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Can Dogs Eat Sage? What The Science Says

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

sage leaves

Sage is a common kitchen herb found in everything from the Thanksgiving feast to traditional Italian fare. It’s healthy for humans, but can dogs have it? Is it healthy for our canine companions?

Generally, sage is safe for dogs in small amounts. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), all parts of the sage plant are non-toxic for dogs.

Divider 7What Is Sage?

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a perennial herb part of the mint family. There are different types that have medicinal and culinary applications that go back centuries, though garden sage is the most common variety used in modern cooking.

Along with its culinary uses, sage is grown ornamentally in gardens and offers natural antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and astringent properties.

  • Contains vitamins A, E, and K, which support bone, skin, and eye health
  • Good source of trace minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc
  • May reduce redness and inflammation when applied topically
  • May ease digestive upset
  • Antimicrobial properties to fight infection
  • Antioxidant properties to reduce free-radical damage

Herbs pack a lot of nutrition, but we tend to use them in small amounts, which limits the benefits. Adding a mix of healthy herbs to your meals may add up to better health for you, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the same for your dog.

Image Credit: JumpStory

Feeding Sage to Dogs

Though some herbs cause digestive upset in dogs, sage is generally safe. It may even be beneficial, but it’s important to serve only in moderation—if at all.

Sage does contain thujone, a chemical compound that can be toxic in extremely high doses. While it’s unlikely you could feed enough sage to hit these toxicity levels, err on the side of caution.

Always consider your dog’s size. Feeding small quantities of fresh or dried sage may be fine for large dogs, but it’s easy to go overboard with a toy breed. Don’t exceed a quarter teaspoon for small dogs and a teaspoon for large dogs.

Also, keep in mind that what’s appealing to humans may not be to dogs. They have different dietary needs, despite evolving alongside us and eating a lot of our meals. Too much of a pungent herb like sage could make your dog’s food unappetizing, leading to other problems.

Finally, always monitor for adverse effects. Feeding enough to reach toxic levels may cause symptoms like seizures, but even small amounts could cause digestive upset in some dogs.

If you have doubts, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to determine if sage is safe for your individual dog.

Divider 7Conclusion

Sage is one of the few herbs that’s non-toxic and safe for dogs in small amounts. It may even be beneficial when added to a balanced diet, but it should still be used in moderation. Going overboard with sage or other herbs can lead to toxicity, outweighing any potential health benefits for your dog. You should always discuss any supplements or dietary changes with your vet to ensure they’re safe.

Featured Image Credit: JumpStory

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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