What Seasonings Can Dogs Have in Their Food? (Safe Herbs & Spices)

what seasonings can dogs have

Most dogs will eat anything that you put in front of them, but occasionally you will get a fussy eater. One tactic pet owners will consider to solve this, is using dog-safe seasonings on the food. But just what seasonings dogs can have in their food isn’t always clear – until now.

I’ve spent a long time researching the different spices and herbs that dogs can eat safely so can present you ways in which you can make your dog’s usual meals less boring.

But in short, before I get into the longer list, here’s a very brief snapshot of what seasonings dogs can have       .

Dogs can have seasonings on their food including turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, basil, and dill. If you’re looking for ways to make your dog’s meals burst with flavors, you can consider adding one of these herbs and spices to their food.

Also, there’s so much more to these dog safe seasonings than the flavors. Below I will explain each seasoning, herb, and spice in detail, why your dog can eat it with their food, and whether there are health benefits in doing so.

Before you go adding condiments and seasonings to your dog’s food, please consult a vet first about any of the herbs and spices recommended on this page. All dogs are different and can have allergies that your vet can advise upon.

What seasonings can dogs have (the safe list)

You can add these dog-safe seasonings to their homemade food, homemade treats, and even dry kibble. The interesting flavors and health benefits are worth it! As well as this list of spices dogs can have     , I’ve also created other ways you can make dog food tastier.

Important: Before you put herbs and spices in your dog’s food, it’s always important to chat with your vet first. Whilst the seasonings below can be added to most dog’s diets in moderation, all dogs are different, particularly those with a particular health condition or is on specific medications.

Below the list of seasonings can you give a dog I’ve put some further warnings and advice on how to feed them the herbs and spices listed. Bottom line is, keep it minimal.

Without further ado, here are the seasonings a dog can have.

1. Ginger

Ginger is a spicy seasoning that is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. It’s not just tasty and not toxic to dogs, but also has potential health benefits, being well-known for its medicinal properties and distinct flavor.

It has an enticing aroma and mild-yet-pleasant spiciness will give your dog’s food an inviting smell and taste.

You can grate a small piece of fresh ginger and mix it with your dog’s dry kibble as seasoning on their food.

ginger seasoning
Ginger is a safe seasoning you can give a dog in moderation (trGaaSlz6d0)

If they often eat homemade foods, sprinkle a small amount of grated or powdered ginger when preparing their meal or homemade treat.

This super spice has many health benefits for dogs, including:

  • Easing bloat and other stomach discomfort issues.
  • Fighting nausea. If your canine pal normally suffers motion sickness, you can offer them a small piece of ginger before going on a trip.
  • Its anti-inflammatory properties will boost your dog’s overall immunity.
  • It also has anti-cancer properties that hinder the growth of cancer cells.
  • Improving blood circulation.

Avoid adding too much ginger to your dog’s food since it can cause stomach upset and heartburn when taken in excess. Allergies are also possible, and dogs who have liver or kidney problems should avoid ginger completely.

Here’s a warning from Purina.

“Although dogs can eat ginger safely most of the time, there are a few cases in which you should be extra cautious. For example, if your pet has been previously diagnosed with liver or kidney disease, it’s best to keep them away from this spice to be safe. Ginger may interact with certain medication as well, which is why asking your vet for advice is so important.”

2. Turmeric

You can add turmeric to the list of herbs dogs can have. This yellow spice will add a warming color and an earthy-yet-flavorful seasoning and taste to your dog’s food.

When people ask me what seasonings can dogs have on chicken, this is my go to herb and spice.

Along with its fantastic flavor, sprinkling a small quantity of turmeric powder into your dog’s diet can make a huge difference in your canine friend’s well-being and even lifespan.

Turmeric powder has a natural compound known as curcumin. Some researchers call it “cure-cumin” because of its endless body-healing benefits. In fact, in small doses, turmeric is said to have positive impacts on dog’s health – here’s a research study.

In dogs, the curcumin in turmeric fights off conditions such as arthritis, cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, and gastrointestinal complications. The study I linked to would also suggest that this seasoning dogs can have could support healthy joint mobility and comfort.

Curcumin has also been said has a calming effect on dogs that struggle with anxiety.

As with any herb or spice you feed a dog, keep the quantity very small and check with a vet first.

3. Basil

Basil is another seasoning you can add to your dog’s food. I believe that basil has the perfect balance of sweet and peppery and adds an enticing flavor to any dog dish.

You can chop a few washed fresh basil leaves and mix them with your dog’s kibble. Or add basil powder when cooking your dog’s food or treat (they will love it).

You could even make a dog pesto – but don’t add garlic. Garlic is toxic to dogs.

But is basil healthy for dogs?

basil seasoning
Your dog might like a small amount of basil as seasoning (https://unsplash.com/photos/fPLyIOjJxn8)

It’s a resounding yes from me. The basil herb is said to help reduce joint problems in dogs, improves their overall mood by lowering anxiety levels, strengthens immunity, and prevents diseases like diabetes.

Basil is also full of anti-cancer agents that could stop the spread of cancer cells.

4. Cinnamon

Before you read further, be aware that cinnamon essential oil can be toxic to puppies. But, if we’re simply talking of using cinnamon as a seasoning that dogs can have on their food, it’s safe to use.

This sweetly spicy seasoning is often a favorite for many households. So, if you have cinnamon powder in your pantry, you can use a small amount to give your dog’s food a delicious scent and pleasant taste.

Cinnamon powder does more than just flavoring a dog’s meals and treats.

It resolves gastrointestinal issues in dogs, improves brain function (increasing attention span and memory), and keeps chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease at bay. Cinnamon has high calcium levels that relieve arthritis symptoms and generally strengthen a dog’s bone structure.

The nutrients in cinnamon such as Vitamin C and iron can also boost your dog’s immune system.

5. Rosemary

Other herbs dogs can have includes rosemary. Rosemary’s powerful aroma and sharp, earthy flavor go a long way in making a dog’s meal appetizing. Some will add it to improve the taste of water if their dog refuses to drink from his bowl.

In fact, the rosemary herb is used in many commercial dog foods as a natural preservative, so there’s no harm in adding a small amount of rosemary powder, or a few rosemary leaves to your canine pal’s diet.

This dog-safe seasoning can help with digestive issues in dogs, fights infections, and boosts a dog’s mood and energy.

Rosemary is also said to contain anti-cancer properties and has Carnosic acid that prevents brain damage and heart diseases in dogs.

6. Dill

To really add seasoning to a dog’s food, try dill. Whilst you might know it as being used to season fish and cucumber dishes, dill can also give your dog’s food a zesty flavor.

As with other herbs dogs can eat, you can use fresh dill leaves or a minimal amount of dill powder in your canine friend’s meals.

Dill seasoning helps relieve gas and other tummy discomfort problems in dogs. It contains plenty of nutrients, can treat bad breath, keeps their organs healthy and minimizes arthritis symptoms.

Dill is also said help eliminate free radicals so might have cancer-fighting properties.

Other seasonings you can give a dog – but I don’t recommend

There are three other herbs and seasonings that you will often see on other websites saying it’s ok for dogs to eat. Whilst that’s true to a certain extent if done in moderation, there are small risks which is why I don’t let my dog eat them.

1. Mint (I don’t recommend)

Whilst a little mint is ok to season your dog’s food, and is even used in many dog treats because of its refreshing flavor, proceed with caution.

The Farmer’s Dog website explain that whilst dogs can eat a little mint as seasoning on meals, be aware of what the mint family of herbs can also to do dogs.

Here’s a quote from them:

“Peppermint may soothe your dog’s nausea and upset stomach, but in large quantities it can also cause liver or kidney problems. Similarly, spearmint can freshen your dog’s breath and repel fleas, but larger doses could cause diarrhea or vomiting, so proper portioning is key. The mint family is diverse, with varieties like lavender mint, apple mint, and even pineapple mint. Just be sure to steer clear of Pennyroyal, a type of non-culinary mint that is toxic for both people and pets.”

If you do decide to use mint as seasoning on dog food, use standard culinary mint. You can sprinkle a little mint powder or add small pieces of mint leaves to your dog’s food.

Mint powder is a fantastic seasoning for dogs because it kills bacteria in their mouth. If your four-legged friend has horrible breath, mint can do the magic.

This herb also relieves stomach discomfort and contains antioxidants that strengthen your dog’s immune system’s ability to defeat infections.

2. Oregano (I don’t recommend)

This is a controversial one, so definitely consult with your vet first. The reason I say that is because the respected Wag Walking website recently published an article titled “oregano poisoning in dogs”… alarming right?

Here’s a quote from their website:

“Oregano poisoning is usually a mild condition. Although this spice is not very toxic, it may still cause intense digestive disturbances, including vomiting and diarrhea. It has also been known to cause more serious side effects in some rare cases, such as decreased heart rate, low blood pressure, and ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract.”

It certainly something to consider.

However, other pet websites to say you can let your dog have a little oregano as it has an earthy taste that can elevate the taste of your dog’s meals. Research also shows that oregano contains the highest amounts of antioxidants among other herbs.

Just to clarify, antioxidants are simply natural chemicals present in foods (vegetables, fruits, and herbs) that play a huge role in maintaining a dog’s health.

Among the benefits of Oregano in dogs include better blood circulation, a stronger immune system, and better joint health.

Oregano also does a great job in clearing toxins from your dog’s body, and dealing with flu symptoms, heartburn, and bloating issues.

As much as Oregano is packed with antioxidants, you should only use this dog-safe seasoning sparingly.

I will leave it up to you to decide what to do… but I personally would not season my dog’s food with oregano just in case.

3. Parsley (I don’t recommend)

As with the other herbs on this list, parsley should be fine as a dog food seasoning in small amounts, but again I would not recommend it.

The Wag Walking website say:

“Parsley is one of these ingredients that may seem harmless but it can actually lead to symptoms of toxicity in your dog. Cymopterus watsonii is a type of parsley that can cause skin problems in your dog if ingested.”

Now obviously this warning is when dogs eat large amounts of parsley, but it’s enough to put me off adding to my dog’s meals.

However, if you do decide to use it sparingly, because of its fresh taste, parsley can come to the rescue of many bland dog dishes, whether in its powdered or fresh form.

Parsley contains vitamins and antioxidants that will improve your dog’s vision, enhance oral health, help their organs function properly, and fight off urinary tract infections.

Plus, the dietary fiber in parsley also enhances healthy digestion in dogs.

Read this before you add seasonings to dog food

Your dog’s health history also matters, so be sure to speak to your vet before introducing any new seasoning to their meal.

Another thing you should remember is to keep it minimal.

Use your chosen seasoning in small doses since excess will only make your dog experience horrible side effects.

Plus, starting off with a small number of herbs and spices will also lower your dog’s chances of a serious allergic reaction because they had too much of a new seasoning.

You also wouldn’t want their food loaded with so much spice, making it overwhelming to eat. If you’ve ever tried having an over-seasoned meal, you know what I’m talking about.

Don’t hesitate to ask your vet about the right amount of seasoning to use in your dog’s meal.

FAQs on seasoning a dog’s meal

How to season dog food?

To season dog food, you only need to add a small amount of your preferred dog-safe seasoning, as mentioned earlier.

What herbs are good for dogs?

There are several herbs safe for dogs to eat, among them rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon, mint, and basil.

Handy Hint: Don’t let your dog miss out on Thanksgiving! Here are some safe foods your dog can eat in the holiday period.


They say that the tastiest meals are made with love…. and a dash of seasoning of course!

Seasonings are probably one the best things that ever happened to the food world. We all know that these special ingredients make the most basic meals taste magical.

The good news is our treasured four-legged friends too can experience some “seasoning goodness.” There are a bunch of spices and fresh herbs that your dog can eat safely, but please do it sparingly and check with a vet first.

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Photo in header via https://unsplash.com/photos/_YDK1Kw61jY

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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