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Can I Give Valerian to my Dog?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: September 26, 2017
Can I Give Valerian to my Dog?

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We are growing more and more aware of the need to treat our pets in natural ways that are as harmless as possible, since most times this means less damage to their bodies and less change in their physiology.

However, we must be clear that the term natural does not always mean harmless, and even less so in the case of medicinal plants, since these contain one or several active ingredients that interact with our body and are metabolized in the same way as a chemical drug.

If we want to use medicinal plants as an aid in looking after our pet's health, we must do so responsibly. This is why in this AnimalWised article we'll answer the question can I give valerian to my dog?

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What are the benefits of valerian?

Valerian is a perennial herb whose root is harvested in autumn and it is precisely in the root where we find multiple active ingredients that makes this plant one of the most widely known and used medicinal herbs. The main properties and benefits of valerian root can be summarized as follows:

  • Sedative properties: It is indicated for any disorder involving nervousness, anxiety or stress, and also in depressive behaviors.
  • Hypnotic properties: It is indicated to improve insomnia, especially when there is great difficulty relaxing in the conciliation stage of sleep.
  • Relaxing properties: Although it is not widely known, valerian root acts as a muscle relaxant, reducing pain and spasms.

Valerian has undergone multiple studies and has not produced toxic effects or side effects in humans or animals provided that it has been properly used. Therefore, yes; you can give your dog valerian.

Can I Give Valerian to my Dog? - What are the benefits of valerian?

When can I give my dog valerian?

Treating our pets with natural therapies is always a wise move, but as we mentioned at the beginning, we must be act with knowledge and always be responsible. Valerian is a excellent remedy for dogs in the following cases:

  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Stress

We can also give our dog valerian in particular situations that create great stress for them, such as travelling, outdoor fireworks, etc. It is also beneficial for dogs who have difficulty falling asleep or have an irregular sleep cycle.

Can I Give Valerian to my Dog? - When can I give my dog valerian?

How can I give valerian to my dog?

Nowadays valerian can be found in multiple forms, the most common of which are capsules, tablets and liquid extract. In general, dried extract is more potent than liquid extract, but valerian in liquid form is much easier to give to our pets.

There are several methods and recommendations regarding the best dosage for dogs:

  • 5 drops, 3-4 times a day
  • 10-20% of the human dose
  • 10 drops for small dogs (such as the Yorkshire Terrier)
  • 15-20 drops for small-medium dogs (Schnauzer, French Poodle)
  • 30-40 drops for medium dogs (Bull Terrier, Spanish Hound)
  • 60 drops for large dogs (Siberian Husky, Bernese)

If you give your dog valerian because they are suffering from insomnia you must remember that the first extract should be taken in the afternoon and the second one in the evening. Otherwise, if we give them valerian just before bed time, it could backfire and cause further insomnia. You need to give them a dose earlier to lower their alertness.

Can I Give Valerian to my Dog? - How can I give valerian to my dog?

Before giving your dog valerian...

If you're going to give you your dog valerian it is essential to take into account the following recommendations:

  • Every dog deserves individual attention; therefore, we recommend you go to the vet if you notice any changes in your pet's behavior. Please note that anxiety and irritability can mask more serious diseases.
  • The recommendations as to the valerian dosage for dogs have no scientific consensus. The best person to assess the dose that your dog requires is a vet.
  • Valerian should not be given to a pregnant or nursing dog, as their safety has not been established in this context.
  • Valerian is mainly safe but may interact with some drugs, especially those affecting the central nervous system. In this case,treatment must be monitored by a vet.
  • Consult your vet if you are ever unsure.
Can I Give Valerian to my Dog? - Before giving your dog valerian...

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Can I Give Valerian to my Dog?, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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Clarisse Shum
For a 40 lb dog, what would be the capsule & tablet doseage of Valerian root?

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