Question time, Can dogs eat thyme? Here’s what I found after a little digging…
I can’t imagine my omelet and breakfast strata without thyme.
Since this herb pairs so well with a range of meats and vegetables, I use it to enhance the flavor and aroma in almost every recipe.
But what will you do if your furry pal asks for a bite from a thyme-infused dish?
Can you guess what would happen if your puppy eats thyme from your garden or from an unattended meal? And what plants from your botanical garden should you uproot to keep Doggo safe?
There is a jungle of herbs out there and because some of them can be toxic to pets, you should be able to recognize which ones are safe and beneficial and which ones are potentially poisonous.
So without further ado, I encourage you to read this article from start to finish!
What's in this Guide?
Can Dogs Eat Thyme?
Yes, dogs can eat fresh and dried thyme leaves in moderation. Scientifically known as Thymus vulgaris, it offers many health benefits to our canine companions.
What is Thyme?
Thyme (pronounced as “time”) is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family Lamiaceae, and it has over 300 varieties. Thymes are prized for their medicinal and culinary value, but some variants are better off as ornaments or ground covers because they are too tedious to harvest.
The most commonly cultivated species for culinary purposes is Thymus vulgaris, which also goes by the name “German winter thyme.” This common garden thyme features narrow stems and tiny olive green leaves. Additionally, clusters of pink and lavender flowers bloom come summer.
Beautiful varieties, such as the Silver Edge and Golden Transparent thymes, are primarily ornamental, but they are certainly edible nonetheless. But because these herbs are so lovely, I would rather feast my eyes on their beauty than use them to season my food!
However, curiosity and boredom may lead puppies to nibble some of these herbs. You need not panic. Your dog shouldn’t have problems with any of these herbs whether he samples them fresh from your garden or from foods seasoned with dried thyme.
All thyme species used for cooking are non-poisonous and likewise, serve as important nectar sources for honeybees.
Benefits of Using Thyme in Your Dog’s Diet
Thyme does more than add flavor and depth to your dishes. Since time immemorial, people have been using thyme for its health benefits, but did you know your furry pal can also harness the same advantages?
Improves Digestive Health
This food helps your dog fart. Yup, you read that right. Farts can be loud and stinky, but your bloated dog needs to let it go.
As with humans, our furry pals can get bloated and experience indigestion because of the food they eat. Certain dog breeds, such as Golden and Labrador Retrievers, sometimes wolf down their food and end up swallowing a lot of air. That gas becomes trapped and farting is the only way to get it out.
For the occasional stomach troubles, your dog can benefit from natural digestive aids like thyme. This herb features carminative and antispasmodic properties, making it suitable for treating flatulence, bladder cramps, and painful stomach cramps linked with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Protects Against Cellular Damage from Free Radicals
This herb packs a special punch of protection against free radical damage. This herb is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as copper, fiber, iron, and manganese. The rich antioxidant blend strengthens the immune system and neutralizes free radicals. Otherwise, the lack of antioxidants triggers oxidative stress, leading to cell damage and impaired functions that both contribute to the development of chronic diseases.
Eliminates Parasites and Suppresses Bacterial Growth
No doubt this herb is one of nature’s most powerful medicinal plants against a legion of pathogens — helminths, protozoans, bacteria, and fungi. Many centuries ago, people already recognized thyme as an antiparasitic and antifungal remedy and modern science has proven this belief to be correct.
Thyme contains eugenol and thymol, and according to lab studies, these active compounds can knock out unwanted guests, including:
- Entamoeba histolytica
- Toxoplasmosis gondii
- Trichinella spiralis
Research also suggests that the herb helps inhibit the growth of harmful bacterial, such as:
- Escherichia coli
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Bacillus cereus
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Clostridium perfringens
You and your pet can pick up these harmful strains of bacteria by consuming contaminated foods and beverages. But even when thyme is only present in minimal amounts, it helps reduce the growth of these pathogens. You may also use herbal tea to help eliminate fungal infections on the skin.
Fights Against Gingivitis (anti-inflammatory)
Canine gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease, which is characterized by an inflammation of the gums associated with plaque. While it is common in dogs with poor oral hygiene, it is fortunately curable with thyme.
The volatile oil constituents of thyme offer antiseptic solutions for the mouth and throat. In fact, thyme is an ingredient in many oral care products to soothe inflamed gums and relieve toothache.
To fight gingivitis, you’ll need to dip a cotton swab onto a thyme tincture and apply it directly to the infected sites.
Helps with Urinary Infections
Thyme is a powerful player in the prevention of urinary tract infections. As mentioned earlier, thyme is potent against E. coli bacteria, which causes urinary tract infections in dogs. This natural antibiotic helps mitigate early symptoms to help avoid an expensive trip to the vet.
Canines can eat moderate amounts of fresh or dried thyme without any issue but beware of the highlighted potential dangers.
Although thyme can be good for canine digestion, allowing your pooch to eat excessive amounts of this fibrous herb may lead to gastrointestinal woes.
Spanish Thyme Poisoning
Beware of Spanish thyme! Ingesting any part of the plant causes Spanish thyme poisoning in dogs and toxicity can be mild or severe, depending on how much your pooch has consumed.
Typical symptoms of Spanish thyme poisoning include anorexia, depression, difficulty in breathing vomiting, and occasionally bloody diarrhea. Making contact with the flowers or leaves of this plant may also cause irritation to the skin.
Rush your dog immediately to the nearest vet if you suspect he has consumed Spanish thyme. This plant also goes by the names bread and butter plant, coleus, country borage, East Indian thyme, Indian borage, and stinging thyme.
If you have this plant somewhere in your yard, get rid of it right away before your curious pup finds them!
How to Feed Thyme to Your Dog Safely
Not all adult dogs will willingly chomp on herbs unless they are utterly bored or crazily curious. Most of the time, our devious canines tend to bypass herbs and veggies when there is meat. So, how can dogs eat thyme?
If your pampered pooch wants to have his way, then mix a dash of finely chopped dried or fresh thyme to his favorite canned food or home-cooked meal. You can tuck some into Doggo’s sausages, too, and he will never realize there is thyme in them! A teaspoon of cold thyme tea will also work fine when mixed.
As much as possible, grow your own thyme in your garden, so you can be sure they are free of herbicides or pesticides. If that is not an option, you should at least buy organic thyme.
Moreover, I suggest you consult with your vet prior to serving oil-infused meals for your pet. Thyme essential oil is too concentrated and might produce adverse side effects on your dog.
What Herbs are Toxic to Dogs?
Knowing which other herbs and spices are potentially toxic to dogs can help you avoid a terrifying situation.
Fresh onions or onion powder is a big no-no for dogs because it contains sulfoxides and disulfides. These compounds can easily upset a dog’s stomach, causing diarrhea and vomiting.
Home brewing has become a thing, but you should be extra careful around dogs. Hops, regardless of form, causes malignant hyperthermia in dogs when ingested.
Did you know that nutmeg can cause convulsions and stir up hallucinations? You may not know it yet, but nutmeg can be deadly to humans around 0.2 ounces. That being said, it is safe to say that it could easily kill the family pooch, especially when Doggo gets the nutmeg straight from the container. Perhaps, using a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg to bake a cake might not harm your dog, but it is wise not to risk it.
Don’t share a meal with your dog if it is seasoned with black pepper as it causes more problems than you may realize. Besides, black pepper offers no real health benefits to your pooch.
Although both types belong to the Apiaceae family, the spring parsley is different from the parsley (Petroselinum crispum) we use as a culinary ingredient. Spring parsley contains a type of chemical compound called furanocoumarins, which causes adverse side effects when eaten or when it comes into contact with your dog’s skin.
Pet parents make home-cooked meals for their furry family members whenever possible, replacing mystery ingredients with choice meats and vegetables. But before you whip up something scrummy for Mr. Scruffy, you should know which culinary herbs are safe for dogs to consume.