Top 10 Spices And Herbs That Are Safe For Dogs

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington

Your doggo’s diet doesn’t have to be bland. Add a little spice to your dog’s life with our list of spices and herbs that are good for your pup.

There is a popular misconception that all spices and herbs are harmful for dogs. While some spices are definitely not good for doggos, there are those that can be perfectly fine, especially in their food. And they can also have beneficial effects on their health! If you like to keep healthy, you’re probably already familiar with some of the ways in which herbs and spices can be used to treat common maladies. What you may not know, however, is that many of these same herbs and spices can be beneficial for your dog as well. While it’s easy to merely buy your doggo mass produced pet food and never think about what you feed the pup again, that’s a mistake. Dogs deserve a thoughtfully composed diet too. Sure, your dog will never become a foodie with refined tastes, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t deserve to benefit from some seasoning that will improve his health. A dog’s food needs to be diverse, healthy, balanced, and tasty. Just because it is healthy, it doesn’t have to mean that it should be tasteless! 

To make determining your doggo’s diet a little easier, we’ve put together a list of top 10 spices and herbs that we give to our dogs, along with a list of benefits that come along with them. After this article, your pup is going to eat so well that they’ll never want to go back to regular pet food again! It is time for some exquisite doggo cuisine! (Photo credit: Lilun/Bigstock)

Before You Give Your Dog Any Spices or Herbs, Talk to Your Vet

Some safety precautions and reservations are always sensible whenever you’re introducing a novel ingredient into your pet’s diet. Although this list is meant to guide you in the direction of herbs and spices that are generally considered safe for dogs, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian before you add anything to your dog’s diet, whether it’s a supplement, herb, or spice. Not all dogs are the same and some of the herbs and spices that could help one pup’s health could seriously upset the tummy of another. The best way to confirm which of these suggestions will best help your dog is to consult your vet. That way, you can be sure that it will be safe and appropriate for your furry friend. Your vet can also advise you on proper dosing, as well as provide advice on where you need to use caution when adding spices and herbs to your pet’s food. There’s a reason you have a vet after all, never be afraid to use them. Also, some diets are simply the way they are – bland and pretty ordinary. But their blandness does not take away from their healthy ingredients and the benefits for your doggo. If your vet says it should be that way, then bland it is! 

1. Basil

We all love a bit of basil in our food, the herb that gives any dish a flavourful and enticing aroma. And perhaps you didn’t know that basil isn’t just an excellent and traditional pizza topping. It is also an aromatic herb that is also known for its antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. This herb has been known to help alleviate the effects of arthritis in dogs due to its high concentration of beta-carophyllene. This same compound makes basil useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease.  Healthy and tasty – a terrific combo! Other benefits of basil for dogs include lifting the mood, decreasing stress, and reducing anxiety. Not bad for an assuming leafy green! So, if your vet approves, don’t hesitate to add a bit of basil in your doggo’s next dish. We are not certain whether they would be approving of the change in aromas, but it is well worth a try!

(Photo credit: zoyachubby/Flickr)

Try this: Farmer’s Market Recipe of Beef, Pasta and Basil Wet Dog Food. There’s no preservatives or unnatural ingredients and it’s full of vitamins and folic acid for extra health boost. An easy way to give your pup a special dinner full of delicious health. Doggo dining – in style!

2. Garlic

Who doesn’t love garlic? Some say it is pungent, but we say it is the best condiment out there! While other members of the onion family can be dangerous for dogs, garlic can provide a number of health benefits. For example, garlic is a natural antibiotic that can help boost the immune system without damaging natural gut flora. Garlic also provides antifungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitic benefits. As an added bonus, it may help make your dog less appealing to fleas and ticks! Don’t overdo garlic – it’s all about moderation. Too much garlic can upset your dog’s stomach and reek havoc on your breath. So be careful. Small doses are the best way, and can quickly strengthen your dog’s immune system. In fact, some vets will advise it as an addition to their diet. But keep in mind not to smooch your doggo afterwards! Photo credit: grafvision/Bigstock)

Try this: Only Natural Garlic and Brewer’s Yeast Chewables. These delicious chewables were formulated by a veterinarian to help keep your pet’s immune system roaring while holistically repelling fleas and ticks. Pests won’t want to be around your dog or cat, but other dogs and cats (and humans) will happily be able to snuggle pest-free.

3. Cinnamon

While there is some controversy regarding the safety of cinnamon for dogs, the ASPCA has ruled it non-toxic. This spice not only smells heavenly, but it provides a number of health benefits as well. Cinnamon has been shown to boost energy and vitality while also improving brain function. Additionally, cinnamon has natural antifungal properties which help to protect against the type of fungus which causes yeast infections (these are particularly common in dogs with allergies). When adding cinnamon to your dog’s diet, experts recommend sticking with Ceylon cinnamon, rather than using the Cassia variety that is more common. That’s because Ceylon cinnamon contains much less coumarin, which is a compound that is associated with blood thinning. So be very careful about which type of cinnamon that you feed your pup. They may look similar going in, but these two types of cinnamon will have a very different effect on your on what happens within your dog’s body. Of course, you can carefully discuss this option with your vet, who can guide you towards the correct dosage and the best type of cinnamon. (Photo credit: Yastremska/Bigstock)

Try this: Blue Pumpkin and Cinnamon Health Bars. These delicious treats will give your dog a boost for brain function and some extra delicious energy too. They’re hard biscuits to help with dental hygiene and superfood rich to keep your dog’s nutrition at its best.

4. Ginger

The spice known as ginger is derived from the root of the ginger plant. Not only is this herb aromatic and delicious, but ginger provides a number of health benefits as well. Ginger can help to soothe an upset stomach in your dog as well as providing anticancer benefits. On top of that, when you give some ginger to a senior dog, it might even help improve his cognitive function, which is so important in their elder years. And it doesn’t stop there when it comes to the benefits that ginger can provide to senior dogs either. Thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory benefits, your vet might recommend ginger for your senior pooch if he’s dealing with joint pain that is related to his age. Ginger can be a bit of a miracle spice to any doggo in their autumn years. So if your dog is starting to show his age, try mixing a little ginger into his diet. You might be shocked by what a difference it can make. (Photo credit: Stefan Lins/Flickr)

Try this: Dynamo Dog Pumpkin and Ginger Functional Treats. Ginger is a perfect way to help settle your dog’s restless tummy, but the ginger and pumpkin combo in these delectable treats also help your dog’s brain be his best and keep his joints from being achy and breaky.

5. Parsley

While you may think of parsley as merely something that you sprinkle on pasta, it is actually a very powerful herb that can provide vital nutrients for your dog. Parsley is a leafy herb that contains various flavonoids, antioxidants, and vitamins including lycopene and carotenes. In addition to acting as a breath freshener, parsley can also help soothe stomach upset. Be careful, however, because Spring Parsley (a member of the carrot family) looks almost identical to the herb but is toxic for dogs and cats. It is also important to note that you should not be giving any parsley to a dog that is prone to developing calcium oxalate stones. That’s because parsley contains high amounts of oxalates. Again, it is always best to consult with your vet before you give your pet a new herb or spice, as there are certain compounds in plants that can do more harm than good in dogs with certain conditions. Parsley is an herb that you need to be especially careful about feeding to your animal given the risks. The benefits are undeniable, so just be careful. (Photo credit: Alice Henneman/Flickr)

Try this: Authority Dental and Multivitamin Bites. These dental bites are actually treat bites, and your dog will think you’re rewarding or treating him for being a good boy. He’ll never know you’re giving them to him for fresher breath and soother stomachs all around.

6. Rosemary

There’s no mistaking rosemary! Its unique aroma and scent are unmistakable. Rosemary is high in vitamin B6 and it is also a good source of both iron and calcium. This fragrant herb has also been shown to act as an antioxidant and its essential oil has been used as a natural preservative in natural dog foods. Rosemary is also regarded as a natural stimulant which helps to increase blood flow to the brain while also reducing oxidative damage to the nervous system. This a wonderful addition to any pup’s diet, just make sure to confirm that Rosemary isn’t already in your dog’s food before adding it. That would be pointless. (Photo credit: Andrew Fogg/Flickr)

Try this: Farmer’s Market Lamb and Rosemary Jerky Treats. These jerky treats with Lamb and Rosemary will have your dog racing to you like it’s Easter dinner every time he hears the bag open. They’ll keep the blood flowing and give your dog an energy boost while making him feel loved by his hooman with each bite.

7. Turmeric (Curcumin)

Turmeric, a spice commonly used in Eastern cuisines, is also used in traditional Eastern medicine. This spice has the ability to detoxify the body, purify the blood, disinfect wounds, relieve diarrhea, and treat stomach ailments. Turmeric also acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory that can be used to treat arthritis. Talk to your veterinarian about dosing, but you can expect that, generally, just ¼ teaspoon will be safe for small pooches, ½ teaspoon will be okay for medium-sized dogs, and a teaspoon will be fine for large dogs. Add this amount of turmeric to your pet’s food just once per day, making sure to mix it into the food well. Remember, more doesn’t always mean better! Talk to your vet to be absolutely sure you’re dosing it right. And it is wise to use a bit of caution when you are thinking about adding turmeric to your dog’s food. Because this spice can act as a blood thinner and as a result, it might end up boosting your dog’s risk of bleeding. Particularly if he is taking other supplements or medications, it is best to talk to your vet before you proceed with Turmeric. It’s too easy for this spice to go wrong, despite the many wonderful benefits. (Photo credit: Steven Jackson/Flickr)

Try this: Zesty Paws Turmeric Curcumin Bites. These everyday supplement bites from Zesty Paws are filled with anti-inflammatories and antioxidants to help keep your to keep your pup’s arthritis at bay. If your dog has hip or joint issues, these are a must.

8. Cilantro (Coriander)

Cilantro is a leafy green herb known for its fresh flavor and multitude of health benefits. This herb contains a number of active compounds which provide antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and anti-cancer benefits. Cilantro can also help control blood sugar and improve calcium absorption. Fortunately, this isn’t an herb that could be dangerous for your pup. So feel free to add it into his diet without fear. The potential problem is that your doggo might not like how it tastes. We have no advice there. That’s between you and your pup. (Photo credit: Q Family/Flickr)

Try this: Clearly Good Salmon and Cilantro Wet Dog Food. This wet dog food will help keep your dog’s blood sugar and calcium levels where they should be while protecting him with antioxidants and antifungals at the same time. He’ll just think you’re filling his love bucket with deliciousness.

9. Echinacea

This name might be a real mouthful, but the benefits are still there! IN humans, Echinacea is a popular herbal remedy for the common cold, flu, and upper respiratory tract infections. In dogs, it can provide similar benefits. It is also possible that this herb can help to improve immune health, to reduce inflammation, and to reduce itching. So, Echinacea may be a good herb to keep handy as a home remedy for when your pup is under the weather, rather than something to mix into their regular diet. Try to inquire with your vet and find out more about dosage and preparation of Echinacea. It might prove to be a real handy herb to have in your pantry. (Photo credit: Maria Grazia Montagnari/Flickr)

Try this: NaturVet Cranberry Relief Echinacea soft chews. These soft chews are great for when your dog’s under the weather, itchy or even has a urinary tract infection. They’re easy to take, easy to digest and a great supplement for battling upper respiratory tract infections as well.

10. Mint

Mint is not only good for freshening up your breath – it has tons of other benefits as well. There are several different varieties of mint but all of them are known for their strong aroma and medicinal qualities. Peppermint, for example, can help to soothe digestive upset, to reduce gas, and to relieve nausea. It has also been shown to have radio-protective effects, making it useful in reducing radiation-induced sickness as well as mortality in dogs subjected to chemotherapy. If your pooch has gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, however, you should avoid giving him any peppermint. Beyond that, peppermint might also result in hypoglycemia in dogs that have been diagnosed with diabetes. So, once again, use caution and talk to your vet for personalized advice. Mint is definitely something to feed to your pooch with caution. While it can certainly offer many benefits, it is exclusively for doggos who have been pre-approved by their vet. It’s just not worth the risk otherwise. (Photo credit: Edsel Little/Flickr)

Try this: Pedigree Mint-flavored Dental Sticks. These sticks help keep your doggo’s breath fresh with the mint, while also helping keep their teeth clean as the stix take tartar and plaque away. They also help keep reflux down the tubes where it belongs.

Those were just some of the herbs and spices that dogs can benefit from in the long run. If your vet gives the needed approval, you can see for yourself the changes that many of these spices can provide. From a better immune system, to a higher quality coat, to better digestion – the benefits are endless. And you can also take it as a small “heads up” for yourself, too. When preparing your own next dish, try adding some of these healthy additions to your meal. Not only will your lunch taste superb, but you will also benefit from added vitamins and other goodies. What a change simple herbs can make!

Do you have any herbs and spices that you like to feed to your pup? Anything that we might have missed? If so, please let us know in the comments below. Don’t keep those secrets to yourself!

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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