Is rosemary safe for dogs?

Is Rosemary Safe for Dogs? (Important Considerations)

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Sometimes it feels like my dog gets into everything. It can be a stressful experience, since you want to make sure your pup is going to be OK and you need to answer the question:

Do I really need to go to the vet?

For this post we asked our veterinary advisor Dr. Jamie Whittenburg to offer some general tips for what to do when your pet gets into something they shouldn’t (or that you’re not sure about), and will give you all the information you need about rosemary and your dog.

Is Rosemary Safe for Dogs?

  Yes, according to ASPCA, rosemary is non-toxic for many pets, including dogs, cats, and horses. Studies suggest it may even be beneficial for dogs for several reasons.

Rosemary is a popular herb for many gardens thanks to its pretty fragrance and multiple applications. But, if you’re a dog owner, you might be wondering if it’s safe for your pet. This article will answer the question, “is rosemary safe for dogs,” and explore the plant’s potential risks and side effects.

People choose rosemary for pet-safe gardens because rosemary is non-toxic and highly fragrant. Dogs may even appreciate the strong scent! As a garden plant, rosemary makes an excellent choice for people and dogs. 

Can Dogs Eat Rosemary?

Rosemary has been incorporated into many commercial dog food formulas because it’s safe for them to consume. Depending on the brand, your pet may already have rosemary as a part of their diet. A natural antimicrobial, the addition of rosemary can help preserve and protect the food.

Studies indicate that rosemary fortified food helps dogs maintain blood glucose levels, which means rosemary could prevent diabetes or at least manage it.

Eating the fresh or dried herb won’t harm Fido either. However, as with most things, limiting consumption to a small amount is a good idea. Rosemary in the form of essential oil should never be given to pets. These concentrated oils cause adverse effects. 

Is Rosemary Safe for Dogs’ Skin?

If your dog rolls around on your rosemary bush, there’s nothing to worry about. Skin reactions are rare and nearly unheard of when dealing with the plant. But is rosemary oil safe for dogs? It’s best to be cautious when using products with the ingredient.

Any essential oil in its raw form shouldn’t be placed directly on the skin or fed to your pup. Even some products with diluted rosemary oil pose a problem. So, when considering the question, “is rosemary essential oil safe for dogs?” run any new product past your vet first.

Risks and Side Effects of Rosemary

Though there’s been no published research on the subject, some pet owners have observed increased seizures in epileptic dogs. In dogs prone to seizures, limiting rosemary consumption might be best.

Even though rosemary is non-toxic, pet owners may want to be cautious when using plant-based products for pest control. While most animals use the product without issue, some dogs have severe reactions

Like humans, some dogs have allergies, such as to rosemary, so consider introducing rosemary in small amounts as a precaution. 

In addition, you could do a spot test of a product before applying it liberally on your pet. However, asking your vet about any product before use is the best means to protect your pet. A veterinarian may determine whether your pet is allergic to rosemary.

This is a good video overview of essential oils for your dog generally from veterinarian Dr. Andrew Jones:

Tips from Our Vets

It is normal to be concerned whenever your dog or cat gets into something they should not have. Dogs particularly tend to eat things with little to no regard for edibility. Because so many things can be toxic to pets, even some that are perfectly safe for humans, it can be hard to know what to do. Here are three key steps to take first:

  1. The first thing you must do if your dog or cat ate or were exposed to something that they should not have is to determine how much of the substance they actually ingested.
  2. Save labels or take pictures so that you are able to show the ingredients to your pet’s veterinarian.
  3. Your veterinarian should be the first point of contact in the case of such an event. Call the nearest emergency veterinary hospital if it is outside of normal business hours.

Please follow the advice of your veterinarian. If your dog has ingested something toxic, they must immediately be taken to a hospital or clinic for treatment. If your veterinarian does not recommend seeing your pet right away, you should observe them carefully for any signs of illness. Things to be on the lookout for include:

  1. Vomiting – Your dog may vomit from simple gastrointestinal distress after eating something other than their dog or cat food. However, intractable or repeated vomiting can signal a toxin ingestion or another serious issue like gastric dilation volvulus. These conditions are life threatening and require emergency treatment right away.
  2. Lethargy – If your dog is acting oddly, or “not themselves,” it is a clue that the ingestion might be serious. Veterinary care should be sought as soon as possible.
  3. Hypersalivation – Excessive drooling may signal a toxin exposure or an injury to the mouth. It can also be a sign of nausea. If your dog or cat is in hypersalivation, you should reach out to their veterinarian.
  4. Weakness – If your dog or cat appears to be weak, is stumbling, or has difficulty walking, the likelihood of a toxin ingestion is higher. This is a sign that your dog requires veterinary care.
  5. Seizures – Twitching, rapid leg or eye movements, and convulsions are all signs that something is wrong. These abnormal movements may be due to a toxin or another issue that the dog is experiencing.
  6. Dribbling urine – Leaking urine is often seen in cases of marijuana toxicity. Dogs or cats exhibiting this sign should be taken to the nearest veterinary clinic for treatment.

If you are unable to reach your veterinarian, a great resource for help is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. The APCC is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach them at (888) 426-4435. There is a one-time $75 fee for this service.

Final Thoughts: Is Giving a Dog Rosemary Safe?

So, is rosemary safe for dogs? In most cases, yes, rosemary won’t harm dogs. However, each pooch is different, so reactions may vary. Let’s recap the facts about rosemary:

  • It’s non-toxic and recommended for pet-safe gardens. 
  • Is a common ingredient in commercial dog food.
  • Natural anti-microbial and utilized in plant-based flea shampoo.
  • Unofficial reports state rosemary may increase seizures in epileptic dogs. Some have suggested extreme adverse reactions to plant-based flea shampoos using rosemary.

Most dogs won’t react negatively to rosemary but remember to start small and consult a vet if any problems arise. Doing so will ensure you get the most informed and safest results.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a rosemary plant safe for dogs?

Yes, rosemary plants are safe for dogs. There is no evidence that they are toxic to pets, and they can actually be beneficial for your dog’s health. Rosemary contains compounds that can help to improve circulation and digestion, and it also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Additionally, the scent of rosemary can help to repel fleas and ticks. However, it is important to keep your dog away from the plant itself, as they may chew on the leaves and ingesting too much rosemary can cause vomiting or diarrhea. If you’re concerned that your dog may be sick after eating rosemary, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Is lavender and rosemary safe for dogs?

Yes, both lavender and rosemary are considered safe for dogs. In fact, these plants can actually provide a number of benefits for your pet. Lavender is known to be calming and can help to relieve stress or anxiety, while rosemary can help improve circulation and digestion. However, as with any plant, it is important to keep an eye on your dog around these plants to make sure they are not eating them. If ingested in large quantities, lavender and rosemary can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If you think your dog has eaten either of these plants, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Why is rosemary good for dogs?

Rosemary is good for dogs because it can help improve circulation and digestion, and can also act as a flea repellent. Additionally, the plant contains antioxidants that can help to protect your dog’s cells from damage. However, it is important to note that rosemary should not be given to dogs in large quantities, as it can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If you think your dog has eaten too much rosemary, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Do dogs like the smell of rosemary?

Some dogs may enjoy the smell of rosemary, while others may find it unappealing. If you are unsure whether or not your dog likes the scent of rosemary, try offering them a small amount to see if they show interest. If they seem uninterested or bothered by the smell, it’s best to avoid using it around them.

Is rosemary poisonous to pets?

Rosemary can be toxic to dogs and cats if consumed in large quantities. Symptoms of rosemary toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and kidney damage. If you think your pet has eaten too much rosemary, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Can Rosemary make dogs sick?

Yes, rosemary can make dogs sick if they consume too much of it. Symptoms of rosemary toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and kidney damage. If you think your dog has eaten too much rosemary, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Can dogs smell rosemary essential oil?

Yes, dogs can smell rosemary essential oil. However, some dogs may be bothered by the strong scent of rosemary oil. If your dog seems uninterested or bothered by the smell, it’s best to avoid using it around them.

Does rosemary kill fleas on dogs?

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that rosemary kills fleas on dogs. However, some people believe that the plant’s strong scent may help repel fleas. If you want to try using rosemary to repel fleas, talk to your veterinarian first to make sure it’s safe for your dog.

Does rosemary cause seizures in dogs?

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that rosemary causes seizures in dogs. However, some people believe that the plant’s strong scent may trigger seizures in sensitive dogs. If you’re concerned about using rosemary around your dog, talk to your veterinarian first.

Additional Resources

Our writing staff and team of veterinarians have dedicated a ton of time and energy to bringing you the best information possible about household products and food to help make sure your pets are safe.

You can check out our giant guide to human foods dogs can and can not eat, and we’ve created guides on whether over 40 human foods are safe for dogs to eat.

We’ve also created a series of posts on what household products are and aren’t safe for your pet, including:

  1. Is Neosporin Safe for Dogs?
  2. Is Weed Killer Safe For Pets?
  3. Is Lavender Safe for Dogs?
  4. Is Lavender Safe for Cats?
  5. Is Eucalyptus Safe for Cats?
  6. Is Eucalyptus Safe for Dogs?
  7. Is Rosemary Safe for Cats?
  8. Is Pepto Bismol Safe for Dogs?
  9. Is Citronella Safe for Dogs

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.