Basil is a popular and tasty culinary herb from the mint family, both the leaves and tender stems of the plant are used to add flavor to a variety of cuisine. It is used in thousands of recipes all over the planet – from pasta, pesto, and pizza to salads, smoothies, and even sweets!
But, what about dogs? Can dogs eat basil? Yes! Dogs can safely eat basil in small quantities and it actually has a variety of health benefits that are great for them.
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Health benefits of basil for dogs
Basil is a natural ingredient that is readily available from most grocery stores or you can grow it yourself!
Basil has historically been used in Chinese and folk medicine on account of its beneficial properties. If you decide to add basil to your dog’s diet, it can provide them with a number of different health benefits…
Basil acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, containing a number of different compounds that have been proven to reduce inflammatory responses in tissues.
Improved infection response
Basil has been shown to act as an antimicrobial agent which may improve your dog’s ability to fight infection.
Teeth problems can be a problem for many dog breeds. Daily brushing is often recommended to help keep your dog’s plaque under control, however, basil has also been seen to decrease bacterial growth which is responsible for tooth decay!
Lower blood sugars and cholestrol
Some studies have shown that ingesting basil can decrease blood sugars and that overall cholesterol is lowered.
Contains small amounts of Vitamin K and A
Basil contains both vitamins A and vitamin K. Vitamin K helps to metabolize calcium within the body and store it in the bones. Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that helps with vision, bone growth, and immune response.
Basil contains a compound called eugenol which promotes a healthy gut system. Dogs with stomach upset may show improvement if fed a small amount of basil.
Can basil be harmful to dogs?
As with any food, some dogs may be able to tolerate basil more than others. Basil is not a toxic herb to dogs and can be offered in both fresh and dry forms.
Basil should be given in small quantities and in moderation, as part of a wider, balanced diet. As basil acts as a digestive aid, too much basil may cause gastrointestinal upset, with vomiting and diarrhea.
This is unlikely though post basil ingestion and is usually only seen if fed in large amounts. If you’re worried about your dog’s behavior or concerned about your dog after they have consumed basil, always seek veterinary advice.
What types of basil can dogs eat?
Do dogs like Basil?
In the same way as humans, some dogs may really enjoy basil, while others may not.
Basil has a distinct flavor and can be described as sweet, earthy, and peppery. Dogs being carnivores, usually have a predominantly meat-based diet, so basil might not appeal to them! It’s very much down to the individual.
How to include basil in a dog's diet
Basil can be introduced to a dog’s diet in a number of different ways. There are a variety of different recipes available across the internet, but again be mindful of the other ingredients and ensure they are safe for dogs to consume.
You could try adding basil to your dog’s diet in the following ways;
- Sprinkled as a garnish – The easiest and simplest way to offer basil to your dog is to finely chop a few basil leaves and garnish your dog’s food with it. Easy and makes it look pretty too!
- Homemade meals – If you’re a posh canine chef and cook your (rather spoilt) dog’s food yourself, try adding freshly chopped or dried basil to your usual recipe.
- Basil treats – If you’re feeling particularly creative, look online to find a dog treat recipe. These will often include oats, honey, and flour. Simply combine basil into these ingredients before baking and voila! A tasty basil treat for your lucky pooch.
Note: Basil should only be used as an addition to a dog’s diet and not a replacement.
You can offer basil alongside a number of other foods such as olives, crab, plantain, beets, papaya, okra, carrots, or even seaweed, in addition to your dog’s usual diet.
These foods should generally make up a small proportion of your dog’s diet and not be used as a replacement.
Suggested reading: Can dogs eat oreos?, Can dogs eat prunes? Can dogs eat pepperoni? Can dogs eat potato skins?
Can dogs eat food containing basil
As we all know, dogs will eat pretty much anything – including things that they shouldn’t! It is fine for dogs to eat basil, and foods containing basil, in moderation, however, don’t be tempted to feed your dog your own food, just because it has got basil in it.
Feeding human foods to dogs can be unhealthy as they can often contain processed ingredients and salt.
Basil is often included in dishes such as pasta and pepperoni pizza, and pairs very well with ingredients such as garlic and onion which is toxic to dogs, so you could quickly find yourself counteracting the benefits basil has to offer, and even posing a risk to their health.
Feeding dogs human foods can also lead to unwanted begging behavior and obesity. Basil additives and treats should only ever be offered to your dog if it has been manufactured by a reputable company or if you add it to your dog’s food yourself.
Conclusion - Can dogs eat basil?
So basil has quite a number of health benefits for our canine friends. It is packed full of vitamins, has anti-inflammatory properties, and can even help with your dog’s immune system.
Basil can make a great additive to your dog’s meals, but should only be offered in moderation. If you’re concerned about your dog after they have eaten basil or they show any signs of vomiting or diarrhea, always seek veterinary attention.