Caring for a Special Needs Senior Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
By request, I’m writing about some of the natural remedies I incorporate into Dexter’s care. A little recap for those new to my blog. Dexter, is a senior Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who has Chiari Malformation and syringomyelia. Chiari malformation (CM) is when the skull is too small to hold the brain. Because of this, the cerebellum and medulla are pushed out and obstruct the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid and pressure. This pressure then can cause fluid-filled cavities within the spinal cord known as syringomyelia (SM).
Besides caring for a senior dog, I also take measures to decrease the spinal fluid buildup, by incorporating foods and herbs that act as a diuretic and get things moving in his body. His disease also affects his mobility, so increasing his body strength and overall body awareness is another top priority.
Some of Dexter’s physical therapy. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel for more.
Dexter was also dealt with the seasonal allergy card. I can typically expect his dog seasonal allergies to kick in around summer and stay until after our first hard frost. I provide Dexter various foods, supplements, frequent baths, and daily wipe downs to help relieve his body from the itches.
Stinging Nettle for Dogs
I was introduced to stinging nettle leaf for dogs by Dexter’s holistic veterinarian many years ago. Stinging nettle leaf is a gentle diuretic, which helps flush toxins out of the body. This was a good choice for Dexter because he is on medications due to his SM/CM, and it helps to rid his body of these toxins. Because of nettle’s diuretic properties, it also helps reduce the spinal fluid buildup.
Nettle Leaf for Dogs with Allergies
Dexter developed his seasonal allergies a few years ago. Our environment has not changed. However, it is likely that Dexter’s immune system is weakening as he is aging and his disease is progressing. I work hard at trying to support and boost his immune system, but the body does what the body does. In comes nettle leaf!
Nettle is an overall body booster, helping to support a dog’s immune system. It also is an anti-inflammatory, reducing the inflammation caused by allergies. A dog with seasonal allergies can take nettle both orally and as a body rinse. I have not tried the rinse, but I’m adding it to Dexter’s next bath and it to his foot bath.
Nettle Dosage for Dogs
First, you can provide your dog nettle in the form of a tincture, dried herb, tea, or wash. You can read my article on the differences in this article. At this moment, I use a tincture form for Dexter. Although, I’m likely going to purchase the dried herb to make a few tea baths.
As with any herbal, please speak with your holistic veterinarian to determine if it’s a good game plan for your dog. This is especially true if he’s on any medications or has any medical issues. Occasionally a dog may have a reaction to stinging nettle, so start with a smaller dose and when you are home to supervise.
General Stinging Nettle for Dogs Dosage
It’s important to note that tinctures will vary greatly in dosing. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you.
- Dogs under 25 lbs., 1/8 tsp. dried herb, 5-10 drops tincture
- Dogs 25-49 lbs., ½ tsp. dried herb, 10-20 drops tincture
- Over 50 lbs., ¾ tsp. dried herb, 20-40 drops tincture
One of my soapbox topics is rotation. I rotate pretty much everything in Dexter’s life. This includes nettle. Although this herb is generally safe for dogs, I do an on-off rotation. However, during his allergy time, I do provide mostly on twice a day. 🙂
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