Can Dogs Eat Basil? Is this Herb Safe or Toxic to Dogs?

Belonging to the family Labiatae or Lamiaceae – the deadnettle, mint, or sage family, basil or Ocimum basilicum is popular culinary herb used in various types of cooking owning to its delicate aroma and flavor, particularly the sweet basil cultivars.

Other members of the mint family that are also used in culinary include mint, sage, savory, oregano, lavender, thyme, marjoram, hyssop, and perilla.

Usually, you can use fresh leaves or dried ones in various dishes including salads such as the fresh Caprese salad, pesto, soups, stews and so on. Dried leaves are often ground and are commercially available in food stores.

Finally, this herb’s seeds are also nutritious and are often soaked in water to make desserts or gelatinous drink especially by people in Asia.

Can dogs eat basil leaves - free or dry

Can dogs eat basil leaves – free or dry

Can dogs have basil?

The answer to this question will have two aspects. The first aspect will be concerning the safety or toxicity of this herb while the second will address any benefits that your canine friend may derive from this herb.

Basil is safe for dogs and even cats including its fresh leaves or dried ones. However, safety alone doesn’t qualify any food as ideal for these pets. Is it nutritionally beneficial?

Yes. It is nutritionally beneficial. Since dogs can handle carbohydrates and plant material including fiber well better than cats, these pets will benefit from the nutrients that this herb has including vitamins A, B complex, C, E as well as minerals.

According to basil “it’s anti-inflammatory and contains a high level of antioxidants that help prevent many types of illness including cancer. It also helps prevent cellular damage, calms your anxious dog, and eases arthritis pain”

It is the beta-caryophyllene that this herb and oregano have that gives them anti-inflammatory properties.

Furthermore, Canidae hails this herb noting that it has antimicrobial as well as antiviral properties. It also has antifungal properties and the ability to repel insects.

Even though it has all these benefits, dogs should have only a small amount as a treat including fresh basil leaves from the garden.

Alternatively, you can chop and sprinkled it on their foods or making them a dog-safe pesto, i.e., without garlic, onions or any harmful ingredients.

Finally, while basil is not poisonous to dogs, giving your canine an excessive amount of this herb may cause digestive problems such as stomach upsets, vomiting, and diarrhea. Also, your hound may be allergic to this herb.

Basil for dogs

Perhaps another positive indicator of the benefits of Ocimum basilicum to dogs is the various products that have it including some foods. Common products include:

Calm down for dogs – Holy Basil Capsules

Also known as Tulsi extract, Ocimum sanctum or Ocimum tenuiflorum extract is beneficial to your pooch and you should consider giving these pets one vegetable capsule a day. See prices on Amazon.

It is adaptogenic (helps in healthy reaction to stressing situation) and has anti-inflammatory properties since it as alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). Additionally, has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties.

Finally, this product has antioxidants that neutralize free radicals as well as vitamin A, C, and essential oils.

Dr. Dobias SoulFood – Certified Organic Multivitamin

This multivitamin has parsley, alfalfa, turmeric, asparagus, dandelion, basil and apple cider vinegar whose roles as it is noted on is “for optimum liver, kidney, digestion and organ balance.” SoulFood - Certified Organic Multi-Vitamin for Dogs

Check Prices

If you interested in dog food that has basil, consider going for the following brands. We will not be giving you reviews in this post.


Besides the culinary uses, folk medicine gurus note that the herb has therapeutic properties. Also, it is used in certain social and religious functions.

For culinary uses, the sweet basil cultivars including Rubin, Thai, anise, cinnamon, Persian dark opal, lettuce leaf, purple, and globe are the most commonly used.

There is also the African blue, lemon and spice which the hybrid cultivars as well as other cultivars we have not listed.


Basil including its essential oil is not bad for dogs, i.e., it is not hurt or harm these pets. However, limit the amount of this herb.

See also

We are passionate pet and animal enthusiasts bringing insightful information to ensure your furry, flying or finned friends are happy and in good health. Feed them well and love them always.

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