Ashwagandha is an ancient remedy that has been used to promote health and longevity in both humans and animals. It’s similar to ginseng, sharing the same active principles of alkaloids and withanolides and is renowned for its anti-aging properties.
Also known as Withania Somnifera or Indian Ginseng, ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb. In humans it’s often used in people to restore health and treat anxiety and other stress-related issues. Now, it’s believed to have some of those same positive effects for our pets.
What’s an Adaptogenic herb?
Adaptogens are a group of natural, herb-based remedies that promote balance in the body. They can reduce emotional and physical stresses helping your dog to live the best life possible.
Adaptogens balance out internal endocrine, hormonal, and enzyme systems or external stresses, depending on the adaptogen you use. They can also help to maintain normal fluid levels, support healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and normal thyroid and adrenal gland function.
Helping your dog to maintain balanced emotional and physical wellbeing can protect them against the negative effects of environmental stresses, especially if your dog is prone to nervousness. In short, they help your dog deal with normal stress in a healthy way, whether that’s anxiety in new situations, or overexcitement and hyperactivity.
What are the benefits of ashwagandha for dogs?
The proven benefits of ashwagandha for dogs are similar to those for humans. It’s known to be safe for long-term use, so many dog owners choose ashwagandha to supplement other medications, or as a preventative measure to help their pets from developing some common issues.
Fear, separation, and physical discomfort can all cause stress in animals, and ashwagandha is proven to help in these situations by balancing the processes that help their body respond to and manage stress. But there are other ailments as well as stress that can be remedied using ashwagandha:
- Ashwagndha can enhance the immune system and in turn treat anaemia, inflammation, bacterial infections, and bowel issues or diarrhoea
- Ashwagandha can promote better quality of bodily tissues
- Ashwagandha can relieve general aches and pains
- Ashwagandha contains high levels of iron and free amino acids, making it an excellent hematinic
- Ashwagandha can act as an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, sedative, antibacterial, and antifungal treatment
- Ashwagandha can help prevent and reduce tumours in animals
How to give ashwagandha to dogs
For use as a herbal remedy, ashwagandha is extracted to ensure maximum potency, so the full spectrum of alkaloids is kept intact. The resulting extract can easily be added to dog food, treats, supplements, and powders that can be added to their meals.
Ashwagandha supplements for dogs are developed in lower doses than those humans, so its important to research and buy animal-specific ashwagandha products for your dog. Though there are no known side effects and it’s a low-risk supplement to your dog’s diet, you should check with a vet before adding ashwagandha to your dog’s routine.
Front of the Pack’s The One supplement is vet-approved, and contains ashwagandha alongside seven other health-giving ingredients that support your pet’s health and wellbeing. Ashwagandha regulates cortisol in your dog’s body, helping to regulate their blood sugar, reduce their anxiety, and boost their immune system.
How much ashwagandha should dogs take?
Most Ashwagandha products for dogs will be specifically formulated with the optimum dosage. However, this can often depend on the size and weight of your dog. Like with any new supplement or remedy, it’s advised that you introduce ashwagandha to your pet’s diet slowly. Though there are unlikely to be harmful side effects from giving your dog too much ashwagandha, it’s better to be on the safe side and check with your vet, or simply stick to the recommended dosage on the product you choose.
When to avoid ashwagandha for dogs
As with all herbal remedies or medications, there is a chance that your dog may react badly to this new ingredient in their diet. Large doses of ashwagandha could cause diarrhoea and vomiting, which is why it’s important to follow dosage instructions. It’s particularly unsafe to feed large quantities to pregnant animals as it could induce a miscarriage.
If your dog already takes medication or other supplement for anxiety or mood disorders, check with your vet before adding ashwagandha to the mix. It has the potential to enhance the sedative effects of calming drugs, and may not interact well with some medications.
However, for most dogs that need a bit of extra support for their physical and mental wellbeing, maintaining a normal nervous system, and promoting cardiovascular function and hormone balance, ashwagandha could be an easy, effective, and natural remedy.