Fennel is one of my favorite herbs for dogs. If you cook, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, or you may just make a tea out of it for yourself.
Fennel seeds have been noted as useful in a number of applications for dogs in particular.
How Fennel May Help Your Dog
Fennel seed is commonly used as an herbal treatment for colic and flatulence.
It’s employed as a carminative in dogs and people, which essentially means that it pushes out gas to fight off flatulence. It has a rather gentle effect at doing so, too, which makes it the preferred treatment for a number of pet owners.
Thanks to their relative safety and ease of use, fennel seeds are a great treatment option for a number of afflictions. The side effects are also minimal, which is terrific news.
See my recipe for fennel dog treats here!
- Because fennel seeds relax the gastrointestinal tract of people and dogs, the rhythms and movements of digestion can be regulated. Many digestive problems are the result of turbulent contractions or spasms in the digestive system, which in turn cause food to not digest correctly. Given the fact that so much of the body’s immune system is related to the GI tract, any lack of balance can create health problems. The use of fennel seeds can help eliminate spasms and calm the tract.
- Fennel seeds are high in antioxidants, which makes them effective in terms of cancer prevention. Thanks to the high amount of flavonoids, once referred to as Vitamin P, fennel seeds can reduce oxidative stress on the cardiovascular system and can stave off some of the effects of neurological disease.
- There are also anti-inflammatory properties in fennel, unsurprisingly. These properties come from the antioxidants and can aid in treatments of conditions like arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
- Fennel is high in calcium and iron. Calcium is important when it comes to maintaining healthy teeth and bones, plus there are cardiovascular support components involved that make fennel a very helpful herbal treatment. And iron is essential for the function of muscles and the brain as well as in the formation of hemoglobin. Any iron deficiency can lead to fatigue and other serious problems.
Directions and Dosage
In terms of how to use this gentle herb, there are a number of possible ways to use fennel seeds. One of the best ways is with a cooled tea.
Use one teaspoon of either fresh or dried seeds in eight ounces of boiling water and steep until it cools. Use about two to four teaspoons for every 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight. You can also add it to drinking water.
It’s important to note here that fennel, while relatively safe, is like other plants that derive medicinal attributes from volatile oils. This makes it somewhat difficult for lactating or pregnant animals, which means caution should be used in that regard.
There’s also some evidence to suggest that fennel is associated with photosensitive dermatitis in some dogs and other animals. This is an allergic contact dermatitis, which generally presents itself as a rash with swelling and a possible burning sensation.
Reasons to Use
Fennel has a host of uses and a minimal list of side effects, which makes it a big winner on our list of herbal treatments for canines.
This herb is eaten raw on the Indian subcontinent and can be used as anything from a breath freshener to a diuretic.
Ancient Romans even believed that fennel would improve eyesight, although there aren’t any reasonable reasons to believe this.
A relatively easy herb to find and use, fennel should certainly be at the top of your to-use list when it comes to treatments for your four-legged friend especially for digestive issues.
You can learn more about herbal medicine and how different parts of the world use it here.
A Little About Fennel
From cancer prevention to use as a digestive aid, the seeds are comparable to elements like catnip and mint.
It is actually a flowering plant species found in the celery family, the sole species in the Foeniculum genus.
One of the more widely cultivated herbs on the planet, this is noted for its edible and flavorful leaves and its fruits.
Many people know about cooking with fennel seeds, which are strongly flavored because they come from the same aromatic compounds found in things like star anise.
Fennel can be found alongside roads and in pastures and other open areas in northern Europe, Canada, the United States, and parts of Asia and Australia. It spreads by its seeds and is actually considered a week in Australia and the United States.
Because fennel contains anethole, which is a derivative of phenylpropene, it has a number of medicinal effects. Its polymers also come in handy because they act as plant-derived xenoestrogens. Due to these compounds, fennel has a wide variety of applications in terms of animal and human medicine.
Bottom line, fennel offers many benefits for dogs.
References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen