Can Valerian Root Kill Dogs? What Are The Side Effects?

Valerian root, celebrated for its calming effects on humans, is also used by some pet owners.

They believe that this natural remedy can soothe their furry companions. But can Valerian root kill dogs?

As our four-legged friends are cherished members of our families, it’s crucial to explore the safety of Valerian root for dogs.

Let’s delve into its potential benefits, associated risks, and the precautions necessary to keep our canine companions safe and sound.

What Is Valerian Root?

can valerian root kill dogs

Valerian root is known as a perennial plant native to Europe and Asia. Its strong odor distinguishes it, and the plant can reach just over 6 feet.

Throughout history, people used this root for medicinal purposes.

The ground-up roots and rhizomes of the Valerian plant are processed into capsules and powders for consumption.

Valerian root is renowned for its potential as a sedative in the brain and nervous system.

This makes it a popular choice for individuals seeking relief from sleep disorders, particularly insomnia.

Beyond this, using it alleviates anxiety, stress, and various other conditions.

Can Valerian Root Kill Dogs? 

No. Valerian root is generally safe for dogs when administered under veterinary guidance.

However, it should not be given to older dogs, puppies, pregnant or lactating dogs, or those with health problems.

While no large-scale studies confirm its safety for all canines, holistic veterinarians may recommend it to relieve anxiety and stress.

It’s crucial to consult a vet for proper dosage and explore alternative solutions if your pooch experiences severe or chronic anxiety or aggression in stressful situations.

All About Valerian Root And How It Works

Valerian root can increase the brain’s neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In other words, this root acts through the receptors of GABA.

It inhibits nerve transmissions between neurons that promote heightened activity. Consequently, this boost in GABA has a calming influence.

The root disrupts the anxiety pathway by suppressing the dog’s nervous system, resulting in mild sedative effects.

This herbal remedy can be found in various forms, including supplements, extracts, and teas.

Therefore, it is a valuable consideration for pet owners seeking natural solutions to ease their dogs’ stress and anxiety.

What Are The Benefits Of Valerian Root? 

What Are The Benefits Of Valerian Root 

Manage Anxiety

The herb’s anxiolytic properties are considered crucial in helping dogs cope with anxiety-inducing situations.

When a dog faces anxiety, whether it’s due to separation or loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks, Valerian root can help alleviate their stress and promote a sense of calm.

This plant is often recommended as part of a broader strategy, including behavior modification and environmental changes.

In some cases, veterinarians can prescribe Valerian-included medications.

Deal With Seizures And Spasms

Valerian roots are believed to have potential benefits in dealing with seizures and spasms in dogs.

The herb’s anticonvulsant and antispasmodic properties can contribute to this potential benefit.

The root can promote the GABA’s inhibitory effects on nerve transmissions. As a result, it helps mitigate the overactivity of neurons that can trigger seizures and spasms.

Therefore, pet owners use it to offer relief by relaxing the muscles and potentially reducing the frequency or intensity of these episodes.

Prevent Ulcers Spreading

Antiulcerogenic properties in these roots prevent the development and spreading of dog ulcers.

Ulcers in dogs can occur for various reasons, including stress, certain medications, or underlying health conditions.

The root may offer relief by potentially minimizing the risk of ulcer development or worsening in dogs prone to these gastric issues.

The valerian root’s antiulcerogenic properties protect the stomach’s mucosal lining and inhibit factors that can lead to ulcer formation.

However, it should not replace veterinary care in cases of severe ulcers or related health concerns.

If your dog exhibits symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, or blood in the stool, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Promote Sleep

The soothing properties of this root and its ability to induce relaxation contribute to its sleep-promoting benefits.

For dogs that struggle with sleep difficulties, Valerian root may help them achieve restful and uninterrupted sleep.

In fact, this remedy has helped my teething puppy sleep better despite the pain.

This property makes it a valuable consideration for dogs with insomnia or anxiety-related sleep disturbances.

Particularly, it can work wonders for those adjusting to new environments or routines.

Stimulate Immune System

Stress can weaken the immune system in dogs, just as it can in humans, making them more susceptible to various illnesses.

While this herb is primarily known for its calming properties in dogs, it also has the potential to support the immune system indirectly.

The herb can contribute to a more balanced and less compromised immune system response.

When dogs are less stressed, their bodies are better equipped to defend against infections and illnesses.

Reduce Pain

Valerian root is not typically associated with pain-relieving properties.

However, some studies have explored its potential in reducing pain, particularly in laboratory animals like rats.

The root may have its merits in other areas, but it should not be considered a primary or highly effective pain relief option for dogs.

You can consider more targeted and proven treatments available through professional veterinary care.

How To Apply Valerian Root In Dogs?

Step 1: Consult Your Vet

Is valerian root safe for dogs? Yes. But before applying it to your dog’s routine, you should consult with your veterinarian.

They can assess your dog’s needs and potential interactions with other medications.

Step 2: Choose The Form

Valerian root has various forms, like capsules, drops, tinctures, and whole-dried roots. Your choice may depend on your dog’s preferences and ease of administration.

Capsules and drops can be mixed with food or water. Meanwhile, tinctures can be administered directly or mixed with a small amount of water.

Step 3: Determine The Dose

How much Valerian can I give my dog? The appropriate dose of valerian for your dog depends on their level of anxiety or stress.

The recommended dose range for dried Valerian root is between 1 and 7.5 grams. For tinctures, it’s between 7 and 15 milliliters.

Can a dog overdose on Valerian root? No. You’d better not use too much of this as it can cause side effects.

Besides, these doses have not been established through clinical trials, so it’s essential to rely on your vet’s guidance for your dog’s correct dosage.

Step 4: Administer Multiple Times

The root is often administered three to four times daily, especially in the days with anxiety-inducing events.

Consistency in dosing can go a long way in maintaining its potential calming effects.

Step 5: Consider Additional Supplement

Valerian root can be a valuable addition to your dog’s treatment plan for anxiety, but it may not be a standalone solution.

Consider incorporating behavioral modification techniques, other herbal supplements, nutritional supplements, or medications as recommended by your vet to address your dog’s anxiety comprehensively.

What Are The Effects Of Valerian Root On Dogs?

What Are The Effects Of Valerian Root On Dogs


Similar to drowsiness, some dogs may experience increased lethargy or low energy levels after taking root.


In some cases, Valerian may force dogs to vomit. It can be an adverse reaction. If vomiting persists, it should be reported to a veterinarian.


Like vomiting, diarrhea can be a side effect of valerian in certain dogs. It’s best to monitor your dog’s bowel movements.

Unsteadiness On Feet

Valerian root’s relaxing effects may cause some dogs to appear unsteady on their feet, similar to mild intoxication.

This effect typically subsides as the herb’s sedative properties wear off.

While these side effects are possible, they are generally mild and occur infrequently.

Valerian may also interact with other medications, such as anesthetics, sedatives, anti-epileptic, and antifungal medications.

If you notice any concerning side effects or changes in your dog’s behavior after giving them the root, stop using it.

What Are Some Alternatives To Valerian Root?


Chamomile is known for its calming and soothing effects. It can be added to your dog’s diet in chews or treats specially formulated with chamomile.

CBD oil

CBD oil has gained popularity for its potential to alleviate dogs’ pain, seizures, and stress. It interacts with the dog’s nervous system and can help soothe anxiety.

Herb Hops

Hops are well known for their sedative effects and can help induce relaxation. Additionally, this herb may positively affect the liver and act as a mild laxative.


How Long Does The Valerian Root Effect Will Last?

Typically, valerian root will begin to work within approximately 30 minutes after administration.

This quick onset of action is one of its advantages when used to alleviate anxiety or stress in dogs.

However, the duration of its effects can vary from dog to dog and may last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.

Some dogs may experience a prolonged sense of calm and relaxation. However, others may metabolize the herb more quickly, leading to a weaker potency.

Therefore, close observation of your dog’s response to valerian root is essential.

What Are Common Valerian Root-Powered Products For Dogs?

Capsules and tablets

Valerian root is often available in capsule or tablet form. These can be given directly to the dog or concealed within a treat, such as cheese or peanut butter.


The root tinctures are liquid extracts of the herb. They can be administered directly to the dog or mixed with a small amount of liquid or food.

Essential oils

Some Valerian root products come in the form of essential oils. These oils can be applied topically to the dog’s neck or used in aromatherapy. 

Combination products

Many valerian root-based dog products also contain passion flowers, glycerin, and chamomile.

They are designed to provide comprehensive anxiety relief and relaxation for your heart dogs.


Can valerian root kill dogs? No. This natural herbal supplement is known for its calming properties and is safe for dogs.

However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and ensure proper dosing.

Like any medication or supplement, Valerian root can have side effects, and its safety depends on factors such as the dog’s health, age, and existing medications.

It’s best to consult a veterinarian before using it in your dog’s routine to ensure their well-being and address any specific health concerns.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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