Natural Supplements; how and why to use them for your hound's health

There are a few key things we all know our dogs require like a complete and nutritious diet, a soft and supportive bed, a stylish and practical collar that can withstand even the smelliest of fox poo rolls (ahem, Winnie). But, supplements? Well, something that might not seem like an obvious requirement when welcoming a dog into our lives but the benefits of supplements alongside a nutritionally balanced diet can be quite remarkable. They are a key part of George and Winnie’s wellbeing whether they are used for treating an upset stomach or acting as a natural tick repellent. Here’s a selection of our most loved supplements and treatment:

Dorwest Herbs Keepers Mix

Why: a general health supplement
Frequency: daily with food
Price: £13.90 (250g) - £104.90 (3kg)

So, what are these 8 ingredients?

Kelp seaweed
: an ingredient rich in iodine which will contribute to your dog's general health as well as help with their coat, it promotes shine, deepens skin pigmentation, and promotes fur regrowth.
Celery seeds: a dog safe veggie packed with vitamins that can help with blood pressure and freshen breath.
Lucerne (Alfalfa): a plant-rich protein to compliment an animal protein diet.
Nettle: whilst they’re not something you want to encounter on a walk with bare arms and legs it’s a powerful plant for your pet, it’s fantastic for the gut, eyes and skin.
Rosemary: this can help your dog’s digestion, which in turn leads to a healthier gut in general and prevent gas.
Psyllium husks: a natural source of fibre to help promote healthier bowel movements.
Clivers: you might know this as sticky weed, a great way to keep the kidneys and bladder functioning.
Wild yam: another ingredient to help keep the kidneys and bladder functioning as they should. Often suggested for elderly females who struggle with incontinence.

Dorwest Herbs Tree Barks Powder

Why: a natural treatment to soothe and treat stomach upsets
Frequency: as required with food
Price: £12.50 (100g) - £85.90 (1kg)

Dealing with stomach upsets is something that is, unfortunately, part of being a dog owner, something that George is all too familiar with after suffering from Giardia as a puppy (see Dealing with George's Sensitive Tummy) Tree bark powder is kept in the cupboard at all times just in case he has a flare up, or eats something that disagrees with him! You never know when a stomach upset might occur, whether it’s from a little bit of kitchen counter surfing or something they snaffled on a walk.

What’s in it?
Mostly it’s Slippery elm bark - 90% and white poplar bark 10%: think of this as the dog version of Pepto-Bismal, especially if you mix the powder in with a little bit of water. Slippery elm bark helps to sooth and lubricate the membranes in the digestive tract and it’s high in fibre which means it can be highly effective when treating diarrhea and constipation. I tend to use this maybe twice a week for George as it seems to help keep his gut healthy.

Dorwest Herbs Scullcap & Valerian Tablets

Why: a natural remedy to help ease general anxiety
Frequency: daily if required and best used when built up but very dependent on the dog and the situation
Price: £11.50 (100 tablets) - £75.90 (1000 tablets)

Anxiety and nervousness are two things we’re too familiar with in the Redhound household. Frankie & Bruno suffered terribly around Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve and I so wish I had known of this product then.

It was recommended to me for Winnie, who was a little bundle of anxiety when she came to live with us. She had been left alone for long lengths of time before we had her so, it was no surprise that she suffered when we left the room, but she found it hard to settle even when we were in the room! We had one or two rearranged door surrounds when we were tackling her separation anxiety. I had been giving Winnie a dose daily and I am convinced it helped her to be a calmer dog. She is one of those ‘busy’ ones, she always thinks she’s missing out!

I had stopped giving them to her daily as after 2 and a half years with us and the influence of George who could not be more laid back, she is no longer ‘busy’ all the time, there is relatively little pacing around or fretting. BUT….she was recently bitten by a large dog and on walks she was so on edge and very stressed so I have started to give them again, and with the games based play we are doing she is much more relaxed on her walks and far less likely to go up to any other dog.

Scullcap & Valerian – both natural products to help ease anxiety in dogs and cats without causing any drowsiness, can be used daily or in the lead up to a big event which you know will cause distress, such as in the lead up to bonfire season.

What is in this magic pill?
Valerian: researchers believe that valerian works because it may increase the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. So, the valerian works with the receptors of the GABA blocking nerve transmissions between the neutrons which then can lead to over stimulation and onto anxiety.
Scullcap: this is the ingredient that helps the valerian work without drowsiness which is why these little sugar-coated tablets are recommend for showing and working dogs to help them remain calm without becoming drowsy.

Dorwest Herbs Garlic & Fenugreek Tablets

Why: a natural anti-inflammatory and can increase resistance to minor infections
Frequency: daily if required
Price: £9.70 (100 tablets) - £64.90 (1000 tablets)

We use this little pill as a natural tick and flea repellent and have not needed any of the traditional chemical alternatives. In the 2 years since we have use them, on pill per day in their food, between April and October, George and Winnie have never had a flea – despite George actually catching a rabbit, which are often laden with fleas. Our only experience with a tick has been a dried and shriveled up one on Winnie’s tummy last summer when on holiday. I’m told the ticks don’t like the garlic taste of the blood, don’t feed, so die. This has been my experience – BUT if you live in an area where ticks are prevalent say you walk through lots of sheep fields; you might not consider this an option. We live and walk in the same place we did with Frankie and Bruno and both of them caught fleas from rabbits and had at least 3 ticks removed every summer, one very nasty one that required a vet visit for Frankie, I did not give them this product.

So, what’s in them?
Fenugreek: an ingredient jam packed with nutritional benefits which in turn can help with digestion, skin and coat and reduces inflammation.
Garlic: for so long it was believed garlic is highly toxic to dogs but it’s actually quite the opposite, it can be highly beneficial.
Garlic has antiseptic, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties as well as being useful in lowering blood pressure and preventing blood clots.

So, you can see, we are big fans of these natural products, we like Dorwest because they work for us, are lovely people and have whippets! But there are other such natural products available.

Both George and Winnie are young and in very good health and I would suggest a chat with your vet if you have concerns about using any of these types of product and especially if your dog has any health issues and may be taking medication.

Are you user and lover of supplements?

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