injuries and ulcerated eyes.
The herb is excellent for:
- Allergic conditions effecting ears, eyes, sinuses and nasal passages.
- Eye ulcerations.
- Eye wash and in general keeping the eyes clean - for the best results use 30 to 50 grams of the dried herb and boil it in 500ml of water, then allow to cool.
- Canine uveitis - inflammation of the uvea, or middle layer of the eye, usually caused by a number of conditions, including distemper, hepatitis, trauma and cataracts.
- Injury to eyes.
- Irritations, inflammation and infection in eyes.
If you are interested in more information about eyebright, please click this eyebright link to a detailed PDF.
You may have heard that garlic is bad for dogs.
Well, garlic has been used for many years by holistic veterinarians. The confusion about whether garlic is good or bad seems to have arisen from confusion with its close cousin, the onion. Both garlic and onion contain thiosulphate, the substance responsible for causing ‘Heinx Factor’ anemia in dogs.
However the amount of thiosulphate found in garlic is much lower than in onions, in fact the amount in garlic is barely traceable!
The fear of garlic is a new one - propagated by rumor on the internet and not proven by any scientific facts or studies.
When garlic is ingested in reasonable amounts there are no harmful affects, but there are plenty of beneficial qualities:
- Garlic contains germanium - an anti-cancer agent.
- Garlic helps to regulate blood pressure.
- Helps strengthen the body's defences against allergies.
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels.
- Garlic is high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
- Calcium, Potassium, Zinc.
- Vitamin A, B, B2 & C.
- Garlic is an aid to fighting and treating, diabetes, liver, heart and kidney disease.
- Garlic is a natural flea repellant and de-wormer.
Courtesy of Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer Blogspot
Garlic should not be fed to dogs:
- Scheduled for surgery.
- With a pre-existing anemic condition.
- Under 1 year of age
- In a mixed form, e.g. garlic steak spice, this is not pure garlic and can make your dog very ill. Garlic should only be fed to dogs in a pure form, and a safe amount is 1 garlic clove (crushed or chopped) to each 30lbs of body weight.
Can I give my dog ginger? - Yes, in small amounts
Ginger has been highly prized for centuries as a medicinal herb for treating and prevent medical problems in humans and animals - particularly in Asia.
In dogs ginger can help with:
- Motion and car sickness - a few drops of tincture 30 minutes before a car journey can work wonders.
- Colitis and diarrhoea - a couple of drops of tincture will settle upset tummies.
- Heart disease.
- Improving blood circulation - in very cold climates a tablespoon of crushed or chopped ginger daily for large dogs can prevent frost bite on their ears and other extremities.
- Improving appetite
- Removing toxins from the body by encouraging it to sweat.
- Calming an anxious or stressed out pet.
Other reasons to give dogs ginger
If your dog is experiencing muscle spasms in its stomach or back, a few drops of ginger tincture will sooth and relax stressed muscles and relieve its pain.
Apart from its delicious taste, humans have used ginger for years to help in the absorption of food, and of course it does the same for dogs.
Turmeric, is a spice derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which is a perennial plant of the ginger family. Tumeric is also known as Indian Saffron.
Adding Turmeric to your dog’s daily diet can provide it with a vast array of health benefits including:
- High fiber content.
- A rich supply of vitamins and minerals.
- Anti-inflammatory properties.
- Protection against anemia and arthritis.
- Anti-microbial properties.
- Speeding up metabolism - useful if you have an overweight dog. Recent research by the US Department of Agriculture has recently confirmed that curcumin helps to speed up metabolism.
Curcumin is the most active curcuminoid found in turmeric, and provides turmeric with its:
- Bright yellow colour.
- Anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cancer fighting properties.
- Ability to lower serum levels in situations of trauma.
This article looks at the effects that milk thistle has on our dogs, for instance:
- Is milk thistle safe for dogs?
- What are the health benefits of milk thistle for dogs?
- What is an appropriate dosage?
- What are the precautions for giving milk thistle to dogs?
Is milk thistle safe for dogs?
Yes, milk thistle is perfectly safe for dogs as long as it is given in correct dosages. Please see "What is an appropriate dosage?" below.
What are the health benefits of milk thistle for dogs?
Milk thistle has been used for many years as a liver stimulant for both humans and pets, and one of the most important compounds in the herb is "silymarin".
Silymarin supports and protects the liver and as such, milk thistle is very effective in treating dogs with:
- Liver related diseases, e.g. hepatitis, liver tumors or cancers.
- Skin problems secondary to liver disease.
- Fatty liver.
What is an appropriate dosage?
The standard dosage of milk thistle extract for dogs is based on a silymarin content of around 80 percent.
As mentioned above, milk thistle is very safe for dogs, and particularly dogs with advanced liver disease.
For other liver problems, 75 to 100 mg per 10 pounds of body weight per day is sufficient to see results.
If milk thistle causes a stomach upset, gas, or mild diarrhea in your dog, simply reduce the dosage.
Milk thistle for dogs - precautions
Despite the fact that milk thistle is hailed as "the" herb for the liver, it should NOT be given to healthy dogs as a daily supplement. Some studies show that long-term use of very high dosages of milk thistle will eventually suppress liver function.
Milk thistle should therefore be used only as a medicinal herb for the treatment of liver disorders and other health problems as mentioned above.
Additionally, silymarin is not recommended for use in pregnant women and therefore it is probably a good idea not to use milk thistle in pregnant dogs until more information becomes available.
Courtesy of Natural Dog Health Remedies
If you want additional detailed information on the benefits of milk thistle for dogs, please click here to read an excellent PDF written by Dr. Hofre DVM
Rosemary (leaves, stems and flowers)
Rosemary is a woody perennial herb which has been used for centuries as both a culinary herb and a medicinal plant.
Rosemary is a versatile and healing herb for dogs and has the following applications:
- Anti fungal.
- A stimulant for the heart and liver.
- Aids in ridding dogs of bad breath.
- When chopped and combined with parsley it can relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
- Externally as a wash in repelling fleas and soothing insect bites and stings.
How to make a rosemary dog wash
Not only is a rosemary was a natural flea repellant, it will leave your dog's coat silky, glossy, and smelling beautiful.
- Boil 2 pints of water.
- Add 2 cups of fresh rosemary leaves, and continue boiling for another 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool to room temperature, strain the leaves and store the liquid in a glass container with a screw top lid in your refrigerator.
How to use a rosemary dog wash
Using a rosemary wash is easy peasy, especially if you are already about to give your pet a bath.
- Take the chill of the wash and bring it to the same temperature as you would when preparing a bottle for a human baby.
- Bath your dog as you normally do and take particular care to rinse it thoroughly.
- Then pour the wash over your dog and work it into its coat with your fingers especially in areas where fleas like to congregate, at the base of its tail and around and under its ears. Dont rinse the wash it off, just let your dog dry naturally.
Even though it is rare, some dogs like people can be allergic to rosemary, before rushing full blast, try a tiny amount in its food first, or do a test patch on one of its paws with the wash before drenching your dog all over. first.
Please do not give rosemary to pregnant dogs
And finally, if you would like to combine the enormous benefits of flower essences with your herbal holistic pet care for your treasured pet please click Flower Essences Holistic Care For Dogs and explore Only Natural's huge choice.
As a family we regularly use "Rescue Remedy Pet" for our pets!
This article and information forms part of the Carole's Doggie World Holistic Library and is presented for informational purposes only.The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local vet. Instead, the content offers the reader information researched and written by Carole Curtis for www.carolesdoggieworld.com