Herbs for healthy dogs
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.
Safety first! Read these instructions.
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.
Culinary herbs for your dog
For digestive support use rosemary, thyme, fennel, mint and coriander.
A weekly treatment for worms and parasites is yarrow, thyme and oregano.
Older dogs with arthritis or inflammation may benefit from feverfew, comfrey leaves, Asiatic pennywort (aka Gota kola), celery, parsley or yarrow.
For a pick-me-up or tonic after an illness, add parsley, comfrey leaves, Asiatic pennywort, borage or yarrow.
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.
Here’s how to make a skincare spray for your dog’s coat:
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.
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 2020 the year for improved health and wellbeing for you and your pet. Start planning your 2020 herb and flower list now.