When you think of the holidays, I bet you envision family, a warm fire, good food, and your favorite holiday flavor or spice. Maybe it’s the warm taste of apple cider with a hint of cinnamon that tickles your fancy. Here are six classic holiday spices and herbs that are not only safe for dogs, but good for their health!

As with any herbs, please consult with your holistic veterinarian if your dog has any medical concerns, is on medication, or is pregnant or lactating.

1. Cinnamon, Ceylon (Cinnamomum verum): Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties; heart-healthy; lowers blood sugar levels; improves brain function; cancer prevention; improves dental health and digestion; and fights bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections. Precaution: Because it affects blood sugar, owners of diabetic pets should speak with their veterinarian prior to use.

2. Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Eases nausea, cough, stomach pain, and digestive issues including gas. It also stimulates appetite and improves circulation. Helps with inflammation and joint pain.

3. Licorice (Glycyrrhizs glabra): Anti-inflammatory; soothes the gut, itching, and allergies. Precaution: Long-term use can result in low potassium and high sodium.

4. Peppermint (Mentha × piperita): Decreases mucus, allowing this herb to assist with sinus and upper respiratory infections. It is also soothing on the gut, making it helpful for dogs with irritable bowel syndrome or gas.

5. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Heart-healthy herb that contains antioxidants and has antimicrobial properties; supports digestion and cognition.

6. Sage (Salvia officinalis): Antibacterial, antioxidant, aids in digestion, and enhances memory.

Tonya WilhelmTonya Wilhelm is a dog training and cat care specialist who has traveled the US promoting positive ways of preventing and managing behavior issues with a holistic approach. Named one of the top ten dog trainers in the US, she has helped thousands build happy relationships with their dogs using humane, positive training methods. She wrote Proactive Puppy Care and other books. Tonya offers group and private dog training classes, provides training and behavior services via phone and online, and does workshops at pet expos. raisingyourpetsnaturally.com

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