Herbal Remedies for Dogs

Domestic and wild animals have always gone to plants instinctively when they need medication or internal cleansing – that’s right, dogs are excellent at sourcing their own herbal remedies!

Most dog owners have probably watched their dogs pick out selected grasses or weeds and then vomit quite soon after ingesting them. Dogs require greens for nutrition and proper digestion, and when needing a medicinal plant, will intentionally seek it out where possible.

Using plants as medicine is one of the oldest known healing arts, with the earliest record of using herbs for animals dating back thousands of years ago to China, where cattle and horses were treated with both acupuncture and herbs.

Today, herbs can be used both as effective medicines on their own, or as a supportive treatment for conventional pharmaceuticals. When used in this way, they can encourage better detoxification off the drugs and reduce side effects. One of the ways they work in terms of naturopathic treatment is to encourage detoxification by promoting elimination through both bowel and kidneys, as well as also supporting immune function.

While herbs are generally mild in their action and are a gentle and effective treatment option, it is best to have an animal naturopath or herbalist prescribe appropriate herbal remedies for your dog’s specific health condition.

It is also important to note that while some herbs can work very quickly, for chronic disease it may take several weeks or longer to see full improvement. This is because herbs work to improve the body’s natural function rather than suppress symptoms in the way that conventional drugs do. In addition to this, it is important that the herbs are used as part of a holistic approach where the underlying causes are being identified and treated (such as poor diet, etc.).

As a Canine Naturopath, I use herbal medicines as part of my treatment regime for all dogs. Herbs are generally prescribed in liquid (extract or tincture form) and are sourced and hand-made by a herbalist colleague of mine who has been producing her own herbs for practice for over 14 years. The majority of herbs are organic, contain very little alcohol, and are well tolerated by the majority of my doggie clients, being easily added to food. I do also use human-grade practitioner only tablet and capsule herbal remedies if and when appropriate.

Herbs provide a wonderful healing system, particularly for chronic conditions in dogs; when used in conjunction with a formulated, balanced diet, they can very effectively bring about healing, gently returning the body back to balance and health. They can be used in conjunction with many conventional medications and when used in this way, can help prevent side effects and assist the body to detoxify these drugs without losing their effectiveness.


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