When looking for an herbal treatment for dogs it's important to do your homework, because while you may find hundreds of possibilities that seem to hold promise, not all of them come without risks to your beloved pet.
History of Herbal Treatment for Animals
The basic knowledge behind herbal treatment for dogs and other animals is centuries old. In fact, it is part of folk medicine found in cultures around the world and is based on the observance of animals in the wild and what they choose to eat when sick. You may have observed your own pet eating grass to calm an upset stomach. Animals instinctively eat specific types of plants for their medicinal properties, but your dog doesn't live in the wild and will turn to you to provide for his herbal needs.
Researchers have used science to better understand herbs, but because the majority of herbs can't be patented or regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) understanding of herbs falls short compared to research on vitamins and medications. However, the manufacture of herbal products in capsule and tablet form is a booming business which is good news for the dog owner, even those with a persnickety pet. It is not always easy to get your dog to eat fresh herbs and a capsule or pill is an easy alternative.
Benefits of Herbal Treatment for Dogs
Even though you buy the best dog food possible, supplementing your dog's diet with herbs can offer chemical elements to optimize your dog's health. Use herbs correctly and their medicinal effects can help to normalize and regulate your dog's systems. Often using a mixture of herbs helps them work together to provide the best results for you pet's health. Herbal treatment benefits can include things like:
- A stronger immune system
- Helping your pet be more calm
- Adds important nutritional elements to your dog's diet
Herbs Safe for Dogs
If your dog suffers from a health condition, the following herbs may provide relief or healing.
- Aloe - Wounds and hot spots
- Burdock - Allergies
- Chamomile - Wounds
- Dandelion - Kidney disease, liver disease
- Devils Claw - Arthritis
- Echinacea - Upper respiratory infections, autoimmune disease
- Eyebright - Conjunctivitis
- Flax - Arthritis, autoimmune disorder
- Ginger - Nausea
- Grape Seed Extract - Reduces free radicals and decreases development of chronic diseases, cancer
- Green Tea - Lowers cholesterol
- Hawthorn - Heart disease
- Licorice - Anti-inflammatory, arthritis
- Milk Thistle - Liver disease
- Oregon Grape - Upper respiratory infections, heart disease
- Parsley - Diuretic, kidney disease, cancerous growths
- Shitake mushroom - Immune stimulant
- Tumeric - Anti-cancer, liver disease
- Valerian - Pain relief
Herbal Treatments Toxic to Your Dog
It is best to find a holistic veterinarian, if possible, and seek his guidance as you treat your dog. Just because a treatment or remedy is labeled "herbal" does not always mean it is safe. Not only that, but what is safe for humans is not always safe for your dog. Read labels on herbal products. Check out the correct dosage and talk things over with your veterinarian.
Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions are toxic to dogs. These common vegetables often used to flavor our foods can breakdown red blood cells in our pets. The result is a condition known as Heinz body anemia. This condition destroys the red blood cells and causes anemia.
Holistic Products for Dogs
Holistic products made for dogs should not be used on cats and vice versa. Even some herbs listed as safe may have adverse reactions if administered in the wrong dosage.
While herbs can be used like a medication to treat a number of chronic conditions, there is also the potential for negative interaction with other medications. Whatever herbal treatment you choose for your dog, be sure to keep your veterinarian informed because it isn't wise to give your dog any supplement-even an herbal supplement-without talking to your vet, first.