Can Dogs Have Ginseng?

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Introduction

Ginseng - you've definitely heard the term before, you've probably even had it in your tea, in a capsule, or read about its vast health benefits on the internet, but what you might now know is if it's a safe treat for your dog. If you find yourself asking if you're able to treat your pup with a dash of ginseng, we've got the answer for you - yes, but in moderation. 

While we certainly don't recommend feeding ginseng to your dog in bulk or in every meal, there has been quite a bit of research done that supports the idea that ginseng could help your dog with things like congestive heart failure, diabetes, low-grade hepatitis, and even cognitive dysfunction. 

While there are certain risks like blood thinning effects (and of course you should check with your vet before you give your dog any new substance), ginseng can be helpful for your dog! Check out our ginseng guide below to see if your dog could benefit from this herb.

Signs Your Dog Could Benefit From Ginseng

Ginseng is a light-colored, forked-shaped root that is believed to restore and enhance well-being when implemented into a diet. A herbal remedy, there have been some documented benefits of ginseng, although, it is not a substitute for medical treatment or medication. 

That being said, though there have been some cases where ginseng has benefit dogs who struggle with things like hypothyroidism, weight loss or gain, constipation, hair loss, and more. If your dog is struggling with things like cognitive function, infection, thyroid issues, appetite issues, stress issues, fatigue, or illness recovery, ginsing might help. Additionally, it can help with regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as promote healthy liver function.

Body Language

Here are some body language cues your dog might be giving you that could potentially be remedied by ginseng:
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Weakness
  • Low tail carriage
  • Lack of focus
  • Sleepiness

Other Signs

Here are a few issues that your dog could have that might be remedied with ginseng:
  • Constipation
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood sugar
  • Stress on the liver/ liver issues
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Hair loss

The History of Ginseng

Before you jump on the bandwagon of giving your dog a bunch of herbal remedies, it might help to understand how ginseng came to be a well-respected remedy in the first place. 

Panax Ginseng was said to be discovered over 5,000 years ago in the mountains of Manchuria in China. Surely it was first used in food, but quickly it was reverted to an herbal remedy that was noted for its strength-giving and rejuvination. By the 1900s, the demand for ginseng outstripped the wild supply growing in Asia, and commercial cultivation gave way. In North America, the ginseng trade experienced dozens of ups and downs from 1880-1960 marked by periods of high demand and low supply. 

Now, however, the ginseng demand steadily grows each year and people continue to use ginseng root to keep themselves healthy and give their immune systems a fresh kick. 

The Science of Ginseng in Dogs

To best understand how ginseng could help your dog with his or her ailments, it's beneficial to understand what ginseng is in the first place. A root that grows in both North America and Southeast Asia, ginseng is a well-respected natural remedy that people have been using for centuries. Though it cannot replace modern medicine, it has been to known to help with specific body functions. 

As your dog ages, his or her ability to absorb nutrients can decline, which can sometimes lead to under-nourishment despite your best efforts. This often results in weakness, illness, and a lack of spark that your dog formally had. Including ginseng in their diet, with the approval of your vet, could potentially remedy those issues. 

Ginseng contains strong antioxidant components that help your dog's body recover from stress, fatigue, and illness. It also contains anti-inflammatory saponins that help to regulate your dog's blood sugar levels. 

Training Your Dog to Ingest Ginseng

If you've done your research, had ginseng approved with your vet, and know exactly what benefits you're hoping your dog will reap from ginseng, you're on your way to implementing a healthy choice into your dog's diet. But wait - have you thought about how you're going to get your dog to ingest it? Some dogs can be incredibly picky when it comes to what they eat, and if yours happens to be one of them, we've got a few helpful hints to train your dog to eat ginseng. 

First, decide on what the best method is. Will you be giving your dog chopped up ginseng root in his or her food every day? Will you encourage them to swallow a capsule? Will you add ginseng to their water? 

Whichever your approach, we recommend implementing a reward system when your dog successfully accomplishes their ginseng goals. If your dog eats his or her pill in his food, make sure you reward your pup with a treat and extra play time. If your dog eats all the finely chopped ginseng root in their food, make sure they know they've done well! 

If you're having a hard time getting your pooch to take a ginseng capsule and eat it, we suggest training your pup to act like the pill is a treat. Reward your dog for good behavior with their ginseng pill (only do this when you need to give your dog a pill for the day!), or teaching your pup a throw-and-catch game with their ginseng capsule. 

How to React if You Think Your Dog Needs Ginseng:

  • Before you decide anything, talk with your vet about ginseng and see if it's a good fit for your dog's diet.
  • If your dog-tor approves ginseng in your dog's diet, research appropriate ways to implement it.
  • Train your dog to ingest the ginseng without issue
  • Monitor your dog's ginseng intake and ensure there are no negative side effects.

We Want to Hear About Your Dog Trying Ginseng!