Herbs for pets – Part 1

Dedicated to my 2 sweethearts Lucy (Left) & Smokey (right)

As I am a hardcore pet lover, I decided to dedicate a few posts on natural foods for pet ailments. I consider using herbs as part of my pet’s health care regimen. Yes, naturopathy and holistic nutrition works for pets as much as it does for us and all the chemical exposure has the same detrimental effect on animals that it has on humans.

To start with, today I am going to write about the “Herbal Calmers” for pets.

Herbs are considered to be ideal calmers as they are mild in their actions. Most potent tranquilizers make your pet crash but natural herbs do not have such harsh reactions. Using herbs saves your pet from getting a hangover the next day 😉 Another good news is that herbal calmers are not addictive. Herbs do not stay in the body for long. Some herbal calmers like oats work as tonics. They offer overall balance to the nervous system.

Animals are used to taking herbs since ages. Have you ever noticed in the wilds????? A herd of deer eats a particular part of the grass or even feeds on what we call “weeds” during allergy season. How do they know about the medicinal properties of these wild plants, they never went to school or science labs????? That’s nature my friend. They understand nature and they follow nature. It is even proved in certain instances that certain plants grow around your house or in your herb garden to save you from the developing disease in the family that you might not even be aware of. Amazing isn’t it???

Alrighty!!!!! Coming back to the herbal calmers for dogs :- )

1)   Oats: It is a good nervine and easy to give to your pet. Oats strengthen and provide overall support for the nervous system. Your dog with upset nerves can benefit from a daily or few times a week dose of oats. Cooked oatmeal added to dog’s food helps calm his nerves and adds fiber to the pet’s diet.

2)   St. John’s wort: This herb is used during anxiety and tension. You can also use it whenever your dog seems depressed or needs some nerve healing.

3)   Valerian: This is another good herb used to reduce tension and anxiety, over excitability and hysterical states. You can sprinkle a little on your pet’s food. It is also available in the form of capsules/tablets.

4)   Chamomile: Chamomile is a potent sedative used to reduce anxiety in a stressed animal. Chamomile will also calm your dog’s belly and help the dog go to sleep. Chamomile can be considered before a car ride especially over the river and through the woods. It eases an upset stomach and puts the dog to sleep for the duration of the trip. You can give chamomile tea. Some pets enjoy it just the same as we do.

5)   Lavender: Another calming herb used as a sedative. It is helpful to quiet the incessantly barking dog. You can moisten your dog’s food with lavender tea or use as aromatherapy. Spray pure essential oil mixed with a little water or burn the pure essential oil in your pet’s environment or apply a few drops to the area behind the dog’s ear. During a car trip you can moisten a cotton ball with few drops of the essential oil and hang it from the rearview mirror. You can also hang the cotton in the room that is your dog’s favorite hiding place. You will be surprised to see your dog rest easy after a dose of calming lavender.

6)   Other herbs to consider for the nervous system are:-

  1. Catnip: this herb has amazing effects on cats but it is calming to all critters.
  2. Skullcap: Excellent for nervous tension, and it has additional benefits for the epileptic patients.

Always pay attention to what you are feeding your pet. Avoid giving your dog too much packaged foods. Keep salty and sweet foods to a minimum as they can get skin infections/disease due to these. Biscuits, cakes, puffs, fried stuff, too oily and all that is bad for you is also bad for your dog.

Do keep a watch for my next article about Arthritis and natural remedies for pets.


1.  Dr. Randy Kidd, D.V.M., Ph.D., (2000). Dr. Kidd’s Guide to Herbal Dog Care, Versa Press (U.S.A)  Storey Publishing.


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