Dried dill is a common herb used to add flavor to many dishes. With its fragrant, grassy taste, dill pairs well with fish, potatoes, eggs, and vegetables. But what about our canine companions? Can dogs eat dried dill?
The short answer is yes, dogs can safely consume small amounts of dried dill. Dried dill contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that may provide some health benefits for dogs. However, moderation is key, as too much can cause mild stomach upset.
A Brief History of Dill
Dill has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Traces of dill seeds were found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 3000 BC. References to dill also appear in ancient Greek and Roman texts.
In the Middle Ages, dill was believed to bring good fortune. People would weave dill flowers into garlands to hang in banquet halls. Brides carried bouquets of dill on their wedding day. Dill seeds were even used as a form of currency to pay taxes in ancient India.
Today, dill remains a popular herb worldwide. The feathery green leaves and umbrella-shaped flowers add flavor and color to many regional dishes. From pickles to potato salad, dill’s delicate, tangy flavor brightens up foods from Europe to the Middle East.
Dried vs. Fresh Dill: What’s the Difference?
Dill can be used either fresh or dried in cooking. What’s the difference, and does it matter when it comes to dogs?
Fresh dill consists of the delicate green leaves and stems snipped from the dill plant. It has a pleasant, grassy aroma and concentrated flavor. To store fresh dill, wrap it in a damp paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to one week.
Dried dill refers to dill leaves or seeds that have been dried out. Drying removes moisture and intensifies dill’s tangy, anise-like flavor. Dried dill has a more potent taste than fresh. It also stores well for months when kept in an airtight container away from heat, light, and moisture.
Both fresh and dried dill are safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. Because drying concentrates flavors, dried dill is stronger than fresh. Keep this in mind when portioning out dill for your pup. Start with less dried dill than you would fresh.
Nutritional Value of Dried Dill for Dogs
Dried dill offers some nutritional value for dogs. Here are some of the vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds found in this aromatic herb:
- Vitamin A – Supports eye health, immune function, skin health, growth and development.
- Vitamin C – Boosts immunity, aids collagen production, acts as an antioxidant.
- Calcium – Essential for strong bones and teeth, nerve function, blood clotting.
- Iron – Helps carry oxygen through the blood, aids metabolism, boosts immunity.
- Dietary fiber – Promotes healthy digestion and gut bacteria.
- Flavonoids – Antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and disease risk.
- Tannins – Natural antibacterial and antimicrobial compounds.
While dogs obtain complete nutrition from their regular food, small amounts of herbs like dill can provide supplementary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Potential Benefits of Dried Dill for Dogs
In small doses, dried dill may offer a few potential health benefits for dogs:
Digestive aid – Dill has antispasmodic effects which may relieve gas, bloating, and upset stomach in dogs. Dill’s aromatherapy properties can also reduce nausea.
Bad breath remedy – The antibacterial compounds in dill may freshen bad dog breath when used occasionally. Should not replace proper dental care.
Anti-inflammatory – Antioxidants in dill like flavonoids and tannins may help reduce inflammation. More research needed.
Insect repellant – When applied topically, dill’s strong scent may deter fleas and other insects. Never apply pure dill oil.
Antimicrobial – Early research shows dill has antimicrobial effects against certain bacteria and yeasts. Further study required.
While these benefits look promising, most have not been scientifically proven in dogs. Talk to your veterinarian before using dill to treat any health condition. Most dogs receive minimal benefits from occasional small doses used as a flavor enhancer.
Is Dried Dill Safe for Dogs?
When used properly, dried dill is generally safe for dogs. The ASPCA lists dill as non-toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. There are a few precautions to keep in mind:
- Allergies – Dogs with known carrot, celery, or dill allergies should avoid dill. Reactions may include itching, hives, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Side effects – Too much dill can cause mild stomach upset, gas, or diarrhea. Start slowly when first introducing dill.
- Pregnant/nursing dogs – Very high doses of dill are not recommended, though small amounts used in food are fine. Talk to your vet.
- Young puppies – Avoid giving dill to puppies under 6 months, as the strong flavor and aroma may cause tummy issues.
- Herb toxicity – Essential dill oil and extracted compounds are far more potent than dried herb. Do not feed dogs dill oil, pills, or extracts.
If unsure, check with your veterinarian before feeding dried dill. Introduce new foods slowly and watch for any negative reaction.
How Much Dried Dill Can Dogs Eat?
When giving dogs dried herbs, moderation is key. For dried dill, these general guidelines apply:
- Start small – Begin with just a pinch or sprinkle of dried dill over your dog’s meal.
- Increase slowly – Build up to 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried dill at a time for medium or large dogs.
- Use sparingly – Dried dill has a concentrated flavor. A little goes a long way.
- Limit frequency – Feed dill a few times per week at most. Too much can cause stomach upset.
- Watch your dog – If any diarrhea, vomiting, or allergic reaction occurs, stop feeding dill immediately.
Consult your vet on exact amounts based on your dog’s size and health needs. When in doubt, err on the side of less dried dill. You can gradually increase over time once you know your dog tolerates it well.
How to Safely Feed Dried Dill to Dogs
Here are some safe ways to add small amounts of dried dill to your dog’s diet:
- Sprinkle dried dill as a flavor enhancer over plain cooked meat, fish, eggs, rice, or vegetables. Start with just a pinch.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon dried dill per cup to homemade healthy dog treats or food recipes.
- Use dried dill sparingly when making broth, then pour over dry or wet dog food to boost aroma and taste.
- For picky eaters, disguise dried dill inside meatballs, stuffed treats, or homemade dog food rolls.
- Brew a mild dill tea using 1 teaspoon dried dill per 1 cup hot water. Let cool before pouring a small amount over food.
Always supervise your dog when introducing new foods. Serve small portions of dill with meals, not on an empty stomach. Reduce other spices at first to isolate any reaction to the dill.
Can Dogs Eat Dill Pickles?
It’s best to avoid feeding dogs dill pickles or pickle brine. Here’s why:
- High sodium – The salty brine used to make pickles can cause excessive thirst and urination. It may also lead to sodium ion poisoning in dogs if ingested in large amounts.
- Garlic & onion – Some pickle brines contain garlic or onion powder, both of which are toxic to dogs.
- Vinegar – The acetic acid in vinegar can irritate a dog’s mouth, throat, and stomach. It can also erode tooth enamel over time.
- Xylitol risk – Some pickle brands use the sugar substitute xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Check labels carefully.
The small amount of dill flavoring in pickles is not harmful, but the surrounding brine makes pickles and pickle juice unsafe. Feeding plain dried or fresh dill is a much healthier option.
Precautions and Warnings for Feeding Dogs Dried Dill
While small doses of dried dill are generally harmless for dogs, there are some important safety precautions to keep in mind:
Like humans, some dogs may be allergic to dill. Allergy symptoms include itchy skin, hives, swelling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Dogs with known allergies to related plants like celery, carrots, and parsley are most at risk. Discontinue use if any reaction occurs.
Pregnancy and Nursing Dogs
There is no evidence that ordinary culinary amounts of dill are dangerous during pregnancy or nursing. However, very high supplemental doses may interact with hormones. Consult your vet to be safe before feeding dill.
Avoid feeding dried dill to puppies under 6 months old. The strong flavor profile may upset their digestive systems. Stick with a bland puppy-formulated diet.
Dill may interact with some medications like insulin and anticoagulants. Check with your vet before use if your dog takes any prescription medication. Monitor for adverse side effects.
Essential Oil Dangers
Never feed dogs dill essential oil, extract, or pills made for human use. The concentrated compounds can cause toxicity at high doses. Always stick to culinary amounts of the dried or fresh herb.
An Ideal Addition in Moderation
When used properly, the bright, tangy flavor of dried dill can enhance dishes for both humans and canines. Dried dill provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may give your dog some benefits. Yet moderation remains key, as too much can irritate your pup’s stomach.
Start with a pinch of dried dill leaves or seeds mixed into your dog’s regular food. Increase slowly over time while monitoring for any reaction. Talk to your vet about specific amounts based on your dog’s size and health status. Used occasionally in small doses, dried dill can provide a tasty, nutritious boost.
How much dried dill can I give my dog?
Start with just a pinch or sprinkle of dill once or twice a week with meals. Slowly increase to 1/4 tsp for small dogs, 1/2 tsp for medium or large dogs, always staying below 1 tsp total per day.
Is dried dill safe for dogs with kidney disease?
There is no evidence that small culinary amounts of dill negatively impact kidney health, but check with your vet to be safe. Dill may help dissolve uric acid stones. Avoid giving dill extracts.
Can dill help my dog’s bad breath?
Dried dill may help freshen bad dog breath temporarily thanks to its antibacterial effects. However, it should not replace brushing or dental cleanings to treat halitosis. Excessive dill can also upset the stomach.
What’s better for dogs – dried or fresh dill?
Both dried and fresh dill are safe for dogs in small amounts. Because drying concentrates flavors, dried dill has a stronger taste so start with less. Introduce new foods slowly either way.
Can I give my dog dill pickles or the pickle juice?
No, the high salt and acidity make pickles and pickle juice unsafe. The small amount of dill flavoring is not harmful though. Stick to giving plain dried or fresh dill instead.
For centuries, people have valued dill for both its medicinal properties and culinary uses. Today, we know that dogs can also enjoy dill safely and gain nutritional benefits when consumed in moderation.
Keep portion sizes small, watch for any reaction, and consult your vet for guidance tailored to your pup. Used occasionally as a garnish or ingredient, dried dill can add appealing flavor and variety to your dog’s diet.