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Can Dogs Eat Fennel? Is Fennel Safe for Dogs?

Trying to feed your dog human food can feel like tap dancing through a minefield. There are so many ingredients in everything, and sometimes the oddest things can turn out to be deadly to your pup (like raisins — who knew?).

Even spices are suspect. Is fennel safe for your dog, or will it kill them graveyard-dead within seconds? Oftentimes, you don’t even think to ask the question until you’ve already fed your dog the substance in question, at which point you start feverishly Googling whether what you just gave them is safe.

We’ve been there, so we understand — and today, we’re going to put your mind at ease in regards to fennel, if nothing else.

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Is Fennel Safe for Dogs?

Fennel plant
Image Credit By: katiklinski, pixabay

Yes, your dog can eat fennel. It’s safe for them and shouldn’t pose any sort of health risk.

Fennel oil, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. This concentrated version of fennel should never be given to dogs, as it’s known to trigger photosensitive dermatitis, which is a painful outburst of eczema.

Fortunately, fennel oil is less commonly used than regular fennel, so that’s a problem you shouldn’t run into very often, if at all.

You should also avoid feeding your dog fennel if they’re pregnant or lactating. If you’re feeding them organic fennel (which we recommend), wash it thoroughly before serving.

It’s also worth noting that some dogs are allergic to fennel. It’s impossible to know if your dog is afflicted ahead of time, so all you can do is monitor them after feeding them something with fennel in it. Fortunately, the symptoms should be limited to an upset stomach, but that’s information you want to have regardless.

Does Fennel Have Any Health Benefits for Dogs?

Fennel is actually quite a healthy food for pups, and you should encourage your dog to eat it in moderation.

It’s full of vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, iron, and potassium. These nutrients are important for everything from skeletal health to bolstering your pup’s immune system, so you want your dog to eat as much of them as you can.

Fennel can also help with doggy breath or gas issues, so if you have an English Bulldog, you should definitely try to convince them to eat some.

young Jack Russell Terrier dog near bag with organic herbs and vegetables_simonvera_shutterstock
Image credit: Simon Vera, Shutterstock

How Do I Convince My Dog to Eat More Fennel?

Fennel has a fairly strong aroma, not unlike licorice, and as a result, many dogs will have an immediate reaction to it one way or the other. If your dog recoils at the smell, there might not be anything you can do to change their mind.

However, if you think you can convince your pup to eat it, there are ways to incorporate it into their diet without making a big fuss about it along the way.

The easiest way to add fennel to your dog’s diet is to find a kibble that lists it as an ingredient. Your dog is likely to enjoy the taste of the food (and not notice the taste of the fennel), plus they’ll probably get a bunch of other essential nutrients from it as well.

If you can’t find a food you like with fennel, you can try sprinkling fennel seeds on their food before serving it to them. They probably won’t care about a few stray seeds, but don’t go overboard, or you risk overpowering their palates.

Failing that, you can make fennel tea by boiling the seeds in water. Then, pour that water into their kibble bowl (after waiting for it to cool, of course).

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So, What’s the Verdict? Is Fennel Safe for Dogs?

As long as you don’t give your dog fennel oil, you shouldn’t worry if they eat a little fennel every now and then. In fact, you probably want to encourage it, as fennel has several nutrients inside it that dogs need.

Convincing your dog to actually scarf it down may not be easy, but it will likely be worth it — especially if you’re trying to reduce those noxious emissions coming out of your Bulldog…

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Featured Image Credit By: congerdesign, pixabay