Dogs often have a way of charming their way to eating their humans’ table food. While many of us find them irresistible and often give in, feeding them scraps of our own food, it is important to know if the food you’re eating is also safe for dogs to eat.
Bay leaves are an ingredient found in many recipes that you may wonder about being safe to feed your dog. Unfortunately, no, you cannot give dogs bay leaves. Bay leaves are toxic for dogs and cannot be ingested by them safely.
Here, we talk about what makes bay leaves dangerous for dogs, and what to do if they accidentally eat them!
Why Are Bay Leaves Dangerous for Dogs?
The bay leaf is an aromatic leaf that is commonly used as a seasoning for cooking. They are used in a variety of cuisines around the world—from Indian and Filipino food in Asia, to French and Greek cuisines in Europe. Bay leaves are used in soups, brines, meats, seafood, vegetable dishes, and even sauces. The leaves are eventually discarded after cooking and are also not consumed by humans.
Bay leaves contain a variety of essential oils that are toxic to dogs, including eugenol.1 These essential oils found in bay leaves are the main reason why they are not allowed for dogs, as they do not have the necessary enzymes in their digestive system that allow them to properly digest them. Ingestion of bay leaves can cause a variety of symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy, which may require prompt medical attention.
Aside from eugenol and the other essential oils found in bay leaves, the physical properties of the bay leaves can cause complications for your dog. Since they cannot properly digest the leaf, it can cause blockages in the digestive tract. The sharp edges of the leaf can also cause scratches and abrasions along the digestive tract, leading to the potential for internal damage.
What Do I Do If My Dog Ate Bay Leaves?
If you discover that your dog consumed a bay leaf (or leaves), ensure that all other bay leaves are no longer within reach of your dog. Monitor your dog for symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and any other changes in behavior, or visible signs of discomfort. Symptoms may vary depending on different factors, such as age, size, and the amount of bay leaves consumed by your dog.
If your dog consumed only a small piece of bay leaf, chances are you may see little to no signs of discomfort. But if your dog consumed several leaves, they may be at risk of digestive distress. Regardless of the amount, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian for recommendations and medical care.
Can Dogs Eat Leaves?
Dogs are in fact omnivores—meaning they can get sustenance from both meat and plant-based sources. Leaves and grass are not generally harmful, and you may find your dog consuming a few, especially if you live in an area with trees. Dogs are also curious creatures and may use their mouths to explore their surroundings, which may occasionally lead them to consume leaves off the ground.
While technically safe, it is still best to keep them from eating large amounts of leaves. Not only will they not receive much nutritional value from leaves, they may experience blockage from eating them, or accidentally consume a toxic plant.
Bay leaves are dangerous for dogs due to their chemical and physical properties and, therefore, should not be ingested by them. They contain numerous essential oils that are toxic to dogs, especially eugenol. Dogs are unable to break down these essential oils due to their lack of the necessary enzymes for digesting them. Bay leaves in sufficient quantities can also cause blockage and internal damage in the digestive tract.
It is best to keep a close eye on the food your dog eats, as humans and dogs have different digestive systems. What is safe for humans to eat is not always safe for dogs, so it is best to always be careful what you feed your dog!