Just as herbal supplements help humans maintain our health, so too can they help dogs live better lives. Unlike prescription drugs, they rarely have nasty side effects. Before launching enthusiastically into listing herbal supplements that help dogs, here are a few words of caution.
Be Wary of Supplements
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so it can be hard to determine the quality of a supplement you’re buying. Make sure you only buy supplements from reputable companies, and if you are in doubt, ask a vet or a holistic health practitioner.
Another reason for caution is that dogs have different sensitivities than humans to chemical compounds found in supplements. Giving a dog too much of a good thing can be fatal, so it’s very important to consult your vet before giving your dog supplements.
Some Great Herbal Supplements for Dogs
Ginger is often used by humans to settle an upset tummy. And it can work just as well for our canine companions. Make sure to ask your vet before administering ginger to make sure you give the right amount.
Valerian, Chamomile, and California Poppy
To calm an excitable or overly hyper dog, use valerian, chamomile, and California poppy. Valerian is the active ingredient in the popular “Sleepytime” tea, and the other two are also naturally relaxing.
These herbs also have the effect of lowering blood pressure, relieving asthma symptoms, and fighting parasites. You can use them in the form of teas, tinctures, or extract. Make sure to ask your vet what amount you should use.
Turmeric root does wonders for canine health. It’s great for digestive issues – turmeric can reduce digestive tract inflammation and prevent flatulence. Turmeric can help rid the colon of parasites and the body of yeast infections. It can assist the liver in creating enzymes that help metabolize toxins. Turmeric contains fat, magnesium, manganese, niacin, potassium, selenium, silicon and sodium. Additionally, the fresh-grated root can be added directly to food!
Stinging nettle, known as an herbal superfood to humans, is also great for dogs. You’ll want to use gloves if you’re harvesting it yourself. Once the leaf is cooked or dried, however, all the sting goes out of it. Nettle is known as a blood purifier, and also serves as a diuretic. It’s good to use when your pup is retaining water. It helps his digestive system work better, and aids liver and kidney function. Stinging nettle contains a slew of essential nutrients, including calcium, chromium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, thiamine, and Vitamin A.
Oregano is another great herb for dogs. The herb is high in antioxidants and flavonoids and operates as an antimicrobial. It will help your dog with digestive issues including diarrhea and gas. Well-diluted oil of oregano (essential oil) may help to get rid of fungus, but as essential oils are very potent, you must be careful with the dosage.
Some people might be skeptical of the power of herbs. Make no mistake: they contain potent chemical compounds and must be used with care. When you educate yourself on how to use herbal supplements for your dog, you can have fun discovering which herbs he likes, and see how they enhance his health and well-being!