Benefits of Nettle for Dogs

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Overview

Benefits of Nettle for Dogs Nettle (aka stinging nettle) is nutritive. It is rich in protein, vitamins A, C, K, B complex, as well as minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Due to its rich vitamin and mineral contents, Nettle is a good herb to give to dogs who need an extra boost of trace minerals and vitamins in their diets.

As an added benefit, Nettle also has antibacterial, astringent and antihistamine properties.

How To Use Nettle for Dog Health

  • Herbal Tonic: Due to its nutritive contents, this herb is an excellent herb tonic for your dog. It provides nutrients to the whole body without adding excess stress to the liver, kidneys and digestive system.

    Because of its high iron content, it is especially beneficial to dogs with anemia. It is also an energy booster for dogs who are weak and lethargic due to chronic fatigue. The herb nourishes the body and balances the liver, glands, and nervous system.

    The completely dried herb can safely be used long term as a tonic - just sprinkle it onto your dog's food (1/2 teaspoon/lb. of food fed to the dog).

  • Herbal Antihistamine: Nettle is also an antihistamine, and can therefore be useful for dogs with seasonal allergies.

    Daily supplement of nettle leaves may alleviate the allergic symptoms in dogs. Alternatively, use a tincture of the nettle leaf.

  • Herbal Rinse: Topically, the leaves of this herb can be made into a tea for use as a skin and coat rinse for your dog.

    Nettle nourishes a dog's coat and alleviates discomfort due to fleabites, eczema and other skin conditions.

    Internally, nettle leaf can also be given to dogs with skin conditions as it can cleanse and stimulate the blood and clear chronic skin ailments.

  • Eye Wash: Nettle has anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used to make an anti-inflammatory eye wash for minor eye infections (e.g. conjunctivitis) in dogs.

    Here's how to make an eye wash (by G. Tilford, author of Herbs for Pets):

    Get a tincture of nettle leaf. Add ten to 12 drops of the tincture to one ounce (30 ml) of saline water.

    Use a dropper to apply the nettle eye wash to the affected eye, 2-3 times daily, until the redness in the eye disappears.

  • Poultice for Bleeding: Because of nettle's hemostatic property, the leaves can be made into a poultice for nosebleeds or other hemorrhagic conditions.

Puppy

Making a Nettle Coat Rinse

This rinse (for dark-coated dogs only!) can improve your dog's hair and coat condition.

  • Add 2-3 tablespoons dried nettle to 2 cups boiling water.
  • Cover and let stand until cool.
  • Strain.
  • After shampooing your dog, gently work the tea into the dog's coat, wetting the skin.
  • Let the coat air-dry.

Precautions

When handling the fresh leaves of this herb, be sure to wear gloves since the leaves can cause a stinging sensation. Thorough drying or cooking neutralizes the toxic constituents that cause the sensation.

References
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).
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).