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This past weekend, I walked around our property and collected the last of the dandelions. We mowed most of the property before I could do a good harvest of the “weed” and I didn’t want another year to past without giving this natural supplement a try with my dogs.
What are Dandelions? And Where Can I Find Them?
When I was a kid, I loved picking dandelions and by the end of a day of me walking around smelling my HUGE bouquet of flowers, my eyes would be swollen shut and I could barely breathe. What sucks more is that this was during a time when there really wasn’t anything you could do about hay fever except suffer through it and take Benedryl at night.
No one understood why I loved those “weeds” so much, but today, I like to think that I was ahead of my time. Dandelions are “weeds” that are a member of the sunflower family and our first sign of spring and the start of the bee pollinating season.
Don’t be so quick to mow them down and definitely DO NOT spray them with chemicals. The bees need them and your dogs can benefit from them as well.
Benefits of Dandelions for Dogs (and Humans)
Besides being a great source of fiber and other nutrients, dandelions also…
- filled with antioxidants
- act as an anti-inflammatory
- supports a healthy gut
- boosts the immune system
- helps to keep the liver healthy
- supports weight loss
- slows the growth of cancer cells
And that’s not all! Dandelions also keep blood sugar levels in check, lower cholesterol, and blood pressure. When prepared as a tea, dandelions can ease digestive upset, prevent urinary tract infections, aid in weight loss, and prevent water weight gain.
But before you race out to your yard to grab a load of dandelions, which I was about to do, keep reading.
Downside to Feeding Dandelions
I’ve been hearing about the benefits of dandelions for a few years, but as someone who can still remember the swollen eyes, sour throat, and congested nose, I wondered if there are any side effects. Am I going to end up mouth breathing and rubbing my eyes if I toss dandelion greens into a salad?
Short answer is “possibly.”
If you have an allergy to ragweed, then you might have a reaction to dandelions. Dandelions may also negatively impact some medications (so check with your veterinarian if your dog is medicated). But don’t let this get you down. Just because you can’t pick dandelions from the yard and toss them in a salad or your dog’s dish doesn’t mean that you’re precluded from taking advantage of the benefits.
How to Prepared Dandelions for My Dogs
My initial thought was that I could just pick a handful of dandelions like I did when I was a kid (I won’t stick my face into the bouquet this time) and add it to my dogs’ dishes. I guess you could do this, but I’ve found better steps that may be more effective.
Making Dandelion Tea
Dandelion tea can be made with the roots of the flower or the leaves.
- If you can, pick dandelions (try and get the roots too) that are young and avoid any areas that may have been treated. For instance, if you’re walking your dog in a neighborhood, it’s probably not a good idea to pick dandelions in the yards or on a path as you go by because these may have been treated with weed killer.
- Clean the flowers and leaves, then grind the roots.
- Pour hot water over the dandelion greens and roots, allow to sit in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
How to Prepare Dandelion Roots
- Wash the roots.
- Chop into fine pieces.
- Bake in the oven for 2 hours at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
- Pour 1-2 teaspoons of the baked roots in hot water for 10 minutes.
You can pour the dandelion tea over your dog’s meals and save some for yourself too.
Adding Dandelion Greens to my Veggie Mix
My plan is to add the dandelion greens and roasted roots to my dogs’ veggie mix. This seems to be the best way to add it to their meal without adding another step to meal prep when feeding the dogs.
Alternative to Harvesting Dandelions
If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of making tea or you don’t have access to dandelions that haven’t been sprayed with chemicals, there are supplements that you can add to your dog’s diet. One that I take myself is mixed with milk thistle.
Some brands also offer tinctures (liquid supplements) for dogs, however, these are my least favorite because they are often very bitter, which is why I prefer Dr. Harvey’s supplements.
This is a sponsored post in sponsorship with Dr. Harvey’s. All thoughts are my own and are reflective of my experience with my four dogs and my research on this topic.