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Milk Thistle for Dogs

Milk Thistle for Dogs
Milk Thistle for Dogs

Milk Thistle

“Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a flowering plant that contains the flavonoid compound silymarin in the seeds,”

It specifically protects the liver against toxins (including some drugs and heavy metals), activates protein synthesis, and stimulates growth of new liver cells to replace those that are dead or damaged.

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that milk thistle effectively treated liver dysfunction in Beagles.

The liver is a real powerhouse within the body – responsible for breaking down and detoxifying harmful agents and activating other substances essential for metabolism. It also stores nutrients and is important in immunity.

Milk Thistle for Dogs
Milk Thistle for Dogs

Liver damage

There are several causes for liver damage. Viruses, bacteria, drugs, the aforementioned toxins, free radicals, and inflammation are all guilty of wreaking havoc on the liver. Signs of liver damage or disease include a loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, dark urine, pale gums or a sudden unexplained weight loss

This pure preparation of top grade milk thistle contains high levels of silymarin that supports the liver and mops up free radicals that affect cells, so can be given at times when the liver needs extra support.

  • Milk thistle may be beneficial to dogs with liver problems.
  • Silymarin is the part of the plant that has the beneficial properties.
  • Milk thistle supplements for dogs comes in capsules, liquid, or powder forms.
  • While milk thistle supplements may benefit a dog’s liver, they won’t cure diseases.
  • Pet owners should speak to a veterinarian before giving a supplement to their dogs.

Milk Thistle Additional Uses

Milk thistle not only helps treat and prevent liver disease. Below is a list of treatment claims linked to the plant:

Kidney disease

If there has been kidney damage to your pet because of an infection milk thistle has been show to greatly decrease the amount of time it takes your pet to heal.


Although rare in cats, pancreatitis is very common in dogs. Milk thistle can be given to your dog and cat to help alleviate the symptoms.


Milk thistle has been shown to decrease the effects of cancer in a pet’s body. While there haven’t been many studies done, there have been enough that it has shown improvement and helps protect against the potential for cancer in your pet.


Pets suffering from diabetes that are given milk thistle at least once per week have been shown to not have to have nearly the amount of insulin that they would have had to take otherwise.

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    How to give Milk Thistle to my Dog?

    The usual recommended extract of milk thistle contains 70 to 80 percent silymarin. Each extract should be labeled with the silymarin percent. The tincture can be administered at a starting dose of 1/4 tsp. per 20lbs of animal’s body weight per day. The daily dosage should be taken in 2-4 equally divided doses. With the powder format, administer 2-5mg per 1lb of the animal’s body weight, 2 to 3 times per day. Read labels carefully, discuss dosages and, although there are no known drug interactions.

    Please consult with your veterinarian.