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.

Therapeutic Uses

  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 tincture 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 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

Dosage

Valerian can be used in both powder or tincture 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.

  • Small dogs: One quarter of human dosage
  • Medium dogs: One half of human dosage
  • 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

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.

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.

 

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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Showing 51 comments
  • Karen Johnson
    Reply

    Hi, I have a 12 yr old pomeranian with a collapsing trachea. His coughing and gagging has been increasing. I read about different natural products to try and one was valerian root. It is supposed to relax muscle tension. Once the muscles are relaxed the blood supply increases allowing healing and repairing to occur.
    As a naturopath I tested my dog for a tincure I carry. He definitely can use it.
    Unfortunately there is no cure. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Michele
    Reply

    Can I give one of my dogs Valerian root and benadryl? My other dog Previcox and Valerian root? 1st dog is a 20# JRT with nervous, anxious, itching and the benadryl helps with the itching (sometimes he gets clomipramine hcl small tabs for dogs for anxiety. And my 2nd dog is a GoldenX, appx 60# and takes Previcox for arthritis pain and “old age” symptoms and it has helped immensely.
    ***they both have severe storm, loud noise, etc. phobias*** I so want to help them with their anxiety.

    Thanks!

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Michele:

      You can look this up at http://www.drugs.com For Valerian root and Benadryl it shares “Using diphenhydrAMINE together with valerian may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination.”

      It doesn’t share the drug Previcox though. Valerian root is typically pretty safe. Typically when two dogs have phobia issues; it’s because they are feeding off of one another and most likely the owner who tenses up when a storm is coming, etc.

      I also recommend looking into an anxiety wrap or coat for both of them. They can help a great deal when combined with a natural sedative like Valerian Root. There’s several different ones to choose from as you can see here. Another option is the Happy Hoodie that covers the ears with a gentle compression. You can see that here.

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

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