Is Milk Thistle Safe For Dogs? Milk Thistle For Dogs Explained

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A certain type of illness which may occur in dogs is liver disease, and milk thistle is thought to be beneficial for that kind of malady. Let’s explore that, shall we? We love our pets a lot, and we want to take good care of them. Many pet owners tend to think of their animal roommates as part of the family, and rightly so!

When you live with a dog or a cat, it can seriously enrich your life. It has the potential to boost your immune system, release positive hormones and bonding chemicals, and generally make you fitter, happier, and more productive.

Is Milk Thistle Safe For Dogs?

Pink flower growing.

Thistle growth.

The milk thistle plant, which goes by the name of Silybum marianum, has been helping out humans for thousands of years. As it turns out it can be highly beneficial for dogs as well.

Fun fact! – the herb is named ‘milk thistle’ in reference to a legend which says that several drops of the Virgin Mary’s breast milk had fallen on the plant.
It is a very safe herb, which sprouts purple flowers and green leaves. Originally, it was a native to Asia and parts of Europe, but can now be found all over the globe.

The roots, shoots, and flowerheads of the plant are prepared and consumed in different ways, and milk thistle extract is used as a dietary supplement. Is it safe for dogs? Yes, but like any kind of nutritional supplement, it is meant to be taken in moderation and you should always put it past your vet first. The plant does have a rather high level of toxicity and in animals, it can lead to deprivation of oxygen. Any specific instructions you get from your vet must be followed closely, in order to prevent further damage.

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Milk Thistle For Doggy Liver Damage

A very common condition with dogs is illnesses of the liver and kidneys, and many vets recommend using milk thistle to counter those diseases. In some cases, you can witness dramatic effects, ultimately aiding the body in eliminating the symptoms completely.

Combined with proper medical care, this is a supplement which has proven to be very useful and reliable.

Is it going to work for any dog, in every liver-related situation? Nope. It does depend on the condition, on the breed, on genetics, and on any ongoing medical issues – but it is certainly worth trying if your vet okay’s it. If your pooch is suffering from some liver-related problem, ask your doggy doctor about using milk thistle.

Other Uses Of Milk Thistle For Dogs

Milk thistle is considered an all-around detoxifier. It can also be used in cases of leptospirosis, parvovirus, jaundice, and is a powerful antioxidant. Like humans, dogs are exposed to all kinds of toxins in the air and food, which is why a supplement such as milk thistle can be just the thing they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This is not to say you can simply supply them with milk thistle extract and forget about everything else. No, no. Dogs still need an appropriate diet, exercise, long walks, etc., depending on the breed in question.

As always, there are those who claim that it can and should be used as a preventive medication for cancer, diabetes, pancreatitis, and other diseases. However, milk thistle should NOT be used as preventive medicine. It should be used when there is a suspicion, and not in a way that may end up harming your dog’s system.


We love our pets, and we want to help them have the best possible life with us. There are times when we cannot control what happens, but with certain diseases, there are things we can do which may help them along the way.

Even if it doesn’t cure the disease – though some say it may – milk thistle extract is a way to make the symptoms less of a pain, literally. And yes, some even say it can reverse the situation. I wouldn’t know about that. Some breeds are a lot more predisposed to liver diseases, and that is a different story.

Your pet’s health is very much in your hands. It is for you to notice changes in diet, behaviour, physical appearance, etc. It is best not to let things stagnate. There are times when dog owners don’t bother to bring their animal friends in for a checkup until something radical happens, and by then it is sometimes very late in the process indeed. Your doggy is counting on you. Don’t let it down!

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