This article is all about bugleweed and how to safely use it for dogs.
The herb is also known as gypsywort or waterhorehound. This little gem is from the Lamiaceae family of flowering plants and has many applications and benefits for our four-legged family members.Formally known as the less-enticing Lycopus, bugleweed is an herbaceous plant native pretty much anywhere in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. It can be found in wetlands, steam banks and damp meadows, although some species of bugleweed is now endangered. The plant features small white flowers that bloom in late summer. It can grow to about three to four feet tall.
Bugleweed has a number of applications in human herbalism and has seen excellent results in treating hyperthyroidism, anxiety, breast pain, premenstrual syndrome, sleeplessness, and even bleeding. The theory is that bugleweed reduces the production of thyroid hormone and reduces the release of prolactin, a hormone that leads to symptoms like breast pain.
Bugleweed’s reputation for treating an over-active thyroid aka hyperthyroidism is exciting, even if hyperthyroidism is more common in cats than dogs. Nevertheless, dogs that do struggle with this condition can see some serious results with bugleweed.
It is also helpful for respiratory conditions, heart issues and anxiety consider using it along side Valerian Root for anxiety issues.
Dogs with hypothyroidism, a condition caused by an underactive thyroid gland, should NEVER take bugleweed.
- Because bugleweed slows thyroid function, it makes an excellent treatment option for dogs with hyperthyroidism. This condition is caused by an overactive thyroid gland and produces symptoms like excessive thirst, excessive urination, increased appetite, irritability and hyperactivity, weight loss, and panting. Bugleweed, which is available in nutritional supplement formats, can aid in reducing thyroid function.
- Bugleweed derives most of its medicinal goodness from the presence of lithospermic acid, which has been known to help treat tachycardia. This herb can help normalize the heart rate and provide quality relief, plus it is suitable for long-term usage in dogs that are not nursing or pregnant and dogs without hypothyroidism.
- Bugleweed has been used to relieve respiratory distress in humans and may have the same effects for dogs. Due to anti-inflammatory compounds in the herb, it is believed that bugleweed makes an appropriate treatment for conditions like excessive coughing, sore throats and shortness of breath. Bugleweed aids in soothing respiratory passages and subsequently aids in alleviating irritation.
- Bugleweed has qualities as a soothing agent as well. It’s believed it can help calm anxious dogs and can be used as a safe sleep aid. Bugleweed helps in regulating sleep patterns and can assist in calming uneasy nerves. Many believe that this benefit occurs as a result of bugleweed’s capacity for normalizing the heart rate.
The following standard dosages may be helpful, but your best bet is to work with a Holistic Vet or Professional Herbalist when using this herb since it can affect the thyroid by slowing it.
Dosage of course depends on why you’re dog is taking it. Capsules are not widely used for dogs and because the herb isn’t very pleasing to the palate of dogs, using a tincture is your best bet.
Bugleweed is relatively safe to use and can be applied for long-term treatments, but caution should be used on a few fronts.
First, it should NOT be used by dogs with hypothyroidism. Because this condition involves an under-active thyroid gland and because bugleweed diminishes thyroid gland function, it’s important to be aware of the distinction.
Also, dogs who are pregnant or nursing should not use bugleweed. It is believed that bugleweed may lower blood sugar, so caution should be used when using this herb for dogs with diabetes. As always, a cautious approach is always the best approach.
Using bugleweed is a concern for humans with high blood pressure, TSH stimulating tumors and osteoporosis so the same caution should be given to dogs or other pets.
Reasons to Use
The benefits of bugleweed for dogs are pretty significant in the areas of sleeplessness, anxiety OVER ACTIVE THYROID function and respiratory concerns. This herbal treatment is relatively safe and has a number of potential benefits for your pooch pals, so you may want to consider adding it to your herbal toolkit and seek it out at your nutritional supplement provider.
While often under reported, bugleweed is actually a pretty unique herb. It treats a specific part of the body and addresses a very specific function, but that doesn’t make it any less beneficial for your dog. If hyperthyroidism or irregular heart rates are among your concerns, you may want to look into bugleweed.
References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen