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There is a reason why dogs sometimes eat grass or start chomping on herbs in your garden.
They do it instinctively to alleviate some digestive discomfort. And it’s not just dogs and cats that do this. Horses and wild animals do this too. They have an instinctual herbal knowledge and this article may inspire you to start a little herb patch or plant a few pots with herbs to help your favourite four legged animal.
For dog owners – there is a special grass that is doggy-safe. It’s called bearded wheat grass with the Latin name Agrospyron canina, so you can order some seeds to plant a doggy-safe area in patch in your garden or grow in some containers.
Dogs will self medicate with bearded wheat grass when they need fibre, better digestion and elimination – not only when they need to vomit or remove intestinal worms. And grass has nutritional value too, especially for dogs fed on dry granules. Think about all those human chugging back wheat or barley grass shots at organic markets.
Herbs for dogs
Some of the herbs you use in your kitchen are safe for your dog too. Obviously you use them in very small quantities! You can chop them finely and sprinkle over their dinner or infuse them in hot water and pour over their dried granules.
Make sure your pet always has fresh plain water (no added herbs) and only use unsprayed or organic herbs.
Never use herbs that have been sprayed with herbicide, insecticide, or anything toxic as you will make you pet ill.
If you have recently moved to a new home and unsure what the previous occupants did to the lawn etc, plant herbs and grass in grow bags or containers especially for your pet. The initial inconvenience is far less than a trip to the vet with a sick pet.
Can I give my dog herbs?
Yes. Just as fresh herbs give your food more flavour, they do the same for your four legged darling.
Herbs also have health benefits – they contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Safe digestive herbs for dogs:
Calming herbs for dogs
During stressful times , like fireworks, visitors, travel to and from the vet, you can use herbs to help calm your dog.
Yes, they’re the same herbs humans use as bedtime tea.
- St. John’s Wort
- Lemon balm
- Bach Rescue Remedy
Is thyme safe for dogs?
Yes, a weekly treatment for worms and parasites is yarrow, thyme and oregano.
Is rosemary safe for dogs
Yes! For digestive support use rosemary, thyme, fennel, mint and coriander.
Homemade dog breath freshener
Peppermint, Moroccan mint and spearmint are good for doggy breath
Add a few leaves to their food. If you feed your dog garlic, be sure to add parsley to their menu too!.
Prebiotics and Probiotics for dogs
After an illness or medication, your dog’s digestive system needs top up of ‘good bacteria’ -this is where a probiotic is helpful.
However, those bacteria need to be fed and often FOS is used in formulae – the same prebiotic used for humans.
For a pick-me-up or tonic after an illness, add parsley, comfrey leaves, Asiatic pennywort, borage or yarrow.
CBD for dogs
Early research out of Baylor College of Medicine shows that CBD oil can help treat canine osteoarthritis, which affects 20% of dogs older than a year old.
There are now less potent CBD products designed specifically for dogs because owners were concerned about giving their furry friends human-grade CBD oil.
Try out Royal CBD and Gol Bee.
Herbs for older dogs
Older dogs with arthritis or inflammation may benefit from feverfew, comfrey leaves, Asiatic pennywort (aka Gotu kola), celery, parsley or yarrow.
Here’s how to make a skincare spray for your dog’s coat:
And for skincare, calendula, thyme, chamomile and lavender are great. You can add them to your dog’s food (finely chopped, small amounts) and also make a spray.
Add between a teaspoon or tablespoon of skincare herbs (calendula, thyme, chamomile and lavender) to a mug of boiled water.
Let steep. When cooled, sieve then bottle the liquid.
Add a label with the date and pet’s name. Spray liberally over her coat – and use within a week.
If it’s been sitting longer than a week – pour into your compost or into the garden. Wash the container with hot soapy water, rinse well then refill with a fresh brew.
Natural herbal flea repellant
For deterring fleas, you can stuff a pillow with pennyroyal, rosemary, tansy and pyrethrum (chrysanthemum) then pop it under their blanket.
An infused spray with the same herbs is worth a try too. And it’s classified as organic so you can use the spray in your garden against insects.
Spray it over your cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, etc early in the morning or the evening. (Not in the heat of the day!)
And a final thought – why not grow these herbs in gaps in your garden when plants die back? Many such as calendula are easy to grow and you can seed-save each season.
Make 2021 the year for improved health and wellbeing for you and your pet. Start planning your herb and flower list now.
International dog day
Every August 26th is dedicated to dogs who need adoption from rescue centres. Be sure to read up on how to introduce a new dog to your your home. And avoid buying from puppy mills.