What Seasonings Can Dogs Have? 14 Herbs and Spices Safe for Dogs–and 23 To Avoid

By: Rebecca GeigerUpdated:

what seasonings can dogs have: dog with cinnamon
Chewy Studios

What Seasonings Can Dogs Have? 14 Herbs and Spices Safe for Dogs–and 23 To Avoid

Thinking of spicing up your dog’s meal repertoire, but find yourself wondering, “What seasonings can dogs have?”

If you’re wanting to add spices to your dog’s food or to your very own homemade treats, Dr. Stephanie Howe, DVM, a pet health representative at Chewy, suggests going through a pet nutritionist or a pet nutrition company to get well-balanced recipes. They can recommend spice ingredients and amounts that are both safe and tasty.

Ahead, we’ve listed 14 spices and herbs safe for dogs–and 23 they should avoid.

Safe Herbs & Spices

can dogs eat rosemarycan dogs eat rosemary
Photo: Chewy Studios

1Anise seeds (not star anise)

How much is thought to be safe: About 1/16th of a teaspoon of powder added to your pet’s meal. Only give occasionally and start with a very small amount to determine the effect on your pup. Your vet can help you fine tune the amount based on your dog’s size.

Health benefits may include:

  • Helping with nausea, gas, and other digestive issues
  • Aiding with respiratory issues like congestion and coughing
  • Increasing energy for performance. Sometimes called ‘dog nip’, canines can grow excited and motivated to work or play after smelling this herb. Their energy might last several hours, after which they may seem tired.

A word to the wise: Anise should be used in moderation in dogs and only under supervision as it may cause some pet pals to get hyperactive. Overdoing the anise seed can cause side effects, like vomiting, diarrhea, decreased heart rate and potentially loss of consciousness.

2Basil (sweet basil / Saint Joseph's Wort, Genovese, Thai variety)

How much sweet basil is thought to be safe: Small amounts of either dry or fresh basil are best. Depending on the size of your pup, and your vet’s recommendations, try about 1/8 to 1 teaspoon dusted on food.

Health benefits may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiviral features
  • Calming effects for anxiety-prone dogs
  • Vitamins A, B complex, C, and E

A word to the wise: Too much of this green spice can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea), plus some doggies have allergic reactions to basil.

3Chamomile (German chamomile)

Scientific name: Matricaria Recutita

How much German chamomile is thought to be safe: Talk to your vet about the best dose of chamomile appropriate for your dog. They’ll take into consideration your pet’s age, weight size, and history. If you’re buying chamomile treats or supplements: there are companies producing chamomile products that can ensure they are using only safe chamomile in the correct amount in their goods, says Dr. Howe. 

Health benefits may include:

  • Easing and calming anxiety
  • Anti-inflammatory qualities
  • Relaxing muscles
  • Treating inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions (IBS or stomach ulcers)

A word to the wise: Other chamomile plants under the names Manzanilla, Garden Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, True Chamomile, Corn Feverfew, Barnyard Daisy, Ground-apple, Turkey-weed and Anthemis nobilis can be toxic to your dog. So, be sure to stick with the German variety. If you’re unsure of what type you have, stick with a trusted pet product.

4Cilantro (coriander, Chinese parsley, dhania)

Scientific name: Coriandrum sativum

How much cilantro is thought to be safe: Cilantro should be served in moderation. Try just a pinch (about 1/16 of a teaspoon) scattered atop a meal. The amount can be increased slightly depending on your vet’s recommendations and the size of your dog.  

Health benefits may include:

  • Helping with eye health, due to vitamin A
  • Aiding the immune system, because of vitamin C
  • Assisting with fur and skin health, on account of vitamin K
  • Antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties
  • Helpful for digestive upsets
  • Freshens your dog’s breath

A word to the wise: Giving your dog too much cilantro can result in nausea and gastrointestinal upset. Some dogs are allergic to it. Monitor for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, a swollen face, or itchiness. Cilantro isn’t toxic to dogs, but they often don’t like the taste. Try small pinches of this herb to see if your pet is interested. Do not give stems as they are hard for pups to digest.


Scientific name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum

How much cinnamon is thought to be safe: Stick to around 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon sprinkled on food. You can serve it  about once a week if your pup likes it.

"Cinnamon is toxic in certain doses, and regular use can cause irritations," notes Dr. Howe. "Generally, anything more than 1 tsp per dog is going to cause some kind of symptoms. But at low, low doses it can be safe."

Health benefits may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties
  • Helping regulate blood sugar levels
  • Promoting heart health
  • Relieving digestive upset

A word to the wise: Ingesting large amounts of cinnamon can be harmful for dogs, and cause tummy troubles and irritated throats. Large portions might also bring on hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hypotension (low blood pressure) and significant vomiting, notes Dr. Howe.

Never let your dog inhale cinnamon as respiratory problems can occur such as coughing, choking and difficulty breathing.

Do not use cinnamon essential oils with your pet.


Scientific name: Taraxacum officinale

How much is thought to be safe: Dogs can eat many parts of the dandelion including flowers, leaves and roots.

Your pup can decide how they prefer it: as a tea (sipped a few times a day), powdered, or sprinkled fresh or dried (about 1 tsp dried for every 20 pounds of weight), in with their food.

If you’re using fresh leaves, start with just a couple along with their meal for small dogs, and go up from there depending on your critter’s size.

You can also serve your dog dandelion in the form of a bitter tonic—a great way to help their digestion. A vet nutritionist can advise on how to brew tonics and teas and how much to give. 

Health benefits may include: 

  • Can work as a diuretic and may support liver health
  • It’s a source of protein plus vitamins, A, C K, D, and B, as well as minerals zinc, iron calcium, potassium, manganese
  • Dandelion has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and flavonoid properties (helping with skin disease and constipation)
  • This plant can work as a gallbladder and liver tonic
  • Aiding digestion

A word to the wise: Dandelion tea (from the leaves, or flower) is a safe way to give this herb to your pet, says Dr. Howe. The dandelion stem doesn’t taste great to dogs, so don’t be surprised if  your canine turns up their nose at a stem offering.

Over-feeding dandelion can cause symptoms, like:

  • Abdominal pain/mild stomach upset
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive urination

If you’re using fresh dandelions, make sure you know the source. You’ll want to be sure they have not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides.


Scientific name: Anethum graveolena

How much dill is thought to be safe: Depending on the size of your pet, try 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of dill atop their meal.

Making a dill tea is also an option with a teaspoon of dill seed and 8 ounces water. Your dog can have between 2 to 8 ounces of cooled tea, according to their size.

Health benefits may include:

  • Soothing the gastrointestinal tract
  • Helping with gas
  • Alleviating constipation
  • Freshening breath
  • Providing nutrients such as calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C

A word to the wise: Don’t feed dogs the essential oil. Skin contact could cause dermatitis.

8Fennel (Florence fennel, finocchio)

Scientific name: Foeniculum vulgare

How much fennel is thought to be safe: Try a fennel tea—a teaspoon of either fresh or dried fennel (seeds) added to 8 ounces boiling water. Depending on the size of your pet, add a couple teaspoons of the mix to their water. 

Health benefits may include:  

  • Supporting the immune system with vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, iron and potassium
  • Freshening the breath
  • Increasing appetite (good for dogs who need to eat a bit more)

A word to the wise: Fennel should only be given in small quantities in food or water. Don’t give the concentrated oil form. Too much fennel can bring on diarrhea.

9Ginger (white ginger, butterfly ginger, cinnamon jasmine, garland flower, ginger lily)

Scientific name: Hedychium coronarium

How much ginger is thought to be safe: Add no more than 1/4 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon to food or homemade treats depending on your dog’s size.

Health benefits may include:

  • Helping with upset stomach or vomiting
  • Easing arthritis symptoms in joints and muscles
  • Anti-inflammatory qualities
  • Lessening gas
  • Reducing bloating

A word to the wise: Only give ginger in moderation. Overdoing this delightful spice can give your buddy gas, nausea and heartburn.

Pets with bleeding disorders or on NSAIDs should not have ginger as it can function like a blood thinner.

Be especially careful with dogs who are nursing or pregnant, have health issues (such as diabetes) or taking other supplements/medicines (it may affect them). Consult your vet for these fur babies about proper usage.

10Milk thistle

Scientific name: Silybum marianum

How much is thought to be safe: This flowering plant contains a flavonoid called silymarin, the active ingredient in the seeds and the primary component that gives the herb its punch.

"Milk thistle is a well-established supplement for liver health, but there is no established dose," says Dr. Howe. "Silymarin, is sometimes advised for 100-200 mg/lb/day for every 10 pounds of your bud’s weight, roughly. But it greatly depends on your pet—age, weight, size, health status, etc.—and should be given, as all things, with your vet’s guidance."

Milk thistle can be found as an extract, capsule or powder often composed of 80 percent silymarin. Your vet may suggest you give at least twice daily.

Health benefits may include:

  • antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
  • Aiding with various health conditions such as:
    • Liver disease
    • Hepatitis
    • Cushing’s disease
    • Pancreatitis
    • Irritable bowel disease
    • Gallbladder disease
    • Cancer (milk thistle may inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells)

A word to the wise: Contingent on your vet’s instructions, your dog may like a bit of milk thistle mixed in with their meals or treats. Milk thistle is thought to be very safe, but if given in doses that are too high for your pet, you might see diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress. If that occurs, your vet will probably just advise you to give less.

11Rosemary (anthos)

Scientific name: Rosmarinus officinalis

How much rosemary is thought to be safe: 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon, depending on your buddy’s size

Health benefits may include:

  • Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties
  • Nutrients like iron, calcium and vitamin B6
  • Keeping the heart in good condition
  • Aiding with digestion

A word to the wise: Allergic reactions may occur in some canines. And if they eat too much of it, an upset tummy could be the outcome.

12Sage (common sage, garden sage)

Scientific name: Salvia officinalis

How much sage is thought to be safe: mix about a teaspoon of fresh or dry sage into your furry friend’s food.

Health benefits may include:

  • Filled with Vitamins A, E and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc
  • Contains antioxidants, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities
  • Helping boost your pooch’s immune system
  • Soothing digestive issues
  • Fighting seasonal allergies

A word to the wise: Only use sage in moderation.

13Thyme (common thyme, garden thyme, German thyme)

Scientific name: Thymus vulgaris 

How much thyme is thought to be safe: Keep servings of thyme to no more than 1 teaspoon—depending on your pup’s size—once or twice a week.

Health benefits may include:

  • Contains Vitamin A, C and K, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and fiber
  • Antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties

A word to the wise: Over-indulging in thyme can give your buddy gastrointestinal upset (think diarrhea and vomiting). Be sure not to give Spanish thyme to your pooch as it is toxic to dogs. It goes by various names, including bread and butter plant, East Indian thyme and stinging thyme.


How much turmeric is thought to be safe: In small doses, turmeric is fine. The general rule of thumb for this spice is roughly 1/8 to 1/4 tsp per day for every 10 pounds of body weight. Your vet can help you determine the best portion and frequency depending on the size and health of your critter.

Health benefits may include:

  • Helps soothe achy joints and support better mobility
  • Helps prevent the growth of cancer cells in dogs
  • Contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal characteristics
  • Can help combat conditions, like arthritis, diabetes, liver disease
  • Eases eye inflammation
  • Aids with digestive health

A word to the wise: Turmeric might interact with other drugs or supplements.

Too much turmeric can cause some of our four-legged friends to suffer stomach upset and constipation. Dogs who should not ingest turmeric include pregnant dogs and those with gallstones, kidney disease, iron deficiency and blood clotting issues.

Unsafe Herbs & Spices

can dogs eat saltcan dogs eat salt
Photo: Chewy Studios


Why it’s bad: Allspice contains eugenols (essential oils), which can be toxic to dogs.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Mild symptoms such as:
    • Vomiting
    • Lethargy
    • Diarrhea
  • More intense symptoms like:
    • A small decrease in body temperature and an increase in pulse rate
    • Loss of motor function
    • Blood in the urine
    • Dizziness
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Convulsions
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Kidney trauma

A word to the wise: If you pup sneaks a small amount (in a baked good, for instance) it’s not likely to cause an issue but should still be off-limits.

2Aloe vera (whole leaf)

Scientific name: Aloe vera

Why it’s bad: Aloes contain the toxic components saponins and anthraquinone glycosides, which pose a mild to moderate risk for dogs. If leaves are ingested, these glycosides can be metabolized by bacteria in the intestines resulting in greater mucus production as well as water in the colon.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Changes to the color of urine
  • Tremors (rare)

A word to the wise: Although some parts of aloe’s gel are thought to be edible, Dr. Howe advises against ever feeding its gel (or leaves) to your pet.

"There’s just too much room for error," she says. "Aloe vera gel in moderate amounts (and with vet approval/instructions) can be good for topical uses, but I would not let your dog ingest it in any amount."

Some dogs may develop skin irritation if they have an allergy to a part of the aloe gel, so be sure to check with your vet before applying.  

3Bay leaf/bay laurel (sweet bag, bay tree, tree laurel, laurel tree, laurel)

Scientific name: Laurus nobilis

Why it's bad: It contains eugenols and other essential oils that make it toxic to dogs.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Obstruction if ingested in large numbers of whole leaves

4Black pepper

Why it's bad: A substance called piperine can irritate your four-legged friend’s digestive system if enough is ingested.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Indigestion, possibly including nausea and upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea/gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Burning feeling in the stomach 

A word to the wise: If your dog inhales too much black pepper, they might have a bout of respiratory problems. Inhaling black pepper can irritate their nasal passages, resulting in excessive sneezing and possible breathing issues. That can be problematic in dogs with asthma or other conditions.


Scientific name: Capsicum annuum

Why it's bad: Cayenne can considerably irritate your fur baby’s throat, eyes and nose.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Burning, irritation and pain in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 

A word to the wise: Don’t use sprays with capsaicin (the active ingredient in cayenne which gives it the heat) on furniture as a puppy deterrent. Although capsaicin may only cause mild symptoms in your pup if cayenne is swallowed, it may cause irritation to the eyes if your pet accidentally rubs their eyes after touching a capsaicin-based deterrent paste or spray on the furniture with their paws. Some holistic vets may use cayenne in capsule form or as a tincture, in order to pep up a dog’s circulation and to revive their energy.

6Chili powder

Why it's bad:  Spicy ingredients, like chili powder, can cause stomach problems.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Excessive thirst

A word to the wise: Your dog’s nose is super sensitive, so if they inhale chili powder, it can cause significant irritation.


Why it's bad: High quantities of clove powder or clove oil are dangerous to pets because they contain eugenols, essential oils that are toxic to dogs.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Liver toxicity
  • Depression of the central nervous system
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pale or yellow gums
  • Seizures
  • Redness or burns on the lips, gums, tongue or skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Death (rarely, but possible with a large portion and smaller pets)

A word to the wise: Cloves are thought to be relatively safe for dogs in good health, if eaten in small quantities. But should large amounts be ingested (especially in powder or oil form), the effects can be serious. Inhaling the scent from a clove oil diffuser could cause respiratory irritation in some dogs.

8Cocoa powder

Why it's bad:  It contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are highly toxic to dogs and can result in uncomfortable symptoms. These components aren’t metabolized quickly by dogs (unlike in people), so any side effects can last longer than in humans. One of the most common types of poisoning in dogs is from chocolate.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Stiffness
  • Trouble standing/walking
  • Death 

A word to the wise: Powdered cocoa, being the more potent form, is most toxic. It may take six hours or more for symptoms of cocoa toxicity to show up. Healthy dogs generally recover completely, whereas canine critters with health conditions, who are pregnant, old or very young may have a harder time.


Why it's bad: Curry isn't toxic to doggies, however because of its spiciness, it can cause significant tummy upset.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

A word to the wise: Curry is made up of a number of different spices, including cayenne (which is not dog friendly), so it’s best to steer clear of this spice where your best friend is concerned.

10Garlic, including dehydrated and powder

Also known as: Stinking rose, rustic treacle, camphor of the poor, nectar of the gods, serpent garlic, rocambole

Scientific name: Allium sativum

Why it's bad: Garlic, an allium, has a component called thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs and can cause damage to red blood cells.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Destruction of red blood cells, making them more likely to rupture
  • Anemia (Heinz body anemia), signs of which include lethargy, weakness, pale gums, faster heart and breathing rate, and seizures
  • Gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dark colored urine, known as hemoglobinuria, wherein the urine looks, orange red or dark brown
  • Panting

A word to the wise: Dried or powdered are the most toxic due to the fact that these are more concentrated forms of garlic. But in general, a dog has to eat a lot of garlic to get a negative reaction, and garlic poisoning is hardly ever fatal. That said, even though very small amounts of this spice might be OK for some dogs, large portions can be very harmful, and feeding your dog garlic on purpose is never a good idea.

11Hops/hop plant

Scientific name: Humulus lupulus

Why it's bad: Hops is toxic to dogs. Hops plugs (the dried hops flowers) tend to be more toxic than the powdered cone form (hops pellets). If ingested, the plant could cause malignant hyperthermia in dogs.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Malignant hyperthermia (with fever)
  • Increased breathing/panting, racing heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal clotting
  • Liver irritation
  • Myoglobinuria (dark-colored urine due to the breakdown of muscle cells)
  • Death (fatalities have been reported in dogs poisoned by hops within 6 hours of ingestion, without treatment)

A word to the wise: Hops toxicity can be treatable when veterinary care is sought immediately after ingestion, says Dr. Howe. Symptoms can appear within 30 minutes or may not show up for hours.

Any dog may be affected, but some breeds are more susceptible to its toxicity and to malignant hyperthermia, including Greyhounds, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Pointers, Dobermans, Border Collies, English Springer Spaniels and northern breeds.


Why it's bad: Mace comes from the same plant as nutmeg, and the risks to a dog are similar (a dog may become overly excited and then become exhausted and drained).

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Overexcitement followed by exhaustion
  • Agitation and disorientation
  • Gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting
  • Loss of motor function
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Dry mouth
  • Tremors

A word to the wise: If your curious pup snags a bite of a baked item with mace, it probably won’t hurt them, but it’s definitely not advised.

13Marjoram (knotted marjoram, pot marjoram)

Scientific name: Origanum majorana

Why it's bad: It's toxic to dogs and contains gastrointestinal irritants.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Lowered blood sugar
  • Gastrointestinal blockage
  • Respiratory irritation
  • Seizures and bleeding disorders (slow clotting)
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Hypothermia

A word to the wise: Although a dog will likely be fine if they grab a marjoram taste, it’s advisable to have the vet weigh in should they wind up ingesting this spice.

14Mint (English pennyroyal, garden mint)

Scientific names: Mentha pulegium, Mentha sp. 

Why it's bad: Two types of mint can be toxic to dogs. Additionally, if canine critters nosh too much on the nontoxic varieties, they can end up with gastrointestinal upset.

Although some varieties of mint are not toxic to dogs, Dr. Howe gives mint the thumbs down.

"There are multiple types of mint and too many variables," she says, "To be on the safe side, don’t give your dog any."

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Liver damage (extreme cases can lead to liver failure) 

A word to the wise: Dogs may be able to snack on small amounts of leaves from the peppermint plant (Peppermint Mentha x) but never peppermint candy or peppermint essential oils. However, high doses of peppermint plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, liver or kidney issues.

15Mustard, including seed and powder

Why it's bad: Because mustard is toxic to dogs, all forms— homemade, wild mustard, English mustard, Dijon, honey mustard, yellow mustard, mustard powder and mustard seeds—are on the "no" list.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea and gas
  • Bloating
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lack of appetite

A word to the wise: Mustard won’t likely do harm to your pup in very small amounts (such as in cooked foods), but never give to your pet intentionally.

16Oregano (Greek oregano)

Scientific name: Origanum vulgare hirtum

Why it's bad: Oregano can be mildly toxic to dogs.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • If ingested in small amounts:
    • Gastrointestinal irritations, including mild vomiting and mild diarrhea
  • If ingested in large amounts:
    • Abdominal pain
    • Slow heart rate
    • Slow blood clotting


Why it's bad: Nutmeg contains a chemical that can cause a wide variety of problems when large amounts are ingested. Your buddy can get over-excited after scarfing up nutmeg, then become very tired and drained.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Mild symptoms if ingested in small amounts, including:
    • Stomach upset
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • More serious reactions if eaten in large amounts such as:
    • Disorientation
    • Hallucinations
    • Gastrointestinal distress
    • Overexcitement followed by exhaustion
    • Dry mouth
    • Dilated or constricted pupils
    • Fast heart rate
    • Difficulty walking or standing up
    • Tremors

A word to the wise: Dogs who eat small amounts will likely only experience mild tummy trouble, but in some instances, nutmeg has been fatal to dogs. 

18Onion, including onion powder

Also known as: Chives

Scientific names: Allium cepa, Allium schoenoprasum

Why it's bad: "All alliums are toxic to dogs," says Dr. Howe. That includes onions, chives, scallions, shallots and leeks. These plants contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can be harmful to red blood cells.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Breakdown of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia)
  • Dark colored urine, known as hemoglobinuria, wherein the urine looks, orange red, or dark brown
  • Weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Elevated heart rate, panting
  • Lethargy
  • Respiratory distress
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Collapse

A word to the wise: All parts of the onion plant are toxic, including the leaves, and the peel/skin.

Because powdered and minced onion are more concentrated, it can take less time to cause problems in dogs.

"It only takes about 100 grams of onion (the size of a medium onion) per about 40 pounds of dog to cause toxic effects, but powders are, of course, more potent, so much less would need to be ingested," Dr. Howe says.

Symptoms of onion poison may not show up for several days.


Why it's bad: Paprika can cause tummy trouble, among other side effects, in your pup.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Drooling
  • Watery eyes

A word to the wise: While it isn’t toxic, capsaicin, which gives paprika its bite, might stay on your dog’s lips or on the insides of their mouth after they eat a bit, prolonging any discomfort.

20Parsley, particularly Italian parsley (hamburg parsley, turnip-rooted parsley) and spring parsley

Scientific names: Petroselinum crispum, Cymopterus watsonii

Why it’s bad: In large amounts, certain types of parsley are toxic.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Photosensitization, including sunburn and dermatitis (may be ulcerative)

A word to the wise: While spring and Italian parsley are toxic, some parsley plants are thought to be safe. In fact there are treats, foods and dental chews with parsley components that should be OK to give your dog.

"Don’t be alarmed if you see it as an ingredient," asserts Dr. Howe. "Just don’t try to find it yourself."

21Pumpkin pie spice

Why it's bad: It's a mishmash of spices, some of which—nutmeg, allspice and mace—are bad for dogs.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mouth irritations or dry mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Fast heart rate
  • Difficulty walking or standing up
  • Tremors

A word to the wise: Pumpkin spice may be present in lots of our favorite tasty treats, like muffins, cakes and pumpkin pie itself. While you can enjoy these delights, never offer them to your dog.


Why it's bad: If too much is eaten, salt is poisonous and can be fatal for dogs.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Hyperthermia
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Arrhythmias
  • Tremors, seizures and coma (in severe cases)
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite
  • Excessive thirst or urination

A word to the wise: Sources of salt include table salt, homemade play dough, salt dough, rock salt (in deicers) and sea water.

"Ocean water and homemade play dough or salt ornaments are the most common causes of salt toxicity," says Dr. Howe.

23Spanish thyme

Also known as: Indian borage, bread and butter plant, coleus, maratha, militini, East Indian thyme

Scientific name: Coleus amboinicus

Why it's bad: It contains toxic essential oils.

If eaten, dogs may experience:

  • Vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia
  • Excessive drinking and urinating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mouth irritation
  • Inflammation of the intestines
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle tremors
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth and face

A word to the wise: Your pet's skin may get irritated if they come in contact with the plant’s oils.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Unsafe Seasonings?

Whenever trying a new spice or seasoning with your pooch, be sure to monitor your dog for side effects. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, stop feeding right away.

If your dog ate something dicey and is not showing symptoms, the first step is to reach out to a vet. You can start by contacting the following:

  • Your own vet
  • The pet poison help line (855-764-7661)
  • Chewy’s Connect With A Vet (via: live chat link, or video; fees may apply)
  • The ASPCA’S Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435; a fee may apply)

If your dog is showing symptoms, get them to an emergency clinic as soon as possible. Dr. Howe advises only trying at home remedies if you have very specific instructions from a vet.

"They might advise feeding a small quantity of something in order to dilute the effects," she says, "but, there’s been research showing that causing vomiting with hydrogen peroxide, for instance, can damage the esophagus."

If possible, let the vet know the following:

  • What your dog ate
  • How long ago they ingested the spice or food
  • What your dog weighs
  • What are the symptoms, if any

Never giving your dog the essential oils of any herbs. Because they’re more concentrated, they may be harmful to your good buddy.

If your dog ingests essential oils, you might see:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression

If your pet gets oils on their fur, or paws, you might see:

  • Unsteadiness
  • Depression
  • Low body temperature

Always consult your vet before sharing any human foods with your pet. Your vet will determine if it’s OK to add these foods to your canine’s diet. You can also talk with a pet nutritionist to ensure an ingredient is safe.

Need help finding a vet? Here's our guide to finding a five-star vet (and how to be a five-star client).

Expert input provided by Dr. Stephanie Howe, DVM, a pet health representative at Chewy.


By: Rebecca GeigerUpdated: