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using black walnut for dogsIn this entry of our series on herbs for dogs, we’re going to be talking about black walnut.

This somewhat sinister-sounding treatment is common throughout eastern North America, but it’s also found as an ornamental tree in other parts of the United States and throughout southern Canada.

It was introduced in Europe in or around about 1629 and is still cultivated there for its wood.

Black walnut blooms in the springtime and actually bears its nuts in the early summer. Interestingly, the black walnut flowering tree is more resistant to frost and other elements than other walnut trees.

To this day, black walnuts are still harvested by hand from the wild trees. The majority of nuts harvested come from Missouri, with the largest black walnut processing plant located in that state. The outer hard black walnut shell is used in a number of applications, including in commercial cleaners and even in oil well drilling.

At this point,  you’re probably wondering exactly why anyone would be recommending black walnut for dogs. This is where things get interesting. Black walnut is notorious as much for its misuse in herbal applications as it is for its proper use.

Let’s be clear: black walnut is one of the safest and most reliable worming agents of all the herbal options we’ve explored thus far. BUT, used improperly, black walnut can be as toxic to the host as it can be to the tapeworm. Proceed with extreme caution, in other words.

Therapeutic Uses

As mentioned, black walnut is one of the best worming agents out there. The green, unripe nut hulls are used to create a series of over-the-top worming agents. There are also alcohol tinctures available that use black walnut.

  • Approaching this from a holistic mindset, black walnut worming agents offer what is called a symptomatic worming agent that is easier on the body and better than most other herbal agents on the market.  The trouble with merely approaching worming from a symptomatic point of view is that it doesn’t get at the reasons your dog has worms in the first place and therefore it won’t actually CURE the underlying issues.
  • Now, making your own black walnut tincture is something that we generally only advise for experienced herbal users. You should start with just a single drop of the stuff in your pet’s food and monitor any signs and symptoms going forward. If there are any adverse effects whatsoever, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention from a veterinarian.
  • A tincture is generally about 40 to 60 percent alcohol, with black walnut tincture being the most effective when the green hulls are soaked in alcohol for at least three days and as many as three weeks. There are some tinctures that are not good for internal use, so be sure that you purchase one that is safe for dogs and internal use.

dog parasitesDirections & Product Recommendations Below – DO NOT USE FOR LONGER THAN 2-3 WEEKS AT A TIME.

How to dose black walnut tincture: Use regular strength only – start slow over a couple of days by working up to one drop per 10 lbs body weight daily.  Herb Pharm Black Walnut Extract

How to dose black walnut capsules:  Dogs weighing 5-25lbs : 125mg or a 1/4 of a 500mg capsule.  For dogs weighing 25 pounds and over, give 250mg or 1/2 of a 500mg capsule daily.  Nature’s Way Black Walnut Hulls Capsules – 500mg.

Here’s a natural herbal dewormer kit that includes both black walnut and wormwood.  The kit is a two-part program for elimination and maintenance. What’s nice about it is that it takes the guess work out of giving too much or too little.

Preventative Measures

As mentioned, there are many reasons to be wary around black walnut. Despite the fact that it is, when used properly, tremendously effective at doing what it does, it can also be toxic if used improperly. As we always caution, anything that can be used to kill something like a tapeworm can also have adverse effects fr your animal.

Be extremely careful with black walnut and, if you have any doubts at all about this treatment option, avoid it.

Reasons to Use

As mentioned, black walnut can be a tricky one. It is as good a symptomatic treatment for worms as there is, but using it as such avoids getting to the heart of why your dog has worms and only serves as a very effective bandage on a larger problems.

For this reason and because of the aforementioned preventative measures, we discourage use of black walnut for most cases and suggest that it only be used where absolutely necessary.

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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  • jack

    how many drops of black walnut do i give a dog per pound of body weight


    • janie knetzer

      Hi Jack:

      Are you using this for heart worm because your dog currently has heartworm, or for prevention?


      • jack

        one has heart worms and other 2 doesnt….the one with heart worms is never in the kennel w/the other2

        • janie knetzer

          Jack, while I say in the article that it’s safe when used correctly, this statement is actually pretty broad and I should probably reword it. You have to be extremely careful with this herb and consult with a holistic veterinarian which would most likely combine it with other anti-parasitic herbs.

          I DO NOT recommend that you blindly add black walnut to your dog’s daily diet, without some sort of guidance from a holistic vet, etc.

          Jeff Battershaw claims to be a trusted natural heartworm authority figure. This might be a good place to look. Read the messages in the forum as well. Reach out to him and ask questions. Here’s a link.

          It would be so helpful to others if you could stop back here at some point down the road and let me know how it went. We’re all trying to find the best possible ways to naturally prevent and heal our old friends when possible. So, any knowledge you gain could benefit so many others.

          Whatever you do, I would definitely use a natural method of heartworm prevention for all your dogs in the future. I have one in the article that is good.

          Anyway, I hope this helps Jack.


      • jack

        also the 2 that are in the kennel are wolves…as a preventive i give them 10 drops on a piece of bread once a month….they weigh 100-120

  • Anthony

    I think I may have given my dog a overdose. We found out she had heartworm and I was given her a half of a full dropper that came with liquid bottle from the heath food store. I been mixing it in her food. Tonight my German Shepherd vomited up her food. What should I do now?

    • yourolddog

      Hi Anthony:

      If your dog has heartworm already and is vomiting up her food; if you haven’t seen a vet yet, you should. Black Walnut contains tannins and alkaloids that are often associated with vomiting and/or diarrhea.

      Heartworm isn’t something to play around with and if you’re uncertain as to what you are doing — PLEASE TAKE HER TO A VET IMMEDIATELY! Or, talk with these people here about their natural product kit for treating Heartworm.

      I don’t recommend you do this alone Anthony.


  • brenda

    My dog has Giardia and I want to maintain his health with a natural approach as antibiotic made him ill, I am thinking about the black walnut tincture ,wormwood, and cloves but am not sure of the amounts, I am afraid to dose him incorrectly, he is a 112lb german shepherd, can you advise


    • janie

      Hi Brenda:

      I’m glad you’re looking into a natural approach, however, I don’t know the exact recipe for the black walnut, wormwood and cloves tincture to treat giardia in your big boy.

      You’re best bet is to just use something like Kochi Free if you know for sure that you’re dealing with Giardia. It’s simple, natural and effective.


  • Susan Snow

    Hi, I found this heartworm preventative program after researching online.

    The program that consists of three products:

    Artemisia Combination (389 mg/capsule) – This is used like a monthly de-wormer.

    Black Walnut (500 mg/capsule) – This is a great nutrition booster helping metabolism and keeping the animal less desirable by parasites [fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes].

    HS II (460 mg/capsule) – This is used to keep the heart strong.

    Since weight determines the amount of herbs that should be taken, here’s what Robin suggested for healthy dogs.

    Under 5 lbs – 1/4 capsule Artemisia Combination and a sprinkle of Black Walnut capsule [equivalent to an eighth of the capsule]
    5-10 lbs – 1/2 to one capsule Artemisia Combination and a 1/4 of Black Walnut capsule
    11-25 lbs – 2 capsules Artemisia Combination and 1/4 capsule Black Walnut
    26-50 lbs – 2-3 capsules Artemisia Combination and 1/2 capsule Black Walnut
    51 lbs and over – 3 capsules Artemisia Combination and 1/2 capsule Black Walnut

    Artemisia Combination is given the first week of each month. Black Walnut is given 5 days on, two days off. I’ve found that most pets like Black Walnut. A little bit of Black Walnut goes a long way, so be sure to adjust this according to weight like the rest of the program. HS II is used to keep the heart strong. It can be given every few days or at least once a week.

    *NOTE: If you have a dog that is not in good health, we advise that you check with your veterinarian before using the program. The amounts aren’t as critical as when you are working with a dog that has heartworms.

    Another thing to consider is if you are in a climate area that has a winter and a period of time where there are no mosquitos. Vets generally do not tell you to use heartworm medication at that time of the year. I don’t bother to use the spritzer at that time of the year, but I still do the herbal program because Black Walnut is such a healthy supplement and the Artemisia Combination keeps him parasite free.

    Please use wisdom and common sense in deciding whether the natural approach is for you and your pet family. Since the herbal way is less expensive than the drugs, please be sure you make the investment to have your dog tested annually.

    You can read the full article and decide for yourself if this is the course of action you feel is appropriate for your pet. The actual Heartworm Program for heartworm positive dogs is also found on this site. My pup is currently heartworm positive and we are attempting this method. It’s slow and steady and requires a lot of patience, pills, and ham. Good luck.

    • janie

      Hi Susan:

      I’m so sorry to hear that your dog is heart worm positive. Thank you so much for sharing the article. Much appreciated.

      Will you please stop back and give us an update on your dog’s progress? We’ll keep our fingers and paws crossed that all goes well. 🙂

      Take care.


      • Susan

        Thanks Janie…She’s doing well. Her cough is nearly gone but we won’t know for sure for a few more months when we have her retested. It seems the average time for other heartworm positive pups was 4 to 6 months before they were negative. It’s quite a regime with 5-6 pills faithfully morning and then again at night, as well, as keeping her stress free. Luckily for us, she loves ham so much she gobbles the capsules without missing a beat and naps most of the time anyway. I read that yucca can help with bad coughing, but we haven’t had the need to order any.

  • Susan

    Also…you don’t have to purchase the herbs from the website I used. Any trusted herbs’ source is fine as long as the dosage is the same for the given weight ratios. I also have my very large bloodhound on the herbal heartworm prevention program of one week on then three weeks off. We will have her tested in March to verify she is still negative.

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