Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a natural herb used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. It is also known as "Indian Ginseng" and is said to have many health benefits, including helping with anxiety, inflammation, heart disease, and depression. It has recently become popular among pet parents looking for an alternative way to treat a pet's health issue without using harsh drugs or spending a fortune on a vet visit. Let's learn more about ashwagandha to see if this natural supplement is right for your furkids.

An example of the ashwagandha herb.

What is ashwagandha?

The history of the ashwagandha herb dates back to ancient India, where it was used as natural medicine.  The Indian name for this plant is ashwagandha, which means "smell of horse." This phrase refers to an old belief that eating the root will give you strength and stamina equivalent to a horse. In Ayurveda (traditional Indian herbalism), ashwagandha has been used for centuries to help with anxiety, inflammation, heart disease, and depression. 

This herbal supplement has become popular with pet parents looking for an alternative way to treat their pets' medical issues without using harsh drugs and other vet costs. Many pet owners are looking for organic and natural means to improve the health issues and the quality of life for their cat or dog.

Two dogs run along the beach.

What are the benefits of ashwagandha?

The ashwagandha is an incredible herb that can provide natural support and improve pets' overall health. Here are some of the many ways that this Ayurvedic herb promotes health:

Reduces stress

The ashwagandha herb works to promote calmness while reducing anxiety and nervousness in animals when they are frightened, anxious, or going into a stressful situation. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it is a health-promoting, non-toxic plant that can manage stress and reduce anxiety. The herb promotes relaxation, relieves stress, strengthens the immune system, and improves overall health.

Dogs and cats who suffer from anxiety and stress, especially those who fear a trip to the vet or have separation anxiety, may experience multiple benefits from ashwagandha, more than just its stress-reducing qualities. Dog stress and cat stress often result in damaged floors and furniture in the home. Ashwagandha may have a calming effect on your furkids until you return.

Research has also found that ashwagandha is good for mental health in humans; thus, researchers theorize it can do the same for animals. These health supplements work as antidepressants by lowering cortisol levels in the body, inducing calmness and sleepiness, and also regulates other mood disorders.

Alleviates arthritis

There is evidence that ashwagandha can help with degenerative arthritis because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Even older pets who have some minor aches and pains may benefit from this herb. Dogs who suffer from osteoarthritis or hip or elbow dysplasia may particularly benefit from this herbal supplement. As pain and discomfort often cause stress and anxiety in our furkids, ashwagandha may successfully give stress relief to dogs and cats.

Balances core body functions

Ashwagandha acts similarly to an antioxidant, so it increases immune function and protects cells from damage. Cats with a medical condition such as chronic kidney disease or anemia may have an increase in red blood cells carrying oxygen throughout the body. Other benefits of ashwagandha that may improve your pet's life are:

  • balance adrenal functions and regulating adrenal hormones
  • support normal endocrine functions and normal metabolic rate
  • improve digestion function
  • support the thyroid gland, resulting in increased energy levels
  • promote better sleep at night
  • promoting calmness

Giving your kitty or pup some ashwagandha supplements can be a great way to improve its quality of life by reducing stress and anxiety. It may also be a natural way to address your pet's medical issues without hefty vet care costs.

A cat plays with a toy.

What are the side effects of ashwagandha in pets?

There are no definite known side effects of ashwagandha, but it's always best for pet owners to research before giving any herbal supplements to your dog or cat. The ashwagandha herb can cause dizziness, low blood pressure, and sleepiness in humans --- depending on the dose ---and is likely to do the same for animals. For example, large doses of ashwagandha for dogs and cats causes vomiting and diarrhea.

Always speak with your veterinarian before giving your dog or kitty a new supplement and natural remedy, as the vet appointment costs if your kitten or pup has an allergic reaction are pricey. Your vet can assist you in determining the proper dose of supplement that would best help your pet. If your dog or cat is currently on medication, the vet can ensure that ashwagandha does not interact with anything else your furkid takes. You may want to contact a holistic veterinarian or holistic practitioner who specializes in natural remedies.

Where can you find ashwagandha pet supplements?

Buying ashwagandha supplements is easy and convenient. They are available at local pet specialty stores, online suppliers, and  veterinarians certified in holistic medicine. This holistic option is typically available in caplets, tablets, and liquid form and accessible from most brick and mortar and ecommerce stores.

Final thoughts

Ashwagandha is a natural solution for owners who are looking to avoid vet costs. These herbs can help with anxiety, arthritis, and other medical issues like chronic kidney disease or anemia without side effects at low doses. Always consult your vet before starting this supplement regimen to ensure it does not conflict with anything else they are taking.

Whether you think that ashwagandha will help your cat or dog or not, make sure you also keep your furkid protected. Pet health is critically important for our furry family members. An insurance plan can help pet owners cover expensive bills if an emergency happens to their dog or cat. Rather than decide between your bank account and your pet's medical care, an insurance policy lets you get the best treatment for your four-legged friend without financial worry.

At Pet Insurance Review, you can compare prices and design pet insurance plans based on your lifestyle and needs. Get a free quote today to get started!

 

References:

  1. Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., Gilca, M. (2011). An Overview of Ashwagandha: A Raysana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/
  2. Marquiss, J. (2018). A History of Ashwagandha . Retrieved from https://herbalrootssupplements.com/blogs/herbal-history/a-history-of-ashwagandha
  3. Lopresti, A., Smith, S., Malvi H., Kodgule, R. (2019). An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of the ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/fulltext/2019/09130/an_investigation_into_the_stress_relieving_and.67.aspx
  4. Battacharya, S.K., Bhattacharya, A., Sairam, K., Ghosal, S. (2000). Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711300800306
  5. Belcher, J. (2013). Herbs for Canine Joint Care. Retrieved from https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/herbs-for-canine-joint-care/
  6. Traditional & Holistic Veterinary Services. (2018). Why is Ashwagandha so great for pets? Retrieved from http://www.holistic-pet-care.com/blog/98697-why-is-ashwagandha-so-great-for-pets
  7. Veterinarians.org. (2021). Ashwagandha for Dogs: A Nature-Based Solution for Stress. Retrieved from ​​https://www.veterinarians.org/ashwagandha-for-dogs-a-nature-based-solution-for-stress/