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If you’re looking to add a healthy garnish to your dog’s meals, you may wonder whether you can add a sprig of parsley. The short answer is yes; dogs can get many proteins and other minerals from parsley and other leafy greens. However, as with adding anything to your dog’s diet, you should only do so in moderation.

Additionally, if you decide to supplement mealtimes with parsley, make sure you only use curly parsley. Other varieties, like Italian parsley, act as diuretics, which can lead to dehydration in dogs with sensitive stomachs. Italian parsley can also be toxic if administered in large quantities.

Dogs Can Eat Parsley in Moderation

Curly parsley, along with other superfoods, is a great source of many key vitamins. For instance, it contains vitamin A, which benefits your dog’s vision and strengthens the immune system. It also offers vitamin K, which promotes good liver health.

Dr. Sunny Benipal, a veterinarian at Pet Express Animal Hospital in Davie, FL, explains that in moderation, curly parsley has many health benefits. “Everything is good in moderation, so obviously you don’t want to have parsley seeds being highly ingested by dogs … there’s also the risk of allergic reaction for animals.”

Aside from curly parsley, there are many varieties of parsley, including Hamburg parsley, Italian parsley, and turnip-rooted parsley. In large quantities, Italian parsley in particular can be toxic to dogs. That’s because the herb contains chemicals called “furanocoumarins.”

Labrador Retriever being given a stainless steel bowl of food.
©chalabala -

Dr. Jerry Klein, the American Kennel Club’s Chief Veterinarian, explains: “Furanocoumarins in large amounts can cause dermal inflammation, like a sunburn. Furanocoumarins are also found in citrus. This is why many medications may be affected when drinking grapefruit juice … No breed is more/less tolerant [of the herb].”

If you’re adding parsley to your dog’s diet, you should know the signs of dermatitis, so you can remove the herb when necessary. Some common signs of dermatitis in dogs include itching, scratching, and excessively licking or biting an area. Less common symptoms include pus-filled blisters, scabs, or hair loss. You should consult your veterinarian if you notice these symptoms affecting your dog’s quality of life.

When Parsley Becomes a Problem

While adding curly parsley to your dog’s diet can provide them with much-needed supplements, it’s important to monitor for any symptoms of gastrointestinal distress or dermatitis.

Dr. Benipal says owners should watch out for “vomiting [or] diarrhea. If you’re seeing signs of increased urination or any kind of changes in normal behavior or excessive panting, I’d definitely recommend going to your veterinary practitioner and getting a second opinion.”

Parsley isn’t toxic to dogs, like garlic and onions. Italian parsley would only cause a severe reaction if a dog consumes a lot. “If you want to add a little bit of parsley to your dog’s diet, it’s not going to do any harm, but everything should be in moderation,” Dr. Benipal emphasizes.

Pembroke Welsh Corgi laying next to its bowl of kibble.
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Other Superfoods You Can Add to Your Dog’s Diet

Creating homemade meals for your pet is a great way to bond and have full control over their diet. In moderation (and after a conversation with your veterinarian), you may consider adding these superfoods to your dog’s meals:

  • Frozen green beans: Dr. Benipal notes that not only does this offer the crunch dogs crave, but it’s also a great source of protein.
  • Blueberries and cranberries: Both berries are high in fiber and antioxidants. Studies have also shown that they improve cognitive function in senior dogs.
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a two-for-one special when it comes to benefiting your dog’s health. Not only does it benefit your dog’s digestive health, but when used topically, it can help avoid itchy, dry skin.

You may also consider adding unsalted, grilled chicken breast to your dog’s meals. In healthy portions, it’s a great source of protein and amino acids that aid in weight management and muscle development. However, as surprising as it may seem, chicken is among one of the most common allergens for dogs.

Your veterinarian can run an allergy panel on your dog to confirm that it’s a safe treat or meal supplement.

Cute dog eating food
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Do Some Dog Foods Contain Parsley?

The Merck Veterinary Manual notes that all pet food brands (that goes for treats, too) must provide a list of ingredients, statement of nutritional adequacy, and feeding guidelines — among other details. If you’re concerned about parsley getting into your dog’s diet, read the label on any food first.

Some dog foods and products that may contain parsley include:

  • Certain dog food formulas marketed for digestive health (curly parsley can aid in digestion and soothe the stomach)
  • Treats or supplements targeting urinary tract health

Avoid These Foods at All Costs

Curly parsley is just one of many foods that both you and your dog can enjoy. Yet, there are some foods that your dog should absolutely avoid, even in small amounts. They include:

If you ever have concerns that your dog has eaten something toxic, consult your vet. You can also call the Pet Poison Hotline for more information.

Dachshund with its owner getting checked by a veterinarian.
Alexander Raths via Getty Images

Consult a Veterinary Nutritionist About Making Balanced Meals

Many reputable dog food brands already contain the protein, fiber, and amino acids that help your dog thrive. Yet, in moderation, there are many ways you can spruce up your dog’s mealtimes, and that includes adding a touch of curly parsley every so often.

Dr. Benipal recommends looking for a dog food brand that’s complete. According to the FDA, this means “the product is intended to be fed as a pet’s sole diet and should be nutritionally balanced.”

“Herbs aren’t always the first choice, but green leafy vegetables are a good alternative you can add [to your dog’s food],” Dr. Benipal says. “Be careful about which ones you’re adding because some can be toxic … ask your veterinary practitioner beforehand and just confirm what you’re going to do.”