Milk Thistle for Pets: Supports Liver Health, Protects Liver

icon May 6, 2023

What is Silymarin(Milk Thistle)?

Silymarin is a flavonoid compound that is extracted from the seeds of the milk thistle plant (Silybum marianum). It is a mixture of several compounds, including silybin, silybin, silychristin, and silydianin. Silymarin has been used for centuries as a traditional herbal medicine to treat liver and gallbladder disorders, and it is still widely used today as a dietary supplement. Silymarin is believed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and liver-protective properties, and it has been studied for its potential to treat liver disease, diabetes, cancer, and other health conditions. While some research suggests that silymarin may have therapeutic benefits, more studies are needed to fully understand its effects and potential uses.

What Does Milk Thistle Look Like?

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is a tall, prickly plant that can grow up to 2 meters in height. The plant has large, glossy green leaves with white veins and white-marbled markings. The leaves are deeply lobed, with sharp spines on the edges. The stem of the plant is also prickly and has a milky sap, which gives the plant its name.

The flowers of milk thistle are large and showy, with a purple or pink color and spiky petals. The flowers are surrounded by a green bract, which has sharp spines at the tip. When the flowers die, they develop into brown, oval-shaped seed pods that are covered in prickles.

The seeds of milk thistle are the part of the plant that is used for medicinal purposes. They are small, dark brown, and shiny, with a slightly bitter taste. Milk thistle seeds can be ground into a powder or used to make a tea or tincture.

Why is Milk Thistle beneficial for Cats and Dogs?

Is Milk Thistle Safe For Pets? 

Yes, Milk thistle supplements are generally safe for pets when used in appropriate doses and under the guidance of a veterinarian. It can help support liver function and protect liver cells from damage.

However, it's important to note that not all pets may tolerate milk thistle well, and some may experience side effects such as gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, milk thistle supplements may interact with certain medications, so it's important to consult with a veterinarian before giving them to your pet, especially if your pet is taking any other medications.

Benefits of Milk Thistle

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a natural supplement that is often recommended for dogs and cats with liver problems. It is believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can help support liver function and protect liver cells from damage. Here are some potential benefits of milk thistle for dogs and cats:

Liver Support

Milk thistle is believed to have liver-protective properties, and it may help support liver function and regenerate liver cells. This can be beneficial for dogs and cats with liver disease or damage, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and toxin exposure.

Anti-inflammatory Effects

Milk thistle may have anti-inflammatory effects that can help reduce inflammation in the liver and other parts of the body. This can be helpful for dogs and cats with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Antioxidant Effects

Milk thistle contains compounds that act as antioxidants, which can help protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals. This can be beneficial for dogs and cats with age-related degenerative conditions, as well as those with cancer.

Digestive Support

Milk thistle may have digestive benefits for dogs and cats, as it can help stimulate the production of bile and promote healthy digestion.

It's important to note that while milk thistle is generally considered safe for dogs and cats, it should be used under the guidance of a veterinarian to ensure that it is appropriate for your dog's specific health needs. Your veterinarian can advise you on the appropriate dosage and administration of milk thistle for your dog, as well as other treatments and dietary modifications that may be necessary to support their health.

Are There Any Potential Side Effects?

Milk thistle may cause potential side effects in some individuals or when taken in excessive amounts. Here are some potential side effects of milk thistle:

  • Gastrointestinal upset: Some cats or dogs may experience nausea, diarrhea, bloating, or gas.

  • Allergic reactions: In rare cases, milk thistle may cause an allergic reaction in animals who are sensitive to the plant.

  • Interactions with medications: Milk thistle may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering medications, and some cancer drugs. If your cats or dogs are taking any medications, it's important to talk to the vet before taking milk thistle.

It's important to note that these side effects are generally mild and occur in a small number of cases. However, if your cats or dogs experience any unusual symptoms or discomfort after taking milk thistle, you should stop taking it and talk to your veterinarian.

Tudca vs Milk Thistle 

TUDCA and milk thistle have been making waves among health experts for their supposedly promising health benefits, especially for the liver. But how do they promote liver health? 

TUDCA is a bile acid that is naturally produced in the body, and it is believed to have liver-protective and anti-inflammatory effects. TUDCA may help reduce liver inflammation and protect liver cells from damage caused by toxins, bile acid accumulation, and other factors. TUDCA is often used to support liver health in people with liver disease, including cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and cholestasis.

Milk thistle is a plant that contains a group of compounds called flavonolignans, including silymarin, which is believed to have liver-protective and antioxidant effects. Milk thistle may help support liver function, regenerate liver cells, and protect liver cells from damage caused by toxins, alcohol, and other factors. Milk thistle is often used to support liver health in people and animals with liver disease, including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fatty liver disease.

While both TUDCA and milk thistle may be used to support liver health, they work in different ways and may be used for different purposes. TUDCA may be more effective for reducing liver inflammation and protecting liver cells from bile acid accumulation, while milk thistle may be more effective for protecting liver cells from toxins and promoting liver cell regeneration. It's important to talk to your doctor or veterinarian before using either supplement to ensure that it is appropriate for your specific health needs.

Best Milk Thistle for Dogs/Cats

By far the easiest way to give milk thistle to pets is as a pill. Or, if you have the powder, you can sprinkle it on your pet's food. However, it's a bitter herb, so most pets won't eat their food if it's mixed in because they'll sniff it before tasting it!

Puainta's milk thistle is a high-quality milk thistle that has not been sprayed with pesticides or exposed to car exhaust, and the supplement is also mixed with turmeric, which can better help relieve stress and detoxify the liver.

Liver Surpport Supplement


milk thistle, turmeric, lactose, Moringa oleifera stem and leaves, yeast hydrolysate,pig bile powder, chicken liver powder

Puainta Milk Thistle Dosage for Cats/ Dogs

Recommended to take it 1 hour before eating food



Once1 tablet1-2 tablets2 tablets

If you suspect an overdose or adverse reaction to a supplement, call your veterinarian's office right away. If they are not available, follow their directions to contact emergency facilities.

Recommended reading: Do Dogs Need Liver Support?

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