Herbs and Spices for Dogs – The Good and The Bad

Herbs and Spices for Dogs

Did you know that there are some spices and herbs for dogs that are actually good for them? The problem is that there are also spices and herbs that can be bad for your dog. You have to be able to distinguish between what is safe and what is not. Many of the herbs and spices that are used in commercial pet foods are actually beneficial to your dog’s health. Typically, these companies that manufacture commercial dog food won’t include ingredients that aren’t safe, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good to know what to avoid. After all, some people like to make their own dog food, and this is when it can get tricky.

Why Use Herbs and Spices for Dogs?


One of the biggest reasons that pet owners want to include beneficial herbs and spices in their dog’s diet is because of the holistic benefits they have to offer. Holistic medicine has been around for years, and it focuses on using herbs and spices to treat ailments and issues in both people and animals. Many pet owners have found that by including certain herbs and spices in their dog’s diet, they are actually able to promote better health and wellness.

When used properly, certain spices and herbs may provide the following benefits:

  • brain health
  • bone health
  • muscle health
  • cardiovascular health
  • dental health
  • detoxification
  • endocrine health
  • digestive health
  • improved immunity
  • skin and coat health
  • urinary tract health

They can also help to treat temporary conditions, such as anxiety, stress, yeast, ear infections, depression, UTI (Urinary tract infection), wounds, and viruses, and many chronic conditions, such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, cancer, colitis, kidney disease, and others. It is easy to see that herbs can really benefit your dog.

Let’s first take a look at 10 of the best herbs and spices for your dog, and then we will follow it up with 10 herbs and spices that you should always avoid.

10 Good Herbs and Spices for Dogs

Aloe Vera#1 – Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is one of the best herbs for dogs. It contains amino acids, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and a plethora of vitamins. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-allergenic properties, and it is also an effective antioxidant. It can boost their immune system and help to heal wounds quickly as well.

Basil#2 – Basil

Basil is chock full of essential minerals and vitamins. It also has phytonutrients, electrolytes and essential oils that are needed for good health. It is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, and it is also an antioxidant. It is well known for preventing a variety of harmful diseases, and also promoting good health. It can be given fresh, or dry, and can be incorporated into your dog’s regular daily dietary intake.

Caraway Seeds#3 – Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds are rich in fiber, and they also have essential vitamins and minerals. Disease and cancer fighting antioxidants are also found in these seeds. Another perk of caraway seeds is that they help their body to stay warm. They help to promote good muscle health, and typically have a good taste that dogs are sure to love.

Cinnamon#4 – Cinnamon

Cinnamon actually has a lot of great properties that will benefit your dog. For example, it is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. It also helps to fight sepsis and diabetes in your dog. Cinnamon is one of the best sources for antioxidants, and it can help to remove the aflatoxins that are found in your dog’s food. It also fights halitosis, or bad breath in dogs. Ground cinnamon is easy to add into your pet’s food, and it won’t alter the taste too much either.

Flax Seeds#5 – Flax Seeds

Flax seeds contain high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids. They are also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They help to detox the body. It is important to use ground flax seeds rather than serving whole flax seeds. Typically, both brown and golden flax seeds will offer similar nutritional benefits. Just remember that a little bit goes a long way.

Ginger#6 – Ginger

Ginger root is actually an anti-inflammatory, and it also has antibacterial properties. It helps aid in absorption of food, and boosts the digestive system. It is also a great way to treat motion sickness, because it helps to sooth nausea. Some pet owners even give it to their pets to help boost circulation. It can either be served finely chopped, or dried and ground.

Green Tea#7 – Green Tea

Green tea is well known for being rich in antioxidants. It has also been known to be helpful when it comes to fighting and preventing certain types of cancer. It even has calming properties. The key is to buy decaf green tea, because the caffeine can actually cause adverse reactions in your dog.

Parsley#8 – Parsley

Parsley is another one of the great herbs for dogs, because it is high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It can help to fight against cancer and enhance the functionality of your pup’s organs. It can also help to fight against halitosis and flush toxins out of the body. It is always best to use fresh parsley, but you can use the dried form if it is all you have on hand.

Rosemary#9 – Rosemary

Rosemary is very high in fiber, and also includes essential vitamins that your pet needs. It has antifungal, antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. It also helps to promote good health and prevent certain diseases. This herb can be used in both its fresh and dry forms, without altering the benefits.

Turmeric#10 – Turmeric

Last, we have turmeric. This is one of the best spices for dogs, and is also known as curcumin. It boosts cardiovascular health and helps to treat memory disorders. It is also great for overweight dogs, because it boosts the metabolism and helps to speed up weight loss. It can also offer protection against certain ailments, including anemia, cancer, arthritis and stroke. Ground turmeric is easy to add into your pet’s daily diet.

10 Bad Herbs and Spices for Dogs

Now that you know the best herbs and spices for your dog, it is time to take a look at some of the less desirable herbs and spices. Some of these can even be downright dangerous for your dog. Make sure that you avoid these:

Cocoa#1 – Cocoa

Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but some just don’t know why. Cocoa can actually have those same negative effects, because cocoa and chocolate are so similar. It contains theobromine, which is closely related to caffeine. It can ultimately result in kidney problems, heart problems and other health problems.

Garlic#2 – Garlic

Some will say that garlic is really bad for your dog, and others may say that in small quantities it can be a good thing. We always recommend keeping garlic out of your dog’s diet. It can actually be pretty hazardous to their health, because it can be toxic to their bodies. If you do plan to use garlic in their diet to help with fleas or other problems, just make sure that you use it in extremely small quantities. You don’t want them to have complications due to it.

Paprika#3 – Paprika

Paprika is a seasoning that is often used to add flavor to foods, and while it can be flavorful, it can also be harmful. It has been known to cause skin and eye irritation in dogs, and it is best to just avoid it altogether. It can also cause gastrointestinal irritation, upset stomach and diarrhea.

Pepper#4 – Pepper

Much like paprika, pepper can also cause serious gastrointestinal irritation, as well as skin and eye irritation. Generally, pepper doesn’t really have any positive effects on your dog’s health, and it is typically only used to enhance flavor. Chances are your pup won’t mind eating their meals without pepper. In fact, they will thank you later for not adding it into their diet.

Pennyroyal#5 – Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is a minty oil that is found in certain types of products, even some that are designed for use on pets. It can actually be toxic to dogs if it is ingested, so it is really a good idea to keep this ingredient out of foods or products that your dog will be eating or using. It can lead to difficulty breathing, lethargy, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can also lead to death. Be careful with this one, and keep it away from your pet.

Salt#6 – Salt

Table salt may be tasty when we add it to our food, but just like we can have negative effects to salt, so can your pup. Salty snacks can lead to excessive thirst and frequent urination. It can also cause them to vomit or have diarrhea, and they may even be depressed, feverish, or have seizures if they ingest too much. Celtic salt is just about the only type of salt that is safe for your pup.

Tea Tree Oil#7 – Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil isn’t always bad for your dog, but it should never be ingested. It is only to be used diluted as a topical treatment. Many people find that it is hard to keep the dog from licking this oil, and they decide that it may be best to avoid it altogether. While it does have healing properties, it isn’t really a safe herbal remedy for dogs.

Nutmeg#8 – Nutmeg

Nutmeg can lead to serious abdominal pain in your pet, and it can also cause them to vomit or become overly excited. If their central nervous system gets overworked due to this spice, they will quickly become drowsy. It can even lead to death, so make sure that this one stays out of your dog’s diet completely.

Mace#9 – Mace

Mace is another herb that is on the ‘unsafe’ list for dogs. Mace is an herb that is found in many of the foods that humans eat, including hot dogs! This may be surprising to some people. It is, however, not safe for your pet. It has an effect similar to that of nutmeg, and should be avoided.

Wormwood#10 – Wormwood

Wormwood is a dewormer that is commonly used in dogs, but the problem is that it should only be used under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. It can actually have negative effects in high quantities, so it needs to be closely monitored. This is something that is commonly used in holistic veterinary medicine, so make sure that you discuss it with your vet before you give it a try. Don’t ever try to use it yourself! It can be a fatal mistake.

As you can see, there are many different herbs and spices for dogs that can really boost their health and wellness, but there are several that are not safe for them. Now that you know what to include in your dog’s diet, and what to leave out, you can start offering them the benefits of some of those great herbs and spicesץ When it comes down to it, you will probably find that your pet doesn’t really notice a change in their foods by simply adding in some of these natural herbs. You really have nothing to lose, so go ahead and supplement your pup’s diet with some of these amazing herbs and spices!

Just remember, keep a list of the herbs and spices that you need to avoid, because you don’t want to accidentally give your pet something that may be harmful to them. This is why we have put together this guide to help you. We want your pet to be as healthy and happy as possible!



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I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.

We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.

On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.

Latest posts by Shay Atik (see all)

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6 thoughts on “Herbs and Spices for Dogs – The Good and The Bad

  1. Cocoa or chocolate is the obvious one here, I think everyone knows about it, yet so many don’t. I’ve never tried feeding my dogs any of the good ones, but I suppose it’s worth getting them to try some of these. Anyways, I will gladly look into some of these healthy herbs for dogs, thanks!

  2. I would like to know if Cumin is good for dogs, I was skeptical when I was told it was, I know it’s good for humans

  3. No. “Celtic Salt” is not any safer for you pet than any other kind of salt. It’s sea salt and has the same amount of sodium as any other salt.

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