Dogs can eat rosemary in moderation, as it is safe and healthy for them.
Rosemary is an aromatic herb that is commonly used for cooking, but you may wonder if it’s safe for dogs. Rosemary has some potential health benefits as well as risks for dogs.
What is Rosemary?
Rosemary, or Rosmarinus officinalis, is a fragrant evergreen herb that belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. It’s native to the Mediterranean region but is now grown worldwide. Rosemary has needle-like leaves and pink, purple, white, or blue flowers.
The rosemary leaves contain essential oils like cineole, borneol, bornyl acetate, camphor, and pinene. These compounds give rosemary its distinctive scent and flavor. Rosemary also contains polyphenols, antioxidants that may offer health benefits.
Rosemary has a woody, pine-like flavor. It’s used fresh or dried to season many foods, especially meats, vegetables, and oils. Rosemary can also be consumed as a tea. Historically, rosemary has been used medicinally for conditions like indigestion, coughs, headaches, and muscle pain.
Can Dogs Eat Rosemary?
Rosemary is safe and healthy for dogs but can also pose some risks. Rosemary has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties that may help fight infections, reduce inflammation, and support brain health in dogs. The polyphenols, essential oils, and certain acids in rosemary provide these health effects.
However, rosemary does come with some precautions. Excessive intake can cause gastrointestinal upset like vomiting or diarrhea. Some dogs may be allergic to rosemary and experience dermatitis, wheezing, or other reactions.
There are concerns about rosemary interacting with certain medications like diuretics and NSAIDs. High doses of essential oils have been linked to toxicity issues like seizures in dogs.
Potential Benefits of Rosemary for Dogs
Rosemary has some active compounds and properties that may benefit dogs when consumed in moderation. Here are some of the possible benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory effects – Rosemary contains Polyphenols and other compounds that have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in some studies. The inflammation-reducing effects may help relieve joint pain or arthritis in dogs.
- Improved digestion – The essential oils in rosemary can help stimulate the production of bile and gastric juices. That may aid digestion in dogs, especially those with indigestion or flatulence issues.
- Antimicrobial properties – Rosemary has shown antibacterial, antiviral, and Antifungal activities in lab research. These properties may help fight infections and support immune function in dogs.
- Antioxidant effects – The Polyphenols found in rosemary are potent antioxidants. These compounds can neutralize damaging free radicals and oxidative stress in the body. Antioxidants support overall health in dogs.
- Neuroprotective effects – Rosemary contains Carnosic and Rosmarinic acids that may protect brain cells. That could potentially delay Neurodegenerative diseases in senior dogs.
Potential Risks of Rosemary for Dogs
While rosemary does have some health benefits for dogs, there are also some risks associated with it:
- Gastrointestinal issues – While rosemary may aid digestion, too much can irritate the gastrointestinal tract. If dogs consume excessive amounts, it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or tummy aches.
- Allergic reactions – Some dogs may be allergic to rosemary and experience dermatitis, itchy skin, hives, or wheezing. Discontinue use if you notice any allergic symptoms.
- Drug interactions – Rosemary can interact with some medications like Lasix (furosemide), ACE inhibitors, phenobarbital, and steroids. It may increase the risk of bleeding or kidney damage.
- Reproductive issues – There is limited evidence that rosemary may affect dog reproduction. It’s best to avoid giving it to pregnant or nursing dogs.
- Toxicity – Essential oils in rosemary can be toxic in large doses. Oil of rosemary has caused seizures in dogs at high concentrations.
Can Puppies Eat Rosemary?
Puppies generally have more sensitive stomachs and metabolism than adult dogs. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in rosemary can be beneficial for puppies. But the risks like gastrointestinal upset are also more significant for puppies.
Tiny amounts of rosemary can have puppies occasionally. But it’s best to avoid regular use until the puppy matures, usually over 6-12 months old. Check with your veterinarian before giving puppies any new foods, spices, or herbs.
How Much Rosemary Can Dogs Eat?
When given in moderation, rosemary is generally safe for most dogs. However, dosing recommendations can vary based on your dog’s size and health status. Here are some general guidelines for how much rosemary dogs can have:
- For a large dog over 50 lbs, limit to 1 tsp of dried rosemary daily or 1 tbsp fresh rosemary 2-3 times weekly.
- For a medium dog of 25-50 lbs, give a half tsp dried rosemary daily or 2 tsp fresh rosemary 2-3 times weekly.
- For a small dog under 25 lbs, 1/4 tsp dried or 1 tsp fresh rosemary 2-3 times weekly is appropriate.
- For pregnant dogs, nursing, or on any medications, check with a vet before feeding rosemary.
- Start with small amounts and monitor your dog’s reaction before increasing the rosemary dosage.
- Do not exceed the recommended dosages, as excessive rosemary can cause toxicity.
Always supervise your dog when feeding a new herb and watch for reactions. Discuss proper rosemary dosage for your dog with your veterinarian.
How to Safely Feed Rosemary to Dogs?
If you want to share some rosemary with your dog, here are some tips for doing so safely:
- Always use fresh or high-quality dried rosemary. Do not give the essential oil of rosemary.
- Chop or mince fresh rosemary very finely to release the essential oils. This maximizes the flavor, so you need less.
- Mix a small amount (following dosage guidelines) into your dog’s regular food.
- Start with 1-2 times a week and gradually increase frequency based on tolerance.
- Avoid combining with other new foods, spices, herbs, or supplements.
- Stay within recommended dosages based on your dog’s size. Estimate amounts carefully.
- Keep rosemary out of reach. Dogs may eat excess amounts if they access a whole bag or plant.
- Stop feeding rosemary if you notice any diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, or other adverse effects.
- Talk to your veterinarian before feeding pregnant, nursing, or medically compromised dogs.
With careful dosing and monitoring, many dogs can enjoy a little rosemary as part of a varied diet. But always exercise caution when introducing new foods.
Should Rosemary Be Avoided for Some Dogs?
Certain dogs should not be given rosemary to be safe:
- Puppies under 6 months old
- Pregnant or nursing dogs
- Dogs with kidney disease, liver disease, seizures, diabetes or glaucoma
- Dogs taking diuretics, phenobarbital, steroids or NSAIDs
- Dogs with a known allergy or sensitivity to rosemary
If your dog falls into any of these categories, avoid feeding rosemary. Check with your vet first for dosing guidance if you’re unsure. It’s better to be safe than cause harm, especially in higher-risk dogs.
Signs of Rosemary Toxicity in Dogs
Hopefully, you’ll never experience rosemary toxicity in your dog. But here are some signs to watch for:
- Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
- Increased urination or kidney dysfunction
- Muscle tremors, seizures, collapse
- Panting, difficulty breathing, wheezing
- Red, itchy skin or hives
- Low energy, weakness, stumbling
If you notice these symptoms, bring your dog to the veterinarian immediately. Treatment may include inducing vomiting, gastrointestinal protectants, IV fluids, seizure medications, and other supportive care.
FAQs on Can Dogs Eat Rosemary
Can I put rosemary in my dog’s food every day?
Limiting rosemary to 2-3 times a week at recommended doses is best. Regular daily use may cause GI upset in some dogs.
What part of the rosemary plant can dogs eat?
Only the leaves are safe for dogs. Avoid the stem and flowers, which are more challenging to digest. Do not feed essential oils.
Can I give my dog rosemary-infused olive oil?
Yes, adding a small amount of food-grade rosemary oil to your dog’s food should be safe and provide flavor. But avoid essential oils.
Is rosemary safe for dogs with kidney disease?
Rosemary is not healthy for dogs with kidney disease as it can irritate the kidneys. Check with your vet first.
Rosemary has some beneficial nutrients and compounds that are safe for most dogs in moderation. Small amounts of freshly chopped leaves can be added to a dog’s diet 2-3 times per week. But avoid overdosing, as rosemary can cause toxicity at excessive levels.
Check with your vet before feeding rosemary to high-risk dogs or using long-term. Monitor your dog for any adverse effects like digestive upset.