Rose Benefits for Dogs

Roses are not just beautiful - their petals, leaves, stems and bark have medicinal properties and can be used safely on dogs for a variety of purposes, such as disinfecting and wound healing, calming, treating diarrhea, and more. This page looks at some rose benefits for dogs, and the different ways that it can be used on our fur-kids.

Rose and Dog

Most of us love the elegance and fragrance of roses, and many enjoy the taste of rose tea. But did you know that roses (the tea, the essential oil and hydrosol) have therapeutic properties like many herbs? It is because of this very reason that I have included "rose" as one of the safe herbs for dogs.

Therapeutic Properties of Roses

The rose (Rosa spp.) is nutritive. Its leaves, petals, bark and stems have different degrees of astringency (the bark and stems offer the strongest astringency, followed by the leaves, then the petals). In addition, the rose is antibacterial.

For dogs, different parts of the rose can be used to treat problems related to the skin and the digestive system.

The most common way to obtain the therapeutic properties of roses is by making rose tea and rose vinegar.

Rose Benefits for Dogs

Rose benefits dogs in quite a few ways (in the forms of tea, herbal vinegar, and aromatherapy):

Rose Tea for Dogs

As is true for most herbs, rose tea (either using the petals or leaves) can be used both internally and topically.

Topically, rose tea made from petals or buds can be used as a rinse for dogs with dry, itchy skin. (It will make your dog smell good too!)

Cool strained tea with a pinch of sea salt added can be used as an anti-inflammatory eyewash. It is particularly effective in soothing itching or redness of the eyes as a result of air-borne irritants.

Cool strained tea can also be used to treat minor wounds, such as cuts and abrasions. It can be poured directly onto the skin to clean the affected area or applied as a spray.

Internally, rose petal tea can be used to tame an upset tummy. Specifically, it is often used to treat mild to moderate cases of colic and diarrhea. Just add the tea to the dog's drinking water (1 tablespoon per 20 pounds of body weight).

Rose tea made from the leaves are stronger and can be used topically as a rinse for contact dermatitis, and skin inflammation and irritation caused by fleabites or fly bites.

Rose leaf tea can be used internally for acute digestive tract inflammations caused by bacterial or parasitic infections. (1/2 teaspoon per 30 pounds of body weight, once to twice daily). However, the use should be limited to a maximum of four days.

As mentioned above, the bark is the strongest and I recommend that the use be best left to holistic vets and herbalists.

Rose Vinegar for Dogs

Rose vinegar (rose petals and apple cider vinegar) has disinfecting properties and is an effective treatment for small wounds and itchy skin. Apply it directly to affected areas as needed. It can also be used as a conditioner for your dog's coat - the apple cider vinegar works synergistically with the rose petals to soothe irritated skin and improve coat condition.

To use as a coat conditioner, fill a plastic container with 1 cup of water, add 2 tablespoons of rose vinegar, shake to mix, pour it onto shampooed and rinsed hair. Massage gently so the vinegar can be evenly distributed over the hair. Let the coat air-dry, blot with a towel, or rinse with plain water as desired.

Note: Because cider vinegar and red roses can stain or darken light hair, do not use this on dogs with light or white hair coats, or substitute ACV with white vinegar and red rose petals with lighter colored rose petals.

Rose Essential oil and Hydrosol for Dogs

The essential oil of rose also has therapeutic properties - it is good for itchy and dry skin; it also has a calming effect and is therefore useful for dogs with anxiety. It is also a natural tick repellent since ticks dislike its scent.

However, 100% pure rose essential oil is very expensive, which can be a prohibiting factor for many of us to use the essential oil regularly on pets.

Fortunately, we can always use the hydrosol of rose, which is far less expensive than the essential oil.

Rose hydrosol can be sprayed full-strength on a dog's wet coat and then brushed or massaged in. This can soothe itchy and irritated skin, and can calm a nervous dog. As a tick repellent, it can be diluted with an equal part of water (a few drops of geranium essential oil can be added to the mix if you have it), and sprayed or applied to the coat as needed.


How About Rose Hips?

We can't talk about rose benefits without mentioning rose hips, can we?

Rose hips are the round berries that develop after rose petals fall from their stems in late summer. They are rich in vitamins C and A, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants such as lycopene. They strengthen the immune system and prevent cancer.

In Europe, rose hip powder is a popular supplement for arthritis patients. Although not clinically tested in dogs, rose hip powder has been used by many dog parents to help their arthritic dogs and the results are positive.

Pssst! You can also use rose hips to make herbal biscuits for your arthritic dog (See this recipe).

Making Rose Tea and Rose Vinegar

Rose Tea Using Petals

  • Pour 1 cup of almost boiling water over 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh organically grown rose buds or petals.
  • Cover the container and let the tea steep for several minutes.
  • The longer you let the tea brew, the stronger it is.
  • To make a medicinal-strength tea, slightly increase the roses and let the tea steep until it has cooled to room temperature.
  • Strain the tea through a piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter.

Rose Tea Using Leaves

  • Bring 2 tablespoons of chopped rose leaves to a boil in 2 cups of water in a covered pan.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, still covered, until cool.
  • Strain the tea through a piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter.

Rose Vinegar

For added antibacterial and antiviral benefits, consider making rose vinegar. Here is how:

  • Put dried organic rose petals in a clean, dry jar. Be sure to fill the jar only half way to allow for expansion.
  • Heat raw organic apple cider vinegar to a warm (not hot) temperature. Pour the ACV into the jar to completely cover the petals with a margin of 2 or 3 inches. Seal the lid.
  • Leave the jar in a warm place and let the rose petals soak for 4 to 6 weeks, or longer. Shake the bottle daily or turn the bottle upside down to let out trapped air.
  • After 6 weeks or so, the vinegar will have absorbed the fragrance and medicinal properties of the rose petals. Strain the liquid and store the strained rose vinegar in a dark cobalt or amber glass bottle.
  • Label it appropriately (with date and ingredients), and store away from heat and light.

C.J. Puotinen, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats (Keats Publishing, 1999).
M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Herbs for Pets (Bowtie Press, 1999).
Whole Dog Journal, July 2012.