Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the safety and effectiveness of liquorice for dogs. As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to be informed about the potential risks and benefits associated with common household items. In this article, we will delve into the question, “Is Liquorice Bad For Dogs?” by providing you with a detailed overview of its impact on your furry friend’s health. Join us as we explore the nuances of liquorice consumption for dogs and gain valuable insights to ensure the well-being of your beloved pet.
Liquorice, scientifically named Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a perennial plant of the pea family. It is largely cultivated in tropical areas. Liquorice bears many other names such as Black sugar, Sweetwood, Sweet root, etc. Is Liquorice bad for dogs? Let us delve into it. Although mainly the roots of Liquorice are used, in some places, people also use liquorice leaves. One of the popular uses of liquorice for humans is to flavour tobacco and beverages. But liquorice is also used in medicines as it sustains great medicinal value not only for humans but also for dogs.
What is Liquorice?
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As previously discussed, Liquorice is a member of the pea family, which is native to southern Europe and Asia. It is generally wild and approximately 1.5 meters or 5 inches tall. Flowers are either small in shape and either purple or blue. A different type of liquorice is available in Germany, Finland, Sweden, and other Nordic countries which are supposedly salty due to having abundant amounts of ammonium chloride, commonly referred to as ‘salty liquorice’ or ‘Salmiak’ or ‘Salmiakki’ in the local language.
The main ingredient of liquorice is Glycyrrhizin glycoside. It also has some other chemical compounds like saponins, flavonoids, etc. It is glycyrrhizin which gives this plant its sweetened flavour as Glycyrrhizin is 50 times sweeter than sugar. This is a natural herb that holds great medicinal properties despite being associated with the question, ‘Is liquorice bad for dogs?’.
Different Types of Liquorice
Liquorice comes in numerous sizes and shapes and textures. These are generally used for candy for dogs. People often have confusions about these types, and they all have a common question regarding liquorice, that is, ‘Is liquorice bad for dogs?’. The most known types are – Black liquorice, Red liquorice, Salty liquorice, and Sour liquorice.
- Black liquorice: In USA or Canada, liquorice is used as candy which is generally black or dark in colour. These are very delicious and most of the time have a sweet flavour. In addition to glycyrrhizin, black liquorice also contains sugar and starch or flour binder and also gelatin or gum Arabic in some cases making it shinier than normal.
- Red liquorice: Although commonly referred to as ‘Red liquorice’, it is just a chewy candy made with the traditional liquorice but devoid of any liquorice roots. Due to this, some people do not consider red liquorice as liquorice at all. This one differs from black liquorice in colour and flavourings as it is typically are of strawberry, cherry, raspberry, or cinnamon.
- Salty Liquorice: As black or red liquorice is popular to most people; salty liquorice is something that might taste different to them. It is called ‘salmiak’ in Nordic countries. This contains ammonium chloride also called Sal ammoniac in the native language which is responsible for the salty flavour. It is used in various treats like ice cream and chewing gums. These are typically dark brown but also come in some other colours like cream and honey-like.
- Sour liquorice: This type of liquorice is obviously a bit sour as the name suggests, and also comparatively new than the other ones. It was first introduced in the 1990s and is being manufactured to date. Just like Red liquorice, it also does not contain any original liquorice roots, but it differs from red liquorice in taste by not being as sweet as the red one. Many sour types of liquorice are not very sour but taste like cough syrup.
Benefits of Liquorice for Dogs
As the question ‘Is liquorice bad for dogs? ‘arises, many people are eager to know if liquorice is beneficial regarding a dog’s health. Liquorice is considered a safe herb for dogs to consume, but with some cautions. Herbalists worldwide use liquorice to treat dogs with inflammatory conditions and respiratory issues. In addition to that, liquorice also helps in various diseases such as digestive problems, arthritis, skin problems and bruises, liver problems, Addison’s disease, and many more.
- A vast range of anti-inflammatory benefits helps liquorice to solve irritating problems in the skins of your dog if mixed in salve, tea, or oil. It is very helpful for conditions like dermatitis.
- Liquorice is also greatly beneficial in relieving your dog of problems of the joint due to arthritis or other age-related diseases because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Liquorice is beneficial for your dog’s liver as it helps in cases of hepatitis and also it has liver detoxifying properties.
- Liquorice helps rid your dog of cough and cold problems by loosening mucus and helping your dog by expelling it from his lungs.
- Since liquorice has steroid-like functions ingrained in them, they help in treating Addison’s disease in your dog. Addison’s disease is a disease in which your dog is unable to produce hormones from his adrenal cortex.
Usage of Liquorice
Liquorice can be applied to your dog in two ways –
- Topically – You have to make a topical oil infusion as described and then make your dog sit. Apply it on the affected parts to soothe his itchiness. He may lick some of it, but that won’t be too harmful to him.
- Internally – To apply liquorice internally, use tea or some glycerite. If you use glycerin extracts, apply twice a day, and use 15-20 drops per lbs. of your dog’s body weight. If you use liquorice tea, take 1 cup of hot water and dip 1 tsp of liquorice root in it. Apply twice a day with 30-60 drops per lbs. of body weight.
**Please note – These are generic dosage rates, for specific purposes, contact a vet.
Some cautionary warnings regarding liquorice for dogs are –
- Don’t continue providing liquorice to dogs for more than a prolonged period of 2 weeks.
- If your dog is being administered with corticosteroids or blood thinners, don’t use liquorice without prior consultation with your vet regarding the dosage.
- Dogs with Cushing’s disease or pregnant dogs shouldn’t be administered with liquorice.
- Consult your vet about administering liquorice if your dog has diabetes, heart disease, or a weak liver.
- Dogs cannot have red or black or other flavoured liquorice candies
A Balancing Act – Navigating Liquorice for Canine Companions
Liquorice is a plant with huge medicinal benefits. So, is liquorice bad for dogs? No, if you provide him with the right amounts, with prior consultations from your vet. There are many theories about liquorice, whether dogs can eat liquorice or not. Dog owners often cannot decide if liquorice should be given to their pets or not due to conflicting stories as a frequent question arises, ‘Is liquorice bad for dogs?’ In this article, we will help you to understand and you might get answers to those unanswered questions about liquorice you had all along.