Herbal Supplements for
Older Dog Health

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Herbal Supplements for Older Dog Health

Overview

As our dogs age, they need extra nutrients and vitamins to help them stay healthy and active. Older dogs tend to have compromised immune systems, and are more prone to infections and other health issues.

To maintain and support older dog health, a natural, health diet of course is essential.

On top of that, we can also use natural supplements and herbs to give our aging dogs an extra "boost" - to enhance their immune systems, to help them digest and absorb foods properly, and to support their various major organs.

This page focuses on information about using various herbs and supplements to support and maintain older dog health.

Herbs For Older Dog Health

More and more people are relying on herbs to support their aging bodies and minds, and many such herbs can be used as part of an older dog health regime as well.

Here are some excellent herbs that will support different organ systems and are perfect to be fed to our dogs as tonics.

Choose a few of these herbs that can most assist your aging dog. You can also rotate the herbs - use one or two herbs in a month, and then switch to the next two herbs the following month.

Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a nutritive herb that is rich in minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium, phosphorus), as well as vitamins (B6, C, D, E, and K).

It is also rich in enzymes that help to break down starch, protein and fat. This herb has also been traditionally used to treat arthritis and joint pain as it helps support connective tissue and collagen.

Astragalus

Astragalus is an old Chinese herb and has been for a long time used as a general tonic that supports the immune system. Use this herb to strengthen your older dog's resistance to stress. Another tonic herb with similar properties is echinacea.

Burdock root/Dandelion

Burdock and dandelion are effective in supporting the digestive system and in stimulating liver function.

These two herbs are great to use for detoxification. Burdock detoxifies and supports the liver, and dandelion supports not only the liver but also the kidneys.

Ginkgo

Ginkgo works wonder on the nervous system. It enhances both long-term and short-term memory in older dogs. It is effective in improving brain function of aging dogs who display diminished mental clarity or unusual behavior due to cognitive dysfunction.

Hawthorn

Hawthorn has a strong affinity with the heart. It can be used as a heart tonic for older dogs, as it can improve blood circulation and helps the aging heart.

Milk thistle

Milk thistle is an herb that enhances the liver. Older dogs tend to develop liver diseases, so if your aging dog is suffering from liver problems, consider using milk thistle for liver support.

Nettle

Herbal Supplements for Older Dog Health Nettle is a tonic which provides gentle support to the whole aging body.

Because of its high iron content, it is especially beneficial to dogs with anemia. For older dogs who are weak and lethargic due to chronic fatigue, you can use this herb to boost the dog's energy level. The herb nourishes the body and balances the liver, glands, and nervous system.

Oat

Oat has an calming effect on the nervous system. Since older dogs are more prone to anxiety and nervousness, a daily dose of oats may just be the thing to calm an old dog.

In addition, older dogs tend to have more digestive issues such as constipation. Cooked oatmeal added to an older dog's food can provide extra fiber (while at the same time helping the nerves!).

Parsley

Parsley is a nutritive herb and has a lot of benefits for older dogs.

A tea of parsley leaf (or dandelion leaf) can be added to our aging dogs' water to help strengthen the mucuous membranes in the urinary tract.

Parsley can also be used to help dogs with arthritis, boost the immune system, and prevent cancer.

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi has long been used in Asia to support the immune system and the liver. It has strong antioxidant properties and may help prevent cancer.

Reishi can also help maintain good mental focus and concentration so it is a good herb to give to older dogs who are showing signs of cognitive dysfunction.

Saw Palmetto

An native American herb, Saw Palmetto is effective in normalizing hormonal balance and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is most commonly used for treating benign prostate enlargement, which is a rather common health issue in older intact male dogs.

Herbal Antioxidants for Older Dog Health

Some herbs are natural antioxidants that can counter the overproduction of free radicals - one of the culprits that speed the aging process in animals.

Feed these antioxidants as a dietary supplement as part of an older dog health regime:

  • Thyme/Basil/Oregano/Rosemary: Just sprinkle some of these mixed dried herbs on your dog's food every day.
  • Tumeric: If your dog likes the taste, tumeric is also a great antioxidant which, in addition, prevents excess cholesterol accumulation and keeps the heart healthy. It also has anti-cancerous properties.
  • Bilberry: Bilberry contains the compound anthocyanocide, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps eliminate free radicals in the body. Bilberry is also well known to be nourishing to the eyes, and can support vein and capillary health.
  • Green Tea: Green tea has been found to be an effective antioxidant and it also has anti-cancerous properties.

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Natural Herbal Products for Aging Dogs

Here are some natural herbal products that are beneficial to older dogs:

Animal Essentials Senior Support Herbal for Dogs and Cats

This herbal formula contains good tonic herbs such as hawthorn, oatstraw, dandelion, milk thistle, ginkgo and alfalfa. It is designed to help to restore health and increase vitality in senior dogs.

Old Friend for Senior Dogs

This herbal formula contains herbs such as alfalfa, astragalus, alfalfa, American ginseng, dandelion and more, and is effective in supporting an old dog's immune system, improving liver function, and promoting mental sharpness and cognitive function.

Only Natural Pet Immune Strengthener

This is another great herbal supplement that contains immune-boosting herbs such as astragalus, green tea, mushrooms, and cat's claw, plus vitamins A, C, and E. This formula can provide immune system support to help your aging dog fight chronic disease or diminished organ functioning.

Integrative Therapeutics Milk Thistle X**

If your aging dog has liver problems, this formula of milk thistle can be of help. As a powerful antioxidant, milk thistle not only strengthens liver cell resistance to toxins, but also stimulates cellular reproduction.

**Note however that this formula is for therapeutic use - milk thistle is not appropriate on a daily basis for healthy animals without need of liver support.

Pain Relief for Older Dogs

Just like us, your aging dog will have more and more aches and pains in his body. This, over time, may lead to loss of mobility.

To ensure that your aging dog can still chase after a ball, albeit slower, herbal and other supplements can be used.

Please visit this page for a list of herbs, supplements, and homeopathic remedies that can relief pain in dogs. For arthritis pain, please click here for information on relieving arthritis pain the natural way.

References
M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Herbs for Pets (Bowtie Press, 1999).
R. Kidd, Dr. Kidd's Guide to Herbal Dog Care (Storey Publishing, 2000).
R.H. Pitcairn, The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats (Rodale, 2005).

Resveratrol for Dogs?

You may have heard about resveratrol and its anti-aging effects on people. How about giving resveratrol to our aging dogs? Will it be effective? Click here to find out!

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