Neem for Pets
It’s somewhat ironic that the owners of the two largest neem companies in the country both became committed to what was then a practically unknown herb because we saw how much our pets benefited from it. Autumn Blum, who founded Organix-South, rescues Shih-Tzu, we rescue Rottweilers and Shar-Pei, all breeds that are susceptible to problems with both their skin and joints.
We had started growing neem specifically as a non-toxic pesticide in 1992. After reading Neem: A Tree For Global Problems (published by the National Academy Press), we decided to try feeding it to a rescued Rottweiler with congenital joint issues. Dinky — he really was the runt of the litter although he grew up to be a large dog — already had surgery on one shoulder at nine months old. His orthopedic vet had said there was nothing more that could be done. We weren’t particularly hopeful but since we already had the trees, we made neem tea to serve on his food. He felt better in less than two weeks, which inspired us to start Neem Tree Farms.
More recently, we’ve begun to rescue mostly senior Shar-Pei — also known as Chinese wrinkled dogs — pulled from horrible situations including animal shelters across the southeast or outside kennels or tie-outs. (See some of them at https://www.facebook.com/sharpeisanctuary.org/.) They often arrive here terrified of the world, practically starved, with horrible ear and eye issues and little or no hair. They’re regularly covered in fleas and ticks and often have other parasites. We firmly believe that neem makes an enormous difference in their quality of their lives.
Although neem oil is safe for cats, products blended with essential oils are not. Learn more about using neem on cats.
For internal supplementation, the typical dose is 1/8 teaspoon of neem bark powder per 10 pounds twice a day for 30 days, then back down to one dose a day after that. That means a cat or a 12-pound Shih-Tzu would get an eighth of a teaspoon of neem bark powder, a 40-pound Shar-Pei would get a half-teaspoon and a 120-pound Rottie would get 1.5 teaspoons. Neem bark is perfectly safe for cats, both internally and externally.
Mix the neem bark powder with something your pet likes – peanut butter (without xylitol), canned salmon, Velveeta or their favorite canned food to cover the taste. Most pets quickly learn to ignore the bitter neem flavor, but neem supplements can be used if they refuse to eat after a couple of days.
Neem bark powder also can be mixed with peanut butter to make a very effective toothpaste – and since most dogs love the taste of peanut butter they won’t mind your fingers or a brush in their mouths.
Like most people who love their furbabies, we wouldn’t eat or use anything ourselves that we wouldn’t use on our pets. Most of these products are also included in the “people” section, except for the pet shampoo. Dogs have a different pH than humans so we formulate shampoo especially for them.
Please feel free to call or write us with questions or comments on using neem for pet care – it’s a subject near and dear to our hearts! We also support animal rescue groups. If you’re part of a 501c3 organization, please give us a call to set up a wholesale account so you can purchase neem products at a significant discount.
Please do not use neem internally or externally on pets that are pregnant or that you expect to breed. There is no clinical research showing that using neem topically works as a contraceptive but we’ve heard from a reputable breeder that neem oil should not be used on pregnant females. We’ve also heard from another owner that neem leaf taken internally prevented his male dog from successfully breeding. Several feral cat keepers report significant drops in litters when they started feeding their colonies with neem bark.
Neem leaf does not seem to have the same effect in ruminants and chickens however. Our partner farm in Mexico feeds cows, goats, chickens and lambs neem leaf because they are available in large quantities during winter dry season when other food sources are severely limited.