Herbs That are Harmful to Dogs: Know and Prevent Herb Poisoning

As a responsible dog owner, it’s crucial to be aware of which foods and herbs could potentially harm your beloved pet. While some items like chocolate and caffeine are well-known as no-nos for dogs, there exists a gray area when it comes to certain herbs.

Understanding the ingredients in your dog’s diet is vital to ensure their happiness and well-being, as well as for those who are passionate about gardening and have inquisitive dogs exploring their plants.

There are numerous herbs that might surprise you with their toxicity to dogs. Therefore, it’s essential to educate yourself on which herbs and plants in your garden could pose a threat to your canine companion, potentially saving you an unwelcome trip to the vet.

In this article, you will learn about herbs that can be harmful to dogs, so you can avoid giving your furry friend anything that might upset their stomach or affect their health. Continue reading to discover ways to prevent and treat herb poisoning should your dog venture into your herb garden.

The herbs to be cautious of include:

  • Chives
  • Onion
  • Salt
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Eucalyptus
  • Hops

Learn how to handle herb poisoning in dogs and take proactive measures to keep your pet safe. Finally, keep these notes in mind to ensure your dog’s well-being.


Certain dog breeds, such as the Shiba Inu and Japanese breeds, may exhibit increased sensitivity to chives. Chives are sometimes used for flavoring in dog treats, so it’s imperative to carefully inspect the ingredient list on your dog’s treats before offering them. While many breeds can tolerate small amounts of chives, it’s strongly recommended to avoid chives whenever possible.

Chives can lead to the rupture of red blood cells, causing anemia. Ingesting chives may result in various symptoms, including drooling, nausea, oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, an elevated heart rate and respiratory rate, weakness, and intolerance to physical activity.


Belonging to the same Allium plant family as chives, onions are toxic to dogs in dried or powdered forms due to their thiosulfate content. Ingesting onions can trigger Heinz body hemolytic anemia in dogs, damaging red blood cells and impairing their function. Symptoms of onion ingestion include drooling, nausea, oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, an elevated heart rate, respiratory rate, and weakness.


Dogs typically ingest small amounts of salt without issue, but the lethal dose for dogs is around 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Salt poisoning can result in symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, reduced appetite, lethargy, lack of coordination, excessive thirst, increased urination, tremors, seizures, coma, or even death.


Despite its calming properties, lavender, an aromatic plant, can be toxic to dogs due to the presence of linalool, a toxic compound when consumed by dogs. Essential oils containing lavender can induce severe reactions in dogs, including abdominal pain, bloated abdomen, fever, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, shock, vomiting, trembling, or breathing difficulties.


While small quantities of oregano are generally safe, oil of oregano and large portions of oregano can be toxic to dogs, leading to gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.


Garlic, like onions, is highly toxic to dogs and can trigger Heinz’s body hemolytic anemia, which results in red blood cell damage. Symptoms of garlic ingestion encompass reduced appetite, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, depression, weakness, exercise intolerance, pale mucous membranes, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, jaundice, or blood in the urine.

Eucalyptus Eucalyptus contains eucalyptol, a gastrointestinal irritant that can be highly dangerous for dogs when consumed. Eucalyptus species are toxic to dogs and can induce digestive upset, hypersalivation, weakness, and depression.


Hops can be extremely hazardous if ingested by dogs, potentially causing a life-threatening condition known as malignant hyperthermia, resulting in a substantial increase in body temperature. These large vine-like plants are dangerous to dogs in all forms: dried, fresh, or cooked.

How to Treat Herb Poisoning in Dogs

If you suspect your dog has ingested any toxic herbs or plants, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary examination. Waiting for your pet to display symptoms is not advisable. Reporting the incident promptly allows for quicker intervention. It is also important to document the herb or plant by collecting a sample or taking a photo, which can aid the veterinarian in diagnosis. Avoid inducing vomiting unless instructed to do so by a professional.

How to Prevent Herb Poisoning in Dogs

Preventing herb poisoning is best achieved through careful selection of herbs and plants in your garden and remaining vigilant during walks in natural surroundings. In cases of stubborn garden plants, consulting a landscaper might be necessary. Ensure that dried herbs or herb plants are stored out of reach from your canine companion.

Educating yourself about plants and herbs toxic to dogs is the primary step in preventing herb poisoning. Conduct thorough research before introducing new foods, or better yet, stick to dog food certified as safe for consumption.

Non-Toxic Herbs for Dogs

Now that you’re aware of herbs that are toxic to dogs, you might wonder about herbs that are safe for them. Keep in mind that you should always consult your veterinarian before incorporating new ingredients into your dog’s diet, especially if it’s not certified dog food.

In moderation, anise, sweet basil, chamomile, cilantro, cinnamon, dill tea, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme, and turmeric are generally safe for dogs. Some of these herbs may offer potential benefits when given occasionally to healthy adult dogs with no pre-existing conditions.

Small amounts of powdered anise may boost your dog’s energy, while limited quantities of sweet basil or chamomile can calm overactive or anxious dogs. Properly prepared cilantro may help ease gas or bloating, and cinnamon in small amounts can aid in regulating blood sugar.

While essential oils of dill are toxic, dill tea can alleviate bad breath and flatulence. Peppermint can have similar effects. Minimal doses of raw ginger may assist dogs with motion sickness and possibly enhance cognitive support.

Rosemary, thyme, turmeric, and sage are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Nevertheless, excessive consumption of these herbs in concentrated oil form may be harmful to your dog. Always consult your veterinarian before giving herbs to your dog.