10 Spices That May Harm Dogs

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Home cooking for dogs is a very popular option for pet parents.  The more we know about what goes into our dog’s food, the more our dogs reap the benefits of a healthy diet. In preparing or adding ingredients to dog food, there are seasonings and spices dogs should not eat. When not used properly, under close supervision of a vet and/or nutritionist or herbalist, there are spices that may harm dogs. Others should never be given.

Most pet parents know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but what about the common seasonings and spices found in most kitchen cabinets right now?  There are many herbs and spices that can be added to a dog’s diet to add flavor, encourage healthier eating, as well as benefiting the dog’s overall coat and organs. There, are, however, some seasonings and herbs dogs should not consume.

Always talk to your dog’s veterinarian before adding something new to the diet, or at the very least, ensure the seasoning or spice in question is verified as “safe” for your dog to eat. Keep in mind that what might be safe for some dogs, may be harmful to others.

Case in point: According to foremost authority in the veterinary world, Dr. Jean Dodds, a potentially toxic exposure that can trigger seizures in epileptic dogs is rosemary. 

That is not to say that rosemary is inherently dangerous to many dogs, but any spice, herb, or seasoning should qualify as “safe to feed dogs” before doing so.

Sometimes,  spices/herbs can be used under the care of a trained veterinary nutritionist/herbalist in conjunction with your dog’s veterinary recommendations. For example, turmeric can cause GI and skin issues to dogs but there are folks who work with a herbalist in giving it to their dog for certain conditions, i.e. arthritis, anti-cancer treatment.

Rule of thumb: When in doubt, ask your dog’s veterinarian. In an emergency when your veterinarian cannot be reached you should contact your local animal emergency clinic or call the animal poison hotline or ASPCA Animal Poison Hotline at 888-426-4435.

Here is a handy chart to use, share, print, and/or save where it is accessible. You may not have heard of some of these, but that’s the point: These are items you might not realize can seriously harm your dog or worse.

This list is not all-inclusive but it is a reminder that with a new year come ever present dangers and they are probably sitting in our kitchen cabinets.  Prying eyes and paws can access tables and counters, so proceed with caution in where you store these. Use caution.

dangerous spices

Don’t Stop Now: Check Out These Other Dog Dangers:

Dog Water Dangers No One Talks About

Seven Deadly Dangers of Dog Toys

The Dangers of Sleeping With Dogs



  1. Better safe than sorry- bland is better! It isn’t always easy to keep anything that smells of looks yummy out of a dogs reach but diligence is worth their safety.

  2. Thanks so much for this helpful info & graphic, definitely will share this. I was surprised to see cinnamon on the list! I’ll be more diligent about that one. Turmeric has become such a popular spice, you may not know it’s in prepared foods that you might share a bite of w/ your dog.

  3. That’s a wonderful post about the many (potentially) dangerous ingredients lurking in everybody’s kitchen! Our pups do well with a little turmeric sprinkled on their diets ~ our main incentive for adding it to their meals are turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, as well as its anti-cancer properties. Our girl Missy was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, has had the tumor removed, and is now undergoing Chemotherapy sessions.

  4. This is a great post! We had read that rosemary is actually an anti-inflammatory, so have tried it before! Never heard about the seizure risk! *wags* – Gilligan from WagsAhoy.com

    • As a writer for a dog website, I have been writing about Rosemary Extract and it dangers for years. I first fond it in cat food during the melamine disaster years , One of my cats had seizures because it was in some of the newer pricey foods that I switched to. Then it started showing up in most foods. Then many of the meat and chicken processors used it to kill microbes on their products. Many people got sick. I even wrote a Senator (16 page FAX) and soon most of it disappeared from fresh meat products (not true for ground products, but now it does show up on the packages as an ingredient, which it had not done in the past). If you really want to know what you have been feeding your family and your pets, read this Ebook on Amazon – THE HARMING.

      • One more thing about Rosemary Extract. When processors took it out of meats (due to a directive from USDA /FSIS/FDA and many pet food makers ceased using it as a preservative, it started showing up elsewhere.. Now it is used to preserve breakfast cereals including organic cereals. It is allowed to preserved seed oils and not be on the label,. It can be included tocopherols. and does not need to be labeled, and it is likely preserving beef fat in pet food without being on the label. There are many ingredients that can be included in a combination, especially Rosemary Extract, then does not have to show up on the label in many cases.

  5. Thanks Carol, your resource is of great value. I am still learning about the good and the bad for my liittle duchshund and realize how easy it is to give the wrong food.. Every night she gets treated with a slice or 2 shoulder ham and am concerned that the salt content might be harmful. she also loves bread.
    hope to get some more good tips from you.
    have a nice day.
    Hetty van Tonder

  6. Hi,
    I have just read through several threads relating to spices which are good for, or harmful to your dog. In all of the threads I have read apart from this one, cinnamon and turmeric are regarded as some of the best and most beneficial spices you can provide for your dog, especially turmeric. Obviously anything in doses larger than sensible is not good for anyone, but can you please rectify why your website so far in what I have read is the only one stating that cinnamon and turmeric are actually in fact bad for your dog when the 5 previous websites I have read have told me that these are good?


    • I had looked at a different site right before this one. It stated that cinnamon, turmeric and rosemary were safe for dogs. I suppose the best thing is to consult your vet.

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