Can Dogs Eat Cloves?

By John Martin - January 23, 2023

Cloves on table and bowl

The aromatic flower buds known as cloves are popularly used in cooking, baking, and perfumes. They are even known for their traditional use in treating toothache pain and under certain conditions as an analgesic.

Almost five centuries ago, people used cloves as a natural toothbrush and to preserve meats. Their use continues today across various cuisines.

As pet parents, we are always concerned about what ingredients our dogs can consume safely. Not everything we eat is considered safe for them. In which category do cloves belong?

What Are Cloves?

Cloves are grown on an evergreen tree that is native to the tropical region. The final product that makes its way into the kitchen is the flower bud of the tree. They are picked and dried. They are available in the dried form or ground into powder.

They have many health benefits and are commonly used in various cuisines as well as medicinal treatments. They also work as a substitute for allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pepper.

Cloves provide multiple health benefits to humans, such as relief from coughs, toothaches, and certain respiratory issues. They also have nutritional value.

But does this special spice benefit dogs? Is it safe for them to consume it?

Can Dogs Safely Consume Cloves?

Cloves can be safely consumed by dogs if given in extremely small moderation. For instance, if your dog consumes food whose recipe calls for the use of cloves, it is likely to do no harm to them. The amount of cloves used in recipes is extremely less and should pose no risk to humans or dogs.

However, it is strongly recommended to avoid giving your dog cloves or anything with cloves in them. Dogs have a lower tolerance for cloves than we do. They should not consume the same amount we do.

Cloves contain a compound known as eugenol. In high amounts, eugenol is toxic to humans and most animals. Though its effect is somewhat less severe in dogs, it can still put their health at risk.

It is still not known what the fatal dose of cloves is for dogs. Therefore, it is best not to give them any amount of it.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Mustard?

What Happens If Dogs Eat Cloves?

Due to the presence of eugenol, it is not considered safe for dogs to consume cloves. Consumption in correct dosages will do no harm. However, it is uncertain what the correct dosage is for them.

In case your dog consumes too much, it can lead to toxicity. Therefore, it is best to err on the side of caution. There are reports that indicate that the consumption of as little as nine cloves by a small dog can be fatal.

Whole cloves and clove oil can be extremely bad for dogs. Cloves are also found in pumpkin pie spice along with allspice. Both these species contain eugenol, which is toxic in high amounts.

There are certain warning signs to look out for in case you suspect your dog has consumed an unsafe dose of cloves.

These signs include lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting. In case of an overdose, there will be more serious signs such as convulsions, bloody urine, unconsciousness, acute kidney trauma, and rapid heart rate, in addition to the other signs.

What to Do If a Dog Eats a Toxic Amount of Cloves?

Get in touch with your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested clove oil or a toxic amount of cloves.

Though the eugenol in cloves is moderately toxic, consumption of a high dose over an extended period of time can result in liver toxicity. Despite cloves being moderately toxic compared to other foods and spices, you need to be cautious with their use.

Always check with your veterinarian before introducing a new ingredient into your dog’s diet. In case there is no risk, they will advise an appropriate dosage that would be safe for your dog.

Also Read: Can Dogs Drink Flavored Water?

What Is a Safe Amount of Cloves to Give Your Dogs?

Though it is not recommended to give your dog cloves, if they do ingest some, what is considered a safe amount?

The safe amount of cloves that a dog can consume without side effects depends on the body weight of that dog. Around 0.2 mg of cloves per kg of the dog’s body weight is not likely to do any harm. However, 5 mg of cloves per kg of their body weight is likely to be fatal.

However, check the ingredients before you give your dog any human food. Most people are not aware that toxic ingredients like cloves are present in some kinds of ketchup and sauces. They are added on hams and in fruity concoctions, mulled wine and some pumpkin pies.

Do not feed your dog table scraps. Make sure to keep such food items out of their reach, so they are not tempted, especially the holiday ham.

Are There Any Benefits to Adding Cloves to a Dog’s Diet?

There is no reason to add cloves to a dog’s diet. Unlike the health benefits that a moderate amount of cloves can provide humans, dogs do not benefit from the consumption of cloves. Instead, there are risks to it.

So far, there is no sufficient research done on the benefits of cloves for dogs. There are far better treatments for dogs than cloves at the moment. Therefore, given how improper dosages can harm your pooch, it is better to avoid cloves altogether.

However, if your dog does consume a very small dose, such as one or two cloves, there is no reason to panic. Contact your veterinarian if you are worried, and keep the cloves or associated food away from your pet.

Also Read: Can Dogs Eat Pumpkin Seeds?

The Bottom Line

The topic of cloves and dogs is very much under debate today. In small doses, the spice has very little potential to harm dogs. However, most pet owners prefer not to take the risk and elect to keep the risky ingredient away from their pets.

Toxic levels of cloves can lead to severe symptoms and can even be fatal. Therefore, it is always recommended to seek a professional’s advice and monitor your pet closely if you suspect they have ingested cloves to avoid any problems.