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Safely Using Valerian for Dogs

Valerian for dogs

You’ve probably heard of Valerian as an herbal sedative, which is exactly why we’re discussing it in this article, because Valerian is a natural and safe herbal option for dogs as well as humans.

It is renowned as a safe and gentle herbal treatment that does not alter the brain like alcohol or pharmaceutical sedatives do.

How Valerian Root Helps You?

A Little History Behind Valerian Root

Valerian is a perennial flowering plant native to Europe and different parts of Asia, but it’s also been introduced to North America.

Sometimes called garden valerian, garden heliotrope and all-heal, the valerian we’re talking about today, is not the same as what you’re likely to find in gardens. That type is known as Red Valerian, but it is actually a different species.

Valerian blooms from May to July and is found in soils with a considerable degree of moisture retention. As mentioned, there are several native species in North America now – most are found in the western portions of the continent, but it has also shown up in New England.

Therapeutic Uses of Valerian for Dogs

  1. The fall root  is the part of the herb that is used in forming treatment options. Sometimes the upper parts of the plant are used, but they provide a weaker form of medicine and do not have the more potent effects of the fall root.
  2. Valerian is a top choice for herbalists when it comes to prescribing sedatives.It is used to calm anxiety in dogs and also can relax the body in cases of physical pain. Herbalists have prescribed Valerian in cases where dogs have fears of thunderstorms, for instance, because its calming effects help mitigate the anxiety. As you might imagine, a little Valerian can also help calm down shaky dogs on trips to the vet or other unsavory places. Schnauzerama.org also shares how shares information on how to use this herb.It is sometimes used to help reduce the severity and frequency of seizures in epileptic animals.
  3. However, if you’re considering Valerian Root for a dog experiencing seizures, you should know that it works best when combined with other herbs for these dogs.   Doctor Ackermans Seizure & Epilepsy Formula already contains Valerian and other herbs known for their ability to help seizure dogs.  But, if your dog is a high stress, nervous or fearful dog, Calm and Relax formula is highly recommended in conjunction with Dr. Ackermans formula on a daily basis.  Lastly, for dogs suffering from seizures,  a diet tailored to the needs of these dogs is critical.  Home Cooking for Sick Dogs includes 3 recipes for seizures that can be made in the crock pot for these dogs.
  4. If you are using valerian as a sedative, it is most effective in small doses over the course of several days. You should use doses several times a day, especially in anticipation of a high anxiety event like the aforementioned trip to the vet. Dogs should be treated with five drops of valerian root tincture dosage three or four times a day starting about three days prior to the anxiety event.
  5. Can be used as a treatment for upset stomachs and spastic colons. In these instances, you should use a smaller valerian root tincture dosage (0.25 to 0.5 milliliters of tincture for every 30 pounds of dog with a frequency of two to three times a day). A larger dose may lead to vomiting.
sleepy dog relaxed

Valerian Root Tincture Dosage for Dogs:

Valerian can be used in both powder or valerian root tincture dosage for your dog and the dosage is based on the human dosage.  Both can be placed directly on your dog’s food if this makes it easier. If using Valerian in powder form, 4mg per lb is recommended.

  • Valerian Dosage for Small dogs: One quarter of human dosage
  • Valerian Dosage for Medium dogs: One half of human dosage
  • Valerian Dosage for Large dogs: Full dosage

Preventative Measures

As mentioned, you need to be careful with the dosage when using valerian as a treatment for upset stomachs. Because of its soap-like consistency, it may cause some adverse reactions in dogs. This is not always the case, but there are reasons to be cautious.

Also, it does have the opposite effect in some dogs (and humans) when it’s used as a calming agent and a sedative. Some dogs (and humans) actually experience Valerian as a stimulant.

*Keep in mind that you should not suddenly stop valerian; instead you should slowly wean your dog off the herb.

Reasons to Use Valerian for Dogs

It is important to remember that valerian is as safe a sedative as you’re going to get for your dog. It is available through most herbal retailers and you can also purchase the plants in many nurseries. For dogs with anxiety issues or to mitigate the effects of high anxiety events, it’s definitely a nice option to have in your medicine cabinet.

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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