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Can Dogs Eat Basil?

Can your furry friend eat basil and foods seasoned with basil? Simply put, we want to know – can dogs eat basil? If you want to add a human food such as basil to your dog’s diet, read this article first!

Dr. Jess describes the risks and the benefits of feeding basil to your dog, as well as which types of basil dogs can eat (if any!), and which is best left out of their food dish.

Dog food experts have arguments regarding the safety of serving certain basil to dogs.

Well, as delicious as basil is, is it actually a health threat to the dogs or are we over-reacting about this?

Let me, the veterinarian, explain my thoughts…

It’s always the best idea to double-check which foods your dog can and can not eat because many foods that are safe and healthy for humans are actually very harmful for your dog to eat, or even poisonous or deadly to them.

Taste is never worth the risk of harming your pet.

That’s why I am so glad that you are here making an informed decision before feeding your dog basil!

If you missed it, check out my article on if dogs can eat different forms of fish, mayo, or tuna fish!

What Do Dogs Eat?

Some dogs are not picky at all about what they eat. They’ll eat whatever you offer them- they’re like vacuum cleaners sucking up anything you put in front of them and then some!

Some dogs are on the pickier side of things. Pickier pups can be harder to properly feed because they just won’t eat any food we give them. Try feeding a picky dog something like okra!

A common canine diet for pet dogs consists of a complete dry or wet feed and possibly some form of supplements in some specific cases (however, not all pet dogs need supplements).

Foraging can also be included in the diet if the dog is allowed to roam, or the dog is feral, and of course there are treats that are a part of many dog’s diets!

The diet of every dog breed will very when you are looking into a healthy and complete diet for your pup. So it is important to know when offering food to your dog, what constitutes a healthy choice, and what does not.

An improper diet could put your dog at risk of having problems properly digesting their food and absorbing nutrients correctly. And we don’t want that now do we???

So let’s talk specifically about basil, since that’s why you clicked over here today, and talk about how it could affect your dog’s overall health and well-being.

Let’s Talk Basil:

Basil is a annual plant used as a herb and a spice in cooking.

People in the United States refer to “basil” as the leaves and stems or stalks of the plant.

Most people describe the taste of basil leaves as earthy, sweet, and strong or pungent.

There are many different types of basil, but the most common types of basil consumed in the United States include sweet basil, lemon basil, and Thai basil varieties, just to name a few.

Basil Nutrition:

Basil contains some of essential nutrients including calcium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and K, that can be helpful in keeping your rabbit healthy. It also has some other potential health benefits for your pet rabbit:

  • Inflammation/Antioxidants: Multiple studies show that basil is a great source of anti-inflammatory compounds that help in fighting against inflammation.
  • Vitamins: Basil contains vitamin K and others like vitamin A. Rabbits require these vitamins to stay healthy. Vitamin K helps rabbits stay safe and adequately clot blood when needed. Vitamin A is necessary for proper eyesight as well as other healthy body systems.
  • Blood Sugar: Basil may help lower blood glucose levels in the bloodstream.
  • Toxins: Basil has the potential to detoxify the body from some types harmful toxins.

May Reduce Inflammation

Multiple research studies have shown that basil is a source of anti-inflammatory compounds, which effectively can help fight different forms of inflammation.

Basil is packed with these potential anti-inflammatory molecules called antioxidants.

Antioxidants are thought to help reduce inflammation inside the body by binding (attaching) to and suppressing (decreasing) inflammation-promoting molecules known as free radicals. [source]

While many of these studies are promising, I definitely would like to see more research studies conducted on the antioxidant benefits of basil.

May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

It is widely known in medicine that individuals having elevated blood sugar levels are at higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes [source].

Basically, basil has been proven to be an effective tool in the process of lowering blood sugar levels [source].

Fighting Off Infections

According to a study discussed in Medical News Today, basil may help combat bacterial infections in the body:

“Various practitioners of traditional medicine have used basil as an antimicrobial agent, and some scientific research supports this use. In 2013, researchers applied sweet basil oil to various strains of Escherichia coli , or E. coli. The bacteria came from people with respiratory, abdominal, urinary, or skin infections, as well as from hospital equipment. The results showed that the oil was active against these bacteria. The researchers concluded that certain preparations of basil oil could help treat or prevent some types of infection.”

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266425#benefits

Can You Feed Basil To Dogs?

While basil is not toxic to dogs and can be quite beneficial to some dogs, too much basil could lead to some health problems too. 

Let me dive a little deeper and explain myself so you can make an informed decision on whether or not you should let fido eat basil off of your plate.

Do Dogs Like Basil?

Dogs are natural carnivores.

Some dogs find the flavor or crunch of basil to be a delicious one, just some people love basil in or on everything they eat, from their salads to their baked dinners.

So yes, some dogs like basil. Some dogs even LOVE it.

Can Basil Be Harmful to Dogs?

Before we can decide whether basil is safe to feed our dogs, we need to first understand some of the risks involved if we do feed our dogs basil.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t have any concerns with feeding your dog basil, because there are a few key things to keep in mind.

These three factors to keep in mind include:

Harmful Reason #1: Loose Stool/Diarrhea

Too much fiber can mean hypermotile, or increased movement, of one’s digestive tract.

Some dogs are more sensitive to additional fiber in their diets, so they are more likely to have loose stool and in some cases, full-blown diarrhea.

Other dogs will not be impacted by any additional fiber in their diets.

It has also been talked about, that for some reason, some dogs have seen a dog’s loose stool clear up and become more solid, after eating basil.

Now, I have not seen this last scenario with my own eyes, I have had many people tell me that that was their experience.

Harmful Reason #2: Allergic Reaction to Basil

A dog can develop an intolerance or an allergy to any food, so there is always the possibility that your dog is allergic to basil.

If you suspect your dog is allergic to basil do NOT feed this food to your dog.

If your dog is allergic to basil and accidentally ingests it, go to your nearest animal emergency room immediately.

When this happens, the attack sets off a hypersensitivity reaction and can result in any of the following symptoms:

Common symptoms of adverse/allergic reaction to food:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching/Increased grooming
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • etc.

How Much Basil Can Dogs Eat?

This depends on the specific dog in question. Most the time, basil, given in small amounts periodically, are most likely just as healthy for your dog as it is for you.

Moderation is key here; never go overboard when feeding basil to your dog, no matter if your dog has a stomach of steel or not. Small amounts every once in a while is okay for most dogs.

Smaller dogs do not need as much basil as a larger dog to have the same effect.

Dogs with loose stool do not need, or need much less basil, than a dog that is constipated would need.

The best thing to do to gauge how much basil you should be feeding your dog safely, would be to contact your veterinarian about the specific pet in question.

Is Basil Beneficial For Dogs?

The random lick of basil or a small bite as a treat is totally fine – it will not harm your dog. 

However, there’s no need to offer it in large quantities, as this can cause some major health issues for your pup, as I discussed above.

Basically, if your dog consumed a bit of basil, you don’t need to drive them straight to the vet to get their stomach pumped. 

If they start showing any odd signs of being affected by this new food, contact your local veterinarian to get more information on what to do next.

So, yes there are some negative effects that can be seen with some dogs who consume basil.

However, this does not mean that a large number of dogs see many more health benefits versus those few health concerns.

Some of the health benefits for dogs who consume basil include:

  1. High Fiber: Fiber is great to keep the digestive system flowing smoothly and also helps dogs feel satiated (feeling full for longer after eating).
  2. Low Calorie: If your dog is overweight, you are liking looking for low calorie options for treats, etc.
  3. Water Content: A high water content vegetable means that your dog is more likely to stay well-hydrated.
  4. Low Fat: Again, if you are looking for lower-fat options to serve your overweight dog, basil may be a good add-on option.
  5. Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants: Basil has many different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help keep your dog happy and healthy.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Basil?

Most dogs can handle a bit of raw basil.

Make sure that the basil is fresh and not overly ripe or rotten.

Some dogs do not like the taste of raw basil, so don’t be shocked if your pup tells you no thanks to raw basil.

Can Dogs Eat Roasted or Baked Basil?

Yes, dogs can eat roasted basil, as long as no seasonings or other cooking products (such as cooking oil) were used in the cooking process.

boston terrier licking face

How to Serve Basil to Dogs:

After checking with your vet to make sure that basil can be a part of your dog’s menu, start by offering your dog 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon-worth of basil.

If your dog does not show any adverse reactions after 24 hours or more, then you are likely safe to continue feeding your pup basil, gradually increasing the amount according to your vet’s guidelines.

Keep the following in mind when serving food to your dog:

And remember that dogs need more than a bowl or plate of basil – they need a complete and balanced diet.

Whichever complete food you choose for your dog, it needs to have the AAFCO label indicating the diet is complete and balanced for your dog’s life stage.

AAFCO approved foods have gone through testing and compliance to make sure that the diet is safe and healthy for your pet.

Dogs already get everything that they need from their kibble or canned food.

How Much Basil Can My Dog Have?

Can dogs eat basil? As I mentioned previously, it depends…  

Most dogs are safe consuming a teaspoon or two of basil per serving.

I highly recommend contacting your vet first before starting your dog on basil, and also suggest that you start by offering your pup a small amount of basil and then working up to a full amount.

A little bit of basil typically goes a long way!

It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Talk to your vet about the appropriate serving size of basil for your dog.

Can Puppies Eat Basil?

I would never advise a puppy owner to feed basil to their puppy unless your veterinarian is recommending it due to specific medical needs.

Why do I say this? Because your pup’s first months of life should consist of specialized puppy diets approved by your local veterinarian upon puppy examination.

Puppies tend to have an even more delicate digestive system than adult dogs so giving your puppy basil might cause diarrhea, vomiting, or other adverse reactions.

What to do If Your Dog Eats Basil:

If it is just a bite or two of basil, just watch them for the rest of the day just in case, for any signs of adverse reaction. 

If you are concerned with this small amount, of course, contact your veterinarian right away.  Most dogs can tolerate a small amount of basil on occasion and do just fine.  

If it is a large amount of basil, contact your veterinarian right away to discuss details and what to do next. 

It is extremely likely that your vet will request that you bring your dog in immediately to get evaluated if they have gotten themselves into a large amount of basil, or overripe or rotten basil. We vets want to help and we will best help if we are notified right away.

Trust me, us vets are happy to help!

veterinarian signature

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

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