Dog Herbs

Dog Herbal Medicine

FAQ Herbal medicine

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See also: Dog Cases

Refer to: Care & Administration of Herbal Medicines (.pdf file)

Cats and dogs are carnivores, with cats being more specialized and dependent upon prey animals than dogs, who are more omnivorous (and scavengers). In the wild, dogs can be expected to eat fruit, plants and roots, in addition to herbivore dung. Herbs are therefore more obviously natural as a food or medicine for dogs than might be the case for cats. Dogs also appear to have the capability to self-medicate with naturally-available herbs (zoopharmacognosy). Some herbal vets recognise this phenomenon. We suspect that cats may do that too but we have not ourselves witnessed the phenomenon with cats.

We recommend that any herbal treatment should be carefully integrated, both with the diet and with other medication. This is more fully argued on the Herbs page.

Dogs and cats generally accept herbal medicines very readily, usually added to the daily food ration. Of course, the herbal medicine may also be administered directly, in tablet form.

It is important to consult an experienced herb vet, in order to avoid potentially dangerous incompatibility with conventional medication, dangers during pregnancy and lactation and dosing or species anomalies. Many commercial ‘off-the-shelf’ herbal products vie for your money – these are often modifications of human herbal formulae and may not be suitable for your dog and are certainly not sold in a responsible fashion, ensuring that they suit your individual dog’s needs and special circumstances (e.g. diet, other medication). They are a triumph of commercial marketing over common sense, safety and best practice.

Herbal vet application: a sample of the dog diseases and canine conditions that we may be called upon to treat with herbal medicine are (in alphabetical order):

  • Allergy
  • Anal Gland
  • Arthritis
  • Ascites
  • Atopy
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Behavioural Problems
  • Bloat / Bloating
  • Cancer
  • Canine Epilepsy
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • CDRM
  • CHF
  • Chronic Heart Failure
  • Chronic Renal Failure
  • CMO
  • Colitis
  • Coprophagy
  • Cough
  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy
  • CRF
  • Cruciate Ligament
  • Cushings Disease – Cushings Syndrome
  • Cystitis
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Dermatitis
  • Diarrhoea
  • Disc Disease
  • Disc Prolapse
  • DJD
  • Dry Eye
  • Ear Problems
  • Eczema
  • Epilepsy
  • False Lactation
  • False Pregnancy
  • Fears
  • Gingivitis
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Failure
  • Heat Stress
  • Heat Stroke
  • Hepatitis
  • Hepatocutaneous Syndrome
  • Hepatopathy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hormonal Alopecia
  • Hormonal Problems
  • IBD
  • IBS
  • Infertility
  • Jaundice
  • KCS
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
  • Kidney Problems
  • Lick Granuloma
  • Ligament Injury
  • Liver Disease
  • Lupus
  • Myositis
  • Non-Union Fracture
  • Nose Bleed
  • Obesity
  • OCD
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans
  • Osteodystrophy
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Pruritus
  • Pseudopregnancy
  • Pyoderma
  • Pyometra
  • Pyometritis
  • Renal Failure
  • Sinusitis
  • Skin Problems
  • SLE
  • Spondylitis – Spondylosis – Spondylopathy
  • Sprain
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosis
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Urolithiasis
  • Urticaria
  • Vestibular Syndrome

The phytotherapy treatment may also include other therapies, in an integrated program (e.g. veterinary homeopathy and/or veterinary acupuncture along with natural feeding).

FAQ Herbal medicine

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*Herbal vets don’t grow on trees but some important herbal medicines do! Take salicylic acid, for instance, harvested from willow bark to give us aspirin. At the AVMC, however, we would give willow bark or meadow sweet (another plant that is rich in salicylate), in the raw state, in preference to the manufactured chemical extract. N.B.: These herbs should not be given in conjunction with conventional NSAIDs and vice versa. The veterinary herbalist should know this but many conventional vets will not, hence the potential dangers.