Last week we discussed some of the basics about supplements for our pets. It is of course, easier to administer medicines to dogs than it to cats, but there are a few tricks you can employ to make this easier. There are also those dogs out there that are too smart for their own good and can detect medicine in even the most tantalizing carriers. Today we are going cover how to give herbs to pets.
Cats remind me of miniature, furry royalty by the way they act sometimes. They parade around the house, can come off as demanding and think they are the greatest thing in whole wide world. It’s because they really are right? We love them that much! There’s a trick to getting these devilish Divas to take their supplements without knowing it.
You can hide a foul tasting herb in peanut butter if your cat likes it. Some do and others don’t. Other good fats include bacon grease and butter. Most cats will enjoy the flavor of a decent fat. If your cat has a distinctive palate than this might not be enough.
Do you like Tuna? If so, you’re in luck! Your cats may go nuts over the juice or oil you strain from the can. This can turn into a great carrier for herbs your cat would otherwise snub. Clam juice can be bought in the store and a spoonful of this goes a long way with a powdered supplement.
Yes, believe it or not, some cats are obsessed with them. Oats are such a neutral food that it somehow absorbs a lot of the flavors in harsh tasting herbs. (This trick works particularly well for children too)
There are circumstances that require using a dropper to administer liquid supplements. Cats are not happy about this but it works when necessary.
Man’s best friend is so much more accepting of medicine taking. I say this, but I also want to recognize those finicky dogs that refuse any help, even if their life depended on it. We have a big dog that protects the property and he is tough through and through, but ask him to take supplements and he whines like a baby! Really. He is pitiful and we have to hold him down because none of our tricks work on him. These kind of dogs that are too smart for their own good seem to do best with liquid supplements because they don’t have to chew anything up and the liquids can be squirted into their mouths and drip down their throats. My lab, (the voracious eater I mentioned in the last article) will eat anything with anything in it. She doesn’t care what it is or what it tastes like.
Lard is a great fat for dogs (Mantecca brand is my favorite) because it makes their fur silky and soft. Lard can be used to roll up a capsule, disguising it so it can be scarfed down without complaint.
Like I mentioned above for cats, peanut butter can become a good carrier for powders or rolled around a capsule to distract from the medicine.
If you have leftovers from dinner, especially meats, you can prepare a frozen treat for your dogs in ice cube trays. Meat leftovers can be cooked down into a gravy/mash with veggies or even by themselves. Add a little lard or other fat to increase the tastiness and put your powders in once it’s cooled off a bit. Pour this porridge into ice cube trays and freeze well. They should pop out nicely and it’s very easy to keep your portions even this way. Ice cube trays are perfect for making the right sized portions for your dogs.
We made a protein powder that also had eyebright and turmeric in it for one of our elderly dogs. She has visions issues and her joints give her a hard time. Using Rice protein as our base, we added herbs that we felt would help her most with her physical ailments. Using lard to give it the consistency of a damp powder (or Bisquick) we spooned this right onto her kibbles in the morning and evening. It kept well in the fridge and freezer (we tried out both) but I haven’t tried it unrefrigerated. This was convenient to make ahead of time and depending on how much you make (or how many dogs need it) it could potentially last a while. Psyllium Husks would be a good addition to this for dogs that need more fiber in their diets.
Liquid medicines and supplements absorb very quickly so the results are seen faster. Concentrates are nice because we can use less of them. Getting them into our pets might be as easy as trying some of the suggestions above, or given orally by mouth. Make sure your dropper is plastic for this because if it hits a tooth the glass may break and that could be very dangerous for your pet.
Now for a recipe:
Herbal Powder Mix In for joint health:
Place all of your powders in a bowl and mix thoroughly. You will have about 2 cups of herbs by the time you add everything together. Put your lard in and knead it evenly into the powders. You can use your hands or a spatula, but it works very much like making pie crust. You want to really work the fat into the powder so it combines well. It’s finished when it comes out dry and even, you should be able to squeeze it in the palm of your hand and it clumps up, but breaks apart easily. This powder is great for topping dog food. Mix in one egg for a little more nutrition. The dose will depend on the size of our dog.
These are average dosing recommendations and of course is meant to be adjusted as you see fit. If your dog requires more, don’t be afraid to add it. If your dog is sensitive to Valerian you can substitute chamomile, its gentler cousin. My dogs don’t seem to mind Valerian and it helps soothe and relax the body so the other herbs can work their best.
Please leave a comment if you like this article. We are always interested in what you have to say. We have books about natural pet care if you have more questions, or would like to have a reference in your home. If you are enjoying these pet articles we will continue to write more of them in the future. Our pets mean a lot to us and it’s only fitting that we take care of them like they are members of the family. Whether you have dogs, cats or both I hope this article was helpful in getting your furry loved one to better take their supplements.