At a regular check-up with your holistic vet, she notices an enlarged prostate on your 5-year-old dog.
Really? An enlarged prostate, like middle-aged men get?
Yes, that’s it.
Also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), about 50 percent of intact male dogs will develop BPH by the age of 5, 60 percent by the age of 6 and 95 percent by the age of 9, according to an article by Dr. Karen Becker.
Though any dog can have prostate problems, you may have to pay a bit more attention to his prostate if he’s not neutered. (Neutered dogs’ prostate glands may not develop, or will shrink once neutered.) Of course, there are many benefits to not neutering your dog, so don’t let this deter you from keeping him intact.
Learn about why you should avoid early spay/neuter, here.
But if you’ve detected a problem or are concerned with the possibility, there are a few natural things that can help. Of course, for more serious issues, you’ll definitely want to consult with a holistic vet.
Though this palm plant and its berries have been used to help treat everything from cough and digestion to urinary tract and libido problems, the herb has now almost become synonymous with men’s prostate health, particularly as a natural treatment for BPH. And its use has now extended to dogs with the same problem. While studies have shown mixed results and more are needed, several have shown that saw palmetto may help relieve BPH-related urinary problems like frequent urination.
Other studies have shown the herb as effective against tumor cell growth in animals, which means helping against prostate cancer may be another potential use.
The herb is regarded as fairly safe, but avoid use during pregnancy or in pets with kidney or liver disease. According to Joseph Demers, DVM (The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs by Martin Zucker), it can be used long-term as a preventative or as part of a treatment protocol. He recommends dosing at one-quarter of the human dosage for small dogs and the full human dose for large dogs.
Often referred to as “nature’s Benadryl,” this antioxidant flavonoid is a go-to in a holistic vet’s bag of tricks for dogs suffering from allergies and related conditions.
Learn more about the benefits of quercetin for canine allergies, here.
Quercetin is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, including:
- citrus fruits
- dark berries
- fresh garlic
- summer squash
It has also been linked to helping reduce high blood pressure, protecting against cancer (including in the prostate) and with reducing symptoms of prostate inflammation, among other things. So, if you’re concerned with your dog’s prostate, it might be worth adding some quercetin-rich fruits and veggies into his diet.
If supplementing with quercetin in pill or capsule form, make sure it contains bromelain to help your dog’s body absorb the quercetin better. Do not use the supplement long-term. The Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer recommends administering for no more than 12 consecutive weeks at a time and only as absolutely necessary. Do not use on dogs with kidney issues or with pregnant animals. High doses may damage kidneys. To figure out correct dosing, take your dog’s weight and multiply it by 1000 mg, then divide that by 125. That number will be the daily dose in mg. Split that in half and feed twice a day with food.
Aptly named due to the hooks on its stems and leaves, cleavers is often considered an annoying weed by gardeners.
Despite that, it is also known by herbalists for many health benefits, including
- lymphatic system booster
- anti-inflammatory for the digestive and urinary tracts
- supporting glandular health
According to Herbs for Pets by Gregory L. Tilford and Mary L. Wulff, Cleavers is used in virtually any condition that is characterized by general or localized swelling or in situations where lymphatic circulation has been impaired by the formation of scar tissue, ulceration or infection.
Since inflammation seems to be linked to BPH, as well as other prostate problems like prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland), cleavers is certainly worth a try. Its glandular and urinary tract benefits may also come in handy when it comes to prostate problems.
Herbs for Pets recommends dosing of 0.5-1.0 milliliter of the glycerin tincture per 50 pounds of your dog’s weight two times a day.