Cilantro (aka coriander, or Chinese parsley) is a herb that’s tasty, popular, and packed with health benefits. But can dogs eat cilantro? Is it safe? Are there any risks if your dog eats cilantro? We take a look at the risks and potential health benefits of cilantro for your pup.
Cilantro is a staple in the cuisines of many countries. Sprinkled on tacos, mixed through a salad, or added to fresh guacamole – cilantro gives an exquisite and unique zing to human food.
Due its distinctive flavor, many people loathe the taste of cilantro, and can feel nauseous when they even catch a whiff of the herb. For the rest of us, it’s heaven! But you might be wondering – can dogs eat cilantro too, or is a no-go zone for them?
Can dogs eat cilantro?
Many herbs are dangerous for your dog to eat, so you might be wondering – can dogs eat cilantro safely? The good news is that dogs can eat cilantro as part of a balanced diet.
A sprinkling of cilantro in their dinner can give them some extra nutritional benefits, and give their food a little extra flavor at the same time.
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) – notes that cilantro is non-toxic for dogs. It’s also safe for horses and cats!
As with any new foods you give to your dog, make sure you feed cilantro in moderation to avoid allergic reactions or upset stomachs. Check with your vet before giving cilantro to your dog if you’re unsure about anything.
Can dogs eat cilantro rice?
Cilantro and rice are both safe for dogs, so your furry friend can eat their rice with fresh cilantro leaves mixed in for extra health benefits.
But you can’t feed your dog cilantro lime rice! Many commercial cilantro lime rice blends contain lime juice and lime zest – both of which can be toxic to dogs, as limes are dangerous to canines.
What types of cilantro can I feed my dog?
Cilantro is typically sold by the bunch, or as a whole small plant that you can buy at supermarkets or garden centers.
Fresh is best with most herbs, and that includes cilantro. The health benefits for your dog are likely to be higher when they’re served fresh cilantro with their meal.
Cilantro powder and seeds
You’ll most likely find cilantro powder and seeds at your local supermarket. They’re great for adding to soups, stews, and curries, and it’s safe for your dog to eat cilantro in these forms – but in small amounts. The trace nutrient benefits aren’t as high for your dog when cilantro is served in powder or seed form.
Can dogs eat cilantro for better health?
Can dogs eat cilantro and get the same health benefits as humans? While no dog-specific research has been carried out on the health benefits of cilantro, canine experts believe that dogs get the same nutrient boost as we do when they consume cilantro in small amounts.
Here are some of the ways your dog might benefit from a dash of cilantro in their diet:
Gives your dog nicer breath!
Some days you want to give your dog those well-deserved extra cuddles, but his breath smells like the bog of eternal stench!
Cilantro can be used as a natural breath-freshener, and it can also prevent gum infections – making your pup a lot nicer to be near.
Like many herbs, cilantro is a great source of antioxidants. This means that when you (or your pup) eat cilantro, it gives a boost that can help cells in the body fight against toxins, free radicals, and certain cancers and diseases.
Helps fight off infections
Cilantro is one of nature’s lesser known superfoods. It has been shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties. It can help to ease and protect against skin infections and bodily inflammation.
Contains vitamins and minerals
Fresh cilantro is a great source of numerous vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
In addition, it has barely any calories, and has zero cholesterol. Coriander is also used to replace salt in the diet – as it’s tasty leaves provide an added flavor boost without the downsides of excess sodium.
Vitamin K is especially helpful for your pup’s diet. It prevents excess bleeding if your dog gets injured, and it helps promote healthy bones and vision.
Good for your dog’s eyes and skin
Like Vitamin K, the Vitamin A contained in cilantro also helps maintain your dog’s eye and bone health, together with promoting healthy skin and fur.
Can assist digestion
For hundreds of years, cilantro has been used as a tonic to aid digestion and settle upset stomachs. If your dog has digestion issues, cilantro can be used as a gentle natural remedy.
Cilantro can also be beneficial if your dog suffers from excess gas!
Can help detox your dog
Cilantro is often used as part of a detox diet. Herbal compounds can help bind to toxins and chemicals, and flush them out of the system as part of a natural detox process.
Boosts mood and reduces anxiety
Need a boost in mood for you and your pup? Cilantro has been shown to have properties that elevate your sense of calmness and happiness, and reduce anxiety.
Assists with sleep
Recent studies have shown that cilantro is a great sleep aid, reducing the occurrence of insomnia, and promoting restful sleep.
How much cilantro should my dog eat?
If you decide to feed your dog cilantro, make sure you introduce it gradually as a supplement to a normal, balanced diet. The smaller your pup is, the less cilantro you should give them. Start slowly and check if your dog has any reaction to the herb.
A pinch, or half a teaspoon of chopped fresh herb is plenty to start with. If your dog has no adverse reaction, you can mix up to a teaspoon in with their meals once or twice a week.
Are there any risks to feeding my dog cilantro?
Having read about all the goodness contained in this tasty and tiny powerhouse of a herb, you might be tempted to give your dog a healthy dose of cilantro.
But feeding your dog too much of this plant (especially if they have never eaten cilantro before) can cause digestive problems – most commonly nausea, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea.
There’s also a small risk that your dog might be allergic to cilantro. Humans can also be allergic to this herb, so it’s best to go easy introducing your dog to this new food to start with. Only feed them a tiny sprinkle at first, to avoid any chance of a bad reaction.
Allergic reactions can take the form of a mild rash, stomach upsets, or even swelling of the body and face. If you notice any of these symptoms after feeding cilantro to your pup, make sure you take them to your vet immediately.
The main point to get across is to start with tiny amounts of cilantro, and to only feed this to your pup in moderation, as part of a proper balanced diet.
Can dogs eat cilantro if they’re on medication?
If you’re interested in the health benefits of cilantro for your dog, but unsure about any side effects – it’s best to get advice from your vet first.
Your dog might have existing health conditions or be taking medications that could have an adverse reaction with cilantro.
How should I serve cilantro to my dog?
These are common ways that dog owners feed cilantro to their pets (in moderation!):
- Add 1 drop of cilantro extract to your dog’s water
- Sprinkle 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of fresh chopped cilantro on your dog’s food
- Make your usual homemade dog treats and add a sprinkle of cilantro to the mix
- Mix 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of cilantro powder with wet dog food
Many humans hate the taste of cilantro – so if your dog hates the taste too, that’s perfectly normal. It’s a strong flavor, and not for everyone (or everydog). If your dog says BLEH and YUK when you offer them cilantro, don’t force them to eat it!
In summary – can dogs eat cilantro?
In short, YES – cilantro (aka coriander) is perfectly safe for your dog to eat. But it should always be given in moderation.
Start your dog off slowly with a tiny pinch of fresh or powdered cilantro mixed in with their food to check for any allergic reactions, and to prevent upset stomachs.
Cilantro is a great source of vitamins and minerals that can promote good skin, bones, and vision, help with sleep and digestion, and give your dog nicer breath. While it’s a fantastic herb, cilantro is not a susbstitute for a healthy, balanced diet – and it should be used only as an addition to your pup’s normal dog food.
If you’re in doubt about adding cilantro to your dog’s diet for any reason, consult your vet for advice first.