If you’re curious to learn more about the potential benefits of giving milk thistle to your dog, then this guide will give you some of the background information you may be searching for.
What’s more, we’ll also take a closer look at some of the best-rated milk thistle supplements on the market which have been specifically formulated with pets in mind. So, without any delay, let’s get straight to it.
What Is Milk Thistle?
The milk thistle is a plant that’s known for its single purple flower head paired with glossy leaves, but it’s perhaps better known for its surprising array of potential health benefits, especially in regards to its anti-inflammatory properties and possible detoxification abilities.
In fact, milk thistle has been used for well over 2,000 years in various natural remedies, and there are even several human studies that have shown its ability to lower cholesterol, protect against cancer, control or prevent diabetes, and detoxify the liver.
It’s worth noting that milk thistle supplements rely on the primary ingredient of silymarin, which is the active ingredient that’s largely responsible for the potential health benefits for humans and dogs alike.
What Are The Benefits?
The most common reason why milk thistle may be useful for your dog is if they could benefit from additional liver support. Liver disease is an issue that can affect many breeds of dog, although certain breeds are certainly more prone to it than others.
Furthermore, certain medications and toxins could have an impact on your dog’s liver health, as well as certain infections. Of course, age also plays a big role, with older dogs being more likely to develop liver disease as time goes by.
A few potential symptoms of liver damage can be stomach upsets, a lack of energy, weight loss, confusion, increased urination, confusion, and more. If you suspect your dog has a health issue along these lines, then it’s important to take them to the vet straight away for an expert diagnosis.
The active ingredient in milk thistle has many anti-inflammatory properties which may help the liver to break down toxins and incur less damage overall, and perhaps even aid the liver in replacing damaged cells, although there’s no conclusive evidence to prove these benefits beyond doubt. It’s also thought that the high antioxidant properties of milk thistle can help to support liver cells and reduce the free radicals that cause damage at a cellular level.
Some owners may give their dog milk thistle to ease the symptoms associated with arthritis, seasonal allergies, dermatitis, or epilepsy.
Are There Any Side Effects?
In general, there doesn’t seem to be many negative side effects associated with giving occasional milk thistle supplementation to your dog. In fact, the most likely side effect symptom is loose stools, gas, and minor stomach upsets if the dose is too high.
However, it’s important to note that high doses or doses that are taken too regularly may not be beneficial at all, and could potentially suppress liver function.
Because of this fact, it’s always wise to talk to your vet about the pros and cons of using milk thistle supplementation with your dog. Furthermore, it’s best to reserve these supplements for dogs who may benefit from the advantages offered by these supplements, rather than giving them to healthy dogs who won’t benefit from them and may simply experience the cons rather than the pros. It’s also unwise to give milk thistle to pregnant dogs.
Additionally, milk thistle supplements might have an impact on how certain chemotherapy medications work, so you shouldn’t give your dog milk thistle while they’re undergoing cancer treatments unless you’ve been directed to by your vet. In some cases, milk thistle may help to ease some of the stress placed on the liver by chemotherapy drugs, but again, you’ll need an expert’s advice to know what’s best for your dog in any specific situation.
It’s important to know that milk thistle could have various effects on the metabolism of other drugs that your dog may have in their system, which is why your vet should always know about any additional supplementation your dog is taking.
Does It Really Work?
There are a number of interesting studies on the potential benefits that milk thistle can have for humans, especially in regards to liver health, as well as diabetes, cancer prevention, and anti-aging.
In many cases, the effectiveness of milk thistle supplementation is somewhat anecdotal, although there were a few small-scale trials on pets in the late 70s and early 80s which showed promising results. However, there doesn’t seem to be enough research in this area to fully prove or disprove some of the claims made about milk thistle supplementation.
Of course, even though there isn’t a great deal of clinical evidence to support the proposed benefits of milk thistle, this could be said for a variety of conventional treatments for pets and humans as well, so the lack of conclusive research doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t be beneficial in some scenarios. But it’s always smart to consult with your vet first and trust their judgment before relying on the internet to diagnose dog health issues.
Even though there is a lack of concrete evidence to support its use, many veterinarians may still recommend its use in certain situations, and there seem to be many anecdotal cases to support some of the benefits that it promises to deliver.
The Best Milk Thistle Supplements For Dogs
There are a number of milk thistle supplements available for dogs, and these can come in various forms, such as capsules, powder, or liquids. However, it’s always wise to consult with your vet before giving your dog any new supplement to ensure its suitability for your dog, as well as for specific advice on dosages based on your dog’s age, weight, and medical history.
But with this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the top rated dog milk thistle supplements currently on the market.
These supplements contain milk thistle, along with EPA and DHA to offer further support for your dog’s liver and kidney function, as well as supporting healthy endocrine function.
Interestingly, the pills come with a bacon flavor, which should make it much easier to convince your dog to eat the pill with their food, rather than doing everything they can to avoid it!
There are also a few other ingredients such as nettle root extract, dandelion root powder, and St John’s Wart, with the specific doses being shown on the product page.
Last update on 2023-06-02 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Here’s a milk thistle supplement from Pet Wellbeing that comes in a convenient liquid form, which makes it easier to give to any dog that’s adverse to pills and capsules.
Importantly, the product uses a glycerin-based formula rather than an alcohol-based solution that you might find in a conventional health store, and this means it’s safe to give to a pet. According to the product label, the active ingredient is milk thistle seed, with 20 drops coming to a dose of 333 mg.
There are some interesting write-ups from customers who’ve found this product to be very useful for their dog’s health, and the purity of the formula makes it a good option for anyone looking for a simple milk thistle product with no added extras.
Last update on 2023-06-02 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Here’s a powder-based milk thistle supplement that makes it very easy to add to your dog’s food without much complaint, so it’s another effective solution for dogs who don’t like pills or capsules.
The product is available in either 75g or 150g packages, and this will generally be enough to last for most of the month for an average-sized medium-to-large breed. However, several buyers note that the product can last for anywhere up to 3 months if you’re using lower doses.
There are many very positive writeups from dog owners who credit the formula with helping their dog to combat various health conditions and improve blood test results.
These milk thistle pills come in either 60 or 120 capsule bottles, with further discounts available if you choose to stock up and buy multiple bottles at the same time.
The formulation contains added omega 3 fish oil for some further health benefits, and the product suggests that it will help to aid bladder control, reduce kidney failure, and support liver function.
Last update on 2023-05-28 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
This milk thistle/dandelion extract product comes in a variety of different bottle sizes and configurations, so it should be easy to pick a version that suits the needs of you and your pet. It comes with a formula of milk thistle seed, dried dandelion root, and leaf, along with a mixture of vegetable palm glycerin and clear water.
The formula is suitable for pets thanks to its alcohol-free formulation, and it also promises to use only the best ingredients available, with no preservatives, artificial colorings, or unwanted additives being found inside.