Herbs can spice up cooking, be used to create fragrant potpourris and provide variety and color to your yard. But if you think that’s where the power of herbs ends, think again! It turns out that several of the most common herbs that we humans use are also good for our four-legged friends. Below you’ll find seven herbs and natural remedies that are dog-safe.
7 of the Best Herbs for Your Dog(s)
- Aloe Vera. That spiky green plant that soothes sunburns on humans can also be beneficial to your pet dog. The way you use aloe vera with dogs is similar to humans; it can be rubbed on minor burns, cuts, and skin irritations to soothe and heal. You can also feed your dog small amounts of aloe vera as a natural remedy for gas, constipation, upset stomach and even infections. If you’re choosing to give your pet aloe vera internally, give them some aloe vera juice but make sure there aren’t any additives or preservatives in it, and don’t give your dog too much or they may end up with diarrhea.
- Apple cider vinegar. OK, so apple cider vinegar isn’t an herb, technically, but it’s an excellent antifungal remedy for dogs suffering from yeast infections in their ears. When applying topically it should be diluted with water and used as an after-bath rinse. It can also be added to food and/or water, or it can be applied topically to the ears, skin, or other affected area. To help prevent your dog from getting an ear infection in the first place, consider using Tea Tree Oil. When choosing an apple cider vinegar to use for your pet, make sure it’s raw, organic and unfiltered.
- Ginger root. This pungent, peachy-colored herb does double duty, spicing up Eastern cuisine in the kitchen and settling down canine upset tummies. For humans, ginger root can be steeped into a tea, used as a tincture, or chewed on to relieve nausea. For your dog, ginger root should only be taken in capsule form, and even then only in an amount that has been approved by your vet. Giving your dog too much ginger can actually result in indigestion and an upset tummy. In addition, ginger can be used as a natural remedy in dogs for motion sickness, nervousness and anxiety. See our article on other additives to help older dogs retain food and gain a little weight.
- Milk thistle. If your dog is afflicted with a medical condition that requires him to take medicine regularly, milk thistle could be a valuable supplement. Milk thistle is a great supplement to improve liver function while protecting against future damage. If your dog’s medication is hard on the liver, make sure to supplement him with milk thistle. For exact amounts and concentrations, you should always consult your vet before beginning a regimen.
- Valerian root, chamomile and poppy seeds. Sometimes having a hyper or anxious dog just comes with the territory for particular breeds. Dogs who are not congenitally hyper can also suffer from anxiety. If you suspect that your dog has an issue with hyperactivity and want to address it the natural way, you may want to try one of the following three natural products: valerian root, poppy seeds and chamomile. Aside from being natural relaxants in dogs, using the three herbs together can have the added benefits of lowering blood pressure, helping protect against parasites and even helping reduce canine asthma. When mixing up a tea or tincture, go light on the Valerian as a little goes a long way.
- Oregano oil. Another all-natural antifungal for dogs is oregano oil. When it comes to using oregano oil as a homeopathic remedy for dogs, it’s crucial to buy a vet-approved oil. Oregano oil can lose its nutritional and antifungal properties if over-processed. Oregano oil smells very strong to dogs (whose noses are approximately 40 – 50 times more sensitive than human noses are), so add only a couple drops to your pup’s food and mix it in well. Oregano oil is also great for treating canine gum disease as well as parasites.
- Goldenseal. This little herb can help dogs with weepy eyes, eye infections, upset stomachs, and bowel problems. Additionally, it can be a powerful remedy for Kennel Cough when paired with Echinacea. Goldenseal is quite versatile and can be boiled down and made into an eyewash, taken internally to help heal ulcers and upset stomachs, administered as a tincture or tea, or applied as a compress.
As with any treatment you provide to your dog, you should always consult your veterinarian before beginning. To your (dog’s) health!
Updated on 3/16/2016
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