How To Administer Herbs
To Your Pet
by Dr Jeannie Thomason
I believe it is of utmost importance that I begin by stating that you should never attempt the use of herbs for healing your pet unless you have a good understanding of what is ailing your pet in the first place It is also important that you have a good understanding of the healing herbs them-self. Please, don’t guess …..check with a veterinary naturopath or animal herbalist first! There are now some holistic/natural vets out there that have studied botanical medicine. This information in this article is not meant to replace the diagnosis and advice of a licensed veterinarian. . It is important to remember first and always that carnivores (cats and dogs) have much shorter digestive systems than we as humans have. Fresh herbs are not able to be digested as they are in omnivores or herbivores. Therefore, the tincture form of an herb will work better for them. An acceptable alternative would be a stronger herbal tea than you would use for yourself.
Also, doses need to be compatible with your pet’s weight – small amounts for small animals, larger amounts for large animals. When in doubt, please consult a veterinary naturopath, animal herbologist or knowledgable holistic veterinarian. Administering several doses throughout the day, rather than one big dose once a day will speed the herbs into your pet’s system and boost the immune system much faster. And as with ourselves, no herb should be given to any animal on a continuous basis. Like us, their bodies will begin to build an immunity, and once that happens, that herb becomes useless medicinally.
A good rule of thumb for any herbal remedy for your pet is two weeks on, one week off. That gives the body time to work on its own, and gives you time to determine if the herbal treatment needs to be continued. There are exceptions to this rule, as with all rules, as in herbs that take a while to build up in the body to be effective. Just about any herbal remedy that you use for yourself can be adapted for use for your pet – just remember to use tinctures whenever possible, stronger teas when necessary and to only use as you are knowledgable on the herbs and cause of the symptoms in your animal. For overall general good health, one should always look to proper nutrition/ diet. If you are still feeding kibble or a canned/processed diet to your to your pets, do your research, into the natural species specific dietary needs of your pet. Raw meat in diet of a cat or dog, being natural carnivores, most often clear up a lot of mysterious ailments all by its self, as can the addition of raw fruits and vegetables in the omnivore or herbavore diet. If you are changing your pet to a raw species appropriate diet, please do so with the guidance of a veterinray naturopath, carnivore nutritionits or a seasoned raw feeder.
CAUTION: Aspirin and aspirin derivatives (i.e. white willow bark and white oak bark, salicylic acid), acetaminophen products (i.e. Tylenol), ibuprofen products (i.e. Motrin), can be fatal to cats. Do not use them. Do not give pets caffeine-containing herbs either, which definitely includes chocolate, which can be dangerous for dogs even though they like it.
Liquid Herbs You can use a dropper to administer or you can also use a syringe (without the needle). Be careful not to stab the back of the throat. It is recommended to insert the syringe while the mouth is closed as far back as the opening goes. I personally have found that if you pull the cheek away from the jaw/teeth and drop the liquid slowly into the pocket it forms, holding the animals head back that it will not only seep into the mouth but some is absorbed into the lining of the mouth. Administer the liquid slowly so as not to choke the pet. Most pets will accept this method best. It doesn’t affect the taste of their foods and it gets the dose down the quickest. You can also put liquids in the food or a broth. Topically – Skin
The skin is the largest organ of the body and readily absorbs what is put on it. That’s why flea dips and other chemicals used on the skin are so toxic to your pet. If all else fails, you can rub the liquid into the pads of the feet or “bathe” the animal in a “tea” for absorption of nutrients. This makes it harder to know what you actually get administered, but it is a great option for the use of essential oils. as well
Tea You can brew the herbs as a tea and administer by dropper or syringe, or use as brewed in the water bowl in place of water. If not brewed too strong, they will drink as usual and you can increase strength as they adjust to it. This method may make it hard to get enough of the medicinal properties in to effectively help the condition, but it’s better than nothing and can be used in addition to other methods. You can brew relatively a strong concoction and add to a favorite meat broth for the water bowl. Have fresh filtered water available at times also. Dosage Consider assimilation ability, age, weight, extent of symptoms of deficiency. Always use common sense. Basic Formula to Follow – Take the weight of the pet and divide it by 150 lbs. (weight of average adult). This will equal the fractional amount of adult dosage required. Adult dosages are listed on labels. As a general rule to follow, start out slow on the first day to give the animal a chance to adjust to the taste and work up to the needed amount. Assume that the pet will, given the chance, gradually learn to accept and even enjoy the taste of herbs. Many pets actually begin to beg for their herbs just as they have been known to do for essenial oils and flower essences. The first time I heard this was with a hyper Rottweiler that would race to the door to “greet” anybody that visited. With an in-home business, this family needed some calming herbs for the dog. They began giving him Valerian Root and in about a week, the dog knew he needed it. Anytime they would grab a bottle of herbs, whether for themselves or him, the dog would come running and beg for a capsule. Their instincts are still tuned in to nature. If you have a hyper animal, you may want to give something to calm the pet during the period of illness. I have also been told of a feral cat that was feeding in somone’s back yard and she showed signs of a respiratory infection which concerned the family since these infections have been known to kill cats and often do it so quickly. They began putting liquid herbs on just a little bit of the food put out for here she would still be hungry. She nibbled at it, and as time passed, she began to eat it all up and the family was able to get it down her every couple of hours. In a couple of days, she was actually coming to seemingly “beg” for the herbs.
If you would like help with the use of herbs for your pets or learn more about putting your pets on a species appropriate raw diet, you may schedule an appointment for a consultation
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