Hawthorn Benefits for Dogs

Hawthorn benefits dogs with heart problems. Get information on this herb and learn how to use it for your dog's heart health.

Crataegus laevigata
(Rose family)

Hawthorn is best known as one of the safest herbs for the heart. It is commonly used as a cardiac tonic, as it increases blood circulation by dilating and relaxing the blood vessels, and enhances the transport of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.

This herb is also an antioxidant. It removes free radicals that take away oxygen from the blood.

The good news is, hawthorn benefits dogs and is a safe herb for them.

Common Uses in Dogs

As mentioned above, hawthorn is an excellent and safe cardio-tonic. When used on dogs in small doses and over an extended period of time, it has been shown that it helps the body push more blood around the body, thus blood circulation is improved.

Hawthorn also normalizes heart activity by strengthening a weak or erratic heartbeat and is therefore useful for dogs suffering from heart failure or weakness.

In addition, for working dogs who are under cardiovascular stress on a regular basis, daily supplements of this herb can prevent heart failure in the long run.

As you can see, it is beneficial to add this herb as a daily tonic to the diet of older dogs, especially those suffering from chronic heart problems (e.g. cardiac anomalies resulting from heartworm, or bacterial or viral infections).

Not all herbs taste good, but hawthorn berries do! Most dogs like the sweet taste of the berries. If you have a hawthorn tree, the fresh, ripe berries can be given to your dog as a healthy treat. Tea can also be made from the berries which can then be poured onto your dog's food.

Of course, you can always get alcohol-free hawthorne extract or capsules for your dog.


Hawthorn and Heart Medication

If your dog has a heart problem and is on some kind of heart medication (e.g. Digitalis), hawthorn can be used in conjunction with the drug. Hawthorn is in fact safer and milder than conventional heart drugs and may even correct the undesirable side effects caused by the drugs. However, do check with a holistic vet for dosage and safe use of hawthorn if you want to combine this herb with heart medicines.

J.A. Duke, The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Comprehensive Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing (Rodale Books, 2000).
R. Kidd, Dr. Kidd's Guide to Herbal Dog Care (Storey Publishing, 2000).
M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Herbs for Pets (Bowtie Press, 1999).