Herbalism for Pets


Did you know that dogs and cats are innate herbalists? They search for plant matter to improve digestion and elimination and they often prefer not to eat if they are feeling off colour.

As their owners we can learn from the instinctive choices that our pets make.

Fresh new shoots of grass are a good case in point. You would undoubtedly have noticed your four legged friend regularly partake of this garden delight and there is a good reason for it. The green in grass provides an excellent source of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants. As the main driving force behind photosynthesis, chlorophyll is rich in oxygen and magnesium. Similar in structure to the human haemoglobin molecule it is vital for energy production.

Grass is also a great laxative as it encourages peristalsis (the downward movement of the digestive tract) to facilitate elimination via the bowel. Grass can also act in the opposite way, as an emetic, to cause vomiting. This is nature’s way of removing unwanted wastes and is to be greatly encouraged.

By the same token, abstention from food for short periods of time can also be beneficial. If your dog or cat doesn’t feel like eating, it can be useful to observe for 24-48 hours before acting on it, unless this is accompanied by other alarming symptoms that obviously require urgent attention. Sometimes the digestive tract actually needs to rest in order for healing to take place.

Finely chopped grasses and weeds can be regularly added to your pet’s meal such as fresh dandelion leaves, parsley, chickweed and watercress, all of which are rich in vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, fibre and fatty acids. This will charge their diet with a rich multivitamin cocktail in order to increase vitality and well being.

By Laura Wilson (Herbalist, Adv. Dip. Western Herbal Medicine MNHAA)

Laura Wilson is a gifted herbalist for humans, who also has a great affinity with treating animals with herbs and other natural remedies.