We’re howling about the dog-friendly herbs parsley, oregano, peppermint and rosemary today. Dog owners who are avid gardeners are always hunting for great, dog-friendly plants to add to their landscapes. Today we’re celebrating four of our favorite herbs that are not only safe if Spike takes a nibble; they also tote great health benefits for your canine pal too!
*While these plants are not toxic to dogs, Rainbow Gardens cannot guarantee that any specific plant won’t make your dog sick. All dogs are different, and it’s up to your discretion to know your dog, research plants, use in moderation, and seek advise from your veterinarian for your pet’s safety.
4 Favorite Dog-Friendly Herbs: Parsley, Oregano, Peppermint, and Rosemary
Parsley is a perennial herb that adds flavor and decorative flair to many recipes. It generally grows 12”-18” tall x wide, spacing is 12”-15” apart.
(Rainbow Gardens carries both curly and flat leaf parsley. Try them both to see which one you like best!)
Care for Parsley
- Parsley prefers full sun to part shade
- Parsley can be planted in the ground and containers (choose a deep pot to accommodate its large taproot).
- Choose a well-draining, loamy, soil that’s rich in nitrogen for best results.
- Water parsley regularly. Allow the soil to dry out between watering then soak the plant thoroughly.
Parsley Health Benefits for Dogs
- Parsley freshens Spike’s breath with anti-microbial properties, which help to prevent germs and bacteria from taking over your dog’s mouth.
- Parsley has anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit arthritic dogs.
- Antiseptic properties of parsley can be helpful in fighting urinary tract infections, and can also be used as a poultice for bee stings.
Oregano is a drought-tolerant, perennial herb that is a staple in Italian and Mediterranean recipes. Oregano generally grows 12”-18” tall x wide, spacing is 12”-15” apart.
(Our selection of oregano varieties is outstanding at Rainbow Gardens. Look for Italian, Siscilian, Greek, Cuban, Variegated, Hot & Spicy and more!)
Care for Oregano
- Oregano prefers full sun.
- Oregano can be planted in the ground or containers. Moderately fertile, well-draining soil is perfect for oregano. (Mulching oregano planted in the ground will help to keep the plant clean, preventing soil from splashing on its leaves.)
- Do not over water oregano; allow soil to dry between watering.
Oregano Health Benefits for Dogs
- Oregano is high in antioxidants providing immune system support
- Oil of oregano contains antifungal properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria (oil is concentrated so use small doses). Oregano oil can be used to clean wounds.
- Oregano is also rich in fiber.
- Teas made from oregano can soothe sore muscles and relieve upset stomachs.
Peppermint is usually grown as an annual (spearmint is hardier) peppermint adds a refreshing flavor to beverages, jellies, and other cuisine, and is a pollinator attractor. Peppermint grows to a height of about 12”-18” and should be spaced at least 24” apart.
(Rainbow doesn’t just do peppermint, we have red-stemmed apple, orange, chocolate, lemon, and more. The choices are plentiful!)
Care for Peppermint
- Peppermint is ideal for planting in containers. (Tip: For in ground planting, you can cut the bottom of a plastic pot and bury it to its rim, then plant the mint in the pot. This way mint stays confined to where you want it in the garden.)
- Peppermint should be planted in rich, well-draining soil, in full to part sun (reprieve from late afternoon sun is appreciated).
- Water peppermint regularly, keeping soil consistently moist but not over watered.
Peppermint Health Benefits for Dogs
- Like parsley, peppermint is helpful in freshening your dog’s breath, hooray!
- It can also be used for treating nausea, flatulence, and motion sickness in dogs.
- Stick to dried mint leaves, adding them to dog recipes, instead of mint oil, which can be too concentrated.
Rosemary is an evergreen, perennial herb that makes a beautiful, drought-tolerant species in your landscape. It’s a great pollinator-attracting herb, and adds delicious flavor to culinary dishes, Rosemary comes in two forms (upright and prostrate) and multiple varieties. Average growth is 3’- 4’ (although some upright varieties can grow taller). Space plants at least 24” apart.
Care for Rosemary
- Rosemary prefers full sun but can tolerate a little shade.
- You can plant this herb both in ground and in containers.
- Rosemary does well in alkaline soil, thrives in our Texas heat and is extremely drought-tolerant once established (well-draining soil is a must).
Rosemary Health Benefits for Dogs
- Rosemary contains antimicrobial properties and can be used for treatment of minor cuts or burns, as well as for infections in the mouth, and urinary and digestive tract.
- Antioxidants in rosemary lend to neutralizing free radicals, which damage cells within the body.
- Rosemary also aids digestion, alleviating flatulence and upset stomachs.
- Properties in rosemary have been cited for their ability to repel insects (fleas, ticks). Many pet owners make their own rinses for their dog’s coat. (Steep 1 TBSP of fresh rosemary in a pint of boiling water for 10 minutes. When it has cooled, use as a final rinse after your pet’s bath.)
Again, your vet is a great resource for knowledge on plants that are non-toxic to pets, as is this link from ASPCA, keeping in mind their message from their website, “The consumption of any plant material may cause vomiting and gastrointestinal upset for dogs and cats.”
While large quantities of any consumed plant material may present with mild GI upset, the plants listed in this blog are not considered to be life-threatening to your pets.
Time to shake a leg and get outta here…
~The Happy Gardener
(You and your vet will know your pet best.)