If you’re lucky enough to have rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) in your garden, you’re well aware of the divine aroma of this evergreen shrub. It is not for nothing that this aromatic herb has been used since ancient times to enhance the flavor of savory dishes. It’s also known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, so it makes sense that it’s commonly used as an herbal remedy. But can these impressive health properties also benefit your beloved canine companion?
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), rosemary is considered non-toxic to dogs (and to cats and horses). But that doesn’t mean you should start mixing fresh rosemary leaves into your pup’s favorite meals. While a few sprigs of this herb shouldn’t cause your dog any harm, too much of it could lead to side effects.
Is Rosemary Safe for Your Dog?
Yes, rosemary is generally safe for dogs, which means you won’t have to rush to the vet if your furry friend munches on a few leaves. However, being non-toxic doesn’t mean you should give your dog free rein around the plant.
For one thing, rosemary leaves are dense plant matter that contains a great deal of fiber, so if your dog consumes a large amount of it, it could cause digestive issues like stomach upset, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Moreover, some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to certain foods, and this may include rosemary (though this is not common). If you notice signs of an allergic reaction, such as itching, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing, you should seek veterinary care immediately.
Are There Any Benefits to Giving Rosemary to Your Dog?
Rosemary has the interest of the scientific community because of its many pharmacological properties and therapeutic applications for human health. Indeed, this plant is widely known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-neurodegenerative properties. It is often used in alternative medicine to relieve rheumatic pain, heartburn, or menstrual cramps.
Many studies have been conducted on the potential health benefits of rosemary extract in animal models. For example, a 2013 study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology suggested that ethanolic rosemary extract may help prevent gastric ulcers in rats.
In a study published in 2017 in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, the researchers investigated the anti-inflammatory effect of rosemary extract. Their data provided initial support that certain neurological disorders associated with inflammation may derive benefits from rosemary extract. Rosemary is also thought to have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties and may even improve oxygenation to the brain.
That said, most clinical studies are done on rats, and there is less information on the effects of rosemary on dogs. Still, a study on canine cancer cells showed that extracts of rosemary leaves and turmeric root applied to these cancer cells could slow their growth. Researchers are still a long way from finding a cure for the various forms of cancer that can afflict our dear canine companions, but it seems like a promising area of study.
How to Safely Give Rosemary to Your Dog
If you want to test the effects of rosemary on your dog, it is best to seek the advice of your veterinarian first. If you have permission, you can start by mixing a small number of rosemary leaves into your dog’s food. Monitor your pet closely for the next few days, and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
FAQs About Dogs and Rosemary
Can You Use Rosemary Oil as a Natural Remedy for Fleas and Ticks?
While the scent of rosemary oil may function as a natural deterrent for fleas and ticks, it is not a guaranteed solution. Moreover, the ASPCA warns pet owners against giving or applying highly concentrated oils to their animals due to the potential toxic effects. Therefore, for effective and safe flea-and-tick prevention, it’s best to use veterinarian-approved products specifically designed for your four-legged companion.
Are There Other Herbs That Are Safe for Dogs?
Yes, herbs commonly found in kitchens that are safe for dogs include basil, cilantro, sage, and dill.
What Should You Do If You Think That Your Dog Ate a Toxic Herb or Plant?
If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888)-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855)-764-7661.
Tips for a Healthy Diet for Your Pup
A healthy diet is the basis of your dog’s well-being. Here are a few tips for your pup to maintain a healthy mind in a healthy body:
In short, rosemary may have health benefits for dogs, though there is still much to learn about the most effective and safest ways to use it. A few sprigs of fresh rosemary mixed into your best pal’s favorite food can be a great place to start. Your pup may even enjoy the delicious smell and taste. But as you should do after any new introduction to your pet’s diet, observe them for any negative side effects and seek professional advice if in doubt. The key to a happy, healthy pup is a balanced, well-monitored diet, coupled with regular vet checkups and of course, love and attention from their human caregivers!
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