12 Herbs to Grow for Your Pets

Herbs hold a valued place in our kitchens and medicine cabinets. They add a delicious depth to our food and help benefit our health in a variety of ways.

Itís no different for our pets. They can also enjoy the unique flavors and health benefits of herbs. The next time you plant a pot of herbs on your window sill or a bed in your garden, remember your animal friends.

The following are some easy to grow herbs that are all safe for your pets to eat. Most are very nutritious in addition to their health boosting properties.

Always check with your veterinarian before giving your pet any herbs, especially supplements. Some herbs can have negative interactions with medications your pet may already be taking. Also, certain herbs can be harmful during pregnancy, so let your vet know if your pet is expecting.

12 Herbs for Pets


1. ALFALFA (Medicago sativa)

A common crop grown for livestock, alfalfa is also great for household pets. Itís rich in many vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, B12, C, and E. It has antioxidant properties that can reduce pain and swelling in conditions like arthritis.


2. BURDOCK (Arctium lappa)

You might find wild burdock growing naturally in your yard. If not, seeds are also available at most garden centers or online. The mature roots are beneficial for pets and people, either cooked or raw. Theyíre nutritious and can stimulate liver and gallbladder function They can also be used as a diuretic or laxative.


3. CATNIP (Nepeta cataria)

Catnip is not just for cats. Itís high in nutrients and contains beneficial oils such as neroli, citronellol, nepetalactone, and thymol. It has a mild tranquilizing effect on most animals, which makes it excellent for combating nervousness and insomnia. Catnip can also help relieve flatulence, diarrhea, and indigestion, as well as ease early symptoms of colds and flu. Try putting some fresh leaves in your petís water or a small dash of the dried herb on their food.


4. CHAMOMILE (Matricaria recutita)

Similar to humans, this herb can be used to help alleviate anxiety, hyperactivity, and insomnia in pets. Chamomile tea is good for settling indigestion and vomiting. And a cooled tea can be used as a topical rinse to help treat skin inflammation from flea bites, fungal infections, or other issues. Some pets may be allergic to chamomile, so use very small amounts at first to see if they have a reaction or not.


5. DILL (Anethum graveolens)

Dill is known as a digestive aid that can help improve appetite and reduce gas and bloating. It also makes a great breath freshener and has been shown to contain many antioxidants and anticancer compounds. Both the leaves and seeds can be eaten by pets. Try making a dill seed tea with 1 teaspoon (6 milliliters) of dill seed brewed in 8 ounces (227 milliliters) of hot water. Feed it to your pet once itís cooled.


6. GINGER (Zingiber officinale)

You can buy fresh ginger root in the store, but itís also very easy to grow at home. Check out these instructions on how to grow your own ginger. Either way, ginger is very healthy for pets. It supports digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties to help with conditions like arthritis and fever. Ginger also contains antiviral and anti-infective compounds. Just be careful not to give your pet too much, as large doses can cause nausea and stomach upset.

Cat Grass

7. GRASS (Various species)

Dogs and cats both seem to need some grass in their diets, even though they donít have the enzymes to digest it. Why they eat grass is unclear. It may be to help get rid of a gastrointestinal upset, as they sometimes throw up after eating it. Grass is also very high in fiber, so the roughage may help move an upset through and out the other end.

Whatever the reason, itís easy to grow grass either indoors or outdoors. Seeds for barley, wheat, and cat grass are readily available. You can also let your pet nibble on regular grass outside, as long as you know itís free from pesticides.

Milk Thistle

8. MILK THISTLE (Silybum marianum)

Milk thistle is used to promote liver health in humans and pets. It contains silymarin, a compound shown to treat a variety of liver diseases and other conditions. Silymarin displaces toxins trying to bind to the liver and supports liver cells to divide and regenerate. Although this herb is very beneficial, it should not be used as a daily supplement for pets. Long-term, high doses of milk thistle can be detrimental.


9. OREGANO (Origanum vulgare)

Aside from being delicious in Italian food, oregano is high in vitamin K, antioxidants, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. These all benefit pets as well as people. Oregano is also recognized for its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties. So, the next time youíre adding some fresh or dried oregano to your tomato sauce, save a little to sprinkle on your petís dinner.


10. PARSLEY (Petroselinum crispum)

This nutritious herb is rich in protein, fiber, and many different vitamins and trace minerals. Itís a well-respected breath freshener and can be used to help treat swollen glands, indigestion, asthma, inflammatory conditions, and bladder problems.

If your pet is stung by a bee, you can mash a handful of fresh parsley with a bit of water and rub it on the sting. This can help reduce the pain as well as neutralize some of the poison.


11. PEPPERMINT (Mentha balsamea)

Peppermint has traditionally been used to soothe digestive troubles, such as nausea and gas. It can also be used with ginger to treat motion sickness. In addition, research has found that peppermint may be able to reduce radiation-induced sickness and mortality in animals undergoing chemotherapy.

st johns wort

12. SAINT JOHNíS WORT (Hypericum perforatum)

St. Johnís wort may be best known as an antidepressant for people. But it also benefits pets with depression and psychological stress, such as separation anxiety or aggression. It can also be effective for pain control and healing, so a topical application can be used for abrasions, dermatitis, or other skin issues. You can make your own skin oil for this purpose by packing a jar with dry St. Johnís wort, then covering the herbs with olive oil to fill the jar. Seal the jar tightly and let sit for a few weeks before straining out the herbs and keeping the oil for use on your pet.

Related at Care2


Sue H
Sue H2 months ago

Helpful information, thanks.

hELEN hEARFIELD5 months ago


Peggy B
Peggy B5 months ago

Good to know.

Ruth S
Ruth S5 months ago


michela c
michela c6 months ago

Interesting, thank you.

Carole R
Carole R9 months ago

Good to know.

hELEN hEARFIELD9 months ago


Ann B
Ann B9 months ago

excellent--my cats just walk past the cat nip--even the dried in the toy mousies :) odd cats

Marija M
Marija M9 months ago

I have of those in the flat.

Sue H
Sue H9 months ago

Good to know, thanks.