Can Dogs Eat Dandelions?
🌼 What Parts of the Dandelion Can You Utilize? 🌼
🌼 Flower: Dandelion flowers possess antioxidant properties, making them effective against chronic diseases caused by free radicals and inflammation. Additionally, the flower exhibits antimicrobial properties.
🌼 Leaves: Dandelion leaves are rich in potassium, vitamins, and minerals. They aid in digestion, provide an antioxidant boost and can act as a diuretic.
🌼 Stem: The stem has a very bitter taste and it is often recommended to avoid the stem for this reason. Additionally, the sticky white coating is latex and can have a laxative effect.
🌼 Root: In Traditional Chinese and Native American medicine, dandelion root is used for treating stomach and liver conditions. It also functions as a natural diuretic.
🌼 When Should You Harvest Dandelions? 🌼
If you're fortunate, dandelions that bloom in spring may produce flowers again in the fall. It's important to distinguish them from other members of the sunflower family. Dandelions grow in rosettes from a single taproot that extends directly into the ground.
As we've learned, dandelions are not toxic, but the pesticides used to eliminate them can be. This is why it's critical to know if you're picking fresh dandelions they have not been treated or sprayed with any chemicals. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid harvesting them from public areas where weed sprays are commonly used. Instead, gather them from your own yard where you know they have not been treated or sprayed with any chemicals.
For leaves, pick them in early spring before the flowers blossom, as they tend to become bitter afterwards. Once collected, allow the leaves to dry and store them in bags for future use. Alternatively, you can freeze fresh leaves loosely to have a supply during the off-season. Another option is to chop the leaves and dry them in the sunlight.
The same principles apply to the flowers. Pick them, freeze them loosely, or dry them.
🌼 How to Prepare Your Dandelions 🌼
Dandelion roots, leaves, and flowers can be used in various forms: fresh, dried, or brewed as tea or tonic.
🌼 Fresh Leaves
If you're feeding dandelion to your dog, add a few torn leaves or flowers to their meal as necessary. Small dogs typically need 1 or 2 leaves, while larger dogs may require more. You can also blend the leaves with water and mix them into your dog's food.
🌼 Dried Leaves or Root
Crumble the dried herb onto your dog's meal. Use approximately 1 teaspoon per 20 pounds of their body weight.
🌼 Bitter Tonic
This aids digestion and should be given to your dog before their meal. Blend the leaves with broth to encourage your dog to drink it. Alternatively, add a teaspoon or two to their food if they refuse to drink it.
🌼 Dandelion Tea
Infuse 5g to 30g of dried herb (leaves, root, or flowers) in 8oz of water for 10-15 minutes. Administer 1/3 cup of tea per 20 pounds of your dog's body weight, up to three times a day. Since dandelion has diuretic properties, make sure your dog has ample opportunities to urinate throughout the day.
🌼 Are Dandelions Poisonous to Dogs? 🌼
Dandelion is not poisonous to dogs, but like anything else, it should be used in moderation. Feeding excessive amounts may result in:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Increased heart rate
- Excessive urination
- Elevated potassium levels
As previously mentioned, it is recommended to avoid using the stems due to the bitter taste and laxative effect caused by the sticky latex they contain.
Now you have several reasons to reconsider spraying those pops of colourful dandelions in your yard. Instead, you can gather them for your furry family's benefit rather than cursing them for ruining your yard! 🌼