The many benefits of using Astragalus for your dog are truly endless.

The primary medicinal applications of astragalus include as an anti-inflammatory, as a hypotensive to lower blood pressure, as a blood cleanser, and as a hypothyroid to mildly depress functioning of the thyroid.

It is also generally used to boost resistance in dogs due to its high antioxidant components.

learn how good astragalus is for your dog What & When to Use it

The mature roots of Astragalus are used in treatment options as infusions or tinctures. There are many commercial options of the Chinese supplement available as well.

  • astragulus 10 for dogsOne of the primary (and most popular) uses of astragalus is it’s ability to greatly improve immunity including respiratory system, spleen, liver, kidney and circulatory health.
  • Stimulates T-cell activity and raises white blood cell counts, boosting the body’s defenses against disease and illness by improving the function of the liver.
  • Astragalus strengthens kidney function and is highly recommended.  Considered a favorite treatment in early states of infection, kidney disease or renal failure.
  • Also recommended for dogs with cancer.
  • Astragalus has been used in some applications to boost energy levels in debilitated dogs and human beings, which is a big plus for those taking on serious diseases such as cancer and looking for a way to formulate some functional balance. Astragalus can be used to help regulate the body’s levels and help alleviate stress put on the system by disease.

safely using astragalus for dogsDosage

Seven Forests Astragulus 10 is considered top of the line by most Chinese Herb Practitioners.  See the guide below.  Depending on the severity of the disease, give your dog the recommended dosage 2-3 times daily.

  • Dogs weighing under 25 pounds: 1/2 – 1 tablet
  • Dogs 25-50 pounds: 1-2 tablets
  • Dogs over 50 pounds: 2-3 tablets

Preventative Measures

Using astragalus is generally considered quite safe, but some species of it are toxic to grazing animals. Roots, powders and preparations should only be purchased from reputable dealers like Seven Forests! Astragalus is considered a category 1 herb which means it is a safe “food” herb.

There is also a concern over selenium in some soils, as a higher concentration of it can be found in some soils where astragalus grows. If you plan on planting your own astragalus, it’s best to have your soil testing for selenium before you get started.

While many say to avoid this herb for auto immune disorders such as hypothyroidism or diabetes; it’s believed that it may help hyperthyroidism.  For hypothyroidism and diabetes, a safe alternative in this case may be Red Ginseng.  Read the comments below for dosage for the red ginseng.

Reasons to Use

Obviously the most popular reason to use astragalus is as an immune booster. It is available in most health food stores and can be rather easy to grow on your own if you’re into that sort of thing.

For those interested in the easier path to health, there are quite a few immune boosting products on the market that include a healthy dose of astragalus for dogs, but the best option is using a product like the one I mentioned earlier.

Astragalus History

Astragalus is actually a member of the pea family with divided leaves and small flowers and pods. The herb has been cultivated throughout much of the world, but it originated in China.

In that it has been used for thousands of years as a piece of traditional Chinese medicine, its commercial value is considerable and it has been marketed heavily in combination with other herbs.  It is a perennial that blooms from spring to the early summer.

As mentioned above, mature roots, at least three years old or older, are the parts of Astragalus used in medicinal applications that are an excellent addition to your dog’s regimen.

References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen, Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats by Shawn Messonnier, DVM, Veterinary Herbal Medicine by Mary Wynn, DVM

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Showing 34 comments
  • sonja
    Reply

    Hi Janie,
    Thanks for the article very interesting.I have an older dog with liver issues more than kidney but she also is hypothyroid. She is on thyroid meds at this time so is there anything else good for liver and kidney to give her since this herb isn’t good. I wasn’t going to treat the thyroid at this time but she is so lethargic and skin and ear issues aren’t good.

    Sonja

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Sonja:
      I’m not sure if you read my initial response, but I’ve changed it and I think that this might be more appropriate for you.

      I would personally like to see you consult a holistic vet who could really guide you here. First, I can’t recommend to you enough that you place your girl on a freeze dried food such as Oracle or Grandma Lucys (if she’s not already). These foods are excellent for dogs with kidney and liver issues due to the water content. Or, you can opt to purchase my new cookbook which includes easy recipes for dogs with these conditions. I’m not trying to sell you Sonja, but I want you to know what’s available for your girl. The right diet is critical for your old girl right now.

      Regarding an alternative for Astragulus, “Ginsing” is probably a better option for your girl since she has an auto immune issue. You also MUST make sure she’s on a good form of fatty acids like this one which is also good for the heart and a good source of probiotics. Both of these products are essential for your dog’s issues.

      Janie

      • sonja
        Reply

        Janie,
        Thanks for the reply and i am trying home cooking for her but she isn’t into it much. Appetite not the best.I am not sure what to do as far as taking her off the thyroid meds, i am very close to my vet but i don’t think it will fly very well. Her BUN is 45 and her ALKP is 1623. Have you heard of Denarmarin used for dogs with liver issues?

        • janie knetzer
          Reply

          Sonja:
          I would NOT take her off of her thyroid meds – EVER. That’s not really an option. The probiotics and fatty acids will help with the skin and ears that are probably symptoms related to the thyroid issue. Again, look to a good form of ginsing. But, right now you have to get her to eat — that is so very critical. What does she like?

          • sonja

            Janie,
            She does like chicken especially on the grill or any kind of fish, hard boiled eggs. I have tried scrambled that hit and miss.

        • janie knetzer
          Reply

          Yes, I have heard of Denamarin for liver issues, but never used it. I’ve always tried to stay closer to natural alternatives. Remember, when home cooking, you must give your old girl a multi vitamin as well if your not including all the vitamins and minerals individually in the meal.

          Have you read my articles on liver disease? If not, please do. There’s a link for the series in the right hand column. You’ll see it. I have to run, but if you have any additional questions, post them and I’ll get back to you later. ~Janie

      • sonja
        Reply

        Hi Janie,
        I will try one of the mentioned foods above as i am not having much luck with home cooking. I do have her on fish oil 1200mg 2x daily and vitamin e 800mg daily. As far as the probiotics, i need one with digestive enzymes as well. I make kefir and add that to her food when she will take it. I would love to find a holistic vet but unfortunately where i live there aren’t any and not any close by either so i do a lot of research on line and help from people like you to guide me as the best way to help my little girl.

        • janie knetzer
          Reply

          Sonja:
          Just a quickie before I run, Sam-E is an excellent option for your girl. I’ll check back with you later.

          Janie

        • janie knetzer
          Reply

          Hi Sonja:

          This is a good product that I use for my dogs. It contains both plant enzymes and probiotics. You can check it out on Amazon.

          I would recommend checking into Sam-E which is an over the counter version of prescription Denamarin. I would also include milk thistle in her diet as well. If she doesn’t like all the pills mixed in her food, then pill her yourself and leave her food alone.

          Since she likes the grilled chicken and hard boiled eggs, I would try including them in the foods that I mentioned above. But if she’s real particular, then you may have to find a way to make her own individual routine that works just for her, but includes everything she needs. Including a meat source like you already are is very important. Initially I recommended Ginsing as well, but because she may have borderline kidney issues, I think you’re better off with a whole green food. Please see the following list okay.

          Lets break it down:

          1. One of the foods I mentioned
          2. Include a good meat source like you already are or use Wellness Ninety Five Percent
          3. Give her an egg DAILY
          4. Give her a multi vitamin
          5. fatty acids
          6. Sam-E
          7. A whole green food is very important for her Sonja
          8. Milk Thistle
          9. Thyroid meds

          Hopefully, I didn’t miss anything….

          Janie 😮

          • sonja

            Hi Janie,
            Thanks so much for all your help very much appreciated. I hope the vitamin e isn’t to much that is what my vet prescribed and actually i could give 400mg 3 x daily if i wanted. I do have barley grass that i sneak in her food but sometimes she won’t eat it if she smells it, very picky.The ginseng is that the Korean Red? Also, my vet mention Cushings disease but not 100% sure.

          • janie knetzer

            Hi Sonja:
            I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It would be the red Ginseng in place of Astragalus for your dog who is hypothyroid. Again, be very careful where you buy your herbs. I like and recommend Starwest Botanicals which I use myself. They carry both the dried herb and the tincture.

            Dosage would be as follows:
            Dried herb: 25-300 mg/kg twice daily
            Tincture: 1:2 or 1:3 — 0.5-1.5 ml per 20 lbs diluted or combined with other herbs and supplements. So, dilute 1 part tincture to 2 or 3 parts filtered water or you can simply combine it with the other herbs.

            I hope this helps.
            Janie

          • sonja

            Janie,
            Have you ever heard of Holistic Select digestive remedies for pets? It has digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics in it. Looking at this at chewy.com. The one you suggested is a pill or do i put in her food.

          • janie knetzer

            Hi Sonja:
            The one that I recommended from Animal Essentials is actually a powder and has both plant enzymes and probiotics, but no prebiotics. I’ve never heard of the holistic selective digestive remedies for pets, but I checked it out for you and I’m not a fan of Eagle Pack products – PERIOD and I don’t like the rice bran as a digestive aid.

            Janie

          • sonja

            Janie,
            I ordered what you suggested but curious on the Sam e there are so many products and varying dosages. I thought Sam e was all the same. She weighs 34 lbs some say the 200mg one is good up to 35lbs others say 10mg per pound.

          • janie knetzer

            Hi Sonja:
            It’s probably going to vary depending on the amount of SAM e in the tablet. For instance, one product including 100 mg of SAM e gives a dosage of 2 tablets daily for your size dog, but if the SAM e included is 225 mg then this drops to 1 tablet for your size dog. It should vary more on mg than anything and not on manufacturer. I hope this helps. This brand has good reviews on Amazon but I can’t find the dosage for that particular brand. I’m not sure if this helps or not.

            Janie
            P.S. Keep me posted how she’s doing okay Sonja.

          • sonja

            Hi Janie,
            Hope you had a nice Memorial day. Anyways, i ordered the Grandma Lucy’s dog food and she will not eat it not sure why any suggestions on what else maybe good. I thought of maybe a topper to add to it to entice her. I’ve had to puree the food and syringe feed.

          • janie knetzer

            Hey Sonja:
            Is she used to eating kibble only? Sometimes the texture of the food throws them off. If you didn’t do this already, I suggest adding the Wellness Ninety Five Percent to it which is a topper and is 95% meat – very good for her. Then try and add more of the Wellness 95% first and eventually add more and more of the Grandma Lucy’s daily. See if that helps. If she’s a meat eater, this might do it! Let me know your thoughts. Also, try scrambling some egg and adding that long with the Wellness to the Grandma Lucy’s. Yumm, good stuff!

            Janie

          • sonja

            Hi Janie,
            Will try adding the Wellness to her food if i can find it around here but i’m sure someone has it. She has always eaten kibble but some days won’t touch that. She will eat at times my husbands homemade chicken noodle soup. I’ll try the eggs as well since she love her eggs. Thanks

          • janie knetzer

            Hey Sonja:
            You’re very welcome. And, if you can sneak some fresh blue berries into the mix of Grandma Lucy’s – do it. Try and give her a little variety. Mix up the Wellness Meat (turkey, beef, chicken). Try rotating and switching the meat with sardines (packed in water not oil).

            I know you mentioned that the vet gave her a vitamin to take. But, vitamin B like this one (Heart Gems) can be a big help. Vitamin B is soooo important for the heart, brain, energy, muscles and enzyme process and can help stimulate eating (not always, but it can). I used to give Jenna the Heart Gems (one daily for her at 75 lbs.). Or you can try a liquid B complex. You gotta watch the brands. NOW is a good brand Sonja.

            Is she maintaining her weight?
            Janie

          • sonja

            Morning Janie,
            I think i have the pickiest dog of all and i could cook a full meal for her and she will never touch it she sniffs everything. I’ll try the blueberries as well. I found Merrick 95% meat but no wellness can i use this?Let’s see last night i gave her the Grandma Lucy’s mixed with chicken from the grill ate the chicken left the other so then gave her Taste of the wild an egg and deer steak not a thing left in her bowl go figure. Her weight is maintaining at 34 lbs. She does has Cushing’s Disease too so my poor old girl is a mess. I’ll look into the B vitamin complex. I really do appreciate all your help.

          • janie knetzer

            Hi Sonja:
            Okay, well let’s not try and force her to eat what she doesn’t want too. I’m sorry that you wasted your money on the Grandma Lucy’s; not every dog likes it.

            If she likes the Taste of the Wild, egg and deer steak – then that’s okay. It sound like your girl is true carnivore. Using the Taste of the Wild as a base food since we know she likes it; lets feed her that as the base adding other ingredients like you did with the egg and the deer steak. Keep it diverse if that’s what she likes, but I want you to ALWAYS add the egg. We want to make sure that the protein sources she’s getting are hiqh quality like they are (not necessarily more protein – but better proteins).

            Give her less of the Taste of the Wild and more of the other ingredients and see how this goes. I know you appreciate my help Sonja. 😮 Let me know okay.

            Janie

          • Tammy

            I have a Yorkie that was diagnosed with mass cell tumor. What’s good to give him. I have already changed his diet

          • janie

            Hi Tammy:

            I’m sorry to hear about your little Yorkie.

            Astragalus is always a good addition to a cancer routine. You didn’t say what kind of diet you are feeding, but I hope it includes fresh meat and steamed (very soft) greens including green beans, brussel sprouts, kale, zucchini, etc with 3/4 meat and 1/4 veggies based upon the amount you feed. Rotate the veggies.

            Resveratrol is believed to help stop spreading of the disease. It keeps it local. The resveratrol should be from Japanese Knotweed like ours here.

            I highly recommend that you add burdock root to your dog’s diet to cleanse the blood and the liver. Don’t ignore this step. You can read my article on Burdock Root here.
            Here’s a youtube video from Dr. Jasek who has worked with many dogs with mast cell tumors which may help: https://youtu.be/p2WeMZhJLdA

            I wish you all the best,
            Janie

  • Gigi
    Reply

    Thank you very much, I needed this urgent. My dog has been operated on mast cell cancer and is taking medication which is affecting her liver and her platelettes, I need urgent this product, because her kidneys are in danger also, but most is the liver.
    Thank you again for this information.

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Gigi:
      I’m glad I could help and I hope that your girl recovers just fine. I would keep her on the Astragalus 10 (Seven Forests) indefinitely.

  • megan
    Reply

    Hi Janie
    I have a older female rotweiller with arthritis . She has a good appetite and is slightly overweight. She is healthy otherwise( eyes skin teeth ok). Do you think astragalus would be good for her? Thanks

  • amy
    Reply

    Hi, I am looking to find out the recommended place for kidney disease supplements

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Amy:

      I typically recommend two products for dogs with kidney disease and renal failure. One is called Epakitan and can be purchased here on Amazon. The other is from Pet Well Being and it is their own kidney support formula which you see here. Both get excellent reviews and I suggest that you take a minute and read them.

      I also strongly recommend that you purchase a guaranteed toxin free form of Omega 3 fatty acids like this one from Kronch. Or a supplement that includes all 3 fatty acids (3,6,9).

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

  • Emily
    Reply

    Hi! I have a ten year old golden mix that has suffered from atopic dermatitis for years. He has been on prednisone on and off for years and I also tried cyclosporine but he kept developing secondary bacterial skin infections. I would really like to try something herbal. I know astragalus is good for humans with autoimmune disorders but seems contraindicated in dogs. Any suggestions and doses would be fantastic! He weighs around 75lbs.

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Emily:
      First, what food are you feeding? I recommend that you first look at the food and if you’re feeding dry, look to an alternative such as The Honest Kitchen, Dr. Harvey’s or Grandma Lucys. You add warm water to it and you have home cooked food. This alone will be a huge help. Second, include organic, cold pressed coconut oil and a B-complex vitamin daily which can be purchased on Amazon.

      Astragalus can also be added providing he doesn’t have any auto immune disorders such as hypothyroidism or diabetes. See my article and use the same brand of Astragalus and dosage. Next, add Quercetin combined with Bromelain daily using the capsule form Emily. This way you can sprinkle on his food if you like. This combination can help a great deal with allergies.

      If you decide to go this route, we can discuss dosages later. I would get him off of the prednisone for good. Goldens develop cancer more than any other breed. Avoid chemical flea and tick products as well.

      Janie

  • Olivia
    Reply

    You say that you give your 75 lb Dobie one pill but you don’t say how many mgs are in the pill you are using. It would be helpful.
    Thanks.

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Olivia:

      If you notice in the article, I mention that I used Seven Forest Astragalus and mentioned that I gave her one daily.

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

  • mike
    Reply

    I have a 65 lbs rottie mixed. she is seven, and has first stage bone cancer in her left back knee. I am going to start her on astragalus, and would like to know what dosage of the capsule to give her. each capsule is 420mg. each. I am also going to start her on curcumin. it is 1100 mg. per capsule. how much should I give her of this……both herbs com from natures sunshine.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Mike:

      I’m very sorry to hear this. My own girl had fibrosarcoma (tumor) and she is now cancer free. That was over a year and a half ago.

      I would use much more than just Astragalus. To answer your question regarding Astragalus dosage, I would give 1 in the AM and 1 in the PM.

      Nutrition MUST play the largest role being high in protein and very low in carbs IF any, as well as including several supplements. Try to eliminate carbs completely. I would definitely include Essiac Tea (I used this as well). You can read more about it here if you want. You’ll find dosage instructions here as well. You can make the actual tea formula (instructions come with it) or just add the dry tea to empty capsules (you would have to purchase) and give it your rottie. Our brand is recommended due to it’s purity.

      Also used Resvantage and while I no longer use the Essiac for Maggie, I still include the Resvantage daily. It can be expensive, but if you afford it, it’s recommended.

      If you need help with diet, you might want to consider our cook book as well Mike. I would also massage cold pressed castor oil onto the knee once daily.

      You MUST avoid all chemicals and vaccinations completely for good…

      Let me know if this helps Mike.

      Janie

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