Olive leaf is nature’s antibiotic and it should be your dog’s #1 antibiotic too. But this powerful herb has a long list of other therapeutic powers. Here’s what you need to know about olive leaf for dogs.
What Is Olive Leaf?
Olive leaf extract comes from the leaves of the olive tree, called Olea europaea. This evergreen is native to Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean. The olive leaf had huge medicinal value in Ancient Egypt when it was added to the human diet. For thousands of years, Mediterranean cultures used parts of the olive tree for healing everything from infections to constipation to high blood pressure.
Olive leaf has therapeutic use as an extract, herbal tea and powder. In the early 1800s, crushed olive leaves in drinks lowered fevers. A few decades later leaves were in tea as a treatment for malaria. Today the healing benefits of olive leaf are in extracts, powders and capsules for dogs and people.
Olive leaf extract has the same beneficial properties as olive oil … but it’s very concentrated.
There are promising scientific studies about its medicinal potential. So olive leaf continues to gain recognition for its various health benefits. But first, let’s look at its best known role as a natural antibiotic.
Olive Leaf: Nature’s Antibiotic
Olive leaf is a potent antimicrobial with antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Its main active ingredient, oleuropein, boosts the immune system and fights pathogens, including yeast fungi.
Oleuropein makes up 6 to 9 per cent of the dry weight of olive leaves … but olive leaf has other compounds like secoiridoids, flavonoids and triterpenes. They have a wide range of medicinal properties that also play a role in the herb’s therapeutic powers. And that’s why it has great value as a natural warrior against germs, infections and other ailments.
If your vet new about olive leaf, she could recommend it instead of prescribing antibiotics for common things like:
- Kennel cough
- Wound and skin irritations
- Urinary tract infections
Unfortunately, most vets turn to antibiotics to treat your dog. If they don’t know what’s wrong with your dog, they’ll even prescribe a round of antibiotics “just in case.” That’s a really bad strategy for your dog’s overall health.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Antibiotics For Your Dog
Antibiotics aren’t harmless … they come with some long term side effects. What most people don’t realize is that antibiotics can seriously damage your dog … forever.
While antibiotics may knock out an infection, they’ll also do permanent harm to your dog’s gut health. Along with the bad bacteria from the infection, antibiotics also kill the good bacteria. Your dog needs these to support his digestive health and immune system.
When antibiotics damage your dog’s gut bacteria, they don’t just cause digestive issues. About 90% of your dog’s immune system is in his gut, so an unhealthy gut means lowered disease resistance. That’s a good reason to use antibiotics only as a last resort. Research shows it’s better to use olive leaf as a safe, natural option that does not kill good bacteria.
And olive leaf has many other medicinal uses as well. Here are some ways olive leaf benefits your dog.
13 Ways To Use Olive Leaf For Your Dog
Olive leaf extract can help your dog with a lot of common and uncommon issues he might have.
1. Natural Antibiotic
Olive leaf is a natural antibiotic. It has the ability to deactivate pathogenic bacteria without harming the healthy microbes in your dog’s gut and mucous membranes. Medical antibiotics wipe out both good and bad microorganisms, leading to a disastrous internal microbial environment. Use olive leaf extract for your dog as a powerful antimicrobial … that will selectively target strains of bad bacteria without harming healthy bacteria.
2. Fight Kennel Cough
Olive leaf extract boasts antimicrobial properties. Another study noted the use of olive leaf extract may lower the risk of microbial infection in the intestinal and respiratory tracts. All this means … if your dog gets kennel cough, olive leaf extract will fight off the bacteria.
3. Stop The Spread of Viral Infections
Olive leaf’s broad killing power includes an ability to interfere with critical amino acid production for viruses. It can inactivate viruses and penetrate infected cells to stop viral organisms. There’s animal research that found olive leaf extract stops the flu virus from replicating and spreading. In laboratory testing, olive leaf extract was effective against herpes, mononucleosis and may be useful against influenza.
The oleuropein in olive leaf is a polyphenol, an antioxidant that has anti-cancer functions. When used in extract form, it made tumors in animals regress or disappear. These polyphenols protect against DNA damage from free radicals. Oleuropein also has the ability to stop the angiogenic process, which stimulates the growth of tumors. It inhibits the reproduction and movement of advanced tumor cells.
5. Arthritis Pain Relief
Phytonutrients give olive leaf its anti-inflammatory qualities. That can help reduce arthritis symptoms and heart problems as well as chronic pain. That makes olive leaf a useful natural arthritis remedy. When rats with arthritis had olive leaf extract, it significantly reduced swelling in their paws. Other studies show olive leaf extract lessens the chronic pain of osteoarthritis. That’s because it reduces the production of cytokines and enzymes that are markers for the inflammatory process.
6. Potent Antioxidant
Olive leaf is rich in antioxidants that reduce free radical activity within the body. Free radicals are natural products of metabolism but needs to be controlled with antioxidants, or they can harm the body at a cellular level. This is oxidative stress and it can lead to cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants block free radical activity, helping the body in disease prevention.
7. Eliminate Yeast
Olive leaf is antifungal. It’s effective in treating many kinds of fungus including yeast infections (candida) in your dog’s ears or on his skin. Besides its antifungal properties, olive leaf has 400% more antioxidant power than vitamin C and 200% more than green tea. That makes it a strong foe in the fight against yeast.
Olive leaf has flavonoids. These are phytonutrients that give plants their brilliant colors and have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a key factor in chronic disease and degenerative issues. Studies show the anti-inflammatory effects of olive leaf extract can protect the brain from cognitive decline caused by oxidative stress. Studies have found olive leaf has many anti-inflammatory compounds. One key compound is oleocanthal that is similar in effect to ibuprofen. It works to reduce and prevent inflammation by inhibiting pro-inflammation enzymes. Animal studies suggest that olive leaf extract may protect against nerve damage, and may be helpful in cases of stroke.
9. Get Rid Of Intestinal Parasites
Olive leaf is anti-parasitic … it fights parasites like worms that your dog may get. Olive leaf extract is effective in treating various types of intestinal parasites, including giardia and most intestinal worms.
10. Prevent Digestive Tract Infections
Olive leaf is a natural diuretic. It helps the body get rid of excess water and harmful toxins. That improves your dog’s digestion and prevents digestive tract infections and irritations.
11. Control Blood Sugar
The polyphenols in olive leaf help delay the production of sugar, which causes inflammatory diseases like diabetes. The oleuropein in olive leaf lowers blood sugar by slowing the digestion of starches and reducing the absorption of sugars from the intestine. In Moroccan medicine, an infusion of olive leaf stabilizes blood sugar and control diabetes.
If your dog is already taking diabetes drugs, consult your holistic vet before giving olive leaf as your dog may need his medication adjusted.
12. Protect The Heart
Olive leaf extract has a positive effect on factors that involve heart disease… including inflammation.
13. Relieve Constipation
Dilute olive leaf extract with olive oil and give by mouth to soften stools.
Does Olive Leaf Have Any Side Effects?
Olive leaf is a very safe herb. In a 1972 study, researchers Petkov and Manolov gave single doses of oleuropein to mice ranging from 100 to 1000 mg/kg. They observed no toxic effects and no deaths during the 7-day post-treatment period.
Caution: While olive leaf has very few side effects, it can cause nausea in some dogs. Discontinue use if your dog experiences nausea, vomiting or digestive issues. Do not use in pregnant or nursing females.
How To Give Olive Leaf To Your Dog
Always buy certified organic olive leaf as there’s a wide range of quality in herbal products. You can buy olive leaf in powdered or capsule form as well as tincture. If you choose olive leaf powder for your dog, it tastes a little like olive oil so he may like the taste on his food.
One reputable source for your herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs. Their olive leaf powder is certified organic. They also have organic capsules. Starwest Botanicals and Frontier Coop also carry organic olive leaf in powder form and leaves.
Give the tincture or capsule by mouth or on food. Sprinkle powdered olive leaf on your dog’s food. Follow the dosing directions on the label.
For general use as a supplement, in powdered form:
- Small Dog 1/4 teaspoon daily
- Medium Dog 1/2 teaspoon daily
- Large Dog 1 teaspoon daily
You can also make a tea by steeping 1 tsp of dried leaves in a cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and cool the tea. Give a 50 lb dog up to one cup per day. Adjust for your dog’s weight. Let him drink it or add the olive leaf tea to your dog’s food.
To treat candida (yeast) or other infections, give up to 500 mg twice per day in powdered or capsule form for a 50 lb dog. Adjust for your dog’s weight.
Caution: When using olive leaf for candida, your dog may experience yeast die-off effects known as the Herxheimer reaction. This can cause an aggravation of your dog’s symptoms. It’s best to start out very slowly and build up to the full dose.
To eliminate intestinal parasites, canine herbalist Rita Hogan recommends giving your dog olive leaf extract containing at least 12% oleuropein. Give it for 8 weeks, in the following amounts: 300 mg twice a day for small dogs, 500 mg twice a day for medium dogs and 1000 mg twice a day for large dogs.
Olive leaf is a botanical medicine with one of the longest historical uses of any herb. Olive leaf has been well vetted over the centuries for use on your dog. It’s much safer than giving your dog pharmaceuticals or antibiotics of any kind!
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