Can I Give Elderberry Syrup To My Cat? The Full Guide

As pet owners, we always want to make sure our furry friends are healthy and happy.

With the rise in popularity of elderberry syrup as a natural remedy for colds and flu, you may be wondering if it’s safe to give to your cat.

While elderberry can have many benefits for humans and dogs, it’s important to know that it can be toxic to cats if not given in the proper dosage.

In this article, we’ll explore the potential benefits and risks of giving elderberry syrup to your cat, and provide some tips on how to do so safely.

Can I Give Elderberry Syrup To My Cat?

The short answer is yes, you can give elderberry syrup to your cat, but with caution. Elderberry is a popular herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. It’s known for its antiviral and immune-boosting properties, which make it an effective treatment for colds and flu in humans and dogs.

However, elderberry can be toxic to cats if given in excessive amounts. The Pet Poison Helpline reports that elderberry is toxic to cats, and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

It’s important to note that elderberry supplements are often used to fight against flu and cold in cats, but it’s crucial to follow the recommended dosage guidelines. You can give your cat elderberry additives 2 to 4 times each day, but it’s suggested that the owner should not overfeed the cat the authorized daily amount.

What Is Elderberry Syrup?

Elderberry syrup is a natural remedy made from the berries of the elderberry plant. It’s commonly used to boost the immune system and fight off cold and flu symptoms. The syrup is made by boiling elderberries with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, and then adding honey to sweeten it.

To make elderberry syrup at home, pour water into a medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil, and then pour the mixture through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it’s no longer hot, add honey and stir well. The resulting syrup can be stored in the fridge and taken daily for its immune-boosting properties.

It’s important to note that elderberry syrup should only be given to cats in small doses, as overfeeding can lead to toxicity. The standard dose for cats is 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp per day, but it’s recommended that you consult with your veterinarian before giving your cat any new supplements or remedies.

Benefits Of Elderberry Syrup For Humans And Dogs

Elderberry syrup is a powerful immune booster that can benefit both humans and dogs. It’s made from the berries of the Sambucus tree, which are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. This makes it an effective treatment for cold, flu, cough, and other respiratory issues.

For humans, elderberry syrup can help reduce the severity and duration of respiratory infections like the common cold and flu. It can also help protect cells from damage and prevent heart disease and cancer. Elderberry syrup can also reduce inflammation, which is beneficial for joint health.

For dogs, elderberry syrup is an effective treatment for kennel cough, cold, and flu. It can also reduce inflammation and support respiratory health. Elderberry syrup is safe for dogs when given in appropriate doses. The recommended dosage is a teaspoon for small dogs, 2 teaspoons for medium-sized dogs, and a tablespoon for large dogs.

Elderberry syrup can also be incorporated into homemade dog treats, like the crunchy elderberry dog treats made with peanut butter and oats mentioned above. However, it’s essential to use elderberry syrup that’s honey-free and does not contain any artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which can be toxic to dogs.

Is Elderberry Syrup Safe For Cats?

While elderberry syrup can be safe for cats, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks. Unripe elderberries contain alkaloid and cyanogenic glycosides, which can be toxic to pets. If your cat ingests too much elderberry syrup, they may experience symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and even organ failure.

However, it’s worth noting that extracts from elderberries don’t tend to cause severe signs in animals. Once the elderberry has been processed into syrup or supplements, it typically contains less of the toxic chemicals that can cause problems in cats.

If you’re considering giving your cat elderberry syrup, it’s crucial to speak with your veterinarian first. They can advise you on the appropriate dosage for your cat based on their weight and overall health. It’s also important to monitor your cat closely for any signs of adverse reactions or toxicity.

Potential Risks Of Giving Elderberry Syrup To Cats

Although elderberry syrup is generally safe for cats, there are potential risks associated with giving it to them. Elderberry foliage and berries contain cyanogenic glycoside, a toxin that can cause rapid onset respiratory distress, seizures, and even death in severe cases. While the risk of cyanide poisoning from elderberry ingestion is low for most species, including cats, it’s still important to be cautious.

The most common signs of elderberry exposure in cats are vomiting and diarrhea, which can be severe if the cat has ingested a large amount of plant material. Mild symptoms may occur if only a few berries or leaves are ingested. Veterinary treatment is necessary if your cat consumes a large amount of elderberry or experiences persistent clinical signs such as multiple episodes of vomiting or bloody diarrhea.

It’s also important to note that there is no defined, standard dose of elderberry for cats. The amounts given in studies vary widely, and it’s possible that the supplements may contain other ingredients that could be harmful to your cat. It’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before giving any herbal supplements to your cat.

In addition, raw or unripe elderberries may cause nausea, vomiting, or severe diarrhea in cats. Cooked elderberries are generally safe for cats to consume, but it’s best to avoid giving them any parts of the plant other than the syrup.

How To Safely Give Elderberry Syrup To Your Cat

When giving elderberry syrup to your cat, it’s important to start with a small amount and monitor their reaction. Begin with a quarter of a teaspoon of elderberry syrup and observe your cat for any adverse reactions. If there are no negative effects, you can gradually increase the amount to the recommended dosage.

It’s also important to choose elderberry syrup that is specifically formulated for pets, and does not contain any additives or sweeteners that may be harmful to cats. Always read the label carefully to ensure that the product is safe for feline consumption.

Additionally, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian before giving your cat any new supplements or herbal remedies. Your vet can advise you on the appropriate dosage for your cat’s specific needs and health condition.

Alternative Natural Remedies For Cats

If you’re looking for alternative natural remedies for your cat, there are a few options to consider. Dandelion root and cat’s claw tincture can be used to help with itching, especially for cats with allergies, as it contains natural cortisone. Additionally, apple cider vinegar mixed into food or tuna juice can be given to cats in small amounts daily to help with digestion and overall health.

Respiratory Support Herbal Formula is another option that contains a carefully selected blend of herbs, including elderberry fruit, lemon balm leaf, and yerba mansa leaf. These herbs work together synergistically to provide stronger and more beneficial effects for your cat’s respiratory system.

Dandelion leaves can also be used to make a salad for your cat if they’re trying to watch their figure. Not only is it a healthy option, but it can also provide some variety in their diet.

It’s important to note that while natural remedies can be effective, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before giving any new supplements or treatments to your cat. They can provide guidance on safe dosages and potential interactions with any medications your cat may be taking.