Milk Thistle for Dogs

Estimated read time 5 min read
  • Dogs with liver problems may find milk thistle beneficial.
  • Silymarin is the component of the plant with beneficial properties.
  • You can buy milk thistle supplements for dogs in powder, liquid, and capsule forms.
  • Although milk thistle supplements can be helpful for dogs’ livers, they don’t cure any diseases.
  • Before giving their pets a supplement, pet owners should consult a veterinarian.

Dog owners may want to find natural methods to prevent disease and improve their pet’s health. Like humans, herbal supplements can be used under the guidance of a trusted veterinarian.

Milk thistle is a good supplement for dogs suffering from liver problems.

What is Milk Thistle?

“Milk thistle ( Silybum Marianum)is a plant that produces the flavonoid compound silymarin from the seeds,” states Dr. Stacie Sommers, a veterinarian at Oregon State University’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine. Although silymarin and milk thistle are sometimes used interchangeably, silymarin refers to the portion of the plant that contains beneficial properties.

Summers claims silymarin is both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent. She says that silymarin has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for many health issues.

One comprehensive medical review found that milk thistle has been used for liver and gall bladder disorders for over 2,000 years. The National Institute of Health has also noted milk thistles to treat liver diseases like cirrhosis and hepatitis.

What is Milk Thistle Good for in Dogs?

Summers explains how milk thistle can be beneficial for dogs suffering from liver disease.

These are some conditions that milk thistle might be able to help with:

  • Chronic or acute hepatitis
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis

Although limited research has been done on milk thistle in dogs, the results seem promising.

The Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics published a study that found milk thistle could effectively treat liver dysfunction in Beagles.

Summers says that silymarin can be used to reduce inflammation, protect cells from damage, promote bile flow, and increase protein production.

According to Dr. Angie Krause of Boulder Holistic Vet, the milk thistle may help protect the liver from Cushing’s disease. She says that although milk thistle won’t cure Cushing’s, it can protect the liver against elevated cortisol levels.

As a treatment for diabetes in dogs, milk thistle might also be recommended.

Krause says that milk thistle could slightly lower insulin requirements in diabetic dogs. It may also be helpful in the treatment of pancreatitis, as it can protect the liver against pancreatic inflammation and promote the smooth flow of bile.

How to Give Your Dog Milk Thistle

You don’t need a prescription to buy milk thistle. It is not a drug. As with all supplements for dogs, you should consult your veterinarian to determine the best dosage for your dog.

Krause says that milk thistle is available in capsules, liquid, or powder form.

Silymarin can be given to dogs as an oral supplement. Usually, it comes in the form of a capsule or pill.

Krause says that milk thistle can easily be taken 2-3 times per day.

You should be cautious if you are planning to use a milk thistle supplement formulated for humans. You should consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any human-grade supplement. They may contain additives or may not be appropriate for your dog’s specific needs.

Krause says that it depends on the product’s concentration and the dog’s size. Krause explains that a 5-pound poodle might not take a supplement designed for a 150-pound person, but a 75-pound dog could easily consume the same dose from the same bottle as their guardian.

Side Effects of Milk Thistle for Dogs

You should not give your dog thistle if you have any symptoms.

Summers says silymarin is safe to give to dogs. Silymarin can cause diarrhea in dogs if given in high doses. If this happens, consult your veterinarian immediately.

Summers cautions that silymarin can benefit your dog, but it is not likely to cure any liver disease.

She says silymarin can be helpful in dogs with inflammatory conditions of the liver, but it cannot cure the disease. Silymarin should only be used as a liver protector in dogs suffering from chronic liver enzyme elevations.

How To Select Milk Thistle Supplements for Your Dog

It would help if you researched reputable brands before you purchase a milk thistle supplement. Also, consult your vet to ensure that your dog is getting the right source.

Summers states that herbal supplements are not subject to the same effectiveness standards as other medications. The potency, purity, and bioavailability of herbal supplements varies among manufacturers. I recommend pet owners use only dog-specific products that have been recommended by their veterinarians and that contain sufficient bioavailable silymarin (along with the liver protector SAMe) to maximize silymarin’s effectiveness for their pet.

Krause states that the label should indicate the amount of silymarin or milk thistle in the product. She says that you can request a certificate from the manufacturer, which will help to determine the product’s purity. You can also purchase the product directly from your veterinarian.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours