Herbal Pet Care

Taking a holistic approach to caring for your pets

By Michael J. Balick, Ph.D.



The following herbs are excellent daily additions to your pet’s diet. Finely mince fresh, organic herbs and sprinkle over food just before serving. Grind organic seeds to a powder and add a pinch to food before serving. Decoct (simmer in water for 10 to 15 minutes) the burdock root and pour some of the liquid over your pet’s food.

parsley Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) leaves supply protein; also rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, riboflavin, potassium, iron, magnesium, niacin, and phosphorus.
dandelion Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) leaves are rich in protein, potassium, vitamin A, iron, manganese, and other trace minerals; supports the liver.
nettle Nettle (Urtica dioica) leaves are rich in protein, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamins A, C, D, and B complex. (Note: Nettle leaves must be dried or cooked to destroy the plant’s stinging qualities.)
purslane Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) leaves are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, as well as vitamins A and C and the minerals iron, magnesium, and calcium.
burdock Burdock (Arctium lappa) root is an abundant source of calcium, phosphorus, and thiamine; excellent liver tonic, cleanses the body of toxins.
borage Borage (Borago officinalis) seeds, evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) seeds, or flax (Linum usitatissimum) seeds provide essential fatty acids, necessary for the development and maintenance of the brain, liver, heart, and immune system. —M.J.B.

Plant photography by Rob Cardillo, Woodystock, Emilio Ereza, Tim Mainiero, Maximilian Weinzierl, Rodale Images