"Parsley - the jewel of herbs, both in the pot and on the plate." wrote Albert Stockli, Chef Director of Restaurant Associates, and indeed Parsley for humans has a good reputation.
Like many healthy foods, in moderation, Parsley is good for humans to eat and for our pet dogs for the same reasons.
Dogs are also like us in that the best way for them to get their vitamins and minerals is through their food, rather than through supplements. We all want our pet dog to be a healthy one, so a diet rich in good ingredients and with healthy treats is the best way to have a healthy animal.
We know about dog breath. It has a bad reputation, as it often can be unpleasant. There are many reasons for this, but we can use one way to help make your dog's breath a little fresher is to add a small amount of Parsley to its meals. Hopefully, this will make life a little sweeter for you.
The chlorophyll in the Parsley is what helps here. It has many other health benefits, including replenishing red blood cells, detoxifying the digestive system, and helping block pre carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). Leafy greens are mostly good sources, so your dog doesn't have to eat just Parsley to gain benefits.
But if you see your dog healing for the lawn for a nibble, it may be on a search for more chlorophyll in its diet, or possibly it feels unwell.
If your dog isn't a fan of salad as a food source, you can prepare a combination of parsley leaves with kale or spinach leaves as a frozen treat. Blend with some water and freeze for tasty, healthy dog treats.
Vitamins By The Bucketload
If we search the United States (U.S.) Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, we find one cup of chopped Parsley contains:
5,054 international units (IU) of vitamin A
79.8 mcg of vitamin C
984 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K
plus 38 micrograms of chlorophyll
Given that one cup of Parsley provides over 400% of the recommended intake of vitamin A for an adult dog (as per the Association of American Feed Control Officials website), your dog won't need nearly that amount.
And that is a LOT of Parsley.
It is unsafe for a dog or cat to consume large quantities of Parsley - leaf or seed. The seeds should not be used as a food source at all - only the leaves.
What Are The Vitamin Benefits?
- Vitamin A - is an essential nutrient that supports skin, eye, and reproductive health, and immune function.
- Vitamin C - is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen the body's natural defenses. It also helps encourage the production of white blood cells, which help protect the body against infection.
- Vitamin C also helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from potentially harmful molecules, like free radicals.
Vitamin C is also an essential part of the skin's defense system. It can act as an antioxidant and help strengthen the skin's barriers.
- Vitamin K (more specifically Vitamin K1 - phylloquinone) - comes from plants, especially leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale.
- It plays an essential role in blood clotting, a process that helps prevent excessive bleeding both inside and outside the body. Your dog's body needs vitamin K to produce the proteins that work during the clotting process.
Curly, Flat Leaf Or Spring Parsley?
Curly or Flat Leaf are the two you will find in garden nurseries or at the supermarket. They are both good for your dog, but the Flat Leaf does have a more 'grassy' flavor than the Curly Leaf. The main difference (apart from the leaf) is the flavor chemical is stronger in Flat Leaf when younger and stronger in Curly when older.
Spring parsley is another story altogether.
Firstly, although it is Parsley, it is a slightly different variety, with the scientific name of Cymopterus watsonii, unlike Petroselinum crispum (curly leaf) or Petroselinum neapolitanum (flat-leaf).
Secondly, it is not good for your pet dog at all. It is listed on the ASPCA website as a toxic plant for dogs. It causes sensitivity to UV light and dermatitis. Basically, it causes your dog's skin to burn much quicker than normal.
It is better to avoid spring parsley, rather than assume that sunscreen may protect your dog. Like us, overexposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancers and maybe even fatal to your pet. Given this may be preventable, it is good to search out some good resources and be informed about this and other toxic herbs and grasses.
The ASPCA website provides a comprehensive list with pictures, which is a big help. We suggest you search through this for plants that may grow in your garden and protect your dog from them.
Our pet's health is in our hands, and we all want to give our pet the ideal food that is best for its health. Like other herbs, Parsley is a helpful food source, even just as dog treats to get our dog's vitamin intake higher when used carefully.