As dog parents, we want to give our pups the best life possible. One way to do that is to supplement their diets with healthy herbs for dogs.
Just as herbs can help you, they also can help your pup. Healthy herbs for dogs can do everything from ease upset tummies and reduce inflammation to promote liver health and help dogs sleep.
Boost your dog’s diet by adding 21 healthy herbs for dogs.
Although dogs can’t eat or even lick the aloe vera plant, you can apply the plant’s gel topically. Aloe vera gel, known for its antibacterial properties and soothing coolness, helps treat skin irritations, including scrapes and minor burns. Don’t let your dog lick any areas where you apply aloe vera gel.
Basil is a healing herb known for being antibacterial and for fighting free radicals. It also reduces pain and inflammation and helps fight cancer, prevents diabetes, and protects the liver. Basil also can help fight pain and reduce inflammation for dogs suffering from arthritis.
Like aloe vera, these anti-fungal flowers can be used to treat cuts, scrapes, or wounds. With its anti-bacterial properties, the flowers also can be made into a tea that you can use as an antiseptic wash.
California poppy is a natural relaxant that helps lower blood pressure and can treat asthma and prevent parasites.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is extracted from marijuana or hemp plants. It does not contain any THC, the psychoactive element that makes you feel high. CBD helps ease pain, reduce inflammation, control seizures, boost appetite, and helps dogs relax.
Chamomile helps relieve muscle spasms, reduce inflammation, and creates a remedy for chronic or acute gastric disorders, including various forms of inflammatory bowel disease. It’s also a natural relaxant that helps calm hyper dogs. Brew chamomile tea, and once cooled, add one to four tablespoons per 30 pounds of your dog’s weight to his drinking water.
Cinnamon is a healing herb that displays anti-cancer properties. It is anti-inflammatory, fights free radicals, and helps protect against heart disease. Cinnamon also helps regulate blood sugar and can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s or doggie dementia.
Coriander helps detoxify your dog’s body and alleviates nausea, intestinal gas, and diarrhea. Warning, coriander can stimulate uterine contractions, so avoid giving it to pregnant dogs.
Dill improves digestion, relieves diarrhea, and lowers blood sugar. It also is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and antibacterial. Like coriander, dill can be dangerous to pregnant dogs because it may cause miscarriage.
Up to a teaspoon of fennel seed can be feed to dogs to help soothe upset tummies, reduce gas, treat diarrhea or alleviate constipation. It also can be brewed into a tea (use one teaspoon of seeds in 8 ounces of boiling water) that you can feed to your dogs or add to their water. Give your dog two to four tablespoons of fennel tea per 20 pounds of body weight. Don’t overdo it. Too much fennel can cause heart palpitations and difficulty breathing.
Ginger also eases nausea and upset tummies, including when that distress is caused by motion sickness. It also helps regulate blood sugar and may help slow or prevent cancerous tumors’ growth, reduce pain caused by arthritis, and boost cognitive function.
Goldenseal works as an antibiotic and is particularly effective as a tea or wash for dogs with eye infections or weepy eyes. It also helps treat stomach and bowel problems.
Milk thistle helps improve liver function and protects against liver damage. It can help dogs suffering from pancreatitis. Before giving your dog milk thistle, check with your vet to make sure it won’t interfere with any medications.
Nettle can be used to create a rinse to soothe rashes or skin irritations. It’s also good at helping alleviate allergies.
Oregano helps reduce arthritis-caused inflammation. It also helps keep your dog’s skin healthy and coat shiny. Oregano helps fight cancer and free radicals. If your dog suffers from bleeding disorders or is diabetic, check with your vet first. Unfortunately, this healing herb can cause blood sugar to drop and increase bleeding risk.
Add finely chopped parsley to your dog’s food to improve digestion and fight bad breath. This healthy herb for dogs may help prevent urinary tract infections and both kidney and gallbladder stones. It’s right in anti-oxidants and is a natural diuretic.
Peppermint helps improve digestion, treat diarrhea, soothe upset stomachs, and reduce irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. It also can help improve your dog’s breath. Consult your vet if your dog is diabetic because peppermint can cause hypoglycemia. It also can aggravate symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Rosemary is high in antioxidants and is good for your dog’s nervous system and heart function. This healing herb also can help calm anxious or irritable dogs. Rosemary also can help ease pain due to arthritis. Give your dog a rosemary tincture of 1/8 teaspoon orally per 20 pounds of body weight up to three times per day.
Sage is a healthy herb for dogs that helps ease bloating and gas and improves digestion. Like rosemary, it can help calm anxious dogs and may help improve cognitive function.
Thyme helps improve digestion, supports gastrointestinal health, and can expel parasites like hookworms. It also is good for your dog’s skin and can help improve brain function. Just add a teaspoon of either the dried or fresh herb per pound fed to your dog’s food.
This healing herb also helps fight gingivitis and often is used in toothpaste and mouthwash. Apply a thyme tincture or strong thyme tea to your dog’s gums with a swab.
To help ease coughs or bronchial spasms, give your dog a cooled thyme tea up to twice a day. Proper dosage is 1/4 teaspoon per 30 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
A thyme tea rinse also can be used to help eliminate fungal or bacterial skin infections.
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. This healthy herb for dogs supports the liver, helps fight cancer, improves brain function, and can reduce arthritis symptoms. The recommended dose is 1/4 teaspoon for small togs, 1/2 teaspoon for medium dogs, and 1 teaspoon for large dogs mixed with food.
Turmeric also can be a blood thinner, so consult your vet if your dog is on other medications.
Like chamomile and California poppy, valerian is a natural relaxant that can help calm a hyper dog. It also helps lower blood pressure and can soothe asthma.
Understanding healthy herbs for dogs
Adding healing herbs to your dog’s diet is a great way to help keep him healthy. Be warned, some healthy herbs for dogs can interfere with medications your dog takes. Before changing your dog’s diet, be sure to consult your vet.
Sara B. Hansen has spent the past 20-plus years as a professional editor and writer. She’s also the author of The Complete Guide to Cocker Spaniels. She decided to create her dream job by launching Dog’s Best Life. Sara grew up with family dogs, and since she bought her first house, she’s had a furry companion or two to help make it a home. She shares her heart and home with Nutmeg, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy. Her previous dogs: Sydney (September 2008-April 2020), Finley (November 1993-January 2008), and Browning (May 1993-November 2007). You can reach Sara @ [email protected].