What Herbs and Spices Can Dogs Have? (A Complete Guide)

What Herbs and Spices Can Dogs Have? (A Complete Guide)

Posted by Volhard Dog Nutrition on Jul 26th 2023

Who said that dogs can't enjoy a little gastronomic adventure? From rosemary's fragrant needles to turmeric's golden dust, we'll explore the herbs and spices that can add some flair to your dog's food bowl.

While our human tongues might relish the burst of flavor from herbs and spices, our dogs experience tastes differently, thanks to fewer taste buds. Yet, this doesn't mean we can't add a dash of magic to their meals while keeping tabs on their health!

However, let's be clear — not all herbs and spices are dog-friendly. Therefore, we've put together the most comprehensive list of herbs and spices for dogs, including both "A-Okay" and "Avoid Eating" varieties.

Do Herbs and Spices Provide Health Benefits for Dogs?

A resounding yes! A variety of both common and exotic herbs and spices, from anise seeds and sweet basil to thyme and turmeric, are already popular for their beneficial properties. You've noticed how we didn't mention "taste"? That's because a dog's reduced number of taste buds doesn't allow them to enjoy it to the fullest. So, we'll have to settle for health benefits.

The study of the relationship between herbs, spices, and dogs is still in its infancy. We don't yet know how all herbs and spices behave in a dog's body, which is why we recommend that dog parents do their homework and consult a canine nutritionist beforehand.

Can I Give My Dog Dietary Supplements With Herbs and Spices?

The same goes for dog supplements. The supplement industry does not follow the rigorous standards demanded from pharmaceuticals, so they might contain hidden ingredients your dog will not appreciate.

Always look for third-party testing when feeding herbs and spices as supplements. It's considerably safer to know that a company other than the manufacturer has evaluated that supplement for quality assurance and checked the ingredients for contaminants.

Shall I Consult My Vet Regarding Supplements?

Considering the notorious levels of oversight enjoyed by the supplement industry, we strongly recommend consulting with an expert in this field.

Likewise, follow all the precautions and directions provided by your veterinarian, especially when you're using herb and spice supplements. They will detect any secret ingredients found in supplements or contraindications with any medicine your dog may be on.

Avoid Giving These 11 Herbs and Spices to Your Dog!

Avoid feeding these 11 herbs and spices to your dog

We'll begin our list with the herbs and spices your canine companion must avoid, especially since many pet parents already have them stashed in their cabinets or spice racks.

Allspice (Jamaica Pepper)

Most often used in: Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cuisines.

Dangerous ingredient: eugenol.

Just 1.25 grams of allspice per 10 pounds of body weight are enough to cause symptoms of toxicity in dogs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. The more your dog is exposed to this spice, the higher their chances of liver toxicity and acute kidney trauma. Most cases of allspice poisoning are resolved quickly, although not without veterinary help.

Bay Leaf

Most often used in: Mediterranean cooking.

Dangerous ingredientessential oils.

Bay leaves contain essential oils that make them toxic to dogs. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal obstructions.

Black Pepper

Most often used in: almost every food of every nation in the world.

When ingested in larger quantities, black pepper causes an upset stomach, diarrhea, and skin irritations.

Cayenne Pepper

Most often used in: Mexican, Asian, Indian, and Southern cooking.

Although not toxic per se, cayenne pepper will irritate your dog's nose, eyes, and throat. When swallowed, it can cause burning, irritation, gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Cocoa Powder

Most often used in: baked goods.

Dangerous ingredients: theobromine and caffeine.

The harmful chemicals found in cocoa powder will affect your dog's nervous system, leading to kidney and heart problems.


Most often used in: adding bitterness to various recipes. Also used as a bittering, flavoring, and stability agent in beer.

Dangerous parts: flowers and dried hop plugs.

Ingesting hops can cause life-threatening body temperature increases (malignant hypothermia). Other symptoms include panting, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and organ damage.


Most often used in: Mediterranean cuisine.

Dangerous ingredients: unidentified.

Ingestion of marjoram causes gastric upset in dogs and may even slow the body's blood-clotting mechanisms.


Most often used in: Indonesian and Black diaspora cooking.

Dangerous ingredients: myristicin and the oils found inside the nutmeg seed.

As little as 1 teaspoon of nutmeg will lead to toxicity symptoms, such as stomach upset, overexcitement followed by lethargy, disorientation, high blood pressure, and seizures.

Onion Powder

Most often used in: soups and stews.

Dangerous ingredients: sulfoxides and disulfides. The entire onion is toxic to dogs.

Onion ingestion will lead to gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea and vomiting. The sulfoxides and disulfides found in onions can damage your dog's red blood cells.


Most often used in: Hungarian and Spanish cuisines.

Dangerous ingredient: capsaicin.

Although not toxic, paprika will upset your dog's stomach, causing an upset stomach. It will also irritate your dog's eyes, skin, and nose.


Most often used in: almost every food of every nation in the world.

Dangerous ingredientsodium chloride.

Too much salt causes dehydration in dogs, as well as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

What Herbs and Spices are Perfectly Safe for Dogs?

Herbs and spices that are perfectly safe for dogs

Aside from listing and describing each healthy herb and spice for dogs, we'll provide you with guidelines on how to incorporate them in your dog's diet.

Anise Seeds

How to feed: 1/16 teaspoon of powder — sprinkled over your dog's food — will help relieve nausea, gas, and other issues linked to the digestive system.

Sweet Basil

This "royal" (hence its name) herb packs quite a few anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It will help alleviate your dog's symptoms of arthritis, stress, and anxiety.

How to feed: Sprinkle ⅛ to 1 teaspoon of basil over your dog's food. You can either serve it finely chopped or simply pluck a leaf or two from your basil plant.


How to feed: Prepare a chamomile infusion using 4 tea bags to 1 cup boiling water. Let it cool, then feed ¼ to 1 tablespoon every 2 to 3 hours to help soothe your dog's anxiety symptoms. Apply directly to the skin to address minor irritations.


The various healthy nutrients found in cilantro include vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, potassium, and zinc, offering antibacterial properties. Cilantro also helps dogs with fleas, ticks, and worms and alleviates symptoms of nausea and stomach upset. It is recommended that you avoid feeding cilantro to a pregnant dog since it can stimulate contractions.

How to feed: Sprinkle ¼ of a teaspoon of cilantro on your dog's meal.


Cinnamon provides three major health benefits to dogs:

  1. It has anti-inflammatory properties
  2. It has antibacterial properties
  3. Helps with regulating blood sugar

How to feed: Sprinkle ⅛ to ½ teaspoon on your dog's food.


Adding dill to your dog's diet will help calm their gastrointestinal tract with its antispasmodic properties, as well as gas flatulence, constipation, and bad breath. It also boasts antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Dill supplementation will help protect cells from oxygen-based damage and free radicals.

How to feed: Do not feed the essential oil version to dogs; it's toxic. Sprinkle ¼ to 1 teaspoon of fresh dill on the food or mix 1 teaspoon of dill seeds with 8 ounces of warm water. Allow the dill tea to cool, then serve.


Fennel will boost your dog's bones, vision, and immune system while freshening their breath. This herb is also known to relieve indigestion in canines.

How to feed: You can make fennel tea by mixing 1 teaspoon of seeds with 8 ounces of warm water. Strain the infusion, then mix 2 to 4 teaspoons with the food. Don't add to the water bowl, as the change in taste might deter your dog from drinking water in the future. Avoid feeding more than 4 teaspoons, as it may cause diarrhea.


Ginger is brimming with a litany of healthy nutrients, such as:

  • Vitamins A and C
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Niacin
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc

Ginger helps with nausea and vomiting, motion sickness, and cancer or chemotherapy side effects. It is also a circulatory stimulant, and shows benefits for cognitive function.

How to feed: You can mix fresh ginger in the food or bake it into treats. Dogs can eat raw ginger, although never more than ¼ to 1 teaspoon, based on the dog's size. Do not feed more than 10 to 25 milligrams per pound of body weight when mixed in food or baked into treats.


The oregano leaves have anti-inflammatory properties and help with respiratory and gastrointestinal issues. The nutritional benefits of this herb are based on its high concentration of:

How to feed: Sprinkle ⅛ to ½ teaspoon of oregano on the food. Use only the leaves of the plant. Avoid oregano oil.


Rosemary's antibacterial properties, as well as antioxidants, iron, calcium, and vitamin B6, promote health benefits in the heart and the immune system. Ensure that adding rosemary to your dog's diet won't cause any drug-related side effects. Do not feed rosemary to a dog that's prone to seizures.

How to feed: ⅛ to ½ teaspoon of rosemary per meal.


This key ingredient found in the Volhard foundation mix acts as a great breath freshener. Plus, it's rich in antioxidants, finer, minerals, and vitamins, all of which improve organ function and help the body release toxins. The high concentration of chlorophyll aids your dog's red blood cells by increasing their count.

How to feed: Sprinkle ½ teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight on the food. Avoid any seeds, as they may cause toxicity. Likewise, parsley can induce labor, so keep it away from pregnant dogs.


Fresh peppermint leaves help with gastrointestinal issues, nausea, gas, motion sickness, and stinky breath. Avoid English pennyroyal, as it causes toxicity in dogs.

How to feed: Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of fresh peppermint with dog food or brew up peppermint tea, particularly if your dog is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea.


Sage is a fantastic source of vitamins A, E, and K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.

How to feed: Mix ⅛ to 1 teaspoon of crushed, dry, or chopped fresh sage with the food. Avoid feeding sage in excess, as it may cause indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Thyme will benefit your dog's health through its vast array of nutrients, including:

  • Vitamins A, C, and K
  • Antioxidants
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Manganese

How to feed: Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of thyme with dog food every a couple of times per week.


Turmeric is, without a doubt, one of the trendiest spices in the world of canine nutrition. This member of the ginger family is an antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory spice that increases bile flow and protects the stomach and liver. Furthermore, it boosts the metabolism, assists weight loss efforts, and improves brain function.

We do not recommend feeding turmeric to dogs prone to kidney stones since it increases urine oxalate levels; also, be sure not to overdose your dog on turmeric, as it will cause symptoms such as bruising, blood clotting issues, an upset stomach, and gallbladder problems.

How to feed: Sprinkle ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of turmeric per 10 pounds of body weight on dog food.

Check Out These 3 Dog Treat Recipes With Herbs and Spices!

Unsure how to spice up your pet's diet? Check out these tried-and-tested treat recipes that will leave your furry friend always asking for more!

Healthy Herbal Dog Treats


  • 1 cup of organic coconut flakes
  • ½ cup of organic hemp seeds
  • ½ cup of organic teff, almond, or brown rice flour
  • ½ cup of organic peanut butter or nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of organic sunflower oil
  • 1 organic banana, mashed
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of organic chamomile flower powder
  • 1 tablespoon of organic oat straw powder
  • 1 tablespoon of organic valerian root powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together until well blended.
  3. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and flatten slightly.
  4. Bake on a lined baking sheet for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let the treats cool on the baking sheet.
  6. Store the treats in a glass pantry jar.

Homemade Pumpkin Dog Treats With Rosemary and Cheese


  • egg
  • ½ cup of dog-safe pumpkin baby food
  • 2 tablespoons of trim milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax or LSA
  • Approximately 1 + ¼ to 1 + ½ cups of brown rice flour for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder for color (optional)
  • ¼ cup of finely grated cheese (optional)

How to prepare:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix the egg, pumpkin baby food, milk powder, flax, and optional seasonings in a bowl.
  3. Add the flour, and mix into a cohesive dough.
  4. Add the cheese (optional) and then lightly knead the dough before rolling.
  5. Roll the dough, cut it into desired shapes, and place it on a prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Allow the treats to cool before serving and storage.

Easy Homemade Applesauce Dog Treats With (Optional) Cinnamon


  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup of room-temperature, low-sodium stock or other dog-friendly liquid
  • 1 + ¼ to 1 + ½ cups of brown rice flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 sprinkle of Ceylon cinnamon (optional)

How to prepare:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix the egg, applesauce, liquid and optional ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add the flour, and mix into a cohesive dough.
  4. Roll the dough, cut it into desired shapes, and place it on a prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Allow the treats to cool before serving and storage.

This is a picture of a dog sniffing a bowl of microgreens

The Right Herbs and Spices Will Boost Your Dog's Immune System!

A stronger immune system, disease prevention, and boosted brain function — these are but a few of the several health benefits of adding herbs and spices to your dog's diet!

Your herb and spice options are almost limitless, so let your imagination fly and experiment with all kinds of yummy recipes! That is, as long as you keep the toxic ones away from your dog's food bowl.

We at Volhard Dog Nutrition are committed to updating our content, as more and more information on this topic comes to light. If you're interested in feeding herbs and spices outside of our lists, have a chat with our canine nutritionists first!

For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!

Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!

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