How to Add Herbs to Spice Up Your Dog’s Bowl?

Herbs and Spices have healing power. They add more than flavor to your diet as well as your dog’s bowl. 

In this blog post, we will discover the categories, safety and benefits of herbs and spices, particularly Eastern Herbs, and learn how to incorporate herbs and spices to your dog’s diet. 

1. What’s the difference between Herbs and Spices?

Though often used alternately, herbs and spices are different. 

herbs and spices

Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash

Herbs, like basil and mint, typically come from the leaves of plants. They are often used fresh but can also be dried, and are milder in flavor.

Spices, such as cumin, cinnamon, and ginger, mainly derive from other parts of the plant, such as seeds, bark, roots, or fruits. They are typically dried or crushed, boasting a more intense taste.

2. Can you add herbs and spices to your dog’s bowl? 

The short answer is Yes. But it depends. 

Some herbs and spices bring exceptional benefits for your dog’s health when used moderately, while if you put in too much it might pose risks.

You can tell from our infographic below that safer options are more often found in categories like leafy herbs, woody herbs, and roots, whereas other categories like spicy herbs and seed spices are riskier for dogs. It's important to note that Alliums, including onions, are toxic to dogs.

herbs and spices safety for dogs

3. Why should you add herbs and spices to your dog’s bowl?

Now that you're acquainted with safe options for your dogs, let's dive into the perks. 

Beyond vitamins and minerals, herbs and spices offer holistic benefits for your dog's well-being.

1)    General Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices for Dogs

  • Fight Inflammation

Many pet parents might know that supplements such as blue mussels could potentially treat hip and joint issues. However, you could also use herbs in your kitchen to help your dog reduce inflammation. Turmeric and ginger are the most common ones that are anti-inflammatory and can be used for joint health.

  • Boost Digestion

Many herbs are associated with digestive health, including ginger, peppermint, rosemary, fennel and oregano. They contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may support overall digestive health,  soothe an upset stomach and alleviate gas.

  • Support Immune System

A wide variety of herbs and spices are rich in antioxidants, which are vital to your dog’s immune system. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that could lead to cell damage and thus support the immune system. Having a strong immune system means that your dog can better resist bacteria, viruses and other invaders.

  • Contribute to Oral Health

Many herbs contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help combat bacteria in the mouth and support gum health. Herbs are also rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium that can support overall dental health. Besides, herbs like mint could mask odors and contribute to fresher breath for your dogs.  

  • Relieve Stress

Some certain types of herbs could have calming effects on dogs, as they contain compounds that interact with the nervous system. Reishi is one of the typical herbs that have calming effects.

2) Explore More Benefits of Eastern Herbs

Eastern Herbs, particularly those used in Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) that have been practiced for thousands of years, have healing power and are often used to balance the body’s energy, or “qi”, thus promoting overall well-being.

While ongoing scientific studies continue to explore various herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is growing evidence supporting the benefits of certain herbs. Many of these herbs are increasingly recognized for their nutritional value and are often categorized as superfoods.

  • Goji Berries 

Goji berries, originated from Eastern Asia, are rich in nutrients such as vitamins and minerals and thus provide immune support. It is also a kind of herb that is rich in antioxidants that play a role in supporting cellular health. The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin found in Goji berries may contribute to eye health as well.

goji berries

Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash

To feed your dog with dried Goji berries, it’s better to introduce them gradually. Start with a small amount and monitor your dog’s response. As Goji berries contain sugar, you’d better use them as an occasional treat a few times a week instead of daily (up to 8 Goji berries every few days as recommended by Vets or Animal nutritionists. Either dried or fresh Goji berries provide the same nutrition.

  • Ginger

Ginger might be the most commonly seen yet powerful spice found in your kitchen. In addition to combating inflammation and boosting your dog’s digestive health, ginger could also enhance circulation and promote cardiovascular health.

The suggested amount of raw ginger for dogs is as follows:

-   Small dog (2-30 pounds): less or around ¼ teaspoon

-   Medium dog (31-50 pounds): around ½ teaspoon

-   Large dog (over 51 pounds): less or around ¾ teaspoon

  • Ginseng Root

Ginseng is often considered to strongly promote energy and immune system. It’s also classified as an adaptogen that is beneficial to help adapt to stress and anxiety.

The most notable among these are ginsenosides, which are considered the primary active ingredients. Ginsenosides are a diverse group of steroidal saponins, responsible for the various medicinal properties attributed to ginseng. They are believed to contribute to the herb's potential benefits, such as enhanced immune function, improved mental performance, and increased energy levels. Additionally, ginseng also contains other compounds like polysaccharides and flavonoids, which contribute to its overall health effects.


Photo by bencaoquan on Unsplash

When feeding your dog with ginseng, it’s better to consult with your vet about the dosage. Mind also when your dog is pregnant or has other medications or health conditions, as ginseng might interact with some medicines.

Charmy obtains its ginseng from one of the most extensive ginseng farms located in Ontario, Canada. This region is recognized for producing the highest quality North American Ginseng, Panax quinquefolius(Latin name), which is considered among the finest in the world. The unique growing conditions in Ontario contribute significantly to the superior medicinal qualities of this variety of ginseng.

  • Astragalus Root

Astragalus Root has similar benefits as ginseng, but in a much milder way. It is known for boosting immune system and is beneficial for heart health. It also helps with a healthy gut for your dog.

astragalus root

Photo by NoonBrew on Unsplash

Like ginseng, when feeding your dog with Astragalus Root, it’s better to consult with your vet about the appropriate dosage. If your dogs are puppies, pregnant or have some health conditions, Astragalus root should be avoided.

  • Reishi

Reishi mushroom is believed to offer various health benefits as it contains over 400 different bioactive compounds. For example, beta-glucans in Reishi can help support immune system. 


Photo by NoonBrew on Unsplash

Reishi is also rich in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that are beneficial for overall health. It helps calm the nervous system, alleviate seasonal allergies, and prevent liver damage. Besides, studies have also shown Reishi has an anti-cancer effect.

  • Cordyceps

Cordyceps, another kind of medicinal mushroom, is used as a natural remedy for many health issues including treating cancer.

Wild Cordyceps grow on caterpillars and are mostly found in high-altitude regions in Southeast Asia and are really rare. Cultivated Cordyceps might be not as potent as wild ones, but could provide versatile healing effects including treating liver, gut, kidney, cardiac and lung disease.


4. How to add herbs and spices to your dog’s food?

1) Fresh Herbs vs Dried Herbs? 

When giving herbs and spices to dogs, both fresh and dried forms can be used. The main difference is that fresh herbs generally retain more of the original nutrient content, and usually have milder flavor compared to dried herbs. 

The general rule of measurement conversion is you could use about three times the amount of fresh herbs compared to dried herbs. An easier way to catch: 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.

2) Creating a Dog-Friendly Seasoning Blend

During the summertime, it’s easy to grab some fresh coriander, parsley or basil from your garden and add them to your dog’s bowl. As the cold season approaches, you could still spice up your dog’s bowl by preparing a seasoning blend.

herbs and spices blending

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Here is a simple recipe for a canine-friendly herbal seasoning. You could just sprinkle a small amount over your dog’s regular food.


-   2 tablespoons dried parsley

-   1 tablespoon dried basil

-   1 tablespoon dried oregano

-   1 tablespoon dried rosemary

-   1 tablespoon dried thyme

-   1 teaspoon turmeric


Step1: If you have fresh herbs, you can dry them by placing them on a baking sheet and leaving them in a cool and dry place for a few days. Or you could just buy dried herbs from stores.

Step2: Mix the dried herbs together in a bowl.

Step3: Put the dried herbs into a grinder to make them flaky.

Step4: Transfer the seasoning to an airtight jar and store it in a cool, dark place.


3) DIY Herb and Spice-Infused Dog Treats

If you want to try more flavor for your dog using herbs and spices, here are some easy recipes to try at home:

 dog treats

Photo by James Lacy on Unsplash

Cinnamon Apple Dog Bites:


  • 1 cup oat flour (you could also switch to coconut flour)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (you could also use pumpkin or banana puree)
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (xylitol-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Step1, Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough-like consistency.

Step2, Roll the dough into small bite-sized balls.

Step3, Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours to firm them up.

Step4, Make sure the treats are thawed enough before serving.


Turkey & Cranberry Dog Biscuits with Rosemary and Thyme:


  • 2 cups cooked turkey, shredded
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened and chopped
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup water (adjust as needed)


Step1, Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step2, Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until forming a firm but not too dry dough.

Step3, Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness on a surface.

Step4, Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheet.

Step5, Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and firm.


Goji & Shiitake Dog Treats:


  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup dried goji berries
  • 2 tbsp dried shiitake mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (no xylitol)
  • 1 egg


Step1, Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step2, Mix all the ingredients together until it forms a dough. Add a little water if it's too dry.

Step3, Roll out the dough on a surface. Use cookie cutters for shapes.

Step4, Bake for 12-15 mins until golden and firm.

Wrap Up

Whether you opt for soothing herbs like chamomile or immune-boosting ones like Eastern Herbs, you are sure to provide a flavorful yet health-conscious experience for your dogs. Let these natural goodness help your dog thrive.

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published