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Can dogs eat seasoned food?

Can dogs eat seasoned food?

Perhaps your dog is eyeing your hamburger, or the seasoned steak from the grill. It’s natural to want to feed them a bit of what you are having.

You may have heard that any food you give your dog should be free of seasonings. You don’t want to eat bland food, and your pretty sure your pooch would prefer a little seasoning as well. What do you do? Keep reading to find out! 

Can dogs eat seasoned food?

There’s not a simple answer to can dogs eat seasoned food. It really depends on the type of seasoning. Some seasonings are good for dogs, while others can be harmful. 

The Good and Bad of Seasonings

Some seasonings can actually provide your dog with health benefits. These seasonings include cinnamon, turmeric, and cilantro. 

 Others can be harmful, or even fatal in large amounts. These include salt, garlic, and cocoa powder. Before you feed your pooch any type of seasoning, you should know if it’s safe for them to eat. 

You should also be aware that moderation is important. Even seasonings that are healthy for dogs can cause problems in high amounts. 

Dog Sense of Taste 

Dogs have a different sense of taste than humans do. They have a very superior sense of smell, but their sense of taste isn’t as refined as ours is. 

They generally rely on their sense of smell to decide if something is food, and if they should be eating it. 

Humans have about 9,000 taste buds. Dogs, on the other hand, only have about 1,700. Just like us, they can differentiate between sweet, salty, unami, and bitter. Unami means “the essence of deliciousness” in Japanese.

In simple terms, it’s savory tastes, like meat. The unfortunately flavorful seasoning MSG would also be classified as unami.

Even though dogs have the same sets of taste buds as humans, they don’t have the same taste ability. They probably can’t tell the difference between chicken and pork, for example. 

Dogs do have a set of taste buds that humans lack, however. They have taste buds for water. Humans can detect things in water, but they can’t detect the taste of water itself. 

Is Flavor Important for Dogs? 

Flavor is important for dogs, but not in the same way it is to us. It’s unclear if dogs eat partially for pleasure, the way people do. They certainly seem to enjoy their food, and can overeat when they really love a food. These suggest that they do enjoy eating, as humans do. 

While flavor may be important to dogs, they probably don’t enjoy seasonings in the same way we do. Your dog will be just as happy eating steak without seasoning as they will eating a heavily seasoned t bone. 

What seasoning can dogs eat?

There are actually lots of seasonings that your dog can enjoy. Moderation is key, because some spices that are good for dogs can still be toxic in large amounts. 

Used as a seasoning, they are perfectly safe. However, if your dog gets into your spice cabinet, they can experience some unpleasant effects. 

Sweet Basil

Swwet basil is a common spice in human food, and it can be great for your dog. You can give your pooch 1/8 to 1 teaspoon in or on their food. 

It’s high in antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals. Antioxidants can improve immune health, reduce cancer risk, and even slow aging. 

It is antibacterial and antiviral, so it’s a great choice if your pooch is feeling under the weather. It also contains vitamins A, B, C, and E. 

If your four legged friend is feeling anxious, basil can help calm them. 

Cilantro and Corriander

Cilantro and coriander are both made from the coriander plant. Cilantro is the leaves and stems of the plant. Corriander are the seeds of the plant. 

If you are a cilantro fan like me, you’ll be glad to know it’s full of vitamins and minerals. These include Vitamins A, B6, B3, C, E, and K,  potassium, and essential minerals. 

It also has antiviral and antibacterial properties, and a high antioxidant content. 

You can use it to soothe an upset tummy, particularly gas and bloating. 


Many dogs enjoy mint. The only type that is toxic to them is English pennyroyal mint. Other varieties are perfectly safe in moderation. 

It aids in digestion, and can help soothe stomach upset. It’s also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. 

However, you should never give your dog peppermint essential oil. It can cause stomach upset and can be toxic in higher amounts. 


Cinnamon is in everyone’s spice rack. It is a great anti-inflammatory and has antibacterial properties. It’s also helpful for regulating blood sugar. 

While a sprinkle of cinnamon on your dog’s food is healthy, do not allow them to inhale cinnamon. This can cause choking, coughing, and breathing difficulties. 


Ginger is prized by humans, and is used to treat a wide range of ailments. It can have similar benefits for your dog. It’s known to calm an upset stomach, and has anti-inflammatory effects. It’s also been shown to improve thinking and aid in circulation. 

Your pooch can have 10 to 25 mg per pound of body weight. If giving them fresh ginger root, small dogs can have 1/4 teaspoon, and large dogs can have 1 teaspoon of fresh root. 


Dill is also great for the digestive tract. It can calm stomach cramps because it has antispasmotic properties. It also eases gas and constipation, which are common issues for dogs. 

You can give your pooch 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of dill sprinkled on their food. You can also serve them 2 to 8 ounces of dill tea. 

Do not give your pooch dill essential oil. This is toxic to dogs. 


Turmeric is another miraculous spice. It has antiinflammatory and antibacterial properties. It helps protect the stomach and liver, and increases bile flow, which can aid digestion. 

Your pooch can have 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per every 10 pounds of body weight. Too much turmeric can cause upset stomach, bruising, and iron deficiency. 

What seasoning can dogs not eat?

You can see there are a lot of seasonings that are actually good for dogs. However, there are also some that should be avoided. These seasonings can have disastrous effects on your furry friend. 


Salt is the most common seasoning in America. We put salt on nearly everything, even sweets like chocolate. So, it’s natural you may be tempted to feed your dog food with added salt. 

Just like humans, dogs need salt in their diet. However, they have much lower sodium requirements than we do. At 1.5 grams per pound of body weight, salt is lethal to dogs. 

However, negative effects can occur at much lower doses. Symptoms of salt toxicity include vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy, loss of coordination, and excessive thirst. 

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin is great for dogs, but pumpkin pie spice is not. It contains allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. 

Allspice contains eugenols. These lower your dog’s body temperature, and increase pulse rate. Small quantities aren’t usually harmful, but it’s best to avoid it. 

Nutmeg contains myristicin. Like allspice, small amounts may be safe. Stomach upset can occur from small amounts of nutmeg. High doses can result in hallucinations, increased heart rate, and seizures. 

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder contains theobromine. This is what gives humans a chocolate buzz. Dogs can’t process it the way humans can. Cocoa powder can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and rapid heart rate, and tremors. High amounts of cocoa powder can cause seizures and death. 


Peppers are not toxic to your dog. However, they can cause major stomach upset and irritation. Dog systems simply aren’t designed for these foods. 

They can also cause irritation of the mouth, nose, and throat. Some dogs can tolerate them, and even enjoy spicy foods. Most dogs, however, prefer to avoid them. 


Curry isn’t technically toxic. However, it can be very spicy. This can lead to stomach upset, including explosive diarrhea. This is unpleasing for you and your pooch. 

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions both contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs. It’s most dangerous in its dry or powdered form, which is how its used in most seasonings. 

Thiosulfate damages dog’s blood cells. This causes them to malfunction or die, causing a type of anemia. 

Bay Leaf

Bay leaf also contains eugenol and other compounds that make it toxic to dogs. Vomitting and diarrhea are the most common effects. However, if they consume a lot of the leaves, it can cause an intestinal obstruction. 


Chives can cause anemia by destroying the dogs’ red blood cells. Japanese breeds, including Akita, Inu, and Shiba, are more sensitive to chives than other breeds. 

It can also cause stomach upset, including vomiting and diarrhea. 

Can a dog eat seasoned meat?

This depends on the type of seasoning used. As long as there are no spices that dogs should avoid, it’s ok for your dog to eat seasoned meat.

However, you should keep in mind that some of our favorite spices, including salt and garlic, are off limits for your pooch.