Neem powder & Neem Oil have been used since centuries in India for dogs. Find out what benefits neem oil & powder can offer to your dog.
We recently discussed how neem leaves powder and neem oil can do wonders for your skin, hair and overall health. If you haven't read that article, then I highly suggest you first go and read this one - Neem Benefits for You.
Now, we know, that neem has so many benefits for humans, plants (as in organic gardening) and is an all around a 'Wonder Herb'. But what benefits does neem offer to your dog? And does it have benefits for other animals like horses, etc.? Let's start and let's check it out in this article.
To Brush Up...
Biology & botanic name of Neem -
Neem is known as Azadirachta indica and is a member of the Mahogany family, Maliaceae. Neem trees are tall, and can reach height between 25-30 meters with wide, beautiful evergreen leaves. The branches of neem tree are wide and spreading. Neem tree is one that can grow and survive in drought conditions, needing very little to no water at all. This is why neem is considered a drought resistance tree. Neem is considered a weed in places like West Africa, Australia, Middle-East and even in some Indian states. A neem tree can live more than two centuries!
Ayurvedic properties of Neem & its relation to your dog -
In Ayurveda, neem is considered to be dry and light. This means that it is easy to digest and is therefore considered 'very digestible' and can be easily taken for many ailments. However, taking it for long duration internally can cause dryness in the body, therefore, it is best to be used for short time and then stop for sometime.
With this important aspect in mind, it is best to give neem to your dog with some healthy fats like organic coconut oil or olive oil or hemp oil or even some coconut butter and such. This is to help in off-setting the dry properties of neem and aid in better absorption by the dog's body. It is best to use neem between 1-month to 4-month duration and then stop, at least for few months. This will also help maintain its efficacy in your dog's body and at the same time, help with better results.
Neem taste and will my dog like it?
Neem is bitter in taste and so, probably your dog will not like it. Extremely picky dogs will do well by mixing neem with some enjoyable treat like raw honey (ethically sourced, of course) or some mashed banana or even some pumpkin puree will do! Easy!
Some dogs who are big-time foodies will take neem very easily by just mixing some neem powder in the food and that's it.
Topical application for your dog: To dilute or not to dilute?
Take note here that neem oil does NOT smell like roses or lavender!! It is strong and very pungent.
So, please, if you decide to buy neem oil, I request that you do NOT give any company, store owners or online sellers low ratings - it is frustrating and extremely unethical when I see this. Blaming a company for the scent of a product despite knowing that it does not smell great, by Nature's design, is a thoughtless act.
For Your Dog: I can only tell you what we do in India and that is, we don’t generally dilute neem oil when applying either on dogs or on ourselves! It is your personal choice whether to dilute or not. In India, for dogs who have mange and other severe skin conditions, neem oil is the cure! Without diluting it, neem oil is applied thoroughly on the dog and used till the dog is cured. But still, here are some points for you to consider and ones that will help you decide.
Point 1 - Always test little bit of neem oil on your dog first - your dog may react negatively to neem oil smell or might be allergic to it. Take few drops and apply on the lower back - leave it for a day as this is minimal dose and see how your dog reacts. Then, you can decide if you want to apply neat or dilute it with some olive coconut oil.
Point 2 - If your dog has a small patch on skin that needs help, then y all means apply it directly without needing to dilute it. However, for full body application, you are better off diluting it as Western dogs may not take neem so well like Indian dogs who are used to it since puppyhood.
Point 3 - I highly suggest you use neem oil withOUT diluting it on your dog IF your dog has severe skin issue like mange or such kind of infections (yes! NOT the advice you will get in most 'Western' articles). But take it from someone who is Indian and grew up with neem plant right outside the window!
Point 4 - So, why did I suggest to use neem oil without diluting it? It will help prevent any itchiness or infections on the skin since you are using it neat, not diluting it. This is how I use on my new rescues - who always come with bad, itchy, smelly skin!! I have also used it for one my rescues who had horrible mange and used it neat. Wonderful results and healed completely.
Point 5 - If this option is still not viable for you and your dog for some reason (like allergic reaction or smell), then, what you can do is mix neem oil with coconut oil, add just few drops of lavender or lemongrass essential oil and apply. This is a great way to prevent fleas and make sure the pungent neem aroma stays strong till the next application. Both lavender and lemongrass essential oils are safe for dogs and are a great tool to mask smells like that of neem. Plus, using these will help soothe your dog's skin even more and help prevent mosquitoes and fleas. You can also add little bit of other carrier oils like olive or coconut or even hemp oil and make an amazing mix to apply on your dog!
You can also add a drop of neem oil to your dog's shampoo and massage the lather for few minutes till neem oil is absorbed into the coat fully. Rinse, towel dry and let sun dry.
As a side note, neem oil aroma has been often described as 'rotten garlic' or 'rotten onions' or well, roasted coffee. Well, now you know!
Neem oil at room temperatures?
Another fact about neem oil that I want to point out is that neem oil can harden at cooler room temperatures and definitely during the winter, freezing months. Simply take the neem oil bottle and put in slight warm water and this should do it. There is NO reason to freak out that your neem oil is going bad, rancid or that the company/seller has cheated you.
Ethics goes both ways - I take my time to write all this so that you will not buy and then complain to a company for false product! Be thankful to the companies that work hard to bring us all these products.
Neem oil benefits for dogs -
Neem oil for dry, itchy dogs - Have a dog that suffering from allergies? Or have a dog that has dander and dryness that pulls the skin? Well, neem oil is excellent in combating dryness in dogs as it is rich in omega fatty acids as well as sulfur. This is the reason why neem oil is often used for conditions like mange, which we will see in next point.
Who should NOT use neem oil?
Dogs that are meant for breeding or are pregnant should NOT use neem oil or neem as a herb. Neem inhibits breeding in dogs so be mindful of this if your dog is pregnant - though I hope your dog is not pregnant because we have too many dogs in the animal shelters all over the world and so plz., stop breeding dogs!!
What about scented ‘neem oil’ - ay or nay? for dogs?
As for deodorized neem oil - I would say NO. I am really against any artificial scents/chemicals and even then, taking away the 'whole-spectrum' properties of a plant is like taking away its healing powers!
Neem smells the way it does because of its high sulfur content and that IS the reason why it works in many conditions, including cancer! So, no - I am against any deodorized neem oil, only the real thing works and is best! As people learn about neem oil for dogs, they may overlook the importance and significance of using it with its pungency.
THAT is the most powerful aspect of neem oil and to not know its importance is not going to help you heal your dog. So, I hope I have answered this clearly. Deodorized neem oil - ay or nay?!
What is the most trusted source to purchase neem oil?
You can go to your local Indian store and buy from there! No matter what, even if its not organic - India's neem oil is the BEST!..:)
So, this is it! Now, you can see how wonderful this neem plant is and how to use it for your dog's benefit. Make note that IF your dog shows some reaction to neem, then by all means, stop using it immediately. You can even work with a holistic veterinarian to determine the best way to use neem for your dog's condition. Other than that, I say, you have found a wonder ally in neem for your beloved pooch or pooches!
For any questions or comments that relate to this article, please post below and I will reply. Please do NOT send in an e-mail.
Share! Share! Share! If this article has helped you and your dog, then I encourage you to share it with your loved ones and invite them to join The Garden Pooch’s newsletter! Let's get more dogs healthy!
Help Your Loved Ones! Post it on your FB page! Send in an e-mail to all your loved ones! Invite them to join TGP so they can get such detailed articles too!