Milk Thistle For Pets. Written by Tami McFadden

Milk Thistle For Dogs

What is MilkThistle used for in Pets?



Joint and soft tissues



Gall Bladder




Elderly pets

For after surgery





With a Latin name of Silybum Marianum. Silymarin is a flavanoid found in the seeds, this has anti-inflammatory properties and a high antioxidant profile, prompting gentle detoxification & cellular rebuilding. Not a preventative herb but one known well for its supportive properties & it’s ability to renewal.

Milk Thistle is well known by many for being supportive to the liver & is now widely used in conventional veterinary practises as well as holistic practise. Due to the fact Milk Thistle seems to suit most pets, it is generally used with ease. 

Known mostly for it’s support of the liver, Milk Thistle is also used for Kidney issues, including chronic liver and kidney disease in both cats and dogs, Diabetes, muscular and soft tissue issues, Cushings,Pancreatitis, Gall Bladder,IBD, Vaccinosis and other ailments listed above.

Milk Thistle is also used for detoxification purposes, such as after wormers, chemical flea treatments,steroids,after vaccines and other medication. Given after an operation during convalescence to support the liver.

During Parvo & Lepto giving Milk Thistle has shown to be helpful in recouperation.

Arthritis in Dogs and Cats

The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in Milk Thistle mean it can be a welcome aid for Arthritis in cat and dogs if given once in a while as a maintenance or during a flair up for a couple of weeks when medication is needed to support the liver.

Milk Thistle for pets is available in different mediums, these can be liquid tinctures, powders, capsules,tablets and also as mixed with different herbs.

Can My Cat Have Milk Thistle?

Cats can take to it easier with a tincture but some do like the powder,trial & error in dosing with cats as is often the case.

Senior Dogs

We have found giving Milk Thistle really suits our oldies when given at the change of season for a two to three week period in food, this might not suit all but has worked well for ours over the years. We do this twice a year.

Research using Milk Thistle as a complementary addition to some cancer therapies, results so far are proving beneficial in slowing cells dividing, therefore slowing growth and possibly reducing blood supply to some tumours. Enhanced effect of chemotherapy treatment. Research is on-going & certainly one to watch.

How much Milk Thistle Do I give my Dog?

Suggested use: Small dogs (10-18kg) up to 5g a day divided in 2 meals | Medium/Large dogs (19-40kg+) up to 10g a day divided in 2 meals

Adverse reactions are rare to Milk Thistle, if there is one it could be diarrhea, stopping use will stop this.

Milk Thistle is not intended for daily, long term use and this tends to lessen its therapeutic qualities. A suggestion would be  to feed for 3-6 weeks then take a break for at least 6 weeks, then use again as needed, this is known as ‘pulsing herbs’ and can work really well for many pets.

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