Whether you’re looking to make homemade food for your dog, wanting to help improve a specific medical condition, or just wanting to add some flavor to your dog’s dry food, seasonings can be a very useful tool!
Of course, this leads to the questions “what seasonings can dogs have.” So many things that are considered healthy for humans are poisonous to dogs. For example, grapes are full of vitamins and minerals, so they’re great for humans. But if a dog has too many grapes, it can cause severe kidney damage.
When it comes to seasonings, spices, and herbs, most of them are ok to feed your dog, but there are a few that you should stay away from.
This means the question shouldn’t be which ones CAN they have. The question should be which ones are GOOD for them. It’s not just about flavor, it’s about health.
Using Seasonings, Herbs, and Spices For Flavor
If you’re just looking to add flavor to your dogs life, then any of the seasonings listed below can be used. There are a total of 20 spices and herbs mentioned in this article, this means for flavor purposes, your dog should never get bored with their food if you rotate between seasonings every few days.
Using Seasonings and Spices to Solve Specific Issues
When adding flavor to your dog’s food, we recommend you get the best “bang for your buck.” This means choosing the seasonings that will best help specific issues your dog might be facing.
It’s no secret that herbs have been used for medicinal purposes as far back as we can date, and they’re still used to this day. We have split this article up into various sections, each addressing a specific issue.
If your dog suffers from pain and arthritis, just jump to that section and see which seasonings you can use. If they suffer from stress or anxiety, jump to that section to see which spices and herbs would be best.
By seasoning the dog food, not only are you adding to the flavor, but you’re also increasing their quality of life. No, these herbs are not as powerful as prescription medication, nor are they meant to replace any type of medication recommended by your vet. But they are a great supplement to add to your dog’s diet to improve their overall health.
Slowly Introduce The Seasoning
One quick note before we dive into detail on the seasonings, make sure you slowly introduce them to your dog. Don’t pour a bunch over their food if they’ve never had that specific herb or spice before.
You never know how your dog is going to react to it. You also don’t want to mess with the digestive system by making a massive change at once. Start slow. If it looks like they enjoyed the taste and didn’t have an adverse reaction, you can slowly increase the amount you give them.
Pain and Arthritis
Nobody likes to see their dog battling pain. Watching your dog struggling to stand up because they’re in pain is one of the most heartbreaking things to watch. You can use the following herbs and spices to help alleviate some of that pain. These won’t provide a miracle cure, but even helping your dog get some pain relief is better than nothing. Worst case, you’ve added flavor to their food, so you have nothing to lose.
This is probably the most recommended anti-inflammatory by natural vets. It’s recommended to sprinkle this herb over your dog’s food on a daily basis. There’s no need to add more than a pinch of alfalfa to your dog’s diet.
Other than pain relief, alfalfa is excellent for the kidneys because it balances out the urine, preventing the urine from becoming too acidic.
The most significant benefit of adding a tiny bit of cayenne pepper to your dog’s food is that it opens up the blood vessels, which helps circulate blood throughout the body. Blood carries vital nutrients to help with pain relief in muscles, tendons, and joints. It also contains capsaicin, which has been shown to relieve joint pain temporarily.
It’s best to use peppermint in the form of essential oil. Simply sprinkle 2-3 drops on your dog’s food (or in the water). Peppermint works as a pain reliever by causing the muscles to relax. Tense muscles usually lead to aches and pains, relaxed muscles typically lead to pain relief.
This is great for both you and your dog! So if you’re suffering from pain, you can use turmeric as well. The reason turmeric helps with pain relief is that it contains curcumin, a natural and potent anti-inflammatory.
With that said, keep in mind some dogs have a hard time digesting turmeric, so it’s imperative to start small and see how your dog digests it. If they’re having trouble with digestion, you can use turmeric along with one of the herbs in the following section about digestion.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to have digestive issues. In fact, just about every dog owner knows what it’s like to wake up and instantly realize that your dog “had an accident” inside the house. Whether your dog is suffering from diarrhea or constipation, the following seasonings can help.
One of the best ways to help dogs properly digest food is to increase their fiver and pectin intake. Luckily, carob is high in both. This herb comes from a tree in the Mediterranean and doesn’t contain any caffeine. However, it does contain a tiny amount of the stimulant theobromine. If you notice your dog becomes extra hyper when supplementing with carob, you may want to try something else.
If your dog is suffering from diarrhea or is gassy, chia seeds are worth a shot. Chia seeds will slow down the conversion of carbs into sugar, which will allow for full absorption of the vital nutrients. Keep the dosage small since these seeds are potent. You should give your dog about ¼ teaspoon for every 10 pounds of bodyweight.
If your pup has an upset stomach, then you should consider adding cilantro to their food. Cilantro is high in zinc, potassium, and is full of vitamin A and C. Most dogs won’t mind the taste, but some dogs will refuse to eat their food if they smell cilantro…to each their own!
Dogs that have bad flatulence (trust us, you’ll know if your dog does) can benefit significantly from adding Ceylon Cinnamon to their diet. One critical note is to make sure it’s Ceylon and not cassia. Cassia is the primary type of cinnamon, but it contains coumarin, which can damage the liver. Sprinkle some Ceylon Cinnamon over your dog’s food. The flatulence shouldn’t be nearly as bad.
Dill is one of the best overall digestion aids for dogs (and humans alike). It’s full of flavonoids and even has anti-inflammatory properties. Dill can help break down food in the digestive tract, so if your dog is a fast eater or eats everything he sees on the floor, add some dill to the diet.
Sea Salt (Small Amounts)
One of the many reasons a dog might be suffering from digestive issues is that their body isn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid, which is an acid that helps with digestion. Sea salt can help produce more hydrochloric acid in your dog’s stomach, which will aid in digestion.
In the dog world, dandelion has been called “the near-perfect plant” and for right reason! There are countless benefits to adding dandelion to your dog’s diet, digestion being one of the main ones.
Dandelion acts as a prebiotic, which helps feed the good bacteria in the gut—keeping the good bacteria healthy decreases the chances of digestive issues.
Yup, dogs suffer from anxiety as well…and not just separation anxiety. Some breeds are hyper-nervous and stress over every little thing. Three herbs, in particular, will help calm anxiety and stress.
I drink chamomile tea when I can’t sleep at night. It does a great job of calming the brain and relaxing the body. The good news is it does the same thing for dogs. You can even combine chamomile with other root herbs such as valerian for an even more potent relaxation formula.
Catnip isn’t just for cats! Catnip does a great job acting as a natural sedative for pets. Many dog owners choose to use catnip as a travel sedative since it might cause your dog to become drowsy. It’s also a great idea to use catnip when you know your dog is going to be scared, such as the fourth of July or during a thunderstorm.
St. John’s Wort
Although this isn’t technically a seasoning, it’s still worth mentioning if your dog suffers from anxiety. St. John’s Wort is primarily used to treat depression in both humans and dogs, it also does a great job at reducing anxiety. When taken correctly, the serotonin and dopamine levels in your dog will increase. High serotonin and dopamine levels are directly related to low stress and anxiety.
Before we begin this final section on seasonings and herbs for dogs that can help with cancer, please remember these are NOT meant to substitute what your vet recommends. Always stick with the medication prescribed by the vet and use these as an aid.
Instead of going into detail on each one of these like we did in the previous section, we are going to list them in a bullet point. The reason for this is because cancer is a sensitive subject, and all these seeds have the same thing in common…they contain antioxidants that can help fight both cancer and diseases.
- Caraway Seeds
- Green Tea
Dogs Can Have a Lot of Seasonings
As you can see, there are a lot of seasonings, herbs, and spices that are great for your dog, plus your furry friend will really enjoy the taste! Whether you’re looking to add some flavor to your dog’s meal or looking to solve a specific problem, those seasonings can be a huge help.
Recommended For You