Natural Antioxidant—Great for Liver Health

Milk Thistle for Pets

Milk thistle extracts can help treat dogs and cats.

In the Balkans, milk thistle was traditionally used as a nutritional addition to animal feed. Milk thistle's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and liver-protecting benefits are good for pets as well. In fact, milk thistle extracts may even help treat parasite infections.(210-212, 235)

Poisonous Mushroom Treatment

Silymarin compounds in milk thistle can help treat the toxic effects of mushroom poisoning in small animals. For example, a dose of 100 mg/kg of body weight offers complete protection from death cap poisoning in dogs, mice, rabbits, and rats. However, it must be given within 10-30 minutes of ingesting the poisonous mushrooms. After 30 minutes silymarin has very little benefit.(14)

Protects the Liver

Milk thistle is helpful in reducing the risks from chemotherapy and other drugs. In a research study, 50 dogs with various types of cancers were randomly assigned to take a supplement containing milk thistle extract and SAMe.(213)

The combination milk thistle and SAMe supplement significantly protected against signs of liver damage from chemotherapy. This protection would also allow dogs to continue and complete cancer treatment.(213)

Results of another study involving cats showed that silymarin from milk thistle protects against liver damage caused by mebendazole. Azole-type drugs are used to treat worm infections.(214)

In cats, milk thistle can also protect the liver against severe overdose of tetracycline, especially if given within the first 4 hours. Oral doses of silymarin (30 mg per kg of body weight) counteracted toxic poisoning by acetaminophen.(215-216)

Helps Treat Giardia Infections

Canine giardiasis is a parasitic infection. It's typically treated with antiprotozoal drugs, such as fenbendazole and metronidazole. Unfortunately, treatment drugs can come with adverse side effects, such as:(211)

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weight loss.

Silymarin from milk thistle significantly boosts the effectiveness of metronidazole. The milk thistle extract also appears to reduce drug side effects.(211)


Milk thistle is considered safe for pets. Dogs and rabbits can tolerate up to 140-300 mg/kg silymarin injections.(94)

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed physician. If you require any medical related advice, contact your physician promptly. Information presented on this website is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard medical advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.
Including lymphoma, mast cell tumors, and sarcoma.(213)