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Can Dogs Eat Fennel? Is Fennel Safe for Dogs?

Nicole Cosgrove

Fennel is commonly used in salads, soups, and stews and has been widely used for health purposes, including for heartburn, bloating, and even colic in infants. This aromatic herb is used for its flavorful bulb and its leaves and stalks.

With its unique flavor and wide range of uses, fennel can be commonplace in many households. But is it safe for your dog? Can your dog safely eat fennel? The short answer is yes! Fennel is perfectly safe for dogs to eat and contains several potential health benefits for your pooch and is packed with nutrition.

In this article, we take a look at what benefits can be gained from feeding fennel to your dogs, any potential concerns, and how to prepare it. Let’s get started!

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What is fennel?

Fennel is a hardy, perennial flowering herb species in the carrot family, although it is not considered a root vegetable. It has yellow flowers and small, feathery leaves with an aniseed-like and licorice flavor and is the primary ingredient in absinthe. Every part of the fennel plant is edible, from the bulb to the flowers, and it can be eaten raw or cooked.

Typically, the bulb is most often used in modern meals, but the dried leaves and flowers can be used as a flavoring too. Fennel is low in calories but high in nutrients like fiber and vitamins.

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Image Credit: Nina Buday, Shutterstock

Potential benefits of feeding fennel to your dog

Fennel has a host of nutritional benefits for your dog, but it has most commonly been used as a breath freshener. Adding a sprinkling of dried fennel leaves and flowers to your dog’s food can do wonders for bad breath! Apart from that, there are other great benefits that can be gained from feeding fennel to your pooch:

  • Fennel is a great source of vitamin A and C, which are powerful antioxidants that can help fight against free radicals and promote a healthy cardiovascular system.
  • Potassium helps promote optimal organ function in your pooch, aiding in the functioning of their heart, muscle functions, and nerves.
  • Iron is an essential mineral that aids in the synthesis of blood and has various other vital roles in your dog’s physiological functioning.
  • One of the most well-known benefits of fennel is its healthy effect on the digestive tract. It can be an aid in constipation and bloat and prevent the occurrence of muscle pain and spasms.
  • Calcium is essential for the health of your dog’s teeth, bones, and blood.

How to add fennel to your dog’s diet

Fennel can be eaten in a variety of ways, and the bulbs, stalks, leaves, and seeds are all safe for your dog, though your pooch may not appreciate the potent aromatic flavor of the plant. This can make it difficult to add to your dog’s diet, and you may need to disguise it in other food.

Fresh fennel plants are available at most grocers, or you can buy the dried seeds and flowers in the spice aisle. The seeds can be used to make a light fennel tea, which you can add to their water bowl. Begin with a very small mixture and increase it slowly, as too much may result in diarrhea. It’s important to take your dog’s size and weight into consideration and adjust the amounts accordingly.

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Image Credit: katiklinski, Pixabay

You may also try simply sprinkling the seeds onto your dog’s food, but again, try a very small amount at first, as they may not enjoy the aromatic flavor. Finally, you can try cooking the bulbs and mixing them into your dog’s food. Be sure to chop the bulb into very small pieces, as it does have a strong flavor.

If you are unsure about how much to give to your dog, it’s a good idea to consult your vet. While fennel is perfectly safe for dogs, too much of it at once can cause digestive troubles.

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Final Thoughts

Fennel is a great addition to your dog’s diet, with several potential health benefits and possible mild side effects. Besides freshening your dog’s breath, fennel can also help with stomach issues, like bloat and constipation, and act as an immune booster. Best of all, fennel is an inexpensive and easy-to-grow herb, making for a quick and simple way to add extra nutrients to your dog’s diet.


Featured Image: congerdesign, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.