Alfalfa Benefits for Dogs

The herb alfalfa benefits dogs in various ways, from treating arthritis, support digestion, to cancer prevention. This page looks at the therapeutic properties of this herb, as well as how we can take advantage of this herb to enhance our dogs' health.

Alfalfa
Alfalfa
Medicago Sativa
(Pea family)

The plant alfalfa is rich in protein and minerals (such as calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, silicon and zinc). In addition, it contains vitamins A, B1, B12, C, D, E, and K. As such, it is considered nutritive.

Alfalfa also has diuretic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties - these therapeutic properties are often used by holistic vets to help dogs with inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, bladder irritation, and even cancer.

The herb alfalfa is widely available at health food stores in the forms of capsules or liquid extract. The bulk powdered dried herb is also available at health food stores.

Common Uses on Dogs

  • For older dogs: This herb is one of the best for dog arthritis and gout. Recommended dosage is 1/2 teaspoon powdered herb daily for small dogs; 1 teaspoon daily for medium dogs; and 2 teaspoons daily for large dogs.
  • For Anemic Dogs: Alfalfa has a high Vitamin K content and is beneficial in remedying bleeding disorders which result from long-term use of allopathic drugs such as antibiotics. It helps with anemia and dizziness caused by a lack of blood flow. (Caution, however, should be taken as Vitamin K has been linked to cases of Heinz-body anemia in dogs (and cats) when taken in large quantity.) Recommended dosage is 1/2 teaspoon powdered herb daily for small dogs; 2/3 teaspoon daily for medium dogs; and 1 teaspoon daily for large dogs.
  • For Dogs with Dry Skin: Alfalfa is often used by holistic vets as a tonic for the blood. With healthier blood and better circulation, skin condition improves. Recommended dosage is 1/4 teaspoon of powdered herb daily for small dogs; 1/2 teaspoon daily for medium dogs; and 3/4 teaspoon daily for large dogs.
  • For Dogs with Sluggish Digestion: Thanks to its trace minerals and rich digestive enzymes, alfalfa benefits dogs with poor appetite, gas and sluggish digestion. Recommended dosage is the same as for dogs with dry skin.
  • For Dogs with Problems in the Urinary Tract System: Alfalfa is helpful to the kidney in general and is good for treating bladder irritation due to overly acidic urine due to its alkalinizing effect. Recommended dosage is the same as for older dogs.
  • For Cancer Prevention: Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, alfalfa is also good for cancer prevention. Use the same dosage as for older dogs.

References
J.A. Duke, The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Comprehensive Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing (Rodale Books, 2000).
C. Schwartz, Four Paws Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs (Celestial Arts Publishing, 1996).
M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Herbs for Pets (Bowtie Press, 1999).