Chamomile First Aid for Cats and Dogs
by Animal Expert Jacqueline Zakharia
German Chamomile AKA Chamomile (Roman, Anthemus nobilis; German, Matricaria recutita) is a wonderful herb that is so much more than a bedtime tea. As an herbalist and animal rescue volunteer in Australia, I have used it repeatedly due to its far-reaching abilities and its safety record. Chamomile is an a mandatory part of every herbalist’s first aid kit whether they are working with cats, dogs or humans. It is an abundant resource as it is easy to grow and/or purchase at most local stores.
I use chamomile flower in tincture form along with calendula and echinacea diluted with water as an eye wash for many of the cats and dogs that I foster. Many animals arrive with weepy eyes and the sniffles especially if they have come from a shelter situation. I boil water to sterilize it, allow it to cool and put a couple drops of each of these tinctures in the water and apply several times a day for several days. You may also make one cup of a strong tea instead. Make sure you refrigerate this solution and make up a fresh solution every second day. Use a different chamomile-infused gauze pad on each eye. Do not reuse gauze pads.
I have also used this herb with distressed animals. This includes registered breeders that have had bitches in heat along with their very anxious male dogs. I regularly use it for animals with separation anxiety and pets recovering from other trauma. Even adding cooled tea to an a bowl of water is helpful. Be sure that you have plain drinking available as well.
Suggested Use from Published Works
Dr Randy Kidd states that chamomile is an effective carminative in relieving gas and stomach upsets. It is also anti-inflammatory, pain relieving and an antiseptic. It is an excellent wound healer. It is safe to use on even young animals and good to use for insomnia and anxiety. He also suggests it is useful for inflamed eyes, and sore throat due to its effectiveness against some bacteria and fungi. Follow the directions in this link for use of a chamomile eye compress.
CJ Puotinen mentions that in some research it is suggested that this herb may actually help with allergic reactions such as hay fever despite the fact that some people and animals may be sensitive to the ragweed family.
Greg Tilford mentions chamomile is useful for inflammations of the skin such as fleabites and contact allergies. It has also been shown to have a tonic affect (constricting and strengthening) effect on smooth muscle tissue which includes heart, bladder and uterus. This would likely be contraindicated in early pregnancy. Tilford also mentions it can be effective with roundworm and whipworm.
Tilford’s suggested dosage to use internally is used in glycerin form as it is easy to administer in small doses ie 0.25- 0.50 mls per 20 pounds of body weight twice a day. As it is sweet tasting it is easy to administer by mouth or can be added to drinking water. He also suggests using for treating gingivitis.
It is always best to start off with a small dose and work your way up slowly watching for results. You can use sprinkles, teas, tinctures or capsules. In my opinion, it is best to use teas as they can be poured on food. Alcohol tinctures aren’t recommended for long term use on a cat or dog. Even a low alcohol tincture and glycerites aren’t that effective.
Results will occur in time and so expect about 30 days or more and they may present as subtle changes. Make sure you choose the delivery system that best works for your pet. Some dogs may do well popping a capsule in the food as they eat with gusto. Other dogs or cats may not appreciate this so a tea is better or sprinkles on the food may work. Start out slowly and taper on or off according to the result. Small amounts can often start things moving in the right direction for the organ system and in time this can create the effect you want.
- 1 to 10 pounds- Sprinkles – a small pinch. As a tea less than ¼ cup one to three times a day.
Capsules ½ capsule one to three times a day. Tinctures one to 3 drops 2 or three times a
- 10 -20 pounds- a bigger pinch. As a tea ¼ cup one to three times a day. Capsules ½ to one
capsule one to three times a day. Tinctures one to 2 to 5 drops 2 or three times a day.
- 20 to 50 pounds- 2 pinches to a teaspoon. As a tea ¼ cups to ½ cup one to three times a day.
Capsules 1 to 2 capsule one to three times a day. Tinctures 5 to 10 drops 2 or three times a
- 50 to 100 pounds- 2 pinches to 2 teaspoons. As a tea ½ cup to 1 cup one to three times a
day. Capsules 1 to 2 capsule one to three times or 4 times a day. Tinctures 10 to 20 drops 2
or three times a day.
- Over 100 pounds – up to a tablespoon. As a tea up to 1 cup three times a day. Capsules
human dose. Human dose tinctures.
Please note that although I am a qualified dog and cat herbal medicine and nutrition practitioner, I have a great relationship with my vet and seek diagnosis from tests and examinations performed at the clinic. It is always wise to take direction from your trusted vet.
This article is not intended as a substitution for qualified veterinary care. Although I am qualified small animal herbalist, I have a great relationship with my local vet clinic and do seek advice and diagnoses of my own pets and rescues. Please make use of your trusted vet for direction.
Kidd, R 2000, Herbal Dog Care, Storey Publishing, USA.
Kidd, R 2000, Herbal Cat Care, Storey Publishing, USA.
Puotinen, C 2003, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats, Gramercy Books, USA.
Tilford, G 2009, Herbs for Pets, 1-5 Publishing, USA.
The dog pictured above is a rescue ‘Luger’ Maremma. Luger had several homes and then escaped and went on the run for three months and was caught by a ranger and came into foster care with me. He has remained on my farm due to several behavioral factors and is a wonderful working Livestock Guardian Dog minding 140 head of mainly rescue poultry. He and his partner ‘Shara’ also mind goats and sheep on 15 acres. He is a loved and cherished member of our menagerie. – Jacqueline Zakharia
James Bond (black tuxedo kitten) and Rani (gray tuxedo kitten) were born in a trailer court in Springfield Oregon. They were covered in fleas and had both ear and eye infections. Sue used the chamomile eye treatment for the eye infections and mullein infused oil wipes for the ear infections with great success.
These animals were successfully rescued from unpleasant situations. Many animals are not as lucky. If you love animals, spay and neuter. Prevention is the best medicine.
Jacqueline is a herbal medicine practitioner of dogs and cats, has volunteered in animal rescue for over a decade. She has a Bachelor of Social Science (Politics and Sociology) and is a qualified counselor (AIPC), is a Reiki Master (Usui system) and an Australian Bush Flower Essence Practitioner of animals.
Jacqueline lives on a farm in a temperate rain forest in Victoria, Australia with her husband and menagerie of rescue animals. Jacqueline is passionate about herbs and animal welfare.