Echinacea is a flower that’s known to have medicinal value. It’s mainly taken to help support the immune system but it’s not typically used for dogs. Nearly all of the testing done on this herbal supplement focuses on humans. So how about the potential for a pet?
Your dog typically won’t need help boosting their immune system. They don’t have to deal with the same daily stresses that we do. Some owners say they’ve used it successfully for treating their dog’s infections, including urinary tract infections. However, most vets will advise against it and recommend other solutions.
Aside from those common uses, there’s not really any valid reason why your dog would need an echinacea supplement to lead a healthy and happy life. One good thing about dogs is that they get the nourishment they need from a well-formulated dog food. It’s pretty easy to keep them at their healthiest.
Can I Give My Dog Echinacea? Answer: Not Recommended
There are better ways to help your dog rather than using Echinacea.
It’s true that people use this medicinal flower for all sorts of things including skin problems such as wounds, burns, eczema, psoriasis and even insect bites. One other ailment people turn to this popular herbal medicine for is UTIs.
It’s understandable that if your dog is experiencing any of these, you’d consider using some echinacea extract to treat them as well. You may not want to hear this but you should get a recommendation from your vet first, especially if your dog comes down with something like a urinary tract infection.
Your veterinarian can give you prescription antibiotics that will be more effective. The reason this herb is so popular with humans is that it’s all natural. Many people believe it can help maintain health when the common cold and the flu are going around. But this isn’t likely to benefit a dog in the same way, not to mention it’s fairly expensive as a long term supplement.
The K9 Immune System
Echinacea is known for its immune system strengthening properties, but that’s for people. Without getting into too many details, the immune system of a dog is different. The vast majority of the time it will be functioning properly, as long as your dog is well-fed and getting regular exercise.
Yes, although rare, it’s possible for dogs to have trouble with their immune systems as well. There are herbal remedies that can work, with the most popular being milk thistle. Also known as Silybum marianum, it acts to cleanse the liver and provides trickle down cleansing benefits to the rest of the body.
As a Laxative Solution
Humans sometimes take echinacea to help with constipation. For a dog, this isn’t really the best treatment. You can either let the condition pass on its own, or give your dog something like canned pumpkin to help move things along.
Opting to wait, since dogs have relatively fast metabolism, is usually prudent because constipation likely won’t remain a problem for long. If it does happen more than occasionally, consider upgrading their dog food so that they get a better mix of ingredients with less filler.
Conclusion on Echinacea
A few vets give dogs echinacea while many others see no use in doing so. Honestly, there’s no hard and fast rule about whether this is something you should give your dog. It’s always best to err on the side of caution rather than give them something unproven or possibly harmful.
Natural remedies will often pop up as possible solutions for all sorts of things. While often these herbal medicines show signs of efficacy in humans, it doesn’t necessarily translate to canines. Providing a good quality dog food, fresh water and lots of love form the basis for health rather than herbal remedies like echinacea. Of course, for serious problems, your vet should have your back.
Remember, dogs don’t have the same sort of stress levels that we do. They don’t worry about the future or regret the past. They keep in a constant state of presence. This inherent happy-go-lucky disposition tends to keep them healthy and their immune system in top shape without the help of things like echinacea.