Herbal Pet – The Basics

07- herbs01

It is known that many animals consume specific herbs to treat ailments, a process called zoopharmacognosy (yes that is a real word). The use of herbs for medicinal purposes among humans has been documented to have occurred as far back as 60,000 years ago based on remains found in an ancient grave in Iraq. It has been proposed that the human use of herbs may have started by early man (and woman) carefully watching and mimicking wild animals. If we have animals to thank for our practice of herbalism, then I think it is high time for us to return the favor and treat our pets with gentle herbs in place of harsh drugs.

Herbs often make great substitutes for pharmaceuticals. In fact, about 25% of today’s medicines were derived from herbs.

Partial list of drugs derived from herbs
Aspirin – white willow
Atropine – belladonna
Digoxin and digitoxin – foxglove
Morphine and codeine – opium poppy
Cancer Chemo – Paclitaxel (Taxol) – yew tree
Cancer Chemo – Vinblastine and vincristine – periwinkle

Don’t try to tell me that herbs don’t have a strong effect on the body

The confusing thing about herbal medicine is that herbal remedies come in many forms. Of course, this also makes them more versatile.

You can give a pet the fresh herb (green or dried). You can also give the herb in the form of a tea.

Herbs come as tinctures (a grain alcohol/water preparation of the dried herb). An extract uses the same extraction process only with the fresh herb. (Both of these are considered more potent than teas because the alcohol helps extract more active ingredients).

The problem with tinctures and extracts is the alcohol they contain. Some pets just don’t tolerate it. A way around that problem is to dilute the dose of herbal tincture with an equal amount of hot water. This evaporates off the alcohol.

Herbs can also be found as glycerin extracts but these are less effective than the alcohol preps. Recently a hybrid has been developed. Some herb companies use a water and alcohol extraction process, then evaporate off most of the alcohol and add glycerin as a preservative. This gives the best of both worlds?

When purchasing herbs, be sure the label contains the following information

Genus & Species (Not just the common name)
Expiration or Harvest date
Part of herb used
Amount of active ingredient (standardized)
Other constituents

When dosing herbs for your pet, the following chart may be helpful.

(Give the indicated amount 2-3 times a day)
Pet’s Weight        Tea       Dried Herb        Tincture
0-10 lbs               1/8 c        1/8 tsp           1-3 drops
10-20 lbs               ¼ c        ¼-½ tsp          3-5 drops
20-50 lbs            ¼-½ c       ½-1 tsp         5-10 drops
50-100 lbs          ½-1 c       1-2 tsp         10-20 drops
>100 lbs              1 c           2-3 tsp         20-30 drops

Here are some potential dangers to be aware of.

– Pennyroyal – Very toxic to dogs & cats
– Tea Tree Oil – Very toxic to cats & small dogs
– White Willow Bark – Contains salicylates which are toxic to cats
– Garlic – Can cause anemia at high doses
– Ma Huang – Toxic to cats
– Comfrey – Can cause liver damage
– Hops – Toxic to greyhounds

If your pet has any of the following conditions, the herbs listed should be used with caution.

• Kidney disease – Dandelion, parsley
• Heart disease – Motherwort, goldenseal, Oregon grape, barberry
• Autoimmune disease – Echinacea, reishi, maitake, astragalus
• Liver Disease – Dandelion
• Thyroid disease – Kelp, bugleweed

Herb-Drug Interactions

Herbs used to treat a certain condition may potentiate drugs for that condition
– Gymnema, bitter melon > insulin
– Licorice, bayberry > glucocorticoids
– White willow bark > NSAIDS
– Convallaria, squill > digoxin
– Hawthorn, ginseng > cardiac drugs
– Valerian > CNS depressants

High fiber herbs (flaxseed, psyllium) may delay absorption of drugs

High tannin herbs (grape seed extract, green tea) inhibit absorption of certain alkaline drugs

Anticoagulant herbs (gingko, garlic, ginseng, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, reishi, white willow bark) should not be used with anticoagulant drugs or if the pet has GI ulcers or any bleeding condition.

Many herbs interact with the liver’s detoxification system. They should not be used with phenobarbital, glucocorticoids, ketoconazole, midazolam & calcium channel blockers. Those herbs include: Cats claw, chamomile, echinacea, elder root, eleuthero, gingko, goldenseal, hops, garlic, licorice, milk thistle, red clover, rosemary, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort, valerian, and wild cherry bark.

Herbs can be very helpful for many common conditions. Mixing herbs and drugs can cause problems so you really need to know what you are doing. If in doubt, don’t mix the two. Future “Herbal Pet” posts will give information about specific herbs and their uses.

119 thoughts on “Herbal Pet – The Basics

  1. Lisa

    ok my question to this is, Peanut is on all kinds of drugs due to a herniated disc in his neck, and Buttercup is on insulin and we get the result back Monday or Tuesday for the Cushing’s test… I have 1000mg capsules that I take everyday, how can I give it to both if them from the capsule and how much??

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      Milk thistle can change the metabolism of some medications so it is not a good idea to give it to pets on multiple medications.

      1. Olufunke

        I use a few drops of benzoin in my glycerin tinctures to prolong the life and I’m wondering if that bends when is going to be hazardous to my little cat friend who is almost 20 pounds.
        She gets urinary tract infections and I was going to give her some dandelion root tincture that is a glycerin base and I remembered I put a few drops of benzoin in the bottle and so I thought I’d better ask

        1. Dr. Doug Post author

          I don’t know for sure how well cats can handle benzoin. I do know that cats are very sensitive to many things as their livers cannot process certain compounds. If in doubt, keep it out.

      2. Gaby

        Hi, my dog is on ivermectin treatment for demodex. A friend recommended me to give her milk thistle and cats claw to improve her immune system and to detoxify her liver. If she is on ivermectin can i give her those herbs?

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I would suggest 1/2 oz olive oil into which you add 400 IU Vitamin E from a capsule. Put 1/2 dropper-ful in each ear every other day for 6 days.

  2. Elaine

    I use Nature’s Way’s Thisilyn, capsules, each 175 mg extract, 80% silymarin. Can they be used on my 52 lb Am. Staff. Terrier? He’s on a few supplements and hydroxyzine for skin and possible food allergies.

  3. Debbie caponi

    I would like to start giving my 9 lb Pom milk thistle for a week after her monthly Trifexis pill. I bought liquid milk thistle made by Herb Pharm. it’s ingredients are:
    Certified organic alcohol (62-72%), distillers water and milk thistle extractives.
    Would this be considered a tincture? Do I just put three drops in her mouth?
    It is from the dried, whole seed of Silybum marianum plants. They use a double extraction process. Is this a good choice?
    Thank you!

  4. janis

    My husky has shown symptoms of thyroid condition. She is fed a raw diet. The vet would not do a test as she believed she was clinical healthy only she should lose some kg’s.
    She has since produced further symptoms such as dark pigmentation in the groin area; dry fur on hind legs; lethargic; mentally slowed; irritable at times; other little very subtle signs.
    I am giving her kelp, salmon oil, spirulina and recently started on ashwaganda and bladderwrack.
    Is there other herbs that may support her?
    Is kelp needed, as I don’t know if she has an iodine deficiency?
    Thank you for the informative article.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      The first step is to get the condition diagnosed. It does not make sense to treat the thyroid if that might not be the problem. I recommend the Hemopet Thyroid Profile 5 http://www.hemopet.org/veterinary-diagnostic-laboratory.html

      Perhaps if you insist on the test your vet will agree. If not, find one who will. I can’t think of a good reason not to do such a test if the pet caregiver is willing to pay for it.

  5. Kathryn

    I was interested to see that caution was recommended regarding use of echinacea, reishi, maitake, & astragalus for dogs with autoimmune issues. I have always thought of these herbs as immune enhancers, especially the mushrooms, so am curious as to why caution is recommended. Thanks for any help you can give me in understanding this.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      Autoimmune disease involves the immune system attacking healthy cells. The idea is that it is not a good idea to enhance the immune system under these circumstances. There are those who believe that these supplements “modulate” the immune system and thus bring it back into balance when it is attacking the body. My caution is there because I think that without expertise in herbal medicine, these supplements should be avoided in the case of autoimmune disease.

  6. Sia

    I’m considering giving my dog Convallaria Majalis I’m worried he’s at the beginning of a heart failure. Since all the mother tinctures are with a high percentage of alcohol ( 87% in one I found ) where can I find one with either low alcohol or is there a way to get the alcohol out of the tincture before giving?
    Muffin is 8 yrs old chihuahua and weighs 8 pounds. His Mitral valve disease was diagnosed this may and has got worse and worse till now because there aren’t any Cardiologist Vets in my city. Vet suggested starting Digoxin but a holistic vet said Convallaria is much better.
    He’s also getting hawthorn and dandelion last 2 weeks.
    Is there a safer way to give him Convallaria with a little or no alcohol. I’m in India and would have to find a way to ship it here asap.
    Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      You can get much of the alcohol out of a tincture by adding an equal volume of boiling hot water to each dose. This evaporates off much of the alcohol and dilutes the rest. Do not evaporate off the alcohol from the entire bottle as the alcohol serves as a preservative. Just do each dose before you give it. (Obviously be sure it is cool enough before you give it.)

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I am not familiar with wild cherry bark. My recommendation for a cat with a cough is to find the cause of the cough and treat that. The cough is a symptom of some underlying problem.

  7. Carol Pearson

    What would you recommend for a dog with pancreatitis?
    I have purchased a tincture product that contains comfrey and devils claw and have been informed that they could cause problems, especially with the liver.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I’m not familiar with those herbs for pancreatitis. I use Chinese herbal medicine and would need to examine the pet to prescribe the best formula for the individual.

  8. Rose

    Dr. Doug:
    You state if there are liver issues one should be cautious using dandelion. I also read on the MedlinePlus nlm.nih.gov Herbal Medicine site that if there is inflammation in the gallbladder dandelion should not be used. My dog has sludgy bile and sludge in his gallbladder. It seems from what I’ve also read dandelion can be so beneficial for liver and gallbladder; however, there must be a good reason that you are stating caution be used if liver, kidney issues. Does that apply to bile sludge and sludge in the gallbladder and what would the reason caution needs to be used in these cases? Thanks

  9. Rose

    Good Morning Dr. Doug:
    Thank you for your previous response. I became curious about why Dandelion should be used with caution regarding liver or gallbladder issues in a dog. I had been using Milk Thistle and dandelion leaf as well as organic Vitamins, Minerals, Omegas, and Probiotic for the past year, and then twice a year giving a organic Liver cleanse which included dandelion root, Milk thistle and couple Chinese herbs. Ultrasound on my dog done yesterday and was told by the Certified Intern Vet that looks like his Liver issues have resolved using the Milk Thistle and no abnormal or immobile sludge in gallbladder. I guess I just became curious about why using Dandelion under certain circumstances of possible gallbladder issues (at the time) may be an issue as I was using for the past year both Milk Thistle powder (organic) and (organic dandelion) Knowing there had to be a valid reason to now read to use caution with Dandelion which made me curious I suppose. Is it because dandelion could cause too much liquid to enter the gallbladder and cause thickened sludge to then form into a mucocele (sp?). Simply out of interest and curious at this point I researched any studies but the words are quite technical and well…duh to me ! So, if you find the time and could let me know I’d really appreciate it. No matter what I appreciate your initial response very much. Truly
    Thank you..

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      Rose, the bottom line is that I have passed along the cautions I’ve read but I do not know exactly what the concerns are with dandelion with certain liver issues.


    Hello, my name is Tammy. I have Dobermans who are cancer survivors who were on medications that I am sure was hard on their liver and kidneys and I know their immune systems had crashed and I am working hard to rebuild their immunity to optimum levels. I am currently giving Turmeric with black pepper and I have been giving Milk Thistle but I had ran out so I bought bulk Organic Milk Thistle in finely ground form in a 1 pound bag. My question is do I use your chart above for the dried herb and also I read it is wise to give your dogs a break from the Milk Thistle. It was suggested 3 weeks on with 1 week off, would this be your suggestion as well? Thank you in advance. Tammy.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      Yes, it sound like you have the dried herb form of Milk Thistle. I personally don’t think the body needs a periodic break from an herb like Milk Thistle.

  11. Edward Galvez

    Hello my name is Ed Galvez and I have a pitbull dog 8 years old and has had a runny nose for the last 11 days. It is coming out of one nostril and is clear fluid. He has been eating just fine. His temp is 99 deg. I was wondering if there can be simothing that can help him out?

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I’m sure there is something that can help your dog. The first order of business is to find out what is causing the nasal discharge. He needs to have a complete workup. It may require using a scope to see into the nasal passages.

  12. Peter Rapnik

    Hi Doug,
    I have a 9 year old English Bulldog, that has been exceptionally fit for her breed, but lately has started to display what i think are signs of a bit of arthiritis in her back hip, and limping on it.
    A friend of mine has been giving her some healing, and it has improved a lot, but i am going to start her on some willow bark powder, to hopefully improve things further.
    She is around 50lb, so i can mix half a teaspoon with her turmeric on each meal daily as your chart suggests can i??
    Thanks in advance

  13. Anne McIndoo

    My 7-yr old cat has had 4 surgeries for mammary adenocarcinoma. After the last, there are more tumors from her armpit down her leg. Vet oncologist tried 2 chemos which didn’t work and she’s now on palliative meds. She is getting buprenorphine, gabapentin and prednisolone with 5X fish. I’m at my wit’s end. I want to give her a Reishi mushroom extract to help her immune system. Any thoughts on its killing her cancer?

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I’m sorry but after 4 surgeries and 2 rounds of chemo only the most malignant cancer cells have survived. I really doubt that Reishi mushroom extract is going to kill off many cancer cells. Your best bet is to find a local holistic vet at http://www.ahvma.org.

  14. Crystal

    My dog is having reactions to Trifexis. Seen dandelion and thistle is a detox. Can you tell me how much please.

  15. Rienna

    What can be used as an alternative to Ketoconazole for my dog treating a fungal infection possibly a tumor

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I do not know of a replacement for Ketoconazole. My focus would be on strengthening your dog’s immune system.

  16. Ashlee

    Hello, I bought dandelion root oil for my dog who has hemangiosarcoma, how many drops a day should I give her? Thank you.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I have never heard of such a thing. You could dose it as advised in this post – as a proportion of the human dose.

  17. Kalena Georgi

    Hello! I have a question about bee propolis – do you know about or have any experience with this? I have been learning about it, and it just so happens this past month that my sweet, four-year-old Golden Retriever just developed a tumor in his mouth. Found it by accident because of bleeding, and is aggressive. Had it removed and it reappeared in 11 days. Our vet has nothing more to offer (except enjoy what little time we have left with him), and our boy has been otherwise healthy so it is a huge shock and we are just devastated. Except for bleeding from his mouth, he is otherwise still himself… I have been learning about herbal uses for myself, and have been trying to find something to try for Mr. Bach. We have nothing to lose at this point, and looks like time is not on our side here. I have read about propolis in studies on dogs regarding cancers and other health conditions, and have been giving him some in capsule form. However since the tumor is in his mouth, I would like to try applying liquid directly on it. I am willing to try anything that might help, although I cannot afford much major expense at this time. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am new to herbal/natural medicine, but have seen incredible results in my own health so far, and has personally given me great hope where conventional medicine has failed me miserably. I don’t know if anything can help my Mr. Bach or not, but I at least want to know I tried everything I could. Also, is there anything else I should look for or avoid (in regard to giving to dogs) when searching for types of supplements, e.g. tinctures? Was wondering about different ingredients I’ve seen so far such as alcohol (which is how I found this page). Does adding boiling water like mentioned change the effect of the herb, or such as propolis, etc? Again I am very new to this, and totally on my own for this, unfortunately. Thank you very much for any suggestions you could give!

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I am not familiar with bee propolis. It sounds like it would be best for Mr. Bach to be seen by a holistic vet for a complete workup and treatment plan.

  18. Peter N

    Hello Doctor —

    My 14 year old Lab has Cushings. She’s also had one known 4 pound Nerve Sheath Tumor removed a year ago and two others currently on her that are suspect. She is on Trilostane and was doing well until we added the herb Eleuthero to her regiment. Was also on MetaCam but stopped it out of fear of side effects and some stomach issues. She was also started on Drynaria 12 at the same time. She’s gone downhill fast interestingly since those were added. She’s also on Astragalus. Also on Cuscutta, Laminar 4, Chih-ko & Curcuma… Now she has inappetence. Wondering if you would know if any of these might be interacting with Trilostane and or MetaCam.. Wanted your thoughts here :)

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      You are talking about a lot of herbs and a couple of medications. Nobody knows how all of that might interact.

  19. Rob

    My dog recently had anal glands removed. And small tumor was found which was cancerous, hopefully it did not spread, I was told that I should try cats claw bark, which I purchased but the store had fluid extract, is it safe and how much water to dilute if she is 20 pounds.

      1. Kristin Devlin

        BTW thank you for all of the information. My cat has an autoimmune disease called eosinophilic granuloma complex. He is currently off all meds, he used to take atopica and then methylprednisalone. I’m thinking of trying cats claw for inflammation, but I’m also thinking his issue is if not caused by, exacerbated by allergies, so I’m looking for a suggestion for allergies.

  20. Dawn

    My dog has fear issues, is there anything you would recommend for this. A previous vet wanted to put him on prozac, we’re not big on medicating him and we still want him to function normally just a little less stressed out.

  21. Therese

    I have a 14yr old female cat, hyperthyroid 6.21bs and heading towards renal failure they tell me per the t4 & bun tests. Used to get high protein dry am & hp low grain canned evg. And still ended up hyperthyroid, now she gets canned only have not been able to convert to raw. We have a holistic vet in Edmonton, Canada but they only use alchohol tinctures. She continually gets uti,s and bladder infections, she gets boocked literally overnight…and I end up having to take her to the emerg vet and after being financially drained for tests that I feel were unneeded ai walk out with prescription for antibiotics or she gets convenia. Financially tapped Ive been searching on my own to find solutions wich lead me here. If I lived there Id be at your clinic in a heartbeat.
    She is on Methinazole 50mg .15ml per ear twice a day. I am giving her pro biotics once a day, collidiol silver 10ppm twice a day and cranberry from capsule i. food just recently.
    I would like to try the milk thistle but read not to give it unless pilled….how and what kind should I give should I be getting the Rehmannia? I dont think we have any tcm practitioners here. As for phos bind I guess I need to see if she is at that point yet, I hope my vet has heard of using it. There is a glandular supplement I read about to hrlp with hyperthyroid would you reccommend that or any other suppliments?
    Everything I am reading here makes sense to me unfortunately here the only thing the vet’s will suggest are things that are drugs or ordered through their clinic only. I am at the point to try things on my own but dont want to mske things worse for my old girl.

  22. Cindy Bonus

    Hi I have 2 11 year old Saint Bernards that the vet put on Previcox. They are doing so wonderfully on this medicine I am not sure that I want to stop it. The warnings on it are stomach ulcers and liver disease. What herbs can I use to help reduce the risk of these issues that will not interact with the Previcox?

  23. Fatima

    Hi, My cat is showing signs of Feline Hyperesthesia with skin rolling, twitching, running, etc. about three or four times a day. The vet has cleared all x-rays, blood test and urinalysis. They have given her an allergy medicine to be given twice a day. She is 12 years old and weighs 3 kgs, lhd. Any suggestions will help as I don’t want it to get from bad to worse or put her on any strong medicines. Will Feliway help? Thank you.

  24. Linda

    Is white willow bark safe to use alongside SAMe in dogs? And does it damage the liver?

    My 12 1/2 year old lab has nodules (non-cancerous) in her liver and spleen. We’ve been using SAMe for liver support (along with cutting copper out of her diet and givimg her milk thistle) but now her arthritis is acting up and we’re looking for a way to relieve her pain that won’t exacerbate her liver issues. She takes glucosamine as well.

  25. Raymond

    My cat of 16 years female has developed lumps on her under her skin. I took her to the vet yesterday and they said she does have cancer. She gave her a shot of prednisone, and a prescription for more to start next week. I know how prednisone affects me it will hurt my joints so bad. Instead of giving her 4th that would it be OK to give her Red clover in a very small dose. And it in her food. I gave her half a capsule this morning. I just want her around as long as I can. I’m afraid of the prednisone. It made her not eat and she was very slow walking taking it. So will the red clover work better to control the cancer?

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I do not see any issues with this supplement. At the same time, since I am not familiar with this company, there is no way for me to know that what is on the label is what is in the product.

  26. Roman kruze;ecky

    Our female puppy of 9 months, a 60 lb husky mix, has a so far mild case of an upper respiratory infection, as diagnozed by our vet (kennel cough). She showed some symptons this Sunday, mainly a congested throat and some coughing to clear it.

    On some sites it mentions that Echinecea tea can be helpful. Its what I use for colds myself.

    I found some hernbal echeiecea herbal tea that also containes Fir essence. Would this be safe to brew and give here in a small 91/2 cup) dose with some honey. There is no holistic vet at the clinic that we use.

    Thanks very much for your help.


    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I don’t know anything about fir essence. Why don’t you just get plane Echinacea tea or pills or tincture?

  27. Daniel

    Pleas tell me what you recommend for a Siberian husky that is diabetic we’ve tried bitter grape berberine and cromium and cinnamon is Oregon grape OK to try .
    Thank you

  28. Kayla

    Hey Dr. Doug
    My 13 year old Cat was diagnosed with Mast cell tumor, one loop in his intestine and in his spleen. Could you recommend any herbs and their dosage i could give him. I unfortunately can not afford the surgery to remove his spleen or the loop in his intestine.
    Thank you.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I treat animals individually. I need to examine each pet to know what to use. I would suggest you call my office for a holistic exam.

  29. Jennifer

    We have a kitty with severe anemia as a result of FIV. He is on an iron supplement, but there is not much hope that he will stabilize. Would you have any recommendations for anything that can help stimulate his kidneys to produce erythropoietin? Thank you.

  30. Lindsey

    My 13 year old lab has Cushing’s and is on Vetoryl. She is also currently on antibiotics (Amoxicillin) for a UTI. I was looking into supplements that might help prevent future UTIs. I bought this product: http://www.naturvet.com/product/cranberry-relief-soft-chew but I noticed that it says on the label “Absorption of drugs taken simultaneously may be delayed.” I am concerned it might effect her medications.
    Active Ingredients per 1 Soft Chew:
    Cranberry Extract 236 mg
    Echinacea 118 mg
    Calcium Ascorbate (Vitamin C) 79 mg
    Astragalus Root 52 mg
    Oregon Grape Root 39 mg
    Marshmallow Root 23 mg

    Inactive ingredients:
    Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Canola Oil, Dried Potato Product, Flaxseed, Glycerin, Lecithin, Maltodextrin, Mixed Tocopherols, Natural Flavoring, Rosemary Extract, Sorbic Acid, Tapioca Starch, Vegetable Oil and Water.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I think it’s the marshmallow in the supplement that could interfere with other medications. I suggest you find a plane cranberry supplement to use.

  31. Mar

    I’ve been giving my dog some liver tintures to help with her allergies..Not on a daily basis but every so often..fir around the past month.And the past two nights she has wet the bed, I’m not sure if the two correspond, but it’s really unusual for her to do such a thing, what’s your thoughts

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      Since I do not know anything about your dog or the tinctures you are using, there is no way for me to know.

  32. Ben Jerse

    I have a quick question. So my 140lb dog has cervical myopothy (wobblers) and is currently taking prednisone to help with the inflammation in his neck. If I start him on white willow tincture will it react poorly with the prednisone? I am trying to fine something to eventually replace the prednisone and I heard white willow has excellent anti inflammation and pain management properties. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I would not recommend giving White Willow with pred as it could possibly increase the risk of GI ulcers. The best thing I’ve found for this condition is acupuncture.

  33. Gina

    Dr. Doug- I have a question regarding the use of dandelion tea as an alternative to lasix. My teacup has an enlarged heart and tends to cough. The lasix has helped a good bit but she does not tolerate it well. Shakes and loss of appetite. She also on the lowest does of Pimobendan.
    Would dandelion tea be a safe alternative to use with the Vetmedin?

  34. Wendy Gratrix

    I have a 6 year old Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog thathas had 2 uti’s in the last year. She reacted badly to the antibiotics and went into liver failure. Today at the vets after her exam she went oitside and urinated blood. We are now waiting on her blood and urinalysis panel to come back. Could you please suggest some herbs that could help with her uti’s. Her liver values were normal 3 months ago and she has a grade 2/3 heart murmur.

  35. Michelle

    Hello, great post about tincture dosage. I have a 13 year old shih Tzu who was just diagnosed with lymphoma. She is on tylan antibiotic and a steroid prednisone. I want to help her herbally and give her last month’s freedom from drugs. Is there any teas, infusions or tincture I can give her to replace the tylan and prednisone? Is there anything to put this lymphoma in remission? Thank you and god bless.

  36. Joyce Poretr

    Hello Dr. Doug,
    I was in touch with you recently concerning giving my male ShihTzu ( 13LB ) SawPalmetto for his enlarged Prostate.
    You said his prescription drugs Apoquel and Hydrocodone should not interact with this herb. I know I would need to use a very small dose, 5 – 10 mgs. ? Is there an over the counter brand that you could recommend. Everything I see is very high, 350 or 540mgs. Some have other additives included, so I am very confused as to how to correctly dose. I could open a powdered capsule, but not sure about the amount to small doses.

    Your advice is greatly appreciated,

    Thank you,

    Joyce Porter

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      Sorry, I’m not familiar with OTC brands to know what to recommend. I use Medi-Herb Saw Palmetto

    2. Dr. Doug Post author

      Divide your pet’s weight in pounds by 150 and that gives you the fraction of the human dose to give.

  37. Candace

    Hello, I’d like to give my dog ashwagandha for it’s anti-inflammatory and stress reducing benefits, but want to ensure the right dosage. The premed tablets are 500mg. Is that a fine dosage for a 40lb and an 80lb dog? In powder form, I believe 500mg is a 1/4 tsp. Thanks so much for your time.

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      Since I don’t know what the mgs are measuring I can’t answer your question. Follow the formula given in the post.

  38. Julie

    I’m confused about milk thistle. My dog has epilepsy and is taking potassium bromide and phenobarbital. She has been on this medication for about 5 years now and her liver values are now elevated. I have read that milk thistle can help with getting her liver values down, but this statement on your website has me confused:

    “Many herbs interact with the liver’s detoxification system. They should not be used with phenobarbital, glucocorticoids, ketoconazole, midazolam & calcium channel blockers. Those herbs include: Cats claw, chamomile, echinacea, elder root, eleuthero, gingko, goldenseal, hops, garlic, licorice, milk thistle, red clover, rosemary, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort, valerian, and wild cherry bark.”

    So milk thistle should not be given to dogs taking phenobarbital? if this is true, then is there anything that I can give my dog to help heal the liver?

    Thank you.

  39. Chris

    my comment or question is similar to Candace’s. I have White Willow Bark 400mg in powder form capsules. When I open the capsule one measures 1/4 teaspoon. So according to your chart it is ok to give my dog 4 to 8 capsules of this dried herb, 2 to 3 times a day? 4 would = 1teasp. I ask because the label instructs for humans take 1 up to 6 times a day. 1 capsule of 400mg/1/4 tsp. does absolutely nothing for my dog. She is 66 lbs. The other ingredient is the gelatin capsule and Magnesium Stearate. Your post is very helpful by the way, I just want to make sure my dried herb in the capsule is equivalent to your dried herb dosage.

  40. Martin

    My 9 year old Boxer bitch has a suspected heart hemangiosarcoma. Not able to do biopsy due to positioning. Due to all the bleeding and her collapse she has just had a very successful key hole surgery to remove the sac around the heart. She also has a tumour on one of her liver nodes which might be a hepatocellular carcinoma or adenoma. Our dile(ma is should we give her chemo? She is on Yunnan Biaou two capsules every other day (30kg) to help stop the bleeding or slow it down. On Metacam for spinal problem and Nutraquin plus. Should we put her on Milk Thistle tablets? What should we give her to boost her immune system? Even though she is stage 2 she is eating very very well and got lots of energy Thank you

  41. Samantha

    Hi how do I give my dog the tincture? Can I put drops on top of the food? Or does it have to be in water?


    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      The best way is to put it directly into her mouth. You can put it on the food as long as you’re sure she gets it all.

  42. Stephanie Natale

    Hi Dr. DOUG
    Dog was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on front carpal. Lungs are clear. I’m giving him turmeric, green lipped mussel, fish/krill oil, Dasuquin, digestive enzymes, oyster shell calcium extract. And I will be adding Turkey tail.mushroom and an immunity blend vitamin. As well as dandelion root. Do you see a bad interaction with any of these?

  43. lisa

    My dog is taking phenobarbitol and potassium bromide for siezures and is weaning off of prednisone. Also giving tramadol as needed for pain. is it okay to give him golden paste (turmeric) for pain?

  44. Luci

    Thank you for this article!
    Our house was struck by lightening a couple months ago and my lab mix has not been “right” since. We have tried everything. Ativan 2mg works very well but I don’t want her drugged that much. I just want her calm.
    When a storm comes she is completely incapacitated. She will pant to the point of hyperventilating. We place her in a large crate with a fan on top, hoping she wont hear it; but she can “smell it coming”. She is inconsolable. Her sister dog will lick her to try to comfort her. We try to cuddle her, without success.
    I was reading about California Poppy and Valerian root; interested in trying, but unsure of doses. She is 60 lbs. lab mix, looks like a whippet.
    Thank you so much for your time.

  45. Rachel

    Hi Dr Doug,

    What kind of herbal treatment would you recommend for a dog with heart disease?
    What about cataract? Thanks!

  46. Stacie

    My female pit bull suffers with incontinence. She was spayed very early and is now 3 years old. We’ve been trying her on vet prescribed Prion. Which helped at first but as we tried to slowly ween her off of it, shes having problems again. We have her back up to every other day, but I wanted to try other options-specifically natural ways. I am also looking to change her diet. Through research I’ve came across many herbs that can help this but I was looking to start her off with wild yam, corn silk, and saw palmetto. Any suggestions or concerns?
    Thank you!!

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I’m not sure how those herbs would work. I’ve had success with chiropractic. You also might want to try the Vetriscience product, Bladder Strength.

  47. Jennifer Jenkins

    Hi, I have a 9 year-old Boston Terrier. He’s been slowing down lately. At first the vet thought he had arthritis but, when he started bleeding out of his nose, she thought maybe cancer. She did a rectal exam and thought she felt a tumor. No way of knowing for sure without a CT scan. She prescribed him painkillers, Proviable Digestive health supplement, and Yunnan Baiyao capsule. He is done with the pain killers but, I have some herbal/natural medicine that I’ve ordered. We are giving him a combination of two dog foods; one with glucosamine and Chondroitin and some Blue Wilderness holistic dog food. I’m continuing on with the Yunnan Baiyao capsule and a chewable with probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzyme (because he is almost done with the Proviable Digestive Health supplement). I’m also giving him two 1200 fish oil in the morning and two in the evening. What is the best painkiller? I’ve got Tumeric Curcumin (500 mg) capsules, white willow bark extract, and oregano essential oil. What regimen would be best to help him? How would you change things or is there something else even better?Thanks in advance!

  48. Rodica

    Hi dr Doug.
    Im giving my pug a tinture of licorice for her skin allergies.
    She gets 20 drops per day and this help her a lot.

    She’s s got environmental and food allergies.
    She’s on a cooling homemade diet.

    It’s been about 3 weeks now and i need to add Dandelion in her diet.
    I have dandelion root powder.
    How much should i give?

    And if it’s a glycerine tinture how many drops per day?

    Thank you.

  49. Joanna Creek

    Hi, my cat is constipated lately, (last 3 weeks), I would like to give her some dandelion root in dry capsule form. For people it says 1 capsule(450 mg organic dandelion per capsule), 1-2 x daily. How about for an 8 pound cat? Joanna

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      Human supplements are based on the “average” 150 pound person. Divide the cat’s weight by 150 and you have the fraction of the human dose to give.

  50. adi malik

    Hey Dr. Doug!
    My dog is a beagle 12 years old, and she has a history of UTI and in the last year we removed twice! Calcium oxalate stones from her bladder. Now she is stone free but I’m wondering which herb should I give… I wanted to try echinicea and maybe marshmallow… But I’m not sure which. She still gets UTI all repeatedly. And she is on and of antibiotics to the point where they don’t affect the infection/inflammation. Cranberry is no good because she had history of stones that need acid environment to grow. What would you recommend I use to treat the UTI while also avoiding getting new stones to appear? (she is on a special diet)

  51. Kimb

    Hi Dr. Doug,
    My senior shepherd is full of arthritis….especially in his elbows. He is on gabapentin, tramadol and golden paste. Are you familiar with Pain Plus by Vet Classics? It has yucca, boswellia, msm, meadowsweet, cornus, licorice, ginger, and manganese. Is this supplement safe to give with the drugs he is on? Thank you!

  52. Ashley

    Hi Dr. Doug ! My name is Ashley and I have a 60lb male neutered Shepard mix who is 10 years old. He is in pretty good health for his age but he does have calcium oxalate bladder stones. We discovered them by accident while taking radiographs for something else 3 years ago. He has never exhibited any symptoms or signs related to these stones. We were able to flush the stones because they were very small! It’s been 3 years and they have come back , very small still and he is still not exhibiting any symptoms from them :) I did some research and found Stone Breaker from herb pharmacy . It’s not meant for use in dogs by the only ingredient that concerns me is the organic cane alcohol! Do u think I should do what you suggested above and mix it with hot water before giving it to him ? Or should I just try it and see how he does? I have heard amazing things about this herb and have a friend that said it saved her life , she too had calcium oxalate stones . Thank you for your time and I would really appreciate your input 😉

    1. Dr. Doug Post author

      I’m not familiar with that particular supplement but if the alcohol is your only concern then the hot water technique should work.


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