The humble dandelion, often found in sidewalk cracks and lawns, is surprisingly loaded with a variety of health benefits found in its leaves, roots, and flowers. A plant native of Europe and Asia, the use of dandelion for medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years. It was brought to North America by European settlers who used it as a “cure-all” plant. Although practitioners of Western medicine rarely use this wonder plant, dandelion remains known in herbal remedies throughout the world.
Dandelions contain high, yet still safe amounts of vitamin A, protein, vitamins C, D, K, and B-complex, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and potassium. Dandelion is also a safe diuretic. In conventional veterinarian medicine, drugs are normally used to pull excess fluid from the dog’s body and promote elimination of waste materials. Unfortunately pharmaceutical diuretics, while fast-acting, often causing the dog’s body to lose too much potassium. In contrast, all-natural dandelion provides the best of both worlds, having diuretic activity and a high level of potassium, helping to prevent an imbalance in electrolytes.
Dandelion can also be used as a safe liver tonic. The liver is responsible for removing toxins from the body via the kidneys and is an extremely important organ. The liver also plays a crucial role in digestion with its production of bile and various enzymes. When bile ducts in the liver and gall bladder become congested, symptoms such as jaundice, eczema, constipation, and dandruff may occur. Dandelion root has the ability to stimulate bile production and circulation in the liver as well as in the gallbladder.
For dogs (and humans) with gastrointestinal issues, nausea, or chronic stomach issues, consuming a few raw dandelion greens may help.
Dandelion can be prepared in multiple ways, in root form and as a green. Some holistic veterinarians recommend feeding it as a part of a seasonal, whole-foods home-cooked diet. Dandelion greens are typically easy to find at health food stores and farmers markets. If you decide to feed dandelion greens to your dog, several leaves can be fed raw as a “salad” or steamed. If you are interested in using dandelion, ask me and try our Detox supplement. Dandelion offers a multitude of healthy benefits for your dog’s body, while supporting and assisting natural functions.
ABOUT DR. DEBORAH SHORESDr. Deborah Shores is a graduate of Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has many years of experience working in animal hospitals and clinics from Virginia to South Carolina, treating mainly dogs and cats. She has a special interest in nutrition and holistic veterinary medicine and plans to pursue an acupuncture certificate at the Chi Institute in Florida. X