Pet Corner: Create a Garden for Your Pet

Gardens are not just for you; they are for your pet too!

| July/August 2004

  • Dandelion is a medicinal weed. Its roots have potent diuretic properties.
    Karen Shelton,

For millennia, pets and their people have co-existed in mutually beneficial ways. The bond that exists between humans and the other animals creates a loving connection that has proven to be healthy and healing.

What’s sometimes forgotten when we think of this human-animal bond is that long before we domesticated animals, we had domesticated many plants that were also healthy and healing … and even before that, both the wild animals and the (relatively wild) humans were closely connected to health-providing plants on a day-to-day basis.

Gardening is an easy and enjoyable way to renew this health-giving triad of people-pets-plants, and there are some simple ways to create an atmosphere in your garden (and around the effort you put into gardening) that further enhances the healthy triad.

Grow What You Love

For starters, you might as well grow the herbs you love — the ones you think smell good or look pretty, those that have a particular mythical history that interests you, or plants that seem to fit into your landscape. Horticultural experts assure me that the plants that grow best for any individual are the ones that that person seems to love the most. But there’s more to this concept of selecting plants for love, rather than trying to pick the ones you feel your pet might need for health reasons.

I tell my clients often that the most important thing you can do with herbal remedies is to use them. Because each herb has dozens of bioactive ingredients, almost any individual herb will have a wide range of activities in the body. Thus, almost every medicinal herb will be effective by itself, acting to balance or enhance many organ systems at once.

The key is to get your pet to take his daily or weekly dose of herbs without worrying about which specific herb is the very best one to use today. I think all pets should have at least a weekly dose of one of the tonic or culinary herbs as a general health-maintenance routine. I’m convinced this is the best use of herbal medicines.



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