Are Spices Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Like people, dogs have five senses—sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. But compared to humans, the dogs’ senses of smell and hearing are much more developed. Although dogs can’t see as many colors, their eyes can see much better in the dark and follow fast-moving objects and movements.
Their sense of taste is the least developed sense. And this is also why dogs are not the best judges of what’s edible and what’s not, nor are they qualified to be gourmands. That’s why they need you to choose high-quality, safe, and nutritious food and treats for them.
Most dogs eat commercial dog food every day. Dog owners who are not aware of the fact that their pets don’t have such refined palates are concerned about their pooch getting bored of the same bland food every time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can spice things up!
Can Dogs Eat Spices?
The most important question: are spices safe for dogs?
The answer depends on the spice. Before getting into the details, you must first know what a spice is. Spices are taken from parts of the plant, such as the roots, flowers, stems, fruit, bark, or seeds, which are used to add flavor to food.
Herbs, which are made from the leaves, seeds, and flowers, can also be used as spices. The difference is that herbs are considered to have medicinal value on top of adding flavor to food.
That said, there are spices (and herbs) that are safe and dangerous for dogs to consume.
What Spices Are Safe and Dangerous for Dogs to Eat?
People love to put spices on their food to enhance the taste. It doesn’t matter as much since humans can eat a variety of spices, but it’s a different story for dogs. And sometimes, you can’t resist giving them some scraps from your plate when they show you those puppy-dog eyes. The best thing you can do is to know what is safe and dangerous for them to consume.
Safe and Nutritious Spices for Dogs
Basil is a popular spice used in a variety of food and beverages, pizza, salad, spaghetti, lemonade, and more. You’ll be happy to know that your buddy can also enjoy this delicious, aromatic herb-spice hybrid.
What’s more, basil can also have some health benefits for you and your pooch: antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Basil may also help protect the liver, reduce pain caused by arthritis, and boost Fido’s mood and yours.
Sprinkle some rosemary to add a minty, piney aroma to your pooch’s food. A little bit of rosemary can go a long way. This herb-spice has a distinctive taste that can overwhelm the flavor of other ingredients, so avoid using too much of it.
Aside from the delicious woody aftertaste, rosemary also adds fiber, vitamin B₆, calcium, and iron to your dog’s food. Plus, it’s known to have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antiallergic properties that can benefit your buddy’s health and fight off diseases.
Ginger adds a unique taste that no other spice can quite replicate. It’s hot, zesty, sweet, biting, and bitter all at the same time. This root spice is also known for improving digestion and boosting the body’s ability to absorb and process of vitamins and minerals from food. It also contains antibacterial properties to help fend off infections.
Possessing a rich flavor profile and a generous load of antioxidants, cinnamon is a popular spice for many kinds of dishes and drinks, from entrées and desserts to coffee and tea. This spice can help flush out toxins from your pooch’s body and help fight off certain illnesses, like sepsis, diabetes, and heart disease.
Flaxseed is used in many varieties of high-quality dog food because of the many essential nutrients it offers. It’s rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals. Flaxseed also helps get rid of toxins in the body. Just make sure to feed your dog ground flaxseed for better digestion.
Dangerous Spices for Dogs
Garlic, which is one of the most used spices in food, can be toxic to dogs. The bulbous spice can damage dogs’ red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. If your dog consumes the spice, watch for signs of garlic poisoning, like excessive drooling, nausea, oral irritation, lethargy, pale gums, increased heart rate and respiratory rate, weakness, and collapse. Take them to the vet immediately if you notice these signs.
Onions may have impressive benefits to people, but for dogs, onions are just as toxic as garlic. They have compounds called disulfides, which can damage dogs’ and cats’ red blood cells and cause them to develop hemolytic anemia. Keep your pets away from onions or any food with onions to avoid poisoning.
It shouldn’t be surprising that cocoa, which is the main ingredient used to make chocolates, is toxic to dogs, so much so that large enough amounts can kill them. Cocoa and chocolate contain theobromine. While humans can quickly metabolize this stuff, dogs can’t, and it can accumulate in their system until it reaches toxic levels and leads to their death.
The black pepper that adds a flavorsome spicy, aromatic twist to many dishes can put your dog’s health at risk. Large doses of black pepper can lead to hemorrhoids and respiratory problems in dogs. If your dog consumes too much of it, they may also feel a painful, burning sensation and irritation in their stomach.
Keep nutmeg far away from your dog’s mouth as it can cause severe abdominal pain when ingested. If your dog eats nutmeg, they may also throw up and become hyperactive. Large amounts of nutmeg can overwork a dog’s central nervous system, cause drowsiness, and lead to death.
The Bottom Line
Dogs are always using their nose to get a feel of things, but many times, they also use their mouths, which isn’t always a good thing when they’re eating or trying to eat something that they shouldn’t.
As their caretaker/guardian/parent, it falls on you to make sure that your pooch doesn’t get their snouts and mouths on something that will get them in trouble. Hence, you should know which food is safe and unsafe for your beloved pet to eat.