Is Chamomile Safe For Dogs?
Offering a distinct apple-like flavor and rich in antioxidants, chamomile tea is one of the most widely consumed and well-studied herbal teas in the world today. Having been used for thousands of years, chamomile aids in inducing sleep, treating anxiety, eczema, digestive issues and gout. Recognizing the many benefits of natural products, many pet lovers are now turning to natural choices such as chamomile extract and bach flower as homeopathic remedies for dogs.
Are All Herbal Remedies Safe for Dogs?
Despite a “natural” label, not all types of herbs are safe for dogs – some are actually toxic. For instance, comfrey can lead to liver damage when used for extensive periods or in large doses in pets. Additional herbs dog owners should avoid include:
- Garlic – large doses can lead to anemia in dogs
- Wormwood – large doses cause kidney, liver and nervous system damage to dogs
- Yucca – in large doses can induce vomiting, bloating and stomach irritation
- White Willow Bark – interacts with arthritis medications like NSAIDs in dogs
- Pennyroyal – toxic at high doses, may worsen pet kidney disease
Is Chamomile Safe for Dogs?
Chamomile, however, is considered safe for the average dog, having been used to treat many small animal-related conditions with success. The herb should typically only be avoided in natural pet products among dogs (or cats) who are allergic to ragweed or chrysanthemums. While a chamomile allergy is not exceedingly common in pets or people, an allergic reaction in a pet includes symptoms such as coughing, itching, wheezing and runny nose. In some cases, an allergic reaction directly affects the digestive system and induces vomiting and diarrhea.
What Conditions Does Chamomile Treat in Dogs?
Chamomile can be used for a wide range of digestive issues in dogs including gas, bloating, stomach aches and vomiting. Chamomile tea may also be brewed for issues with anxiety such as fear of thunder, excessive barking and separation issues. A compress to soothe flea bites or to use as a treatment for scrapes and abrasions is also a wonderful example of how chamomile can benefit dogs. Pet owners can even use a chamomile along with saline solution to treat pink eye in pets, making chamomile an affordable and natural alternative to expensive visits to the vet.
What Makes Chamomile So Effective?
The chamomile plant, a member of the Asteraceae/Compositae family, is chalked full of flavonoids and terpenoids. This gives the chamomile plant powerful anti-inflammatory and antiphlogistic properties. The chemical compounds found in the herb are beneficial regarding cardiovascular health, osteoporosis and diabetes, among other medicinal uses.
Currently, chamomile is being studied regarding anti-cancer properties due to the presence of apigenan, a bioactive ingredient found naturally in the plant, according to the National Institutes of Health. Chamomile also contains chamazulene, which works much like aspirin, inhibiting inflammation in dogs and pets.
While treating a dog with chamomile is typically effective and safe, there are a few special considerations pet owners should make before herbal treatment begins. Many types of chamomile tea or chamomile extracts contain dosages that vary a great deal. Typically, extracts contain a much higher chemical concentration that products such as tea or dried flowers. Always buy chamomile products from a trusted manufacturer or seek the advice of a veterinarian regarding dosage. Some vets that focus on herbal remedies may suggest combining other herbs such as peppermint to treat certain pet health issues.