Can dogs eat spices? While it’s true that dogs don’t require five-star dining, many owners love to cater to their dogs’ unique tastes. And many have switched to making their own dog food to provide a better-sourced, healthier diet. So, why not add a little bit of flavour, right?
Dogs don’t need spices in order to stay healthy, and some spices are actually harmful to dogs. But certain spices do provide nutritional benefits for our pets, particularly pets with specific health conditions.
Here’s a list of spices that are safe and dangerous for your dog. Remember to always make gradual changes to your dog’s diet, and check with your vet before you experiment.
Basil is a fragrant herb that’s rich in antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. It can help diminish the painful effects of arthritis, elevate the mood, and provide a remedy for stress and anxiety. Add a couple of chopped basil leaves to your dog’s dinner or try a spritz of this calming spray containing vetiver and basil for an aromatherapy mood boost.
Cinnamon contains antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and can help to counteract the effects of diabetes. Cinnamon also helps to reduce the aflatoxins (fungi that grow on crops) found in shop-bought food. Cinnamon also helps improve bad breath. You might sprinkle a small amount (less than a teaspoon) of cinnamon on top of your dog’s food occasionally. Treat your dog to a natural cinnamon and apple dog biscuit.
Ginger root is another tasty spice that contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can provide a boost to the digestive system and soothe nausea, as well as improve circulation. Fresh ginger is quite strong, so you might use dried or ground ginger. Who doesn’t like the sound of a nice gingerbread biscuit recipe?
Parsley contains healthy antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It helps improve organ function, flush toxins from the body, and improve bad breath. These natural dog treats combine the power of parsley, mint and turkey into one super-treat that helps fight doggie breath.
Turmeric, which comes from a root (like ginger), provides a boost to the metabolism and helps accelerate weight loss. It provides benefits for cardiovascular, joint, and brain health. Turmeric can provide some relief from arthritis, and has been used to protect against cancer and anaemia. A turmeric supplement especially designed for dogs and cats is a great way to try these healing benefits.
Onion and onion powder can easily upset a dog’s stomach and cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Onion contains sulfoxides and disulphides, which can damage red blood cells. Over time, this can lead to anaemia.
There are differing opinions about garlic, and some owners use it to help ward off fleas on their dogs. But garlic can be toxic for some pets, so it’s better to avoid garlic altogether, or proceed with great caution and absolutely discuss this idea with your vet.
Although humans use salt in nearly everything we eat, this doesn’t translate well to our dogs’ diets. Salt will increase thirst and urination, which leads to dehydration. It can also cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea when ingested in larger quantities.
4. Cocoa Powder
Like chocolate, cocoa powder can cause serious problems for dogs. It contains a compound similar to caffeine, which is harmful to a dog’s nervous system. Cocoa powder can contribute to kidney trouble and heart problems, and should always be avoided.
Nutmeg can cause severe stomach upset, and agitate the nervous system. A dog may become overly excited after eating nutmeg, and then become exhausted and drained. In some cases, nutmeg has led to death, so it’s considered highly toxic to dogs.
Featured image: Christian Vieler