Using Natural Herbs for Dogs

Share the herbal benefits with your favorite pets by sticking to a few herbal doggie tips and treats.

| April 2018

  • Herbs also have many health benefits for dogs, so feeding your pets these herbal treats will give them a good health boost.
    Photo by Amy K. Fewell
  • “The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion” by Amy K. Fewell is a full guide to living a more natural lifestyle through herbalism.
    Photo courtesy of Lyons Press

The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion (Lyons Press, 2018) by Amy K. Fewell helps beginners and experts alike make the most of their homegrown herbs. This guide takes readers through the basics of using herbs in their home. Fewell speaks from experience, after growing her own herbs for years. The following excerpt is her advice on using herbs for your dog’s health.

My biggest “ah-ha” moment in terms of farm dogs came from watching our Black Mouth Cur named Delilah. She had come down with a urinary tract infection, as many female dogs do. I had given her one antibiotic capsule but, hours later, I noticed she was outside chowing down on my echinacea plants.

I began to freak out a bit. My precious echinacea was being destroyed by a crazy dog. After noticing that each time she went outside she’d start eating echinacea leaves, I realized that nature was actually at work right in front of me. Delilah was self-medicating.

Because Delilah is closer to a wild dog in the gene pool than our goofy Labrador Retriever, Samson, she hasn’t completely lost touch with nature like he has after years of breeding for conformation.

I didn’t give Delilah any more antibiotics and watched her closely. She rested frequently, ate echinacea three times a day on her own, and within seven days she was completely healed. As an herbalist, I felt honored to have witnessed this so closely firsthand.

This simply proved my theory that if given the proper natural tools, animals can heal themselves in many situations. While I lost three echinacea plants in the process, I witnessed something far greater at work.

The Native Americans used echinacea as a natural antibiotic, something we often don’t think of when it comes to how we use it today. But very clearly, it can be just as effective today as it was back then. At least, Delilah thought so, and she was right.

Herbs in Dog Food and Treats

We don’t give our dogs herbs every single day. A few times a week seems to be the norm. I find myself adding garlic powder, turmeric powder, and powdered echinacea leaves to their bowls most often. We found that switching them over to a completely grain-free diet helped eliminate a lot of their former health issues. There are many herbs you can offer your canine friends throughout the week—you can sprinkle these herbs, fresh or dried, in their feed, or make snacks out of them. Keep in mind that a little bit of these herbs goes a long way and sometimes powdered is best.

Herbs for Dogs

• Peppermint
• Oregano
• Rosemary
• Basil
• Thyme
• Garlic
• Sage
• Ginger
• Turmeric
• Dandelion
• Echinacea
• Astragalus
• St. John’s Wort
• Chamomile
• Lavender

Herbal Dog Treats

You can purchase herbal dog treats online, but why not make them at home? Your pups will love these treats and get an immunity boost all at the same time.

• 1 cup pumpkin puree
• 3 tablespoons coconut oil
• 1 farm fresh egg
• 1-1/2 cups einkorn flour (or a gluten-free flour)
• 1/2 ounces astragalus root, powdered
• 1/2 ounces echinacea root, powdered
• 2 tsp garlic powder


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine pumpkin puree, coconut oil, and egg in a bowl. Set aside.

3. Combine flour and herbs in a separate bowl, then combine with wet mixture. Mix completely. Mixture should feel moist but not too wet.

4. Roll out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into treat shapes.

5. Bake on a lined baking sheet for 20–30 minutes, or until crispy. Let cool completely.

6. Store in an airtight container in the pantry or fridge for up to two weeks. They will last longer in the fridge.

Dehydrated Meat Dog Treats

Dehydrating thin slices of meat, liver, heart, or other organs from chickens, venison, bison, or beef can prove to be a very effective way of administering herbs to your farm dog. Play around with some of the herbs and meats mentioned in this recipe.

• 2 ounces of powdered herbs
• 1–2 pounds meat or animal organ of choice


1. Preheat dehydrator to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mix up herbs in a container.

3. Cut meat into 1/4-inch slices. Douse each piece in the powdered herbs.

4. Lay in a single layer on dehydrator racks. Dry for 6–8 hours or until crispy. They may be slightly leathery, but must be completely dry all the way through.

5. Store in an airtight container for up to six months. Store in freezer for up to one year.

Meats to Use for Dog Treats

• Chicken
• Venison
• Bison
• Turkey
• Fish
• Beef
• Squirrel
• Rabbit
• Internal Livestock Organs (liver, heart, tongue)

Powdered Herbs to Use for Dog Treats

• Garlic
• Turmeric
• Oregano
• Thyme
• Basil
• Parsley
• Ginger
• Sage
• Rosemary
• Echinacea

Farm Dog Herbal Treatment Products

Our dogs are constantly running about without a care in the world, which normally means they don’t realize they’ve cut their foot or have fleas all over them until it’s too late. We breathed a sigh of relief when we realized there were homemade products that worked just as well as over-the-counter ones. Here are some products you may want to keep on hand, or at least in mind, for your farmstead dog.

More from: The Homesteader's Herbal Companion

Herbal Companion Planting
Drying and Storing Your Herbs
Natural Herbal Gummies
Mixing Your Own Herbal Blends

Reprinted with permission from The Homesteader's Herbal Companion (2018), by Amy K. Fewelll and published by Lyons Press.


1/15/2020 1:11:39 PM

I also have several issues with this article. As mentioned in previous comments, be VERY careful with feeding a grain free diet. Please read the research on this. Do not depend upon your domesticated dogs to "heal thyself" with free range echinacea! And garlic can be toxic to dogs!! While this may have worked for the author of the article, it seems to me that a phone call to my veterinary professional (who by the way has studied 8 years on the subject) may be a better source for the care of my beloved family member's health.

1/12/2020 8:52:40 AM

Watch feeding grain free dog food to your pets. My vet said that you should only feed grain free if they are allergic to grains. There is a grain that dogs need for heart health. Use only feeds with healthy grains not corn or wheat.

1/8/2020 2:31:39 PM

I have several issues with this article. First, an untreated urinary infection can lead to sepsis and death in any animal. I would not want to count on echinacea to keep a sick dog alive. There are too many variables. There is also no mention of the different kinds of echinacea in the article. Echinacea purpurea is useless when dried and only good fresh. So, anyone trying to cure a UTI with dried e. purpurea is going to be disappointed. Also, grain free dog foods have been linked to dilated cardiomyopathy. The study was done with Golden Retrievers but any dog can develop heart problems and they aren't really sure what about the grain free foods causes it but they think it might be the legumes in the food blocking taurine absorbtion. Lastly, the article states that they don't give herbs every day, but many herbs, Turmeric for example or things being used for arthritis or to reduce inflamation, do a much better job if give daily. Some herbs have a cumulative effect and need to be give daily to be effective.



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