Best Herbs for Dogs and Cats
Herbs for pets are more than just a pretty garnish. Herbs offer extraordinary health benefits for our dogs and cats. Herbs have been used throughout the ages for their medicinal properties. Various herbs have been shown to decrease inflammation, fight cancer, protect against heart disease, improve mood, and combat stress and anxiety. Read more on specific herbs.
For years, I have been using herbs and spices in both my health care and Dexter’s. I am by no means an expert or canine herbalist, but I feel I have been researching specific herbs for pet’s health enough and, with the help of a canine herbalist, Dexter’s holistic veterinarian, books, and online courses, I’m confident in choosing specific herbs for Dexter.
However, the one sticking point for me has been, what is the best way to administer herbs to pets? There are a few options available: fresh herbs, herb tinctures, herbal teas, and dried herbs. I’m a firm believer in rotation and not providing the same brand or remedy, therefore Dexter has received all of the above! Sometimes it’s a tea tincture, a fresh herb from the garden or dried…you get the picture.
I asked a few experts their thoughts on the best way to prepare herbs for dogs. Sara Chana Silverstein, Master Herbalist offered these tips. “For humans, my favorite way to prepare and administer herbs is in tincture form. The alcohol that is used is the best way to extract the medicinal products of the herbs. For animals, however, I would suggest using herbs in tea or also called infusion form. This means that the herb is water-based. When you make herbal medicine in a base of water, it will be easier for pets to metabolize. Fresh plants are wonderful and suggested but very limited to the season they grow in. Dried herbs work well and can be purchased all year long.”
Small animal and exotic veterinarian Dr. Sara Ochoa suggested, “Fresh is always best. They usually have the most nutritional value. While it can be time-consuming to keep fresh herb around for your pet’s food, many people will use dried or tinctures as these stay fresh longer. With the dried and tinctures, they are usually more flavorful, and a little bit will go a long way.”
So, how will I prepare Dexter’s daily herbs? All of the above! I do like to use fresh, organic herbs when they are in season and meet Dexter’s needs. He also has a nice stash of organic dried herbs and tinctures. I need to do a better job at making him more herbal teas. I have a feeling the tea would be a great addition to his knightly frozen Yappy Hour Kong. 🙂
Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, veterinarian, or herbalist. The content I provide is for informational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice, treatment or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of a professional with any questions pertaining to your health or the health of your pet, particularly if either you or your pet has a disease or immune dysfunction.
Do you provide herbs to your pets? Tell me in the comments.
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