Cloves are popular in baking, cooking, and are even used in some perfumes. Clove oil has also been used traditionally for toothache pain and as an analgesic for some conditions. Can dogs have cloves? As with many foods and spices, the answer is not simple.
Keep reading to learn the facts about cloves and dogs.
Cloves are the aromatic flower buds from the evergreen clove tree. They are widely used in cuisines all over the world.
Cloves are a spice so they are typically used in very small amounts in food. However, they do deliver some nutritional benefits.
One teaspoon of ground gloves is made up of 45 percent carbohydrates, 62 percent fats, and 3 percent protein. Cloves are very low in cholesterol. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, and manganese. They are also a good source of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), calcium, and iron.
One teaspoon of ground cloves contains 6.5 calories. It has 1.2 grams of carbs, 0.7 grams of dietary fiber, no starches, and no sugars. It contains 0.4 grams of total fat, 0.1 grams of saturated fat, and 0.1 grams of polyunsaturated fat. It also contains more omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6 fatty acids. It has 85.6 mg of omega-3 fatty acids compared to 51.7 mg of omega-6 fatty acids. And, one teaspoon of cloves contains 0.1 grams of protein.
Cloves are an especially good source of manganese.
One teaspoon of cloves also contains 5.1 mg of phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant sterols, a family of molecules related to cholesterol. There are some health benefits associated with phytosterols such as reducing the absorption of cholesterol. However, there are also some downsides to phytosterols.
Cloves are high in antioxidants, especially eugenol. Antioxidants are associated with reducing cancer cell growth. However, high amounts of eugenol, which is found in clove oil, can be toxic, not just to humans but to most animals. Large amounts of eugenol, clove oil, or clove extract can cause liver toxicity.
Cloves have been used as an antimicrobial, antibacterial agent. However, the United States FDA does not recognize the use of cloves for any medicinal purpose. Using cloves or clove oil medicinally can cause adverse effects if taken orally by someone with liver disease, blood clotting or immune system disorders, or certain food allergies.
The bottom line with cloves is that a small amount in foods can be desirable. Large amounts can be dangerous to humans and to animals.
Can Dogs Have Cloves?
According to the information we found online, very small amounts of cloves appear to be relatively safe for dogs, though even a small amount is harmful to cats. By “small amounts,” we mean the tiny amounts called for in recipes.
If is not safe for your dog to consume clove oil or a container of whole cloves.
Clove oil can cause vomiting, tremors, or seizures and staggering in cats. Cloves, allspice, and nutmeg are all used in pumpkin pie spice. Cloves and allspice both contain the compound eugenol which can result in liver toxicity, especially in higher amounts.
Clover powder and clove oil can both cause numbness.
What this means is that a dog can eat something that contains a small amount of cloves but large amounts of cloves can be toxic or fatal.
Warning signs that your dog might have consumed a toxic dose of cloves include:
More serious signs of an overdose include:
- Blood in the urine
- Rapid heart rate
- Acute kidney trauma
If you suspect that your dog has consumed a toxic amount of cloves or clove oil, contact your veterinarian immediately.
The eugenol found in cloves is usually considered to be moderately toxic. However, if your dog consumes a high dose over a long period of time, it can lead to liver toxicity.
Cloves are not as toxic as some other spices and foods but you do need to use caution with them.
How Many Cloves Can You Give Your Dog?
Dogs can eat small amounts of cloves without any harm. According to the sources we checked, it works out to about 0.2 mg per kg of bodyweight. That means that if your dog weighs around 30 pounds, he could eat up to 2.5 mg of cloves without any toxicity or problems.
At the other extreme, 5 mg or more of cloves per kg of bodyweight can be fatal to a dog.
Just one-half teaspoon of ground cloves, for example, contains 1,083.34 mg. That would be enough to be toxic to 10 dogs that weighed over 100 pounds without treatment.
You should be aware that cloves are sometimes used in foods and sauces that you might not consider. For example, cloves are used in Worcestershire sauce and in some ketchups. They are used in some pumpkin pies. They are used in mulled wine and in some other fruity concoctions. Cloves are also used in clove cigarettes which have been popular at times.
And, of course, many people use cloves on hams, especially with pineapple and cherries when cooked for holidays. This may pose one of the greatest risks for a dog to overindulge in cloves if he sees an opportunity to grab a ham.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Cloves?
We don’t recommend that you give your dog cloves since it can be easy to make a mistake in the amount you give your dog.
There aren’t any really good reasons to give your dog cloves. While cloves have been used traditionally for toothache and as an analgesic for pain, there are other treatments for these problems that are safer.
The possible health benefits of cloves have, for the most part, not yet been proven.
Cloves are a source of some nutrients. In very small amounts they are not harmful to dogs. However, they are toxic to dogs in larger amounts. We recommend that you avoid giving your dog cloves since it can be very easy to give your dog too many cloves.
If your dog manages to consume a lot of cloves, you shouldn’t panic. Cloves are considered only moderately toxic to dogs. Contact your veterinarian right away.