Juniper Berries - Herbs for Dogs and Cats

Juniper berries for dogs and cats

In this article:
  1. Juniper Berries
  2. Health Benefits
  3. How to Use Juniper Berries
  4. Cautions
  5. Side Effects  
  6. Drug Interactions

1. Juniper Berries

Juniper berries are a dog and cat safe berry.  These small wild berries are cherished for their health benefits and are used as an ingested and topical treatment.   The freshly picked berries can be consumed raw, or harvested and allowed to air dry for later use. The berries are also useful as a topical treatment to help treat minor wounds.
  • Juniper berry oil is safe for use as a topical antiseptic treatment for minor cuts to prevent and treat bacterial infections.
  • Whole juniper berries can be ground with a mortar and pestle into a powder or you can purchase it in oil or supplement form.
  • Juniper berries are harvested from the coniferous juniper which grows as a bush or medium height tree – a member of the pine family.
  • Available forms - whole berries, powder, tea, tincture.
My German shepherd x Siberian Husky ‘Sarah’ likes juniper berries so much, she picks them herself. I keep an eye on her to ensure she does not consume too many! Sarah enjoys self-selecting and wild-harvesting berries and herbal plants.

2. Health Benefits of Juniper Berries

Juniper berries contain volatile oils that are antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and carminative agents. Juniper berries help with detoxification by helping to blood purifier that eliminates impurities from the blood via the urinary tract. 
Juniper berries offer a long list of health supporting properties, including:
Blood purification
Digestive aid
Hypoglycemic aid 

Juniper berries can help treat:
Juniper berries can also help treat health issues, such as:
Blood health
Digestive health
Gastrointestinal issues 
Appetite loss
Natural worming
Snake bite
Urinary Tract Infections
Topical Uses: 
Apply Juniper berry oil (sparingly) directly to the skin to treat:
  1. Minor cuts, scrapes, wounds
  2. Joint and muscle pain
Inhaled Uses Include:
  1. Treat bronchitis
  2. Numb pain

3. How To Use Juniper Berries

Bone Broth with Juniper Berries
20 to 30 minutes before you finish cooking your bone broth, add a few (i.e. 6 to 10) fresh or dried Juniper Berries to the bone brothWhen the bone broth has cooled and it's ready to be bottled you can leave the berries in with the broth or remove and discard the berries.
Bone broth recipe:
Juniper Berry Tea
You'll Need
20 juniper berries for every; 8 ounces of water.
Teapot with lid.
Boil water.
Pour the boiled water into a tea pot.
Put the juniper berries into the tea pot. 
Steep for 5 to 8 minutes, then remove the berries.
Allow to cool.
The tea is ready for use.

Dosing Recommendations
Small dogs and cats
- use no more than 1 tbs a day. 
Medium dogs:
- use no more than 1/8 cup a day 
Large dogs:
- use no more than 1/3 cup a day Do not use for more than 4 consecutive weeks.

Sauerkraut with Juniper Berries
Juniper berries can be added to homemade sauerkraut. 
Sauerkraut recipes, and; 
Sauerkraut health benefits for dogs:

Self-Selection Test
Offer the juniper berries to your dog by placing one or two berries in the palm of your hand.
If your dog self-selects juniper berries, you can add a few to her food, or use a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder to grind the berries to a powder.  
A small amount of the powder can be sprinkled on to your dog's food.

4. Cautions
Juniper tea - ingested use:
  1. Is for temporary use only, to clear-up a condition
  2. Do not use juniper tea for more than 4 weeks at a time after which stop usage for a minimum of a week before using juniper tea again
Juniper Tea or Tincture - Topical Use:
  1. When using topically only apply to small areas.
  2. Don’t use on large wounds.
Juniper can lower blood sugar so don’t use on dogs that have diabetes
Juniper might affect blood pressure. 
Do not use for pregnant or lactating females.

5. Side Effects of Juniper Berries
  1. When used topically can in some cases cause burning, irritation, redness and swelling.
  2. When ingested in large doses may cause diarrhea, vomiting and increases urine flow. 
  3. Taking large doses over time can cause damage to the kidneys and convulsions.

    6. Drug Interactions

    Minor interaction
    • Diuretic drug.
    Moderate interaction
    • Anti-diabetes drugs

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    Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld

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