A funny thing happens when I round the corner and catch a whiff of fresh herbs from the neighborhood garden. I spring into action, sniffing every stem and licking each leaf with the kind of fervor I usually reserve for finagling a few treats. Turns out, there’s more to it than me just being nosey. Research shows the right herbs can make a fantastic, healthful addition to your dog’s diet.
Many common herbs that could be growing in your backyard right now are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Lots of them are safe for pets to consume and can even help heal or prevent heaps of health problems. Which ones are best for your pets?
Let’s look at some popular garden herbs that dogs really dig.
Basil: Pesto sauce for dogs? You bet! Basil is loaded with vitamins and minerals that can benefit your pooch. The tasty green comes complete with an array of antioxidants, so it’s good for preventing disease, like cancer, and its anti-inflammatory powers help ease arthritis pain. Basil also protects the heart, can elevate the mood and it’s a remedy for stress and anxiety.
PARSLEY: Fresh parsley tastes great and it boasts several benefits for dogs. When consumed, it helps flush toxins and soothe an upset tummy. When chewed, the herb cleans teeth and freshens stinky breath. Puppy kisses, anyone?
ROSEMARY: These sprigs have a slew of positive benefits. They’re high in vitamin B6 and a good source of calcium and iron. One pinch can improve blood flow to the brain, which results in less damage to the nervous system as a dog gets older. It also uses its antiseptic properties to fend off disease and promote good health.
THYME: Packed with vitamins C, A and K, iron, manganese, calcium and antioxidants, this little herb is a great immune system booster. Thyme has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, so it’s great for a dog’s skin, brain function and gastrointestinal health.
TURMERIC: Though not green and leafy, this is an herb that should not be overlooked. It has serious promise when it comes to treating cancer and anemia, and provides a boost in metabolism, which accelerates weight loss. Turmeric also protects digestive organs and is loaded with antioxidants and antiinflammatories, which benefit joint, brain and heart health.
Now you know how your spice rack
can help your canine. You shouldn’t load your dog’s system with a ton of herbs and spices, but small amounts can be beneficial. As always, be sure to consult your veterinarian before introducing an herb to your dog’s diet, especially if your dog has a pre-existing health condition.
Just a few millennia ago, we were gnawing on anything we could hunt down or scavenge. Nature’s healing plants are well within our wheelhouse. Herbs pack a nutritional, flavorful punch to our diet, and they support our health—and prolong our lives.
Davi the Dachshund says enjoying herbs is mint to be and it’s thyme to get herbal and get healthy! Basil-tov!