What's the Best Milk Thistle for Dogs?
What is Milk Thistle?
Milk thistle, also known by its scientific name Silybum marianum, is a flowering plant that belongs to the daisy family.
It is native to the Mediterranean region but is now found in many parts of the world. Milk thistle has a long history of use as a herbal remedy and is known for its potential health benefits.
The active compound in milk thistle is called silymarin, which is a complex of flavonoids, including silybin, silychristin, and silydianin. Silymarin is responsible for most of the therapeutic effects of milk thistle.
Milk thistle is most recognized for its hepatoprotective (liver-protecting) properties.
Traditionally, it's a herb for liver health support and liver disorder treatment.
Milk thistle's active ingredient, silymarin, helps protect liver cells from damage caused by toxins, such as alcohol, pollutants, and certain medications.
It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which further contribute to its liver-protective properties.
In addition to its hepatoprotective effects, milk thistle may have other potential benefits.
Scientists have studied its potential to support digestive health, lower cholesterol levels, and help manage certain liver conditions such as hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Some research suggests that milk thistle may also have anti-cancer properties and could help in managing diabetes.
What are the Benefits of Milk Thistle for Dogs?
There are several benefits of milk thistle for dogs.
Most commonly, holistic veterinarians recommend milk thistle for liver support and liver detox.
Milk thistle promotes liver health and liver function in dogs. It helps protect liver cells from damage caused by toxins, medications, and certain medical conditions. This can be particularly beneficial for dogs with liver diseases, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.
Many holistic veterinarians recommend supplementing with milk thistle when a dog's liver numbers are not in the normal range. And most often, with supplementation, the liver numbers improve.
The liver plays a vital role in detoxifying the body, and milk thistle aids the process for dogs. It helps the liver eliminate harmful substances and metabolize medications more efficiently.
Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects
Milk thistle contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the liver and other issues.
This is beneficial for dogs with chronic inflammation or autoimmune conditions.
Milk thistle may help support digestive health in dogs. It promotes bile production, which aids in the digestion and absorption of fats. Additionally, milk thistle's anti-inflammatory effects may help soothe the digestive tract and alleviate symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting.
Some dog skin conditions, such as allergies or dermatitis, can be associated with liver dysfunction.
Milk thistle's liver-supporting properties may indirectly improve skin health by addressing the underlying liver issues
What is the Dosage of Milk Thistle for Dogs?
When considering using milk thistle for your dog, it is important to consult with your veterinarian first.
Your vet can provide guidance on dosage, form (such as capsules or liquid extracts), and duration of use based on your dog's specific health condition and individual needs.
In addition, your vet can evaluate the underlying cause of any health issues and determine whether milk thistle is an appropriate complementary treatment in conjunction with any other necessary medical interventions.
Buck Mountain Botanicals, a leading supplier of herbs for veterinarians, recommends 1 gram of milk thistle per 100 pounds pounds of body weight.
For smaller pets, the equvalent is 10 mg per pound of body weight.
What's the Best Milk Thistle for Dogs?
Our founding veterinarians prefer milk thistle in combination with other beneficial herbs for liver support and detoxification.
They created PET | TAO Harmonize Liver. Harmonize liver provides milk thistle in combination with dandelion root, glutathione, certain vitamins, probiotics and digestive enzymes for enhanced liver support.
Are you wondering how probiotics and digestive enzymes support the liver? Many people do.
There are several reasons our prefer using milk thistle with digestive enzymes and probiotics.
Digestive enzymes help break down food into smaller, more easily absorbable molecules and help with nutrient absorption.
When nutrients are properly broken down and absorbed in the intestines, the liver doesn't have to work as hard to metabolize them.
The result is less stress on the liver, allowing it to perform its other functions more effectively.
In addition, the digestive enzyme protease has anti-inflammatory properties, and reducing chronic inflammation in the gut has a positive impact on liver function.
Probiotics promote overall gut health, modulate the immune system and regulate immune responses.
A dysregulated immune system contributes to liver inflammation and damage. Restoring gut health and healthy immune response promotes liver health.
The following ingredients in Harmonize Liver work together to help your pet:
- Dandelion Root helps to support normal function, health of the liver, and healthy waste elimination
- Milk Thistle helps support normal cleansing of the liver from impurities
- Glutathione helps support healthy waste elimination, normal detoxification, and cleansing of the liver from impurities
- Superoxide Dismutase, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E are rich in antioxidants to help scavenge free radicals that can cause cellular damage
- Fructooligosaccharides (Prebiotic) provides a food source for beneficial bacteria
- Bacillus coagulans (Probiotic) provides beneficial bacteria that helps support a healthy immune and digestive system
- Alpha-Amylase helps break down carbohydrates
- Lipase helps break down fats
- Cellulase helps break down cellulose
- Protease helps break down protein
Feeding your dog liver works kind of like a glandular supplement, but also in a "like treats like" fashion.
- Guerrini, A., & Tedesco, D. E. (2022). Use of Milk Thistle in Farm and Companion Animals: A Review. Planta Medica. https://doi.org/10.1055/a-1969-2440
- Delmas, D., Sarker, S. D., Vejux, A., & Aires, V. (2020). Silymarin and Cancer: A Dual Strategy in Both in Chemoprevention and Chemosensitivity. Molecules, 25(9), 2009. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25092009
- Milk thistle. (n.d.-b). Mount Sinai Health System. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/milk-thistle
- Liver Health for Animals - Milk Thistle capsules | Buck Mountain Herbal Gold. (n.d.). https://www.buckmountainbotanicals.net/treatments/liverhealth.html
Baumgartner, B. (2012, August 3). Milk Thistle Liver Detoxification - Nashville TN Alternative Vet. Marc Smith DVM. https://franklintnvet.com/milk-thistle-liver-detoxification/