As the prevalence of chronic disease and immune deficiency continue to rise in our pets, more and more pet owners are looking for more effective and safer methods of treating disease than are offered by conventional medicine. Herbal remedies are a valuable tool in both preventing and treating the issues that plague many of today’s pets.
Herbs come in a variety of forms. Some come as tinctures and others come as capsules and tablets administered orally, as well as tinctures and salves for topical use. Herbs can be brewed into teas for administration both orally and topically. Tinctures may be alcohol or glycerin based. Alcohol is generally the best extractive, meaning that more of the beneficial properties of the herb are in the tincture. Glycerin tastes better so it is easier to get down an animal. Some small dogs and cats can be sensitive to alcohol, so a glycerin base is sometimes preferred. Most herbal tinctures made for pets will have a very small amount of alcohol, if any, and it can be evaporated out before administration by either putting the dose into a small shot glass and leaving it in the open air for 15-30 minutes or adding the dose to a small amount of very hot water and then administering this dilution after it cools. Tinctures are often preferred for cats and dogs as they tend to be better absorbed. Some herbal formulas, however, cannot be practically formulated in this way and are more easily dosed as capsules or tablets.