Seasonings can not only enhance the flavors, they can provide nutrients valuable to a dog’s overall well-being. Consider growing your own herbs in a raised bed so they are readily available. Fresh is best but dried can also be used.
When purchasing always choose organic to avoid any pesticide/herbicide or other containment residues.
Holistic Veterinarians Consider These Herbs & Spices To Be Safe For Healthy Dogs With No Underlying Health Issues.
Before Using Any Herb Or Spice Consult With Your Veterinarian For Any Cautions, Possible Side Effects Or Conventional Drug Interactions. Not All Herbs And Spices Are Safe For Pregnant Or Lactating Dogs Or Puppies.
Aloe Vera is one of the best herbs for dogs. It contains amino acids, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and a plethora of vitamins. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-allergenic properties, and it is also an effective antioxidant. It can boost their immune system and help to heal wounds quickly as well.
Alfalfa is rich in calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, silicon and zinc, vitamins A, B1, B12, C, D, E, and K. It is also an antioxidant used to reduce pain and swelling associated with arthritis, nutritive (good for bone building) and diuretic.
Anise seed has anti-oxidant, disease preventing and many health promoting properties. Anise is rich in B-Complex Vitamins, Vitamin A and C (antioxidants) and important minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese zinc and potassium.
Carob is low in fat and sodium, high in fiber, potassium, and calcium, and can improve digestion. It has a natural sweetness and contains very little fat, no caffeine and encourages the absorption of calcium. Even though carob looks like, smells like, and has a taste that is similar to chocolate, it does not contain theobromine, the part of chocolate that is toxic to dogs.
Caraway Seeds are rich in dietary fiber, vital vitamins, and minerals, antioxidants (cancer and disease fighting). Caraway seeds are considered a warming herb meaning they help the body stay warm. Caraway seeds are also good for muscle health (anti-contraction), help prevent constipation and remove large amounts of harmful toxins from the body which helps prevent some cancers. They can be ground for use in homemade treats or gently baked in the oven just before serving or adding to food.
Catnip isn’t just for cats! It contains Magnesium, manganese, flavonoids, tannins, vitamins C and E, and essential oils such as neroli, citronellol, nepetalactone, thymol. It has a mild tranquilizing effect on most animals so is effective for treating restlessness, nervousness, and insomnia. The gas-relieving and antispasmodic effect of catnip also make it excellent for treatment of flatulence, diarrhea, and dyspepsia and is effective in treating early symptoms of colds, flu, and especially bronchitis. Tip: Put some fresh leaves in drinking water or sprinkle the dried herb (1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon of per pound of food) on a meal.
Chamomile can be used as a sedative to alleviate anxiety and insomnia. The herb tea or tincture is useful for indigestion, gas, and vomiting. It’s calming property is particularly helpful for cases of indigestion upset resulting from anxiety, nervousness, and hyperactivity. Although this is one of the safest herbs, some dogs are allergic to the plant so check for sensitivity first before applying it to your dog. Also, limit the use of this herb on pregnant dogs.
Chia Seeds contain large quantities of protein, five times the calcium of milk, boron (a trace mineral that aids in the absorption of calcium into the bones), Omega oils 3 and 6, and can help regulate blood sugar levels and aid in maintaining a healthy weight. The seeds of chia plants can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. These seeds have no discernible odor and almost no taste, which means they can be added to your dog’s meals without altering the flavors he loves. Seeds can be ground, eaten raw, or added to water, which will cause the seeds to produce what is called chia seed gel. This gel helps clean out intestines and slows digestion, allowing your dog’s body to absorb more of the incredible nutrients that chia seeds provide.
Cilantro (Corriander) is considered a digestive aid since it acts mainly on the digestive system, moderating the secretion of gastric juices and stimulating the appetite. It relieves gas and indigestion.
Cinnamon (Ceylon) has a pungent, slightly sweet flavor. It’s recommended to relieve vomiting and aid digestion. Cinnamon is said to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all food sources and can help remove the aflatoxins present in foods. Cinnamon is also good for keeping teeth clean and fighting bad breath.
Dandelion contains vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B complex, potassium, calcium, iron, thiamin, choline, lecithin, and riboflavin. This herb is also a strong but safe diuretic and liver stimulant, and its rich supply of potassium replenishes the precious mineral lost in the urine. The root has the ability to stimulate bile production by more than 50 percent, and it also increases bile flow to the gallbladder which proves to be helpful for dogs suffering from liver congestion, gallstones, and other forms of liver problems. The flowers are high in lecithin and have useful pain reducing qualities, so it can be used as a mild painkiller. Tip: The flowers and greens can be dried and then sprinkled on the dog’s food as a supplement. Alternatively, make a leaf tea by boiling the greens in unsalted vegetable or meat broth. (Daily intake: One teaspoon of dried herb for each 20 pounds of body weight.)
Dill improves appetite, digestion, and flatulence. It eases bloating due to gas and improves the digestive process because the gut gets better at extracting nutrients from foods and fewer nutrients are lost in excrement. It’s considered an antispasmodic which can help relax the colon and relieve constipation and it also helps to stop diarrhea and dysentery. Its antimicrobial action helps to freshen the mouth when chewed or washed with an extract of dill. It’s known to activate an enzyme called glutathione S-transferase which neutralizes carcinogens and generally detoxifies the body and it also has an antihistamine effect that helps to clear respiratory congestion caused by allergies or a cough.
Fennel which is crunchy and slightly contains protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, copper, and Omega-6 fatty acids. It acts as a detoxifier and strong digestive aid.
Fennel Seeds are used mainly as a digestive and have been known to normalize the appetite and aid weight loss. They also treat flatulence, calms the digestive tract, cleanses the liver, helpful with detoxifying the body as a whole, and is a natural diuretic.
Flaxseed, also known as linseeds, plays a significant role in canine cardiovascular health and skin and coat health since it is an important source of fiber and antioxidants, and it may have anti-tumor properties as well. omega-3 fatty acid and B vitamins and ground flaxseed may be added in place of oils in the diet. It not only improves the shine of the pet’s coat but aids in the movement of food through the digestive system.
Ginger is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory used to treat digestive upset, nausea, gas, motion sickness, heart problems, joint inflammation due to arthritic conditions, to reduce fever, and is also effective as an anti-infective, especially against viruses. It can decrease blood sugar levels, and increase absorption of all oral medications. Too much ginger may cause nausea, especially when given on an empty stomach and can affect how well blood clots. Do not give to a dog with a gastric ulcer or pregnant dogs.
Green Tea is rich in antioxidants and calming. It contains catechins which are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and provide a reduced risk for heart disease and several cancers such as skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder. Make sure you only use decaffeinated green tea.Kelp (seaweed) is a nutritional powerhouse containing Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, folate, iodine, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. Kelp benefits thyroid function promotes heart health, helps fight and prevent cancer, is a powerful antioxidant, aids in healing skin disorders and enhancing coat health. It can be purchased in dried form at most health stores.
Licorice is an effective anti-inflammatory, due to the presence of Glycyrrhizin, which has a similar chemical structure to that of natural corticosteroids released by the adrenal glands. Glycyrrhizin stimulates the adrenals and is useful for treating Addison’s disease. The herb also acts on the digestive system by promoting cell growth and alleviating ulcers and is also beneficial in treating liver toxicity. For the upper respiratory tracts, licorice root has long been used to alleviate coughs and ease discomfort brought on by bronchitis due to its demulcent, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties. To treat or prevent any of the above ailments, the best way is to feed your dog tinctures of the herb. Licorice can raise sugar levels in blood and should be used with caution in diabetic dogs. Do not use licorice for dogs with heart disease.
Milk Thistle is well known as a “liver herb” both for humans and pets. It contains a flavonoid compound called “silymarin” which itself is a combination of several other active compounds. Extensive studies around the world have found that silymarin is safe and effective in treating a variety of liver diseases and other conditions, from kidney disease to mushroom or lead poisoning. It works by displacing toxins trying to bind to the liver and by causing the liver to regenerate more quickly. In addition, silymarin can work as an antioxidant for the liver – it scavenges free radicals and stabilizes liver cell membranes. It also stimulates the production of new liver cells.
Holistic veterinarians (and some conventional ones as well) have long been using milk thistle to treat dog liver disease. It has an excellent safety record and no known adverse drug interactions, although taking too much of the herb at a time can sometimes cause an upset stomach, gas, or mild diarrhea.
Oregano is a rich natural source of fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. It contains Vitamin K, anti-oxidants, iron, manganese, fiber, and is a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids. It is renowned for its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties.
Parsley Leaves are packed with B vitamins, C vitamins, carotene, iron, and calcium. In addition to its use for dog bad breath, it can stimulate the kidneys to filter out toxins and increase urine.
Another leafy herb commonly seen as a garnish on our plates is a source of flavonoids, antioxidants, and vitamins. It also contains lycopene and carotenes. Often added to dog treats as a breath freshener or used to soothe the stomach, parsley has a long history of use with dogs.
Note: “Spring parsley,” a member of the carrot family that resembles parsley is toxic to dogs and cats due to high levels of furanocoumarins which can cause photosensitization and ocular toxicity.
Peppermint is known for its soothing effect on an upset stomach, respiratory infections, viral infections and skin conditions. It provides effective relief of flatulence and indigestion. Its anti-parasitic medical properties are an alternate solution in the treatment of worms for dogs. It is an antispasmodic, stimulates circulation, good for arthritis, dysplasia, sprains, and strains, and works well with ginger to treat motion sickness. Because one of the key constituents of peppermint is menthol, this oil should be kept away from your pets’ eyes and sensitive skin areas. It can be used topically or orally.
Rosemary is high in fiber, rich in vitamins, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antifungal, antiseptic, disease preventing and health promoting properties.
Sea Salt, in small amounts, is considered safe for dogs. It provides sodium, which is necessary for life. It helps with muscle contraction and expansion, nerve stimulation, the proper functioning of the adrenals, chloride which helps produce acids necessary to digest protein and enzymes for carbohydrate digestion necessary for proper brain functioning and growth, and finally, magnesium which is important for producing enzymes, nerve transmission, bone formation, forming tooth enamel, and resistance to heart disease.
Spirulina is a microscopic alga in the shape of a perfect spiral coil. It contains the most remarkable concentration of nutrients known in any food, plant, grain or herb. It’s the highest protein food- over 60% all digestible vegetable protein with the highest concentration of beta carotene, vitamin B-12, iron and trace minerals and the rare essential fatty acid GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). Both test-tube studies and animal-based research suggest that spirulina may help to strengthen the immune system, improve gastrointestinal health, aid in detoxification, reduce the rate of cancer, and help allergies.Thyme contains Vitamin K, iron, manganese, calcium, fiber and tryptophan, phytochemicals and anti-oxidants. It has antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, anti-bacterial properties, and is thought to have anti-cancer properties. It’s good for the skin, respiratory system, good brain function and gastrointestinal health.Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. It is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry but it also gives mustard its bright yellow color. Curcumin, the principal active component in turmeric, is a potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent that shows promise in the prevention and treatment of cancer among other conditions. It is generally found to be safe for dogs and cats with veterinarians frequently recommending the addition of turmeric (up to a quarter of a teaspoon per day for every 10 pounds of weight) to a dog or cat’s diet if they have been diagnosed with cancer. Turmeric can also be good for reducing arthritis inflammation and pain in pets. You can use powder, crushed or fresh root. –> How to Use Herbs for Dogs Used fresh or dried, adding a small sprinkle (a pinch for small dogs, a teaspoon for large dogs) of these herbs to your dog’s food is a safe way to give them a little boost in nutrition. You can also use them to make your favorite dog treat recipe a bit healthier and more flavourful. The flavonoids and antioxidants found in many of the herbs in this article can help the body’s immune system combat some of the diseases commonly associated with aging, including canine cognitive dysfunction, cancer, and reduced immune function. As noted, however, there are potential downsides and they should be used with care. Tincture and oils for many herbs are available at your local health or natural foods store. These are usually a more concentrated source, so if you wish to use tinctures, oils or higher levels of fresh or dried herbs it is best to work in conjunction with your dog’s health care professional. Sometimes the monitoring of a dog’s blood work is necessary to ensure continued safe use. For maximum efficacy, make sure the herbs and spices you use are not old. If the spices have been languishing in your cupboard for years, toss them out and replace them; their health-affirming properties will be diminished if they’ve been kicking around for a while.
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