Can Dogs Eat Cloves? Are They Harmful or Good?

Cloves and its essential oil are not safe to dogs if ingested in large amounts as they may result in liver toxicity. Why is that so?

Overview and benefits

Cloves are aromatic and flavorful flower buds of Syzygium aromaticum (clove tree) used as a spice in many Asian, Mediterranean, Middle East, and African cuisines. It is also part of the famous pumpkin pie spice, which also has ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and at times allspices.

Some of the popular dishes where this spice is used include meats, marinades, pumpkin pie, and curries as well as in fruits, rhubarb, hot beverages, among others.

Besides the use as a spice, cloves, which are native to the Maluku Islands in Eastern Indonesia, have uses in making fragrant pomander, some cigarettes or cigars, and toothpaste.

Also, they are a source of clove oil, rich in eugenol oil. It is Eugenol that gives it folk medicine significance in managing pain and toothaches.

Additionally, cloves are rich in antioxidants and are antibacterial. Also, it may help in fighting cancer, boosting liver health, regulating blood sugar, and so on.

However, there is insufficient evidence to show it can help with anal fissures, tooth plague, hangover, and hyperhidrosis as well as repel mosquitos, manage pain, toothache, bad breath, cough, among other conditions, notes Medline Plus.

Furthermore, while eugenol is thought to be an effective pain killer an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, it has harmful effects like rapid heartbeat, dizziness, seizures, and unconsciousness. Also, it may cause mouth, and throat burns, blood in urine, shallow breath, and coughing blood among others.

Finally, the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved it for any medicinal use purposes. Its use may cause “adverse effects if taken orally by people with liver disease, blood clotting, and immune system disorders, or food allergies,” notes Wikipedia.

Can dogs eat cloves

Can dogs eat cloves?

No dogs should not eat cloves or clove essential oil since it has eugenol, which may cause liver toxicity. Also, very high doses eugenol may cause a change in a heartbeat, decrease in temperature, and vomiting, motor dysfunction with hind legs affected, or even death, reveals a study on the Toxicity of the Mucigogue, Eugenol, and Administered by Stomach Tube to Dogs.

However, if your dog ate food flavored with this spice, the concentration of eugenol is quite low and may not yield any symptoms or affect your canines in any way.

However, instead of using cloves to managing bad breath, consider going for Pets Are Kids Too Premium Pet Dental Spray to deal with bad breath or many other products, including dental chews and toothpaste as well as many safe herbs available including peppermint and parsley.

On the other hand, there is no evidence that this spice is useful in deworming. Instead, use products such as Triple Dewormer for dogs.

What about pumpkin pie?

We all agree that pumpkins are very healthy for dogs. Also, they are loaded with many nutrients as well as an excellent source of fiber and carbohydrates to many grain-free dog food recipes.

Usually, pumpkin pies have nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and at times allspices. Of these spices, ginger has many benefits to dogs. However, cloves, cinnamon (in large amounts), and nutmeg are potentially harmful to your dog if consumed in large portions, especially in their pure form.

Nevertheless, if your dog happened to eat a pumpkin pie, don’t worry, since the concentration of these spices is not much.


Cloves are a popular spice in many cookies. However, they are potentially harmful to your dogs if ingested in large amounts, especially its essential oil (has a higher concentration of eugenol).  Always keep them in locked cupboards.

Finally, in case your dog ingests clove oil or eats a lot of this spice, talk to your vet for further diagnosis and treatment.  

See also

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