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Rosehip - Oil and Fruits for Pets

Posted by Isabelle

Rosehips & Pets – The oil and the dried fruits

Humans are not the only ones to enjoy the benefits of Rosehip. Both the oil and the fruits offer ideal remedies or just a source of nutritional food for pets and larger animals. Indeed, horses and all herbivores delight in browsing hedges and nibble on rosa canina, flowers, fruits and leaves. In fact, unfortunately for the bushes, they tend to leave very little of them. Along with raspberry leaves, roses seem to be one of their gourmet meals!
I have a rose bush outside my house. In late autumn, I pick the fresh mature hips and give them to my horses, goats or alpacas. Dogs would eat them to if they felt inclined.

The oil offers a wonderful skin remedy for wounds and sores, reduces scaring and is safe for all animals. It is also light, is absorbed easily into the skin and does not leave a greasy mess on their coat. It is useful on patches of dry skin or eczema. Always do a patch test before in case of allergic reaction.

The dried hips are one of the richest natural source of vitamin C. Very useful in winter to boost the immune system and reinforce defenses. They can be fed as a supplement over the winter months. Horses and other herbivores will eat the hips dry without further preparation. Dogs and cats may be attracted to them if they need it. Add 1/5 to 1 tsp on cracked hips to their food. The shells become very dry and hard during the drying process which can be off-putting for some animals. They can be soaked in a small amount of cold water for a few hours, This process will soften them. They can then be mixed with the food or offered separately. Vitamin C is water soluble, so make sure to add the water as well to the food. Do not use hot water as this would destroy the Vitamin C and beat the purpose of this exercise.

How to use

Rosehips come in 2 forms

  • The whole hips
    They are the whole fruits with the seeds still in them. They are quite tough and many animals struggle with them. Even horses are not too keen, only my goats go for them. Of course, it has to be goats. They can't resist anything.
  • The cracked hips.
    These do not contain the seeds. They are the by-products of the oil industry. They come in small broken up pieces and are more manageable for animals.

If you are not sure of what to do, the best way is to follow a zoopharmacognosy approach and offer the herb to the animal. Simply offer the shells in a bowl and see if your animal wants them. Animals have an innate instinct to know what they need. If your animal feels he/she needs it, he/she will eat it. If he/she does not show any interest, do not force it upon him/her.
The oil is also a source of nutritious food and can be offered to eat and my horses have always been very keen. Just pour some oil in your hand and offer it to the animal. If they want it, they will eat it. They will stop when their needs are fulfilled.

My experience

I use rosehip a lot for my animals. It is probably their most sought-after herb, They love it and I am yet to see an animal who will turn his nose up at a bowl of rosehip shells.

The oil has also been very useful. I have used our tissue repair oil which contains rosehip with my mare Dolly. She was covered in sores following a bad attack of sweet itch. The oil was very useful to heal those wounds sometimes overnight and soothe the itchiness.
I have also offered the oil neat to my horses. They always tell me when they have had enough. They will be keen for a few days and then turn me and my oil down the next, which is their way of telling me it is time to stop. If I think they still need a remedy I then offer them a different oil instead.

Rosehips as a whole fruit is a very nutritious food and many animals find nutrients they crave when eating it. Despite being treated as food more than a specific remedy - this being true mostly for herbivores - it is best not to overdose and not offer all the time so the body has the rest.