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Every spring al, I walk around our property and collect dandelions before I mow because dandelions are an organic, non-gmo, healthy supplement for me and my dogs.
What are Dandelions? And Where Can I Find The
Dandelions are “weeds” that are a member of the sunflower family, our first sign of spring and the start of the bee pollinating season. We don’t spray our property with chemicals, making the dandelions safe to consume. And I leave plenty behind for the bees.
It’s best to pick dandelion greens when they’re young and the flower stalks haven’t formed. These greens are less bitter than greens picked in late spring or fall.
Not All Dandelions are Dandelions
Dandelions sprout in the spring and fall in the Pacific Northwest. Starting in the summer, another flower looks like a dandelion, but they’re not the same and shouldn’t be fed to our dogs.
- Hairy Cat’s Ear
- Carolina False Dandelion
Cat’s Ear Weeds have stiff hairs on the leaves; some call these flowers “hairy dandelions.” Cat’s Ear Weeds and False Dandelions have multiple blooms, while a true Dandelion only has one blossom per stem.
Benefits of Dandelions for Dogs (and Humans)
Besides being a great source of fiber and other nutrients, dandelions also…
- filled with antioxidants
- act as an anti-inflammatory
- supports a healthy gut
- boosts the immune system
- helps to keep the liver healthy
- supports weight loss
- slows the growth of cancer cells
And that’s not all! Dandelions also keep blood sugar levels in check, lower cholesterol, and blood pressure. When prepared as a tea, dandelions can ease digestive upset, prevent urinary tract infections, aid in weight loss, and prevent water weight gain.
But before you race out to your yard to grab a load of dandelions, which I was about to do, keep reading.
The Downside to Feeding Dandelions
If you have a ragweed allergy, then you might react to dandelions. Dandelions may also negatively impact some medications (so check with your veterinarian if your dog is medicated). But don’t let this get you down. Just because you can’t pick dandelions from the yard and toss them in a salad or your dog’s dish doesn’t mean you’re precluded from taking advantage of the benefits.
And, if you cannot harvest your dandelions, you can go to a friend’s yard or pick up the greens at some grocery stores.
How to Prepare Dandelions for My Dogs
I initially thought I could pick a handful of dandelions like I did when I was a kid and add it to my dogs’ dishes. I guess you could do this, but I’ve found better steps that may be more beneficial.
Making Dandelion Tea
Dandelion tea can be made with the flower’s roots or leaves.
- If you can, pick dandelions (try and get the roots, too) that are young and avoid any areas that may have been treated. For instance, if you’re walking your dog in a neighborhood, it’s probably not a good idea to pick dandelions in the yards or on a path as you go by because these may have been treated with weed killer.
- Clean the flowers and leaves, then grind the roots.
- Pour hot water over the dandelion greens and roots, and allow to sit in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
How to Prepare Dandelion Roots
- Wash the roots.
- Chop into fine pieces.
- Bake in the oven for 2 hours at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
- Pour 1-2 teaspoons of the baked roots in hot water for 10 minutes.
You can pour the dandelion tea over your dog’s meals and save some for yourself.
Adding Dandelion Greens to my Veggie Mix
I make a vegetable blend for my dogs and add dandelion greens in the spring. This is an easy way to add it to their meal without adding another step to meal prep when feeding the dogs. I pick the greens and flowers in the spring, and soak them in water overnight to clean. And puree the greens with other dog-safe vegetables.
Dehydrating Dandelion Greens
Another option is to dehydrate (or freeze-dry) the dandelion greens and blend them into a powder. I pick the greens and flowers in the spring, soak them in water overnight to clean them, then lay them out to dry before dehydrating them for 6 hours at 115 F (46 C). If I try to dehydrate them wet, it takes longer. I puree the dried greens into a powder that I add to my dogs’ meals or meal prep.
Alternative to Harvesting Dandelions
If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of making tea or you don’t have access to dandelions that haven’t been sprayed with chemicals, there are supplements that you can add to your dog’s diet. One that I take myself is mixed with milk thistle.
Some brands also offer tinctures (liquid supplements) for dogs; however, these are my least favorite because they are often very bitter, which is why I prefer Dr. Harvey’s supplements.
This is a sponsored post in sponsorship with Dr. Harvey’s. All thoughts are my own and are reflective of my experience with my four dogs and my research on this topic.
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