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herbs for dogs

Helpful Herbs for Dogs: The Basics

When it comes to natural health and wellness, Mother Nature really has given us the tools to succeed. And not just us - our pets as well!

Take, for example, herbs. There are so many different herbs that we use on a regular basis, be it for cooking (without realizing the benefits), or for a specific health reason. And not only are these good for us, there are also many valuable herbs for dogs.

With both nutritive and therapeutic properties, many herbs you have growing in your backyard or in your crisper drawer can be given to your pet. 

But they do come with instructions. Before you head out to your herb garden with your pet's food bowl, check out this list to make sure you're choosing the right herbs for dogs, and feeing them correctly!

Herbal Healing Tips

Just a few quicks notes before we start:

  • While some essential oils are fine to use (well diluted) with dogs, others are far too strong, even when diluted. For each of the herbs on this list, we recommend only fresh or dried herbs, not essential oils, or even oil of "such and such a herb." Concentrations are much higher in herbal oils and tinctures.
  • Also, work your way up to these doses. Start small and go slow. Some dogs will enjoy the taste, while others may not. 
  • Whenever you introduce a new food, always be on the lookout for any adverse reactions. These herbs are all safe, but as with anything else, some dogs may have a reaction, so just be aware. 

Our Favourite Herbs for Dogs

1. Peppermint

Peppermint contains vitamins A and C, calcium, copper, folate, iron, niacin, magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, zinc phosphorus, fiber, and antioxidants. It's useful for soothing upset stomachs, reducing gas, freshening breath, and even helping with motion sickness. Additionally, researchers are even looking at it for its radioprotective effects and using it to reduce radiation-induced sickness and mortality in animals undergoing chemotherapy.

When it comes to homeopathy, peppermint is an antidote. If you're using remedies, perhaps leave the peppermint off the menu because it can stop a homeopathic remedy from working.

Work up to:

  • a pinch for small dogs
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon for medium dogs
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon for large dogs 

2. Basil

This fresh herb is filled with endless essential minerals and vitamins that have antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties: vitamin A, vitamin K and calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium.

Basil can be helpful for digestive upset, for blood sugar control, and even to help your dog better deal with stress!

Work up to:

  • a pinch for small dogs
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon for medium dogs
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon for large dogs 

3. Oregano 

Oregano is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, omega-3s, calcium, iron, manganese, and dietary fiber. It's strong antioxidant, antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties make it useful for cleansing the body of toxins, helping with inflammation, and reducing digestive issues.

With oregano, less is more.Do not use oil of oregano because it is too strong for your dog. Moderate to large servings can be toxic.

Work up to:

  • a pinch for small dogs
  • 1/8 teaspoon for medium dogs
  • 1/4 teaspoon for large dogs 

4. Parsley 

Parsley isn't just a garnish! It's actually a good source of vitamins and antioxidants, as well as the flavonoids lycopene and carotenes. Many pet parents swear by it for freshening breather for soothing an upset stomach.

Note: “Spring parsley,” a member of the carrot family that resembles parsley is toxic to dogs and cats due to high levels of furanocoumerin. Stay away from it - stick to the curly variety only.

Work up to 1 teaspoon per 20lbs of bodyweight.

5. Cilantro 

Cilantro contains vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folate, potassium, zinc. It's also impressive because of its antioxidant, antimicrobial, Ease digestive issues (gas or bloating) and an upset stomach.

Work up to:

  • a pinch for small dogs
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon for medium dogs
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon for large dogs 

6. Turmeric

A very popular herb, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and it has been found to increase bile flow and protect the stomach and liver.It's probably best known to help with inflammation and joint pain in dogs (and humans too).

It's not highly available, so it's best when mixed with certain elements that increase that bioavailability. We like to make a golden paste featuring turmeric, black pepper, and coconut oil. Here's a good recipe and amount recommendations from our friends at Adored Beast Apothecary

Herbs provide us with a wide variety of options when it comes to natural health and healing. For our dogs, these can also help add variety to the diet, and provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals, as well as other beneficial properties. A few times a week, raid that herb garden and sprinkle some joy into your dog's food.

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