10 Beneficial Herbs for Dogs
Come, find the right herb for your dog! While we think of herbs for the variety of flavors they provide, did you know most herbs are safe and offer health benefits to your dog?
Let’s look at ten special herbs that can help dogs with digestive function, healing wounds, burns, allergic skin reactions, and internal infections, supporting liver function, relieving pain, and more!
Calendula is a member of the sunflower family. Though the leaves and stems have some medicinal benefits, herbal preparations usually use the flowers. Some of the best uses of Calendula are:
Wound Healing: Make a Calendula salve or tea and apply to cuts or burns to quicken healing. Do not use on draining wounds, as this can prevent it from healing properly.
Immune Support: Have your dog take calendula internally as a tea or supplement to support liver function.
A hybrid of spearmint and watermint, peppermint isn’t only your favorite wintertime flavor it’s also a very popular homeopathic remedy and for a good reason.
Pain Relief: The cooling sensation of peppermint lends itself as a natural pain relief.
Stimulating: Peppermint can rouse depressed or lethargic dogs.
Some ways to use it include making a tea from fresh or dried leaves, using the crushed leaves to relieve muscle pain, and diffusing peppermint oil.
Making homemade peppermint dog treats or a homemade peppermint toothpaste great ways for your dog to benefit from fresh peppermint leaves.
Known for its use as a calming tea, Chamomile is full of medicinal components including flavonoids, terpenoids, and phenolic compounds. Here are two great reasons to use this little white flower
Anti-anxiety: Chamomile can be used to calm your dog. Diffuse some essential oil in the area with your dog.
Anti-inflammatory: If your dog is experiencing inflammation try brewing a tea bag of chamomile tea in one c. of water. If needed use a syringe to administer 1/4 tsp for every 30 lbs.
You can find meadowsweet dried or in extract form. This herb can be a natural pain reliever.
Pain Relief/Arthritis Relief! Meadowsweet’s pain relief property is thanks in part to the salicylate chemicals, known for their ability to relieve swelling, inflammation, and pain. These chemicals are also part of Asprin, but unlike Asprin meadowsweet does not have the same potential for side effects, such as an upset stomach.
Ask your local holistic vet for the best way to give meadowsweet to your dog.
An herb you may not have heard of, Echinacea (pronounced ek-kā-nā-c-ah) could be an unconventional way to protect your dog from viruses.
Immune-Stimulant. This herb can put your dog’s immune system into high gear by essentially tricking it into thinking the herb poses a threat. While the plant is quite safe, you want to be sure you use it the right way.
It’s recommended that you use Echinacea off and on to ensure your dog’s immune system doesn’t stop responding to it. Give 12 to 25 drops of echinacea tincture, three times daily for up to 5 days at a time then take a break for at least two days. Repeat this cycle as needed.
Natural Antibiotic. Echinacea contains echinacoside, a natural antibiotic. Echinacoside works like penicillin, killing a broad range of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. This natural antibiotic is an excellent aid for healing sick or wounded dogs naturally.
Echinacea doesn’t work for every dog. Do not give to dogs who have immune-compromising diseases and discontinue use if you notice any signs of allergic reaction.
Plantain may not be the most well-known herb, but it is a widespread plant. Your dog may even be able to seek plantain out in your yard.
The hulls of plantain seeds are rich in insoluble fiber which is beneficial for bowel regularity. You can add whole, ground plantain to your dog’s diet as a fiber source or use a psyllium powder.
“Plantain is astringent, which means it draws excess fluid out of tissues (decreases inflammation) and “tightens” the cells up. That property is very useful for an inflammed gi tract and leaky gut syndrome.”
Fresh plantain can be added to your dog’s diet minced or pureed. As with other green plants, start by adding a small amount to your dog’s meals and slowly build up. A good starting point is about one teaspoon freshly minced or pureed plantain with a meal.
One of my favorite herbs, parsley has a lot more to offer than just fantastic flavor.
This little leaf packs an abundant amount of vitamin K which might help dogs suffering from arthritis by limiting inflammatory cells.
Parsley can also be used to help cleanse the organs, prevent skin cancer, treat UTI’s, and freshen that doggy breath.
Ask a holistic vet before offering parsley to pregnant dogs and don’t feed to dogs with kidney problems.
Curley parsley is best. Buy some fresh and mix in with your dog’s food or make him some tasty breath-freshening treats! The rule “less is more” applies here so stick to a few teaspoons of fresh leaves at a time.
Nettle, also known as stinging nettle, is a source of several minerals and vitamins. It has earned the name stinging nettle because in its raw state it contains irritating compounds that enter your skin when you brush against the plant. Fortunately, cooking the leaves neutralizes these compounds and makes nettle not just harmless, but an excellent natural remedy.
Use nettle to treat allergies, itchy skin, and anemia.
Some animals with plant allergies could be sensitive to nettle, so test a small amount of dried nettle on your dog’s skin and watch for any adverse reaction.
To use nettle, sprinkle 1/2 tsp. dried herb on food for every 10 lbs of body weight. If using fresh nettle remember to handle with gloves and cook before using.
Thyme belongs in the same plant family as mint. It can improve digestion and provide vitamins C, A, and K. Thyme also contains iron, manganese, and calcium, which are essential mineral components of every dog’s diet.
Anti’s: Antibacterial, antiseptic, and antispasmodic. Thyme is good for healing wounds and is beneficial in small amounts for dogs with seizures.
Thyme combines well with fish and coconut oil, aiding digestion of the fatty acids that benefit coat and skin, brain and digestive functions.
Add thyme to your dog’s diet either freshly minced or as a dried herb, starting at 1/4 tsp. Per ten pounds of body weight.
Rosemary extract is a common additive in kibble for its antioxidant effects. Like many other herbs, rosemary helps prevent cancer. Rosemary may also support brain function, improving memory and problem-solving skills, and promotes a relaxed mood.
Using freshly minced or pureed rosemary, and baking with rosemary are the best options.
There is some concern that rosemary may cause seizures in pets.
Herbalist Gregory L. Tilford, a co-author of Herbs for Pets, says that “Rosemary, in most forms (dried, fresh whole plant, tincture or tea) can be used very safely in dogs, and in fact is Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) by FDA for use in both humans and animals.”
However, rosemary oil, or the extracts in dog food, are extremely potent concentrates. An overdose of rosemary oil/extract may cause harmful effects, while small doses are very beneficial to your dog’s health.
The benefits of using fresh rosemary carefully, far outweigh the possible risks. So feel free to use fresh or dried rosemary without fear. However, we do not recommend using rosemary oil internally for dogs.
“Because of rosemary’s antimicrobial prowess, it can be used in antibacterial skin or eye rinses, to help with minor cuts and burns, and for infections in the mouth area, urinary and digestive tracts.”
Tips for Feeding Herbs
For all of these herbs, we recommend using fresh or dried forms. We do not recommend using oils internally for dogs.
Start with small amounts, adding the herb to your dog’s meal, and build up gradually to the correct dose according to your dog’s body weight.
These herbs can also make excellent teas, tinctures, poultices and herbal sprays for use on wounds, itchy skin, bug bites and stings, and to ward off parasites.
Rotate a variety of herbs in and out of your dog’s diet for best results. Rotation gives your dog’s body a natural rest from each herb so that he responds positively every time you give him the herb.
These are just a few of the medicinal herbs God has gifted us. Our Healthy Additions series aims to feature many of these natural, healthy foods.
Check out where we like to get oils, teas, leaves, hydrosols, and herbal remedies! Mountain Rose Herbs
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