Can Dogs Eat Basil? How Many is Too Much?

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Basil is considered non-toxic to canines and even cats. This herb is a good source of potassium, Vitamin C, iron and calcium. It can help improve your pet’s health because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Basil is known for its great taste and unique aroma. It contains flavonoids that help protect blood cells. This herb is also rich in manganese, Vitamin K, omega 3 fatty-acids and folate. One tablespoon of basil contains 1.89 milligrams of iron, 47 milligrams of calcium, 15 milligrams of manganese and 55 milligrams of potassium.

Benefits of Giving Basil to Your Dog

If your dog accidentally ate basil, you don’t need to worry because it won’t cause any harm. It’s safe to consume in both dried and raw forms. Here are the benefits of giving basil to your pooch.

Anti-inflammatory properties

The anti-inflammatory properties of basil can help protect your dog against muscle-related diseases. This herb is particularly beneficial to dogs with mild arthritis. Dogs that consume anti-inflammatory foods regularly may experience improved joint mobility.

If your pooch is already taking medications, you should talk to his vet before adding new food items to his diet. Some medicinal foods may have negative effects when consumed together with medications.

Reduced risk of cancer

Basil is rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent certain kinds of cancer. This herb can also help protect dogs against heart disease as well as other problems caused by old age such as senility.

Calming properties

Basil is a good alternative to sedative because of its calming effects. It can help dogs that get nervous during car rides, fireworks and family trips. This herb is safer than prescription medications. If your dog suffers from severe anxiety, you should talk to this vet. He may prescribe medications to help your dog during tumultuous times.

Prevention of cellular damage

The antioxidants in basil can help in destroying free radicals that cause cellular damage.

So, can dogs eat basil? Yes, but only in small quantities.

What to Consider When Giving Dogs Basil

Although basil isn’t toxic to canines, you should still be careful. Dogs are carnivores and don’t do well when fed plant-based foods. Basil should be given to dogs in moderation because too much of this herb can cause the following problems:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach upset
  • allergies

Give your dog a small amount of basil to see if he shows any negative response such as allergies. Allergic reactions can cause skin problems like itching and redness. It can cause breathing problems as well.

How to Serve Basil to Your Dog

Basil can be served in different ways. One of these is to sprinkle fresh or dried basil on top of his favorite treat or dog food. You can also add it to a canine-friendly pesto recipe. Just don’t add garlic to the recipe because it is harmful to dogs.

You can also plant basil in your garden and let your dog eat it as a treat. This herb is simple to grow. It grows best in areas that get six to eight hours of sun every day, but it can also grow well in locations that get partial sun. You have to make sure that the soil is moist and well-drained. Plant them in clean soil and avoid using insecticides if you have plans to cook the herb.

Basil can be planted in raised beds or containers because these areas have good drainage. Grow this herb away from busy streets and driveways so that exhaust fumes from vehicles will not settle on the leaves. Basil seeds or seedlings should be planted approximately 10″ to 12″ apart and 1/4″ deep. Larger varieties should be planted about 16″ to 24″ apart.

Here are some tips on how to grow this herb.

– Don’t plant the seeds outside unless the soil has warmed to 21°​​​​​​​Celsius or 70°Fahrenheit or at least 10°Celsius or 50°F Nighttime temperature should not be lower than 10°​​​​​​​Celsius. Basil will not grow properly without heat, so be patient.

– Put mulch around the basil plants to suppress weeds and trap moisture.

– Water the plants during dry periods.

– Prune the seedlings after it has produced the first 6 leaves to encourage branching. Each time a branch grows 6 to 8 leaves, prune the branch back to the first 6 leaves.

– Pinch off the plant’s center shoot after 6 weeks to prevent it from flowering prematurely. Cut off any flowers that grow.

– If an abrupt frost is looming, you should harvest the leaves in advance because the cold weather will damage the herb.

How to Harvest and Store Basil

Basil plants will begin leafing out once the temperature reaches 27°​​​​​​​Celsius or 80°Fahrenheit. You can pick the leaves as soon as the plant is 6″ to 8″ tall. Harvest basil early in the morning. Pick the leaves on a regular basis to encourage growth.

If you don’t need the leaves right away, you can just store them properly for later use. Freezing the leaves will prevent them from losing most of the flavor. Simply package chopped or whole basil leaves in an airtight plastic bag and put it in the freezer.

You can also dry the leaves, but it will lose a good portion of its flavor. Remove the basil leaves from the stem and put them in a cool and well-ventilated area for 3-4 days. You can also put the leaves in the oven to dry them completely. Choose the lowest heat setting and keep the door of the oven slightly open. Turn the basil leaves to dry both sides.

How Much Basil Should You Give to Your Dog?

If you are using dried basil, you should give the following amount to your pooch:

  • toy dogs less than 10 lbs – a pinch
  • dogs under 50 lbs – 2 pinches to 1 teaspoon
  • small dogs less than 20 lbs – a larger pinch
  • large canines under 100 lbs – 2 pinches to 2 teaspoons
  • giant dogs more than 100 lbs – 1 tablespoon

If you are using fresh basil leaves, you should use twice or thrice these amounts. You can also make a pesto with olive or coconut oil for fussy dogs. Transfer the mixture into a jar and keep it in the fridge. Add the right amount into your pet’s dinner. Follow the measurements stated above.

If you don’t want to go through this trouble, you can just grind up dried basil leaves or chop up the fresh ones. You can also make a tea, tonic or tincture that you can add to every meal. For your peace of mind, you should talk to a reliable herbalist to help you determine the right herb, way of application and quantity that is suitable for your dog.

Conclusion

Can dogs eat basil? The answer is yes, but moderation should be observed when giving your dog basil. Basil is safe for dogs because of its antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It has calming effects too, but you should observe your dog after feeding him basil because he might be allergic to it. If you see any symptoms that he’s allergic to basil, you should contact the vet right away.

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