This treasure trove of a garden flower is bursting with goodness.
The little yellow explosion of colour you see popping up in our lawns during the summer months is actually a little powerhouse packed full of amazing benefits, not just for bees, tortoises and other creepy crawlies, it’s great for us humans and our Westies as well.
This little bright yellow flower, with its spiky shaped green leaves pack a massive punch as a superfood for dogs. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals and there is nothing out there that comes close to competing with the benefits of dandelions for our dogs.
For example, the yellow flowers alone are high in Lecithin, which can help support the organs. They also contain Polyphenols and antioxidants which are extremely beneficial for the health of your dog.
The leaves are incredibly nourishing and are high in vitamins A, C, K and D, plus B Complex. They also contain more protein than spinach. Plus, beneficial levels of zinc, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and antioxidants.
The list of reasons why to feed dandelions to your dog is endless. It can act as an anti-inflammatory as it contains polyphenols which are little powerhouses and help fight inflammation.
Studies have shown that in some cases feeding dandelions to your dog may help with Irritable Bowel Disease. Dandelions may also help dogs suffering from poor digestion. It’s also a good idea to feed to a dog before mealtime to help with indigestion and flatulence. Dandelions can be used as a liver tonic to help flush any toxins and waste from the dog’s body via the kidneys. Dandelion leaves are a natural diuretic to help with fluid retention if your dog is suffering from heart disease, diabetes, gall bladder and kidney problems. Dandelions are high in potassium; this helps keep levels balanced if your dog is urinating excessively. You can also make dandelions into an antibacterial solution which can be soaked into a pad and used to clean an injury.
Dandelions have been known to help manage diabetes, but it’s always best to have a conversation with your Vet before going down that route.
You can use the whole of this little yellow flower and it’s leaves, best to avoid the stems as they can be a little bitter, but the flowers, leaves and roots are incredibly beneficial for your Westie.
Ensure when you pick them, they are clean, avoid dandelions that grow along the roadside. Just wash them off in clean water, pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Find a dark dry place and let them dry naturally.
There are several recipes available on the Internet for dandelions, but a simple tea is normally 30g of dried dandelions to 250ml of water left to steep for around 15 minutes. Strain and use. Remember to use in moderation and don’t over feed as it may cause tummy ache, upset tummies, frequent urination and even a fast heartbeat.
So just remember the next time you are pushing your mower up and down your pristine lawn, and you see that lovely little starburst of yellow popping up, don’t just mow over it or dig it up, pick it, dry it, and make a lovely addition to your Westies’ dinners, their water bowls, or even have it on hand to use for first aid.
Sue Makepeace is the founder of the Westie Advice Group on Facebook and is also a certified Raw Dog Nutrition Specialist