Top Herbs and Spices for your Pet’s Diet
The 20th of this month brings Love Your Pet Day, a day for showing your furry companion just how much you love and appreciate them. And whilst for many of us, not a day goes by where we don’t shower our pets with love and attention, it never hurts to be reminded just how special our four-legged family members are to us. Just about any pet owner already knows the way to your pet’s heart is through their stomach, and just how we love our food seasoned to perfection and loaded with flavour, your pets do too, so we’ve collated a list of herbs and spices to add a little zest to your pets’ dinners as well as some tasty treat recipes we know they’ll just love. Plus, just as herbs and spices are super-beneficial for our health and wellbeing, they can be incredible immune-boosting and digestion-aiding ingredients for animals’ food too. Keep reading to learn all about which herbs and spices to add for taste and health to your pets’ food as well as which ones are best avoided.
Safe herbs and spices for pets
Serving: 1/16th tsp ground and stirred through food
Benefits: Aids in digestion as well as alleviate nausea, gas and stomach pains. It has also been known to help with respiratory problems such as coughing and boost energy levels.
Risks to consider: Use only in older pets’ diets and in very small quantities as larger doses can cause upset stomachs, decreased heart rate and lethargy.
Serving: 1/8th – 1tsp sprinkled over food
Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, antimicrobial, antiviral, can have calming effects for anxious dogs, vitamins A, B complex, C, E, as well as minerals.
Risks to consider: Large quantities can cause upset stomachs and some pets may be allergic.
Serving: 1/16th to ¼ tsp ground and sprinkled on food.
Benefits: Vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folate, potassium, zinc, essential minerals, antimicrobial and antifungal properties, antioxidants. Can also aid in digestion and relieve stomach aches.
Risks to consider: Too much can result in nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea. Some pets are allergic.
Serving: 1/8th to ½ tsp ground and sprinkled on food.
Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, helps regulate blood sugar.
Risks to consider: Large amounts can be harmful and cause stomach upset. Do not allow your pet to inhale the spice, this may result in coughing, choking, and difficulty breathing.
Serving: ½tsp per 4 kilos of body weight.
Benefits: Vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, antioxidants, freshens breath.
Risks to consider: Large amounts are toxic. If consumed in large amounts, photosensitization (sunburn dermatitis) can occur.
Serving: 1/8th to ½ tsp.
Benefits: Antioxidant, iron, calcium, vitamin B6, antimicrobial, antispasmodic.
Risks to consider: Some dogs can be allergic to rosemary. Symptoms can be as minor as itching to as severe as seizures. Large amounts can cause stomach upset. Do not use rosemary oils or essences.
Serving: 1/8th to 1tsp mixed into food.
Benefits: Vitamins A, E, and K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc, helps with some gastrointestinal issues, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory.
Risks to consider: Only use in moderation and never give in excess.
Serving: ½ to 1tsp every few days.
Benefits: Vitamin A, C, and K, iron, manganese, calcium, antioxidants, fibre, antifungal, antibacterial, antispasmodic.
Risks to consider: Large amounts can cause stomach. Spanish variety is toxic to all animals.
Serving: 1/8th to ¼ tsp per 4 kilos of body weight.
Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, it has been found to increase bile flow and protect the stomach and liver.
Risks to consider: Large amounts can cause upset stomach, nausea, constipation, gallbladder issues, dizziness, bruising, and iron deficiency. It is not recommended for dogs prone to kidney stones since turmeric is prone to make them worse since it can increase urinary oxalate levels.
NOTE: All pets are different with varying diet requirements and health statuses; be sure to consult your regular vet before adding new foods to your pets’ diets. If they’ve given you the go-ahead, start in small quantities and monitor your pet for any change in behaviour or physical wellbeing. First signs of allergy or intolerance will include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhoea.
Herbs and spices to avoid for pets
- Bay leaf
- Garlic powder/granules
- Curry powder
- Onion powder
- Mustard seeds or powder
- Mixed spice
Pet treats using herbs and spices
Whilst adding a sprinkle here and a dash there into your pets’ regular meals, you can also whip up some special and healthy treats to help them celebrate their day. Below are some fantastic and easy recipes to cook your pampered pet:
- Banana, Cinnamon & Peanut Butter Frozen Treats
In a bowl, combine 1tsp cinnamon, 1 banana mashed, 2tbsp peanut butter and 1tbsp plain Greek yoghurt. Form into small balls and freeze until firm (about 1-2hrs depending on your freezer). Let them thaw very slightly to avoid freezer burn and serve as a reward.
- All-Purpose Pet Seasoning Blend
In an airtight jar combine dried basil, parsley, rosemary, sage and turmeric. It stores perfectly in the cupboard and is great for adding a little flavour to plain mince, steamed veggies or cooked rice to entice your furry friend.
- Pumpkin Turmeric Bites
Mix together 2 cups oats, 1tp turmeric, 1 egg, ½ cup mashed pumpkin and 2tbsp coconut oil, form into small bite-sized rounds and bake in a low oven for around 15 mins or until firm. Let them cool and use them as a well-earned treat!
If you try any of these recipes on your pampered pooch or have any tried and tested recipes yourselves, drop us a line and we’ll share with our community! Our wonderful pets provide us with so much unconditional love and what better way to show our appreciation than will some delicious and nutritious morsels to snack on.