Herbs for Dogs | Good & Bad Herbs for your Furry Friend

We love our pets and we love our gardens. It’s a simple truth. Guess who else loves your garden? Your sweet K9 companion!

This week we are bringing you the details on what herbs and spices are healthy for your pup, and which ones you should avoid letting your dog consume. After all, dogs deserve a refined palette, too.

Can Dogs Eat Herbs and Spices?

Herbs for Dogs

YES. We are happy to inform you that dogs can indeed consume herbs and spices. Always pay close attention to what you’re feeding your fido; while many herbs and spices are great for your dog’s health, some can be poisonous if consumed by your pup. That being said, there are many herbs that are extremely beneficial for your dog’s health and wellbeing.

Dogs require vitamins as a regular part of their diet just like we do. Luckily, a great source of vitamins and antioxidants that boost your dog’s immune system and digestive system can all be found in herbs and spices. 

In addition to their wonderful supplementary properties, herbs and spices can also be used as medicinal treatment for your pup when they are not feeling well. 

What is the Difference Between an Herb and a Spice?

Herbs and spices are often confused. This makes perfect sense because some plants can be used as herbs and spices. This distinction is made by the way in which the plant is consumed; herbs are consumed as fresh plants, while spices are consumed as dried plants. For example, basil can be sold as a fresh herb, or it can be dried and sold as a spice. 

Dogs and Herbs Call Out

Healthy Herbs and Spices for Dogs

Here is a list of five herbs and spices that are fantastic additions to your dog’s healthy diet.

  1. Coriander
    • Anti-parasitic
    • Anti-diarrhea
    • Eases nausea
    • Alleviates intestinal gas
  2. Oregano
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Antibacterial
    • Antifungal
    • Alleviates indigestion and diarrhea
    • Antioxidant boosts immune system
  3. Mint
    • Most household mint plants are safe for dogs to eat as long as you follow a few safety guidelines. The most common types of mint plants like peppermint and spearmint are not considered toxic to dogs in small amounts.
    • Dogs can typically eat one to two mint leaves without any harm, as long as it is just offered as a special treat. Mint leaves should never become a staple in your dog’s diet, but rather something that’s offered once or twice a week tops. Offering a larger or more frequent serving could lead to diarrhea and vomiting in some canine friends.
    • There is one species of mint that should always be kept away from your pup – pennyroyal. Both Pennyroyal mint leaves and Pennyroyal oil are highly toxic to dogs if they are consumed, and can even lead to liver failure if they eat a large amount. Even with ingesting a few small bites, these dogs can suffer from severe vomiting and diarrhea.
  4. Turmeric
    • Relieves arthritis
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Improves gut health
    • Boosts brain function
  5. Cinnamon
    • Fights against heart disease
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Regulates blood sugar
    • Anti-cancer properties

Herbs and Spices that Are Bad for Dogs

Here is a list of 5 herbs and spices that you should avoid feeding to your dog.

  1. Nutmeg
    • Nutmeg can cause a severe upset stomach for dogs, as well as extensive damage to your dog’s nervous system. 
  2. Onion
    • Consuming onions can cause diarrhea, vomiting and an upset stomach, as well as intense damage to red blood cells for dogs. This applies to onion powder, too.
  3.  Cocoa Powder
    • Cocoa powder is extremely harmful to your dog’s nervous system. Although cocoa powder is not a spice by definition, it is often used in cooking and should be kept out of reach from your pup. Cocoa powder can also cause kidney and heart problems in your dog.
  4. Garlic
    • Garlic can be toxic to your pup if administered in large amounts. You should avoid giving your dog garlic at all. If they do consume a small amount of garlic in the powdered form, they will be okay.
  5. Black Pepper
    • Black pepper itself is not poisonous for dogs, however it does contain piperine, which increases the absorption of prescription medicines. This causes a great risk of overdose for your pet, so it is best to avoid black pepper if possible. 
  6. Pennyroyal
    • Pennyroyal is highly toxic to dogs. It can even lead to liver failure if they eat a large amount. When ingesting a small amount, dogs can suffer from severe vomiting and diarrhea.
  7. Chives
    • Chives are toxic to dogs due to the presence of compounds called thiosulfates, which can lead to oxidative damage to red blood cells and other health issues. 
    • Ingestion of chives can result in symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, weakness, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate in dogs.
  8. Lavender 
    • Lavender contains compounds such as linalool and linalyl acetate, which can be toxic to dogs if ingested sufficiently. These compounds are found in the essential oils of lavender.
    •  Ingestion of lavender can lead to gastrointestinal upset in dogs, resulting in symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.
    • Lavender’s essential oils can potentially affect a dog’s central nervous system, causing symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, and even difficulty breathing.

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Dogs

Herbs for Dogs

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a practice that uses the healing power of herbs and spices in order to heal an array of health conditions. Traditional Chinese Medicine, often referred to as TCM, is a safe way to treat your pup as long as you are careful about what herbs and spices you feed them. 

Herbs for Dogs FAQs

Can dogs eat herbs and spices?

Yes, herbs and spices are good for dogs. In fact, feeding your dog the right herbs and spices can be a great, vitamin-rich addition to their normal doggy diet.

Can dogs eat thyme?

Yes, thyme is good for dogs. Thyme has major health benefits for your dog’s diet. Thyme creates a more healthy digestive tract, and can also help with irritable bowels. In addition, thyme also aids in ousting parasites such as hookworm. Mix in one teaspoon of fresh or dried thyme per pound of food for your large dog’s dinner.

Can dogs eat basil?

Yes, basil is great for your dog’s health. Basil contains antioxidants, and also has anti-inflammatory properties which help to repel a variety of illnesses. Basil can also help alleviate anxiety and arthritis. Be sure to closely watch the amount of basil you feed your dog, especially for small dogs; a safe amount is about 2-3 leaves depending on your dog’s size. 

Can dogs eat rosemary?

Yes, rosemary is safe for your pup. Rosemary is okay to add into your dog’s diet, in fact, it’s great for your dog’s health. Rosemary is high in iron and calcium, and also has great antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Be warned that if consumed in large quantities, rosemary can cause an upset stomach and itchy skin; do not allow your dog to consume more than 5 grams of rosemary.

Can dogs eat parsley?

Yes, parsley is a healthy addition to your dog’s dinner. Parsley is high in fiber, and is great for your dog’s digestive health. Parsley is also a great breath freshener for your pup! For small dogs, add one teaspoon to their food and for large dogs, add one tablespoon to their food. 

Is Ashwagandha safe for dogs to eat?

Yes, Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng) is safe for your dog’s diet. This herb is known for relieving stress, boosting the immune system, and its anti-inflammatory properties. You can give your pet 250mg of this herb per every fifteen pounds of body weight. 

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