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Can Dogs Eat Basil? Vet Verified Safety Guide

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

Can Dog Eat basil

Vet approved

Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you enjoy cooking at home, you’re probably familiar with basil, a fragrant and versatile herb used in many Italian and Asian recipes. Dog owners might wonder if offering their pets a bite of basil as they cook is okay. Yes, dogs can safely eat basil, and in fact, the herb provides some nutritional benefits.

Keep reading to learn more about the potential health benefits of basil and how to feed the herb to your pet. We’ll also talk about some other vegetables and human foods you can offer your dog as a treat.

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Basil: A Safe and Nutritious Herb for Your Dog

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is non-toxic for dogs and cats. You may also see this plant called sweet basil, Thai basil, or Saint Joseph’s Wort. Basil comes in many varieties that have slightly different flavors.

In addition to its delicious taste and smell, basil contains an array of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Its antioxidant properties are believed to have several health benefits for humans, which may also translate to our canine friends. For humans, eating basil can help decrease inflammation, help prevent heart disease, and protect against infections.

Your dog is most likely to benefit from the antioxidant properties of basil, which we’ll discuss more in the next section.

basil leaves
Photo Credit: kkolosov, Pixabay

What Are Antioxidants and How Can They Help Your Dog?

Antioxidants counteract the cellular damage caused by free radicals, which are reactive compounds produced by inflammation. Chronic inflammation can deplete your dog’s natural antioxidant levels, leading to damaging long-term impacts, including tissue degeneration and cancer.

Veterinarians sometimes prescribe antioxidant supplements to dogs with conditions like arthritis or allergies. Because basil contains high levels of antioxidants, it can provide a natural source of the beneficial nutrients.

We’re not suggesting that basil will cure cancer, but if these antioxidants can help protect the body against oxidative damage, that’s good news for us and our best friends!

Are There Any Concerns with Feeding Basil to Your Dog?

Before feeding new human food to your dog, you should check with your vet, especially if your pet has a history of a sensitive stomach or chronic health conditions. Eating large amounts of basil may cause digestive upset in some dogs.

Although very rare, some dogs may also be allergic to the plant. If your vet okays feeding basil to your dog, start with small amounts only and monitor your pup’s reaction.

Photo Credit: Tookapic, Pixabay

How to Feed Basil to Your Dog

Fresh basil has more beneficial oils and properties than the dried version of the herb, but either one is safe for your dog to eat. Basil is easy to grow at home, so consider planting your own to use in cooking. The easiest way to feed your dog basil is just to mix it into their food.

Fresh basil should be washed and chopped before you offer it to your dog. Ask your vet how much basil you can feed your dog and how often, but as a general rule, a few leaves would be ideal for small dogs, while larger dogs could happily enjoy a small handful.

Other Safe Vegetables for Your Dog

Your dog may not enjoy basil’s strong smell or taste, and that’s okay; it’s not something they need to eat. If you want to offer fresh foods as treats, here are some other vegetables that are safe to feed:

  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini
  • Lettuce
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli

Never feed your dog onions or any other member of the Allium family, including chives, leeks, and garlic, because they are toxic. Be aware that some vegetables, including broccoli and cabbage, may make your dog gassy.

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Dogs can safely eat basil, and the fragrant herb has strong antioxidant properties that may benefit their health. If your dog eats a nutritionally balanced diet, they don’t technically need to eat other foods to stay healthy.

However, herbs like basil and other safe vegetables make good treat alternatives to commercial snacks, especially for dogs who are on a weight loss plan. Remember that even non-toxic, unfamiliar foods like basil can still upset your dog’s stomach, so introduce them slowly.

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