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Chamomile for Dogs: Benefits and Uses

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Chamomile for Dogs: Benefits and Uses

At the end of a long, stressful day, nothing beats a calming cup of chamomile tea. In fact, an estimated one million people around the world sip on chamomile every day.  

A long-time staple of folk medicine, this soothing herb is found in a slew of health and wellness products including teas, supplements, essential oils, soaps, and lotions. Since many of us use chamomile for anxiety with little to no side effects, it’s understandable if you’re wondering: Can dogs have chamomile, too? 

Before you let your dog lap up some chamomile tea, learn everything you need to know about chamomile for dogs, including health benefits, potential side effects, and the best chamomile dosage for dogs.  

What Is Chamomile? 

Chamomile flowers in a field

With a delicately sweet and floral taste, chamomile is one of the most popular medicinal herbs in human history. It’s derived from the dried flower of the Maricaria species, a member of the daisy family. [1]

Natural medicine practitioners often use chamomile as a mild sedative to soothe symptoms of anxiety, stress, and insomnia. It’s also been used as a treatment for many other ailments such as hay fever, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation, and pain. [2] [3

Chamomile’s effects are believed to come from natural plant compounds called terpenoids (which derive from terpenes) and flavonoids which fight inflammation and harmful free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells and cause illness and aging). [4]

Of course, health benefits for pet parents don’t always apply to dogs (hello, dark chocolate!). So, here’s what you need to know about the safety and uses of chamomile for dogs. 

Is Chamomile Safe for Dogs?

“Generally, chamomile is safe in dogs when dosed appropriately,” says Dr. Trina Hazzah, an Los Angeles-based veterinarian specializing in oncology and complementary and alternative medicine.

As you would for any other medication or supplement, make sure to consult with your veterinarian before you add chamomile to your dog’s diet.

Can Dogs Have Chamomile Tea?

chamomile tea on a table

While you might be tempted to prepare chamomile tea for dogs, it’s best to opt for a supplement specifically made for pups instead. 

Chamomile tea is often blended with other plant extracts that may be harmful to dogs. And although we can drink plenty of chamomile tea without any unpleasant side effects, our canine friends also need smaller doses of chamomile in order to reap the health benefits of this calming herb. 

Benefits of Chamomile for Dogs

Dog sitting in a field of chamomile

Like many other herbal remedies, there have been limited studies of chamomile for dogs. However, there is some anecdotal evidence that chamomile may help treat anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, and skin conditions, among other health issues, says Dr. Huzzah. 

Here are a few reasons you might want to consider giving your dog a supplement containing chamomile: 

  • Mild anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Chamomile can be found in herbal sedatives for dogs, as it may help ease a stressed-out pup into a more relaxed state.
  • Tense muscles. Chamomile is also known as a natural muscle relaxant. 
  • Gastrointestinal conditions. Looking for herbs to settle a dog’s stomach? Chamomile may help ease upset stomach, inflammatory bowel disease, and stomach ulcers.
  • Inflammation from skin conditions. Chamomile could also help calm down inflamed and irritated skin. 

How to Give Chamomile to Dogs

Woman giving dog chamomile treat

Depending on your pet’s needs, you can give your dog chamomile in the form of a powder, capsule, liquid, or even a chamomile-infused supplement bar (yum!). For a pup with inflamed skin, you can also directly apply chamomile in a topical oil, ointment, or cream.

Before you give your dog chamomile in any form, it’s best to check in with your veterinarian to determine the proper dosage.  

Chamomile Dosage for Dogs 

Your veterinarian can help you determine the best dosage of chamomile based on your dog’s size, weight, age, and medical history. 

Chamomile infused treats and supplements—especially ones that are formulated by veterinarians—usually have the correct dosage already in them. These products make giving your dog chamomile safe and effective. Just be sure to do your research to find reputable brands.

Keep in mind that high doses of chamomile can be toxic for dogs, so never give your dog more chamomile than your veterinarian prescribes. And if you’ve got pesky puppies at home, make sure to store chamomile supplements out of their reach. 

Chamomile Side Effects for Dogs

Rarely, sensitivity to chamomile can cause vomiting, diarrhea, allergic reactions, or skin irritation in dogs. In particular, chamomile should not be given to dogs who are allergic to plants in the same family as chamomile such as ragweed, says Dr. Huzzah. 

Be sure to go through your dog’s current medications list with your veterinarian before adding chamomile to their treatment regimen. 

Calming Chamomile for Dog Anxiety

Relax and Roll supplement bar

Anxiety is no fun for dogs, and it can cause you some serious distress, too. If your dog loses it when she hears thunder or fireworks, can’t stand it when you leave her alone, or struggles to settle down at night, it might be time to talk to your veterinarian about solutions for you and your dog’s peace of mind. 

Consider trying chamomile for your dog’s anxiety, phobias, or insomnia. Along with behavioral training, lifestyle changes, and other medications, a chamomile-infused supplement can be a helpful way to calm your pup so you can relax and feel at ease. 

Lauren Krouse