For the past 3 decades, herbs have been a major part of healing our own dogs and the dogs we work with.

This page is an introduction to an ongoing series in our article library dedicated to using herbs for dogs. You’ll find helpful content on individual herbs and how to use them to help with your dog’s sickness, pain, mental health, general maintenance, etc.

As a huge believer that much of what we need to heal our body grows from the ground and not in a lab, our herbal library concentrates on natural applications through herbs and how to use plants and herbage for our canine friends.

Our “Using Herbs” category shows all the different herbal articles for dogs contained in our library. Again, this is a complete section dedicated to the many different herbs that can be used for your own dog. You can scroll through our Using Herbs category here

Or, if you know the specific herb you’re looking to learn more about, just use the search bar and type it in. If the herb is in our article library, it will pop up.

Helpful Herbal Dosage Guide for Dogs

Using the guide below, first determine which remedy type you’re going to use on your dog (eg: powder, granules, tea, tablet, tincture/extract). RESTING IN BETWEEN DOSAGES IS IMPORTANT NO MATTER WHICH TYPE YOU USE. PLEASE READ BEFORE STARTING YOUR DOG’S HERBAL REGIMEN: Use the herbal remedy on your dog for 5 days in a row, then stop for 2 days. Start again and continue for one month. Stop the process for one week to rest the dog’s body. Start all over again.  

Herbs for Dogs

Identifying the Best Herbs and Formulations to Use for Your Dog

The hardest thing with regards to herbal medicine is determining which form of  the herbal remedy to use for your dog. The nice thing about herbal medicine is that it comes in many different forms, making it very flexible.

Pets can be given herbs in the following forms:

  1. Fresh
  2. Dried
  3. Made into a tea or  skin rinse

Herbs can also be purchased in tincture or extract form.  These are considered stronger than tea form due to the alcohol which helps remove more active ingredients. The alcohol in the tinctures and extracts is often an issue since some dogs do not tolerate it well.  Dr. Kneuven shares an excellent way around the alcohol issue though and we’ll get into that below.

Here’s the difference between tinctures and extracts

  1. Tincture: grain alcohol & water preparation of the dried herb. 
  2. Extract: grain alcohol & water preparation, but uses the fresh herb instead.

Want to eliminate the alcohol included in the tincture or extract? Here’s how:

  1. First, identify the dose your dog needs. 
  2. Then dilute the dose with an equal amount of HOT filtered water.  The alcohol will evaporate.

When buying herbs, look for the following information on the label:

  1. Species and Genus and not just the herb’s common name
  2. Harvest or expiration date
  3. Part(s) of the herb used
  4. Amount of active standardized ingredients used
  5. Amount of inactive ingredients used

Using Whole Herbs for Your Dog

Whole herbs are exactly that. The entire herb including the flowers stems and the root. They are typically dried and then encapsulated. Or, they are processed and preserved in either alcohol or another type of solvent such as glycerine. Glycerine is better, but as mentioned above, you can get around the alcohol problem.

Using products that contain the whole herb is best vs buying cheaper products that might only contain the weakest and cheapest part of the herb. When purchasing products that include herbs, strive for whole, organic and all-natural herbs for your dog

The Benefits

Typically it can take a few weeks to really see the true effects of the herb, so be patient.

Conventional wisdom can be hard to shake, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in taking unique approaches to issues like dog health. As we all know, conventional medicine for dogs usually includes some variety of suppression and invasive action.

This approach, much like the same approach in human beings, serves to handle the symptoms and discomfort of health concerns without digging deeper. The thrust of herbal medicine is to answer the “why” of certain illnesses.

At the core of the herbal approach is a holistic design on treating the totality of the patient, human or animal, and this means moving beyond treating the symptoms to understanding “the harmonious checks and balances.” Dogs have a need for continual whole nutrition in order to have the necessary building blocks of healthy, balanced, pain free living. Without these building blocks, the balance is off.

 Different Types of Herbal Medicine

There are many different approaches when it comes to safe herbs for dogs. Different cultures bring different paths to wisdom to the table. For now, we’ll draw on three different approaches.

herbs for dogs

Ayurvedic Medicine

This style of medicine is generally associated with India and the Middle East. It focuses on metabolic body types, called doshas, and takes into account the entire constitution of an individual patient when designing healing approaches. Herbal treatments, dietary considerations, and even meditation are all built into the holistic approach which is used in treating pets as well.

Chinese Medicine

This approach is more than 7,000 years old and has a lot in common with Ayurvedic medicine. It treats the body as a series of channels or rivers of energy and deals in a natural flow. Getting healthy through traditional Chinese medicine is a matter of getting rid of any blockages to the body’s natural flow or “life force” and restoring balance to the yin and yang. The yin and yang are opposites that cannot operate independently of one another. Chinese herbs can be a very, very powerful form of treatment for most health problems related to dogs.

Western Herbalism

Finally, the approach of Western herbalism takes its ingredients from European herbs and medicinal plants. This approach comes from a balance of other approaches and life philosophies, making use of the science and synergy of herbalism.

More on Herbalism

Herbal remedies are remarkably easy to use, but there are some things you need to know before you embark on this path to healing.

For one thing, herbs are slower acting than other drugs. Many people are thrown off herbalism because the usual rapidity of conventional medicine is not present; the approach is more holistic and long-lasting in nature, which can exasperate our fast-and-ready culture.

Another thing to note is that there is an incredible wealth of knowledge and study on the subject. There is no easy or fast way to explain all the benefits of herbalism in one place, but cracking the shell is a good start Anything discussed in these articles is meant to serve as an introduction and as a way to get the ball rolling.

The field of herbs for dogs is an exciting and rich path. Along the way, we’ll explore the benefits and details of various herbs and holistic healing principles to get at the root of a more complete, loving approach to healing.

So, explore all my herbal library and discover how they can naturally help your dog live a long, healthy, happy life.

In the search bar, just type in the word “herbs” and my blog will bring back many articles on individual herbs for pain, healing, digestion, etc. and how you can use them.


Editor’s Note: The blogpost was originally published in May 2013 and completely revamped and updated for accuracy in November 2019.

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Showing 11 comments
  • Tan Anthony

    My Name Is Anthony
    My email address is [email protected]
    I have a maltese suffering from cushing disease, and I would like to know more on the method mentioned in your treatment, regarding my maltese’s cushing disease, with a tumour, which vet, claimed has to be treated with liver medication.

    I would like to know, following your treatment philosophy, whether my dog will benefit from this plant extract treatment?, which my family is currently following.

    I understand that the benefits are not immediate, but I am lost in this field, as I love my maltese very much.

    Kindly advice.
    Thank You

  • Atul keshri

    My 3.5 old labrador develops hygroma. Which homeopathic medicine should I give.

    • yourolddog

      Where is the hygroma Atul? What part of the world do you live, since all options aren’t available globally?


  • Hawk aka BrownDog

    Hi Y’all!

    My Human likes to read about herbs. She learned to use them as a child with her horses. The old man who was the groomer taught her. As an adult she learned about seaweed for horses. She uses some herbs for me and is always looking for articles. So glad you keep putting up info on the various herbs.

    Y’all come on back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    • janie knetzer

      Glad you like the articles Hawk! 🙂

  • anne gregory

    my pom has a speck on her brain and a cyst like substance in her spinal cord she has vertigo sometimes, she has had 2 mri scans but the vets have not been able to diagnose a definate answer i am interested in the yucca plant for her as she is on steroids and i am treating her at home with my magnetic field therapy machine . i wold like to get her of the steroids because of the side effects she also has garlic and live yoghurt she is now fairly stable . thank you

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Anne:

      So sorry about your little pom. Personally, I would recommend a good antioxidant formula for her that can help with her entire immune system. The one that I always recommend receives reviews from owners whose dogs have cancerous tumors, back problems, valley fever, warts, etc. and the testimonials are excellent. I recommend reading the reviews for yourself Anne. The steroids are most certainly depleting her immune system of the necessary fight she needs against her health issues.

      Yucca does offer many beneficial properties, but it’s typically recommended for its nutritional value in helping to absorb food. You can read more about it here. It must be used sparingly and in small doses ad the article recommends.


  • Kathy

    As always another great article. I enjoyed the one you did on the benefits of aloe as well. Thank you, and keep them coming.

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Kathy:
      Thanks so much and I’m glad you enjoyed them!

      Janie 😮

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