Chamomile Tea for Dogs
You’ve probably heard about some of the benefits of drinking chamomile tea for yourself, but did you know this multipurpose herb can also help your dog? If your favorite canine has been suffering from digestive issues, skin allergies or even anxiety, chamomile may be able to help.
What Is Chamomile?
Chamomile, scientifically known as Matricaria recutita, is a very common herb and is best known for its use in chamomile tea. Chamomile is a flowering plant, and the herb is taken from the flowers themselves. Chamomile tea is readily available in just about any grocery store, and many health food stores also stock chamomile supplements, which may be easier to get your pet to take.
How Does Chamomile Help?
Chamomile has two basic active ingredients that are responsible for its many healing properties. Apigenin and chamzulene work similarily to aspirin, calming inflammatory responses in the body and working as a mild sedative. This helps the body in myraid ways including:
- Relieving anxiety. Chamomile’s natural sedative properties help calm dog anxiety, especially with pets who have issues with separation anxiety or are frightened of storms. In the case of separation anxiety or another ongoing anxiety issue, a chamomile supplement in pill form may be the most appropriate and convenient method.
- Calming upset stomach. Chamomile has anti-spasmadic properties that can help with some digestion issues, including diarrhea and excess gas. Chamomile tea can also help increase fluid intake, helping with constipation.
- Reducing skin allergies. Dogs who suffer from systemic seasonal allergies that manifest in skin issues, such as itching skin, dandruff or red inflamed areas, can benefit from cool chamomile tea compresses. Add chamomile tea to your pet’s bath or try administering the used tea bags as compresses on irritated areas. Chamomile also kills yeast and inhibits bacteria growth, which makes it a natural complement to treatments for bacterial or fungal skin infections.
Options for adminstering chamomile to your dog include providing the tea — try adding a bit of honey if your dog doesn’t seem interested — in a water dish, giving a tincture by mouth or using capsules. If you go with the latter option, try hiding the pill in a bit of peanut butter or holding your dog’s mouth closed after putting the pill on his tongue to encourage him to swallow.
Is Chamomile Tea Safe for My Dog?
For most dogs, both chamomile tea and chamomile capsules are very safe, but it’s important to consult with your veterinarian if your dog has a history of allergies — especially to any plants in the Aster family — or is already on any kind of medications. If your dog is pregnant, only give chamomile in tea form to avoid any risks of early contractions that could cause problems with the mother or pups. As with humans, it’s important to introduce any new substances to your dog’s diet slowly, watching carefully for any adverse reactions.