Yellow dock is a vigorous perennial that grows up to five feet with leaves that grow about 12 inches long and four inches wide. These are widely found in areas around North America, although the Rumex genus comes from Europe.
They bloom from May to August and turn a rust-red color when the flowers mature and start to dry.
Yellow dock is used for a number of applications, including to stimulate bile production and to help with cleansing the blood. It also has applications as a laxative and has even been used as an ear mite treatment when used as a tincture.
The roots of yellow dock are used to form either tinctures, teas or dried root applications.
- Yellow dock root is a quick cleansing herb, which helps deal with chronic or acute conditions like dermatitis that result from toxic excesses in your dog.
- Yellow dock root is also sometimes used in treating anemia because of the high iron content in it, but it should NOT be used in situations where intestinal bleeding or obstructions are present.
- Yellow dock can be used as an itch reliever or skin rinse during bath time. A recipe for this includes a tablespoon of yellow dock in two cups of boiling water. Wait until it cools, strain it and apply to your dog after rinsing. Do not rinse out the yellow dock. This is known as a tea infusion of yellow dock.
- An ear mite treatment with yellow dock involves using three drops of tincture with one tablespoon of distilled or filtered water. Dilute the yellow dock tincture in the water, then apply a dropper into your dog’s ear canal and massage gently. Let your dog shake it off naturally, then blot the opening with cotton. This treatment can be repeated once every three days for as long as three weeks if necessary.
- Yellow dock leaves can also be crushed to create a salve for stinging nettle burns.
As mentioned, yellow dock should NOT be used in situations where intestinal bleeding and obstructions are present. It is also recommended only in short-term doses internally and only with the consultation of a veterinarian.
According to the ASPCA, yellow dock in its wild form is considered a toxic weed for dogs. Even with its therapeutic considerations, there are precautions to take when using it. It should never be used on pregnant dogs and should always be used in moderation.
Excessive use of yellow dock can result in cramping, vomiting and diarrhea.
Reasons to Use
Yellow dock is, in my review, best used as an external treatment. There are other herbal combinations that can generate the same effects as yellow dock internally and they don’t carry the same risk factors.
It is quite safe in moderate applications, of course, but it’s best to err on the side of caution if you aren’t sure.
The best application of yellow dock is as an ear mite treatment and as an itch reliever. Take care to monitor your dog’s reactions to yellow dock and don’t overuse it.
References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen