Therapeutic Uses of Juniper Berry for Dogs

Juniper Berry is celebrated for its practice as an astringent and diuretic. Plus it has antimicrobial properties that help detoxify and purify the blood through the urinary tract. It’s believed to be helpful for lowering blood sugar levels and aids in strengthening the kidneys. It’s also good for the skin, which makes it a very versatile addition do your dog’s herbal remedy cabinet.

  • Studies have shown that juniper may have benefits when it comes to treating diabetes and types of cardiovascular disease. In these studies, a decoction of the berries was given to diabetic and non-diabetic rats. In both verified groups, blood sugar levels lowered thanks to an intensification in glucose uptake in the diaphragm. This, in turn, boosted the level of insulin produced by the pancreas. However, these same studies demonstrated the hypoglycemic effect of juniper berries into diabetes-induced rats. With this said, consult with a good holistic veterinarian before using juniper berry if your dog is a diabetic.
  • It’s believed that 14-acetoxycedrol is behind juniper’s capacity to aid in lowering blood glucose levels. This element has been studied a fair bit in organic chemistry and seems to have some practical application benefits, with the high point being its anticoagulant ability. This cuts down risk of cardiovascular conditions by soothing vascular tissues.
  • Juniper’s capacity to stimulate kidney function is worth a mention here. By increasing the rate of glomerulus filtration, juniper berry for dogs helps the system screen impurities from the blood. This will subsequently boost urine and waste purging, which gives dogs a great way to naturally flush their systems. It is important for dogs with renal failure to avoid juniper.
  • For minor scrapes, bruises and cuts, use a cooled tea and blot with cotton balls.

Juniper Berry Dosage for Dogs

using juniper berry for dogs

For dogs, juniper can be administered a number of different ways. Research indicates that juniper may be most effective when taken in the form of tea or supplement. We prefer the tea method using a good brand of juniper berries such as Frontier.

It’s important to first note that the general consensus is to only use the juniper berry temporarily until the issue is resolved and NO LONGER than four weeks at a time.

A two week break in between should be given before restarting. DO NOT USE IF YOUR DOG IS IN RENAL FAILURE.

Directions for making a tea with fresh juniper berries:

Using a covered pot, soak berries in a cup of boiled water for 8 minutes.

Tea daily dosage 

  • Teacup (up to 6 lbs) – 1/2 T tea daily
  • Small dog (7 to 24 lbs) – 1 T tea daily
  • Medium (25 – 49 lbs) – 1/8 cup daily
  • Large dogs (50-100 lbs) – 1/3 cup tea daily

Juniper in Supplement form daily dosage

As far as we know, there are no specific dosages when using juniper berry in supplement form for dogs. With this in mind, a good rule of thumb that is often used is as follows (however, watch your dog for any side effects):

  • Large dogs: full human dose
  • Medium dogs: 1/2 of the human dose
  • Small dogs: 1/4 of the human dose
  • Teacup dogs: 1/8 of the human dose

Preventative Measures

As with all herbal treatments, temperance is key.

  • Like anything else, the berries could cause nausea and/or diarrhea.
  • Juniper is relatively safe, but there are some precautions to take. As mentioned, it shouldn’t be used by dogs who are suffereing from renal failure. This is because of the presence of terpineol, a volatile oil. This oil is actually an irritant in that it gets right in and inspires the kidney to the point of producing more urine.
  • Since juniper has a vasodilating effect on the uterus, it shouldn’t be used by pregnant animals. While juniper for dogs can rouse menstrual flow, its harmful effects on pregnant animals make it an herb to avoid.
  • Juniper does safely boost circulation and aid in urinary tract function, but must be cautiously observed.
  • Because of the metabolizing enzyme the berries themselves contain, this enzyme can cause interference with particular medications. A 2014 study found that the enzyme metabolizes 50% of pharmaceutical drugs and the other 50% suppresses the enzyme. Resources indicate that the list of pharmceutical drugs is pretty large and could cause harm when taken together with juniper berries. So, if your dog is on any medications, it’s a good idea to talk to your dog’s vet before using.

Reasons to Use

Because of its wide variety and high-functioning properties, juniper is a tremendous addition to an herbal toolkit. It should be used over a short period of time to avoid irritation, but the very properties that make it work are highly valuable for dogs with kidney and circulation problems.

Due to its net benefits, it’s safe to recommend juniper berries for dogs as a strong option for attentive pet owners.

More About Juniper Berry

When it comes to juniper berry for dogs, variety is not an issue. There are 130 species of juniper to be found around the world, including 26 that are native to North America. All of these plants provide excellent berries that are good for a number of purposes, but the berries of common juniper are perhaps the most useful of all.

Common juniper, also known as Juniperus Communis, can be found from Alaska to California and is a fixture in more temperate places in North America. It likes hillsides and forest clearings, but there are also trees that can be found in the desert areas of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and even Wyoming. Finding this evergreen is never typically a problem, but its fruits do take two to three years to fully ripen.

For our purposes, the berries and leaves of common juniper are the most valuable. Leaves can be scaly or more prone to needles, but both types of leaves are available for use in herbal medicine. And similarly the berries, which are not only favored by herbalists but by chefs and food explorers for their compelling cuisine potential.

References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen

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