Understanding herbal Medicine for Dogs

All things natural combined with advice from your vet, creates ‘balance’.

With an ever increasing trend to use ‘all things natural’ it is timely to discuss some of the more common therapies that are available to create optimal health for your dog. These are herbal medicine, nutrition and massage; a powerful trilogy.

Herbal medicine

Herbal medicine has been used by humans and animals since the beginning of time. Overt the past 30 years herbal medicine has shaken off the shackles of the quackery and regained its position as a viable, safe and effective form of medicine.

Science now confirms that plants that have been used since the beginning of time are actually effective medicines and are very useful to be used as a treatment and or prevention of many common conditions. Due to the limitations of word count for this article, it would be timely to offer 2 herbs that are very effective and safe for dogs. This herb can be grown very easily and added to the daily diet of the dog to assist in maintaining vibrant health.

The herb that is very impressive as a medicine is Yarrow (Achillea millefolia). Yarrow is considered to be an all round tonic and two leaves a day mixed into food is wonderful. It is very easy to grow.

Consider herbal medicine as part of the daily diet as well as assisting to heal many conditions your dog may suffer. However, it is vital you learn about the herbs before offering them as some may not be safe. Educating yourself about herbal medicine will provide a wealth of knowledge that will help you help your dog. Courses are available ranging from an introductions to the more in-depth certificates and diplomas. Education is never a waste and as a dog owner it can help to extend the life of our dog and help promote wellbeing.


What we eat determines our wellbeing. Foods forms the foundation to aid cellular recovery as the nutrients derived from food are ultimately responsible for how well the body performs. This is no different with dogs, in fact there is a link between humans and animals. This link confirms that the more processed the food intake the higher the incidence of cancer, diabetes and heart disease and skin eruptions.

It is interesting to note that many of these conditions have increased significantly in both animals and humans as reliance on processed foods increased. The question that offers the most confusion is ‘what is the best diet for my dog’?.Unfortunately there is no single answer to this as many dogs, like humans have sensitivities and what may be considered a ‘good nutritious food’ may cause sensitivity.

To help with this contentious question some basics may help. These basics may help to assist the dog achieve optimum wellbeing.

1. Always consider a variety of foods
2. Add fruit and vegetables to the diet
3. Juice fruits and vegetables
4. Grate fruit and vegetables
5. Start with very small amounts if the dog has only had dried or tinned foods in the past
6. Offer small amounts of raw meat on the bone
7. Add olive oil, lecithin, salmon oil or flaxseed oil in small amounts
8. Increase the fresh foods and decrease the amount of dried or tinned foods to get the balance
9. Just add 1 teaspoon of juice or fresh food until the dog gets used to it
10. Puppies respond very quickly while older dogs that have to be weaned off the destructive timed and dried foods can take longer
11. Read as many different nutritional books as possible to help you understand the role of nutrition
12. Become educated about nutrition and form an educated, rather than a popularist opinion that responds to marketing hype rather than fact.


Arguments are offered that dried foods are all bad and fresh foods is THE only way to feed the dog. This is not true as there are some dried foods that offer nutrients however it should never be the only form of food and sadly that is often the case. Get into the habit of combining fresh foods with your standard food and watch your dog thrive.


The world of dog massage is increasing as we see more and more professional dog masseurs enter the market place. Through these practitioners we are noting the benefits of the treatments that are offered to many dogs.

Massage is such a dynamic and powerful treatment acting as a preventive, therapeutic or bonding therapy. When considering professional massage it is essential the services of a professional practitioner is sought particularly if you are seeking assistance with one of the many conditions that massage may assist. When we consider the long list of benefits it is clear to see why so many conditions may be assisted to heal.

The benefits of professional massage are:

  • Increased circulation
  • Increased lymphatic drainage
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduction of pain associated with arthritis
  • Improved range of motion within joints
  • Reduced tension within the musculature
  • Reduced tension on the skeletal framework

These are but a few of the noted benefits of massage

Massage is an ancient form of healing that has proven to offer many benefits while at the same time considered to be a safe form of treatment.

It is certainly wise to seek professional assistance if your dog needs specialised care as massage can offer considerable benefits, yet there are times that more advanced massage treatment may be required.

Combining herbal medicine, nutrition and massage for your dog will benefit your pet in ways that will surely impress. However by way of conclusion never use any product unless you know it is safe. The old adage that ‘it is natural it is OK’ is not correct as there are many natural plants that are actually poisonous so always be cautious and seek a professional opinion and always seek a diagnosis from your veterinarian.

Join Dr Sandi Rogers for a series of 5 webinars; An Introduction to Canine Nutrition, commencing Friday evening the 7th February for 5 weekly sessions.