Herbal remedies marketed to pets might actually be dangerous to your dog or cat. Obviously, we prefer to give our animals natural herbs when possible. Our companion animals’ bodies work different from ours, and some products that work for people are toxic to pets. But with hundreds of “natural” or “herbal” options, how do you know which ones are truly safe?
The first place to start is with your veterinarian. There are even holistic vets who can help evaluate your pet’s condition and determine the best natural course of action. When you’re out shopping, read labels thoroughly and consult with the sales staff at holistic stores. But buyer, beware: Some of the commonly marketed products are ineffective and even dangerous.
Here are some of the most commonly recommended natural treatments that are actually toxic to dogs and cats:
- Pennyroyal oil is recommended as a natural flea repellent but is highly toxic to dogs. In addition to skin problems and allergic reactions, in concentrated doses, it can kill.
- Comfrey is suggested for bone health and conditions like hip dysplasia and arthritis. However, it can damage your pet’s liver and has been banned from use in Canada.
- Tea tree oil, touted as the skin-problem solution for cats, is highly toxic to cats, dogs, and other small animals.
- Garlic works as a natural insect repellent. However, in large doses, it’s toxic to both dogs and cats, causing anemia or even death. The jury is out on whether or not garlic can be used safely, but with the toxic potential, why risk it?