using marshmallow for dogs

Marshmallow Root and How to Safely Use it For Dogs

Marshmallow root is a safe herbal remedy that can be used for dogs to help with many different ailments.

What is marshmallow root good for? Marshmallow also known as Althaea officinalis is a popular demulcent, emollient and expectorant. This is not the same as the fluffy white confections you put in your hot chocolate or the confection you roast over a campfire which should not be given to dogs.

While the aforementioned treat is made from the plant, there’s a significant difference between it and the perennial plant.

Marshmallow root is best known for its ability to provide relief from inflammation and irritation within the digestive tract for your dog. It helps encourage intestinal flora while also providing a lubricating and soothing barrier between inflamed mucous membranes and any food moving through the intestine. It can also create a film in the mouth that protects and soothes. This can beneficial for dogs with mouth tumors, etc.

Like honey or various syrups, marshmallow can provide relief as what’s known as a mucoprotective agent. There are also suggestions that it can help with urinary tract inflammation.

How to Use Marshmallow Root for Dogs

The root, flowers, and leaves can be found commercially in applications such as marshmallow root powders, tinctures and poultices for wounds all deriving from this remarkable plant. 

Or, you can always make your own if you have marshmallow growing on your property. 

  • The best way to use this plant for any type of digestive issue is to use it in the form of a cool water infusion and feed in between meals: This is also true for constipated dogs and it works well on the urinary tract system when used this way.

Digestive issues are hot by nature and the cool infusion of the sticky marshmallow mucilaginous properties are what helps heal your dog’s digestive tract. If you feed the infusion with your dog’s meals, then you’re diluting the dog’s digestive acids he/she needs to absorb the food.

Bottom line: For best results, feed in between meals. Syringe feeding is fine. This is meant to be an on-going, long term solution to healing the problem vs just masking it. 

Instructions for making a cool water infusion (tea) for your dog:

  • Use organic cut, shredded and sifted marshmallow root. Use a 1 quart mason jar and a tea strainer to sit on top of the mason jar. A flat lipped tea strainer can often sit comfortably on top if you have one. You’ll fill the tea strainer to the top (roughly 6 heaping tablespoons). Use cool or room temperature FILTERED or spring water only. Fill your mason jar with the water and completely submerge your tea strainer so that it is sitting in the water.

If you don’t have a tea strainer: You can directly place the marshmallow in the water. Leave it sit on your kitchen counter and stir every hour for up to two hours. 

Dosage for dogs

Use your judgement based upon your dog’s weight and use the following dosage guide to help you determine how much works for your dog:

1-20 lbs: 1/4 cup tea up to 3 times daily.

21 – 50 lbs: 1/4 – 1/2 cup tea up to 3 times daily. 

51 – 100 lbs: 1/2 – 1 cup tea 2 or 3 times daily.

  • If you want to use a powder form of marshmallow root and add to your dog’s food, a dosage of three-quarters to one teaspoon of powdered marshmallow root can be added to food twice a day for adult dogs, while puppies can make use of a quarter to a half teaspoon of the powder. Again, you can use this dosage as a guide to what works for your own four-legged friend.


Preventative Measures to Use

Due to the properties of marshmallow root, it’s important that your dog has access to plenty of water. Its coating capacity can create discomfort, so having that liquid counterbalance can help stave off any possible concerns.

For the most part, however, marshmallow is an incredibly safe herbal treatment to rely on. Some have reported that it can impair the absorption of drug treatments, however, so you’ll want to space out the application of marshmallow from your dog’s normal drug routine.

May cause a decrease in blood sugar levels. Talk to your holistic vet first if your dog is a diabetic.

Reasons for Using Marshmallow

Marshmallow root is a very safe herbal treatment for your dog. It works as a demulcent, which is just a fancy way of saying that it helps soothe and coat various tracts of your pet’s body. It can soothe issues with the bladder and gastrointestinal system, plus it can be used for a sore throat and to even soothe symptoms like kennel cough.

And it can even be applied directly to the skin to soothe wounds and to stave off infections. It works for gastritis and ulcers alike, plus it has healing properties that make it a good option to add to your regiment of infection-fighting treatments.

Some reports have marshmallow root making a powerful difference in fighting bladder and kidney infections.

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