Read time: 5 mins
21 Dec 2019
Sage is an absolute must-have for keen gardeners and cooks. It’s a member of the mint family, and a perennial, evergreen plant. For the non-gardeners out there, this means it always has leaves, and comes back year after year. It’s so popular because all 800 worldwide species of it are really easy to grow (which they will, big-time) and can be used in a number of ways.
Its distinctive taste makes sage a great addition to all kinds of human food. But what other uses does it have? And is sage good for dogs? We know that not all human foods are suitable for pooches, so let's put sage under the microscope.
Yes, sage is safe for dogs to eat.
In the correct form and controlled quantities, sage is a very beneficial addition to a dog’s diet.
Sage contains thujone, a chemical that can be risky in large doses, potentially causing upset tums. So remember to take your time if you’re introducing sage to your pooch’s diet for the first time, a little bit goes a long way (and minimises the risk of a whoopsie on the carpet).
Sage has a number of health benefits for dogs, including:
This is the herb that's got a lot more than just seasoning going on. The Romans called it their sacred herb, and its Latin botanical name ‘Salvia officinalis’ comes from the word ‘to save’. Greek physician Dioscorides (the father of pharmacology – a fact to remember for the crossword) reportedly said sage could stop wounds bleeding, disinfect sores and heal ulcers. He even used it to treat tickly throats and coughs.
When added to your dog’s dinner, sage can be a great way to give their immune system a boost and help to ward off any nasties.
Qualified veterinary herbalists use sage for first aid and to help with a few dog conditions like arthritis and allergies.
The main health benefits in the herb are thought to come from its high antioxidant levels. Each plant has over 160 polyphenolic compounds (easy for you to say) that are known for their valuable anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It’s these clever little guys that make sage so useful in the treatment of mouth and digestive problems like laryngitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
This is why you might see sage as an ingredient in doggy toothpaste, helping to keep your pooch’s pearly whites in good nick, too.
As sage has a high fibre content, it can be used to promote healthy digestion in dogs. It’s been widely recognised as a remedy for diarrhoea too, so if your pooch has the runs you might find yourself running too - for the sage.
Sage is best given to dogs in fresh or dried form, whether it’s sprinkled into their food or added to homemade treats. A couple of leaves or a small pinch is enough to start with.
Essential oils should never be used undiluted internally or externally on dogs. AKC advises dog owners to consider the ongoing speculation surrounding the safety of essential oils for dogs, even when diluted.
As it stands there isn’t enough evidence to support using them, and the risks still largely outweigh the benefits. These can include skin irritation respiratory issues, as well as organ and nervous system damage. We would definitely recommend avoiding the use of sage in this form.
If your dog has ingested essential oils by accident you should get in touch with your Vet immediately for further guidance to lower the risk of poison. If you subscribe to Butternut Box you can also use our free, 24/7 Vet Nurse helpline.
Sage is a complementary herb used for healing as well as cooking. It smells really christmassy too. While you might not usually feed your dog a meal of turkey and all the trimmings, Butternut Box's fresh meals are a yummy alternative. Many of our recipes, including Chicken You Out and Pork This Way, are made with human-quality protein, plenty of fresh veg and are seasoned with doglicious sage. Your pooch won’t even miss the chipolatas.
It truly is the wonder herb the Greeks and Romans thought it was. Want some sage advice (sorry) from us to you? Introduce it to you and your dog’s diet – neither of you will turn your noses up at it.
Whilst consuming sage can be beneficial to dogs, burning sage around them is generally not recommended for a number of reasons. The strong smells can be over-stimulating and the smoke can irritate their lungs, resulting in breathing problems.
Good news for green-fingered among us, it is generally safe to have a sage plant if you have a pup. Whilst you should be careful to ensure your dog doesn’t devour the whole thing, a little nibble is unlikely to do any harm.
This is a particularly popular question around the month of December (we can’t help but wonder why). Your dog is working their way around the dinner table, gazing longingly at each family member, dreaming of a mere morsel of the long-awaited feast. It’s Christmas after all, maybe you can break the no table-feeding rule for one day, but… is it safe to do so?
The short answer is no. Whether it’s homemade or shop bought, stuffing often contains a number of ingredients that are very dangerous to dogs, such as onions and garlic. The Kennel Club advises that both contain a toxin that is known to attach to red blood cells and damage them, which can lead to life-threatening illnesses. We say it’s better to be sage than sorry.
When served in the right form and quantity, the following herbs and spices are safe (and beneficial) for your pup.