Can I Give My Dog Basil?

Can I Give My Dog Basil?Many people use basil as an ingredient in their favorite recipes. It can really do wonders for a dish. Since this herb is so often an ingredient, pet owners sometimes wonder about giving their dogs table scraps containing it.

First off, this amazing plant comes in several variations such Thai Basil, Sweet Basil and some people even include Saint John’s Wort. These types can be in either dried or fresh form.

Remember that basil looses its trace of mint like flavor if you heat it up too long so it usually isn’t really cooked long if at all. Could that be of extra concern for dogs? Should your dog even be consuming something seemingly so foreign and exotic compared to their regular diet?

Can I Give My Dog Basil? Answer: Yes, in moderation as part of a meal

It could be that basil may do your dog some good in the same way humans have used it throughout history for some distinct health benefits.

Basil can help to alleviate the effects of arthritis which is something that affects so many dogs and people. Of course, this is hopeful speculation but basil isn’t something that is specifically forbidden for dogs to consume. Reasons to periodically allow your dog to munch on foods containing basil as well as arguments against it are listed below.

Pros of Basil For Dogs

Different breeds of basil contain varying proportions of healthy elements. Overall, basil is extremely healthy and there are no known reasons for explicitly barring dogs from its consumption. Essential oils, which are known to be healthy and even healing in nature, are the reason why basil smells like it does. These oils contain valuable compounds which can benefit your dog just like they can for you.

Scientific research shows basil has strong antiviral, antimicrobial as well as antioxidant properties. Basil has even been known to treat cancer. More practically, basil contains anti-fungal and even insect-repelling characteristics which dog owners should love. As we mentioned above, basil may help to treat canine arthritis. It also contains large amounts of beta-caryophyllene which is also known to treat inflammatory bowel disease.

Perhaps the best thing dogs can gain from eating basil is the positive mood altering effects it can produce. People have known for thousands of years that basil can have a positive calming effect. Holy basil is a well known calming supplement. This type of basil can be used for decreasing stress hormone levels, specifically Corticosterone, which may help your dog with anxiety.

Cons of Basil For Dogs

If you practice moderation when giving your dog some basil as a component to a home cooked meal they should be fine. However, if you are giving it to your dog for the first time, monitor them for any allergies to basil. As with most foods, certain dogs could be allergic to herbs and plant related foods in general. Since basil is usually served uncooked or barely cooked perhaps that may elevate this concern.

If you find that your dog is allergic to basil, bad reaction, then don’t serve them table food containing it even if it’s just a pinch.

Herbs & Plant Foods

In general, herbs are healthy for dogs but there are exceptions. We’ve covered related topics such as parsley and oregano for your dog. However, canines sometimes do not agree with plant based foods since they contain oxalates which are usually insoluble for dogs.

By their very nature, dogs have a carnivorous bias and their digestive systems have adapted to that dietary preference. Keep this in mind when feeding your dog questionable foods. You are right to be careful and cautious about what you feed your buddy!

Conclusion on Basil

Yes you can use small amounts of basil, as an ingredient, when it comes to your canine. It may offer several potential health benefits for both humans and dogs alike. However, you should be conservative when providing it to a four-legged friend. They could be allergic to basil but you can’t know that until after feeding time. Therefore, moderation and close observation is advised.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica July, 2016

I have an eleven year old English Springer Spaniel and he likes eggs as well as other things that I eat. I was mixing some fresh basil into my eggs, and wondered if he could eat the remainder. I also try to give him eggs for the nutritional benefits. He is struggling with some arthritis, and so I was happy to learn more about basil. Charlie enjoyed his French omelette!


Jana July, 2015

I have a 9 year old, 13 pound Chihuahua and he is beginning to suffer from arthritis. It happens only here and there but, in any case, I like the idea of a natural way to prevent it. How much basil should I give him and do I cut it up and add it to his food uncooked?


Terence March, 2014

Basil has high amounts of Eugenol that can reduce the amount of glucose in Type-2 Diabetics. You can use basil to help prevent and even cure diabetes.


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