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Milk Thistle for Dogs

Just like humans, dogs are also susceptible to getting under the weather. Once they start showing signs that they have the flu, we’d like to help our dogs, whether through the use of some medications or natural home remedies—before taking a trip to the vet. 

In case you find out early that your dog is suffering from liver issues, you can treat those problems using an herbal supplement which is called “milk thistle”.

In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about milk thistle for dogs.

What is Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle, also known as “Silybum marianum”, is a flowering plant of the family Asteraceae. It is native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, but it is now commonly grown in some parts of North America. It contains a flavonoid compound, called “silymarin”, which can be extracted from the seeds of the flowering plant itself—then carefully formulated into a dietary supplement for medicinal purposes. Moreover, its active ingredient, silymarin, is actually the final form when these four major compounds are combined, which are silybin, isosilibyn, silychristin, and silydianin.

In any case, some scientific studies claim that silymarin contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents—all of which help in detoxifying a contaminated liver by fighting off harmful toxins and free-radicals. It also promotes the repair of the damaged and regeneration of the dead liver cells due to the increased production of protein, while decreasing the possible growth of certain tumors. Until now, milk thistle still proves to be beneficial for both humans and pets, while remaining relevant on a medical standpoint. It is believed that milk thistle has been widely used as herbal medicine by humans for over 2,000 years—way back in the Roman Empire.

Is Milk Thistle Safe for Dogs?

Milk Thistle safe for dogs as supported by several laboratory studies and clinical trials. With the beneficial properties the milk thistle has, it shows some potential to be an alternative solution for quite a number of liver diseases, as well as other ailing conditions. However, not all milk thistle products are the same in terms of efficacy, potency and purity. So it is wise to conduct your own research regarding a certain product and talk to your vet as well. Regardless, you should only opt for reputable brands that produce premium quality milk thistle supplements—along with the advice of your trusted vet.

Benefits of Milk Thistle for Dogs

There are several factors that can come into play as to how the liver can be damaged. It may include bacteria, viruses, toxins, pollutants and even medications. Although the application of milk thistle for dogs has just been recently approved, the results are quite astounding. It continues to prove to be beneficial not only for humans, but as well as for dogs.

Here are some liver diseases and other conditions the milk thistle can alleviate, it includes but not limited to:

  • Acute or chronic hepatitis
  • Hepatic lipidosis
  • Cholangitis
  • Pericholangitis
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Hyperadrenocorticism
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Mushroom poisoning
  • Seasonal allergies

How to Give Milk Thistle to Dogs

Milk thistle is an herbal supplement that comes in various different forms, such as capsules, tinctures and powders. Generally, milk thistle has a basic guideline of application, but it also largely depends on the brands’ dosage guidelines—as well as your dog’s overall health profile. The standard dosage of a milk thistle extract is around 70 to 80 percent of silymarin content.

You can administer milk thistle capsules at a starting dose of 2mg per pound of dog’s weight. But for dogs that are in need of extra liver support, you can administer 10mg per pound of dog’s weight.

  • For dogs under 25 pounds, ½ capsule per day;
  • Around 25 to 50 pounds, 1 capsule per day;
  • Over 50 pounds, 1½ to 2 capsules per day.

As for tinctures, you can administer at a starting dose of ¼ tsp per 20 pounds of dog’s weight in 2 to 4 equal doses per day. Lastly, for powders, administer at a starting dose of 2-5 mg per pound of dog’s weight, 2 to 3 times per day.

It is recommended to seek advice from your trusted vets before using any brands on your furry best friends.

Possible Side Effects of Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a safe natural supplement and has shown little to none negative side-effects. These can only occur when milk thistle is consumed in very large doses, and these side-effects may only include loose stools and mild digestive issues. Other than these, milk thistle shows nothing more but positive and wonderful results for our fur best friends. However, it is worth mentioning that milk thistle should not be used in any way during your dog’s pregnancy and lactation.

The Final Word on Milk Thistle For Dogs

Even though milk thistle has just been approved recently for human use, and still lacks firm evidence for its medicinal usage, it still shows promising results which our dogs might benefit from. As a responsible dog owner, we just need to regulate the level of dosage and only administer the appropriate amount in compliance with our dogs’ needs. And always make sure to talk to your vet before starting your dog on any kind of supplement!

Kevin F.

Kevin F.

Hey guys! I'm Kevin and I'm the Founder of My Dog Reviews. I made this site to share my very own dog's reviews of food, treats, toys, and more. I also have become fascinated with dog breeds and I'm sharing my knowledge with the world. Have a breed, treat, or something you want me to write about? Just let me know!

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