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Can Dogs Eat Burdock Root? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

burdock-root-on-wooden-cutting-board

Can Dogs Eat Burdock Root? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ

VET APPROVED

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you prefer to use herbal supplements to support your health, it’s natural that you might seek similar remedies for your dog. Burdock root is used as a food and medicine in many parts of the world, but is it safe for dogs? The good news is that burdock root is not toxic for dogs and can generally be given safely with the guidance of a veterinarian.

In this article, you’ll learn the facts about burdock root and how it may benefit your dog. We’ll also cover some precautions you should take when feeding it and any herbal supplement to your dog.

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Why Can Dogs Eat Burdock Root?

Burdock is a form of thistle, and native to Europe and Asia, but is also found in North America. Dogs can eat the roots because they’re not toxic and may have some health benefits, but more canine-specific research is needed. While the roots are safe, the burdock plant poses a danger to dogs, which we’ll cover later in this article.

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Image Credit: nanka, Shutterstock

Benefits/Dangers of Feeding Burdock Root to Dogs

Benefits

Burdock root contains antioxidants, phytochemicals, and inulin, a prebiotic fiber. Limited research in humans suggests that it has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in supporting digestive health. Burdock root may also have cancer-fighting capabilities and is used to manage several skin conditions.

Research into the use of burdock root for dogs is even more limited than it is in humans. However, a study from 2013 found that when used topically it may be beneficial in wound healing because of its effect on skin cells.1 Aside from that, burdock root is thought to have similar anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits for dogs as it does for people.

Dangers

Burdock root is considered a diuretic, meaning it draws water from the body and makes you urinate more. If your dog takes any medications with similar properties (such as those to manage heart disease) taking burdock root could cause them to lose too much water and become dehydrated. It’s best to check with your vet before feeding burdock root to your dog.

How Do I Give Burdock Root to My Dog?

Burdock root can be cooked and eaten or brewed into a tea. It is also available in commercial preparations as capsules, extracts, or ground powder. The supplement industry is not well-regulated, so there’s little oversight into the quality of products.

In other words, you don’t know how much actual burdock root is in the supplements you purchase. If you want to offer burdock root to your dog, ask your veterinarian for a recommended brand. You may need to find a herbalist veterinarian who’s more familiar with this type of medicine.

Your vet can also tell whether burdock root is suitable for your dog, and whether there are any drug interactions you should be aware of.

dog owner talking to vet
Image Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

Watch Out for Wild Burdock

As we mentioned, burdock grows wild in many parts of the world. If your area is one of them, you should be aware that this plant produces sticky burrs that can become tangled in your dog’s fur. Dogs who try to lick the burrs out of their fur may suffer from a painful condition called burr tongue.

Burdock burrs can get stuck on your dog’s tongue and gums, and the hooked scales of the burrs can become embedded. Signs of burr tongue include red bumps on the tongue, gums, and nose that may expand to form larger sores. If you notice these signs, have your dog checked by a veterinarian.

Burdock generally blooms in the summer, so check your dog’s fur if you go hiking in areas containing this plant. You can comb out any stuck burrs before your dog can lick and ingest them.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Much Burdock Root Should I Feed My Dog?

Before serving burdock root to your dog, talk to your veterinarian. There is no recommended serving size because research studies have not determined its short-term and long-term effects. Generally, it’s better to serve only a tiny portion, but it shouldn’t become a staple of your dog’s diet.

Is It Better to Use Fresh or Dried Burdock?

Fresh burdock root may be safer if you trust the source, but be sure to remove the plant’s skin before serving it to your dog since it’s harder to chew and digest. Your veterinarian may provide a brand recommendation for a dried product, but supplements aren’t tested as thoroughly as medications, so you can’t be sure of their safety.

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Image Credit: Madeleine Steinbach, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Burdock root is safe for dogs and may help manage various conditions, including skin issues and chronic inflammation. However, more research is needed to confirm that it benefits dogs. Talk to your veterinarian before serving burdock root or any supplement to your dog, especially if they have any existing health issues.

It’s best to avoid patches of wild burdock if it grows in your area because the sticky burrs can cause painful problems in your pup’s mouth and tongue.


Featured Image Credit: Madeleine Steinbach, Shutterstock

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