Known by several different names like cilantro, coriander, dhania, and Chinese parsley, this beneficial herb can safely be fed to dogs.
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about cilantro and dogs, from its properties and benefits to preparation methods and serving ideas.
As with any other new food, the key to success is a slow introduction. Start with a particularly small amount and gradually increase the serving size. The recommended dose should be reached over the course of several days. Plus, since not all dogs have the same nutritional requirements, it is best advised to consult your trusted vet before expanding your dog’s menu.
Benefits for dogs
Tons of vitamins and minerals
Here is a short list of the vitamins-minerals spectrum found in cilantro:
- Vitamin A – promotes impeccable vision and healthy skin and coat.
- Vitamin C – promotes bone health, strong immune system and crucial for the blood clotting cascade.
- Vitamin K – promotes healthy blood vessels and regulates the blood clotting processes.
- Calcium – supports proper bone growth and maintenance.
- Iron – ensures proper red blood cells development and transports oxygen.
- Magnesium – plays an important role in many metabolic processes and aids neurotransmission.
Cilantro helps repair damaged skin cells while protecting them from the damaging effects of the free oxidative radicals. Since dogs are particularly prone to oxidative stress, this powerful herb will act as a oxidative stress-reliever.
The cilantro plant is rich in several chemicals with antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Improved doggy breath
Cilantro keeps the dog’s breath fresh and at the same time protects the gums from common infections. Therefore, it is safe to assume that cilantro is a natural alternative to teeth brushing which to be honest, most dogs are not big fans of.
Helps with digestive issues
Upset tummies, tummy irritations and excessive gassiness are part of the digestion problems, a bit of added cilantro can easily solve.
Cilantro helps the body get rid of potentially toxic, heavy metals. What is more, it softens the stools and promotes frequent defecation thus supporting the body’s natural cleansing processes.
How much to feed
With so many different dog sizes, it is safe to assume that you cannot feed the same amount of cilantro to a Great Dane and to a Toy Poodle.
The lack of specific veterinary approved guidelines to giving cilantro to dogs does not mean you can use it freely. Dogs are carnivores and therefore herbs cannot be the brick and mortar of their nutrition. Cilantro is a healthy addition to regular meals and it can safely be added in amounts varying between a small pinch and a full teaspoon.
Theoretically speaking, there are two potential risks associated with feeding cilantro to dogs – allergies and digestive discomfort.
In general, food allergies occur due to protein components. Since the amounts of protein in cilantro are basically non-existing, cilantro allergies in dogs are rarely reported. However, it is possible for super sensitive dogs to develop cilantro allergies. Allergies in dogs can take up many forms – from mild skin rashes to life-threatening swelling of the throat. All allergic reaction cases warrant a trip to the vet’s office.
Feeding your dog too much cilantro or too frequently causes mild digestive upset manifested with temporary vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and appetite loss.
Preparing the food
Cilantro is available in two forms – fresh and dried. The fresh cilantro can come as a whole plant or a bunch of stalks and leaves and it can be found in the vegetable section in most food stores. The dried form, also known as coriander powder, usually contains seeds in addition to leaves and stalks, and is readily available in the spices aisle.
Both forms are safe for dogs and can be easily added to the canine menu. The fresh form is quite rich in vitamins while relatively low in minerals. On the contrary, dried cilantro is rich in minerals while poor in vitamins.
Never feed your dog cilantro-containing sauces and salsas formulated for humans as they usually contain a plethora of potentially harmful or even toxic ingredient.
Both fresh and dried cilantro can be mixed into the dog’s regular meal, sprinkled on top of it or incorporated in home-made meals and treats.
Keep in mind that cilantro has distinctive taste and texture which dogs can either love or hate. If your dog is not very fond of cilantro, use the dried form as it has less pronounced aroma and it can be more easily mixed with something your dog finds irresistible – like meat.
Give your dog time to get used to the cilantro’s taste, smell and texture. This is best achieved by adding smaller amounts. Putting too much cilantro, in addition to causing digestive upset, is likely to repel you dog thus decreasing the chances of successfully implementing this herb on the long-run.
Dogs can safely eat cilantro as an occasional addition to regular well-balanced and nutritionally complete meals. As long as it is used in moderation, the cilantro is not just safe but also beneficial to dogs.
Both cilantro forms (fresh and dried) are labeled as canine-friendly. However, human foods spiced with cilantro and a plethora of other spices and seasonings are definitely forbidden for dogs.
If you are in doubt about spicing your dog’s food with this healthy herb, do not hesitate to discuss the idea with your trusted vet or a licensed canine nutritionist.