Milk Thistle Seed for dogs and cats is freshly ground in small batches for optimum freshness and healing benefits. We use only USDA organic milk thistle seeds to ensure your dog or cat gets the very finest product free of pesticides and other chemicals that could additionally stress your companion's liver. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), sometimes also called St. Mary’s thistle, is an herb that has many benefits for canines and felines. The primary part used is the seeds which are a good source of a complex of flavolignans called silymarin. Standardized milk thistle products may also be referred to as silybin as this is the most active flavolignan in silymarin/milk thistle.
The use of milk thistle for your dog or cat is supported by substantial research detailing the protecting and healing effects it has on the liver. The focus has primarily been on a complex of flavolignans called silymarin. These constituents found in milk thistle have been shown to protect the liver from damage related to toxins and disease. In studies, silymarin has also been shown to reverse damage to this very important organ by promoting the growth of new liver cells.
The pharmaceutical/medical industry increasingly focuses on a single constituent of a plant that they can extract, study, trademark and then profit. This strategy is no different for milk thistle and silymarin. Those of us that work with herbs everyday view this much differently and understand that the whole herb has many constituents that science hasn't studied and doesn't understand. We experience much better results with whole herb supplements and clients express to us that they notice better results for their dogs or cats as well.
This organic milk thistle seed can be used alone of course, but it is wonderful when combined with our Liver Tonic that can additionally help the liver by gently detoxifying your animal's liver, kidneys, blood and lymphatic system.
Available in a 60 gram container.
What Does Milk Thistle do for Dogs and Cats?
Milk thistle's traditional use is as a liver tonic. This is due to the primary active constituent silymarin that research has shown protects liver cells from exposure to disease, such as viral hepatitis, or exposure to toxins from chemicals or poisonous mushrooms. In addition, milk thistle is good for increasing the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder. This makes it a good choice for a range of liver and gallbladder complaints like hepatitis that is often displayed as high liver enzymes on a blood test.
What is the Recommended Dosage of Milk Thistle for Dogs and Cats?
1). Powder Dosage - approximately 800 mg per 50 lbs for average daily use and up to 5 grams per 50 lbs daily for therapeutic effects.
2). Alcohol extract - .3 ml per 50 lbs two to three times daily or follow manufacturers directions based on the concentration of their extract.
3). Glycerite - .6 ml per 50 lbs two to three times daily. We use low-heat and glycerin to extract the constituents from the seeds in our Liver Tonic and have had great success with our clients' dogs and cats.
4). Standardized Extract - Approximately 60 mg daily of 80% silymarin standardized extract per 50 lbs and up to 200 mg daily for therapeutic effects.
How Long Does it Take for Milk Thistle to Work in Dogs and Cats?
Milk Thistle is often recommended when signs of liver disease (hepatitis - liver inflammation) are recognized primarily in the form of high liver enzymes on blood tests. Providing milk thistle will begin to have immediate benefits for the liver. How long this takes to work depends on the damage to the liver and the amount of scar tissue present. Blood tests that measure liver enzymes can be used to measure progress. The wonderful hepatoprotective abilities of milk thistle make it a powerful antidote to amanita (death cap) mushroom poisoning if administered within 24 - 48 hours of ingestion.
How Much Milk Thistle is Safe for Dogs and Cats?
Milk Thistle is a safe and well tolerated herb. No side effects or drug interactions have been reported. Laboratory animals given high doses over long periods displayed no toxicity. Having said that two things should be mentioned. Milk thistle does effect liver metabolism so medication dosages may have to be adjusted when using this herb. In theory milk thistle may lower blood sugar levels so use caution when taking medications or supplements that may also lower blood sugar.
Does Milk Thistle Have any Side Effects for Dogs and Cats?
There are no significant contraindications, drug or supplement interactions or other precautions indicated in literature. There have been conflicting study results indicating excessive milk thistle use can have an effect on enzymatic pathways in the liver. However, these studies have conflicting results and were performed in vitro (test tube, culture dish, or elsewhere outside a living organism) and using isolated constituents from milk thistle, so for our purposes they are meaningless.
Where Should I Buy Milk Thistle for My Dog or Cat?
Right here at The Pet Health and Nutrition Center! We are a small company dedicated to the health and wellness of your dog or cat. We use only USDA organic milk thistle and our glycerites (glycerin tinctures) use organic glycerin USP - most other companies don't match our level of quality. We also have a certified Master Herbalist on staff that formulates all of our herbal remedies along with a certified canine nutritionist to help with any of your questions. We have a great herbal glycerite that includes milk thistle called Liver Tonic.
What About Standardized Milk Thistle Extracts for My Dog or Cat?
Knowledgeable herbalists like ourselves prefer to use the whole herb as we respect all the constituents in a plant and feel that they work together synergistically to provide beneficial effects on the body. In addition, standardized extracts can often be contaminated by the chemicals solvents used and their quality can vary dramatically with the ethical standards of the company making them. You know what you get when you use whole, organic herbs and we prefer it that way. We waiver slightly in the case of mushroom or other poisoning because a high-quality standardized silymarin extract may be able to minimize liver damage more quickly. However, to receive the benefits of milk thistle for everyday use, such as for its antioxidant, hepatoprotective or liver cell regenerating benefits we would recommend the powder and/or extract of the organic seeds.
Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
Basch, E.M., & Ulbricht, C.E. (2005). Natural standard: Herb & supplement handbook. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Tilford, G. L., & Wulff, M. L. (2009). Herbs for pets: The natural way to enhance your pet’s life. (2nd ed.). Irvine, CA: BowTie Press.