A guide to cilantro for dogs

Can dogs eat cilantro? – yes they can! Cilantro has a number of different health benefits that can support your dog’s health including aiding digestion, providing extra vitamins, and acting as a natural anti-inflammatory. 

Whilst cilantro shouldn’t be the only source of these benefits, it may be worth offering it as part of a wider, more varied diet. Let’s delve into the benefits of cilantro and see how it can help our furry friends!

Table of Contents

What is cilantro?

The herb cilantro is an annual plant, and the leaves and stems are often used in cooking. They are either ground into a paste, made into a chutney or simply sprinkled as a garnish. The taste of cilantro is unique and has a ‘love it or hate it’ reputation.

Cilantro is known as coriander in some parts of the World and is a plant that is part of the Coriandrum sativum family. 

On an international basis, the leaves and the stalks of the plant are called Coriander, and the dried seeds often used to add spice to a dish, are called coriander seeds.

In North America, the stalks and the leaves of the plant are called Cilantro, as this is the Spanish name for coriander leaves. The dried seeds from the plant are then referred to as coriander. 

To make things more confusing it can also be known as Chinese parsley or Dhania. So, to make sure we’re all on the same page and for the purpose of this article, we will be referring to Cilantro as the leaves and stems of the plant, unless stated otherwise!

Is cilantro safe for dogs?

Cilantro is safe for dogs to consume and can be introduced into their diet as a way of supporting them with additional dietary benefits. 

Let’s look at the different health benefits that may come with offering cilantro to your dog;


Cilantro is a source of potassium – an essential mineral that helps to support your dog’s bodily functions, including heart, muscles, and nerves.

Vitamin A

This essential fat-soluble vitamin helps to support bone growth, contribute to a healthy immune system and look after your dog’s vision.

Vitamin C

Whilst dogs can essentially synthesize their own Vitamin C, it doesn’t hurt to add some to their diet too. Vitamin C protects cells, aids healing, and helps maintain a beautiful coat.


This marvelous mineral helps our dogs to grow and contributes to the healing of damaged tissues. It also helps in supporting a healthy immune system.


Acting as a natural anti-inflammatory, cilantro can help to reduce swelling in the body, whether in tissues, joints, or from an injury. Keep in mind that cilantro should not be used as an alternative to prescription anti-inflammatories.

Digestive aid

By consuming cilantro, dogs may benefit from this natural digestive aid. Cilantro helps with the production of digestive enzymes and also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria.


Cilantro contains a high level of anti-oxidants which help to protect the cells of our dog’s bodies from damage.

can dogs eat cilantro

dog breath!

Cilantro has also been found to help our dog’s breath smell better! If your pooch is suffering from a touch of halitosis, it may be worth offering them some cilantro to see if it improves!

Keep in mind that bad breath can also be a sign of dental disease, anal gland problems, or an infection, so do contact your veterinary surgeon if your dog’s bad breath does not resolve.

How to serve cilantro to dogs

Cilantro has an acquired taste, some people love it and others compare it to soap!

As a cilantro lover, it is hard to understand why anyone doesn’t like the taste! However, due to its unique flavor, it may be that some dogs are reluctant to eat cilantro. It is also quite fragrant which may result in your pooch turning their nose away from this tasty herb.

The easiest way to offer cilantro to your dog is to simply garnish their food with it. You can either keep the leaves whole or chop them up and mix them into their food.

If it turns out that your dog is a cilantro lover, there are plenty of dog-friendly recipes across the internet. In the summer, try freezing cilantro in some ice cubes as a way of keeping your dog cool.

If your pooch is not a fan of cilantro, don’t try to force them to eat it. There are other ways in which you can offer your dog additional vitamins and minerals.

Suggested reading: How many treats can my dog have a day?

Is cilantro bad for dogs?

Cilantro is not bad for dogs, however, it does contain lots of fiber. If consumed in high volumes, it can cause digestive problems. 

You should only offer a small amount of cilantro initially and observe for any adverse reactions. If no allergic reactions or digestive problems occur, it is probably safe to say that their bodies can tolerate it.

Only offer small amounts of cilantro a couple of times a week in their food. Cilantro should not be their only source of vitamins and minerals as this should be found within their main diets.

Ensure that your dog is on a high-quality dog food before trying to supplement with cilantro. Speak with your veterinary practice if you need advice on what dog food to offer to your pooch.

Can dogs eat food containing cilantro?

Depending on what the dish that contains cilantro is, depends on whether or not dogs can eat it. Cilantro is commonly served in Mexican, Spanish, or Asian cuisine. 

Ensure that the dish does not contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs such as onions, garlic, or avocado. As a general rule, it is wise not to offer your dog human foods to help avoid unwanted begging behavior, obesity, or the possibility of ingesting a toxic food source.

When a dog suffers from an upset stomach, your vet may advise offering a bland diet of chicken and rice. It can be beneficial to add a small amount of cilantro to the rice to help as a digestive aid and support healthy bacteria within the gut.

Can dogs eat cilantro lime rice?

Dogs should not eat cilantro lime rice. Whilst rice and cilantro are safe for dogs to consume, limes should not be consumed by dogs. 

Limes are toxic to dogs including the zest, pulp, juice, and even the lime tree. If your dog has ingested any form of lime, then contact your veterinary practice for advice. 

Symptoms of lime ingestion can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Liver failure
  • Loss of coordination (Ataxia)

Can dogs eat cilantro seeds?

Whether we’re calling them cilantro seeds or coriander seeds, they are safe for dogs to ingest. 

You should not offer the seeds whole, they should first be ground into a fine powder. These can then be offered in the same way as cilantro leaves in your dog’s usual diet.

The ground seeds also have a unique flavor, so dogs may be reluctant to eat them. Offer a small amount initially and then if your dog enjoys them, you can begin to include them as a regular part of your dog’s diet.

Alternatives to cilantro

Whilst cilantro may be a fantastic addition to your dog’s diet, there are other herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are packed with vitamins and minerals and offer a similar cocktail of nutrition, including:

Basil: Similar to cilantro, basil offers anti-inflammatory properties as well as vitamins A & K and can also contribute to a better-smelling breath!

Ground cinnamon: Cinnamon is a fantastic spice that can offer plenty of benefits for your dog! Cinnamon is packed with anti-oxidants, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and has anti-fungal properties.

Papaya: A fruit that is packed with vitamins C, E and K along with magnesium, calcium, and fiber.

Sage: A herb similar to cilantro, sage contains vitamins A, E, and K as well as containing high levels of magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Similar to cilantro, sage also promotes a healthy digestive system.

Beets: This earthy vegetable offers a variety of benefits including high levels of potassium, iron, and magnesium, as well as Vitamin C.

Suggested reading – check out some of our other guides to what your pooch can and cannot eat:

Can dogs eat cilantro? Final thoughts

Whether you love it or hate it, cilantro may be able to offer a variety of benefits for your canine companion and may be of particular benefit to dogs that are of old age or suffering from arthritis or gastrointestinal upset. 

Always be sure to introduce new foods slowly into your dog’s diet and only offer them a small amount initially. If you are wanting to supplement your dog’s diet due to health concerns, always speak with your veterinary surgeon for dietary advice. 

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