Sage (Salvia officinalis) is another member of the mint family that is native to the Mediterranean. Today it grows freely in many parts of the world. It has been used for cooking and medicine since ancient times. If you have this herb in your kitchen or growing on your patio, you may wonder if dogs can eat sage. We have the answer for you below.
Today sage exists in numerous cultivars and varieties. It’s often grown as an ornamental plant or ground cover. Historically, sage is best known as a culinary herb and for use as a medicinal herb. This is especially true of common sage. Along with the common green-gray leaves, sage also produces flowers. Lavender-colored flowers are common but white, pink, and purple flowers can also occur.
Traditionally, sage has been used for warding off evil, for snakebites, and to increase female fertility, to name just a few popular beliefs. The Romans used sage for a variety of purposes such as to stop bleeding, as a diuretic, and as a local anesthetic for the skin. They also used it in some religious ceremonies. Sage was a popular herb in monasteries during the middle ages.
Throughout the middle ages, sage was used as something of a cure-all. It was recommended for such diverse needs as hair care, bites from insects, wasp stings, oral care for inflammation of the mouth, tongue, and throat, to reduce fevers, for nervous problems, and even for mental conditions.
In cookery, sage has been considered essential in Britain for hundreds of years. It has also been known for centuries in the cuisine of parts of France and parts of Italy, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Sage is also a popular herb added to some sausages.
Common sage is the source of sage oil, an essential oil, though some other sage varieties can be added to it. The essential oil contains borneol, cineole, and thujone. Sage leaf contains the substances tannic acid, oleic acid, ursolic acid, carnosol, carnosic acid, fumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, niacin, nicotinamide, flavone, flavonoid glycosides, and estrogenic compounds.
As with many other herbs, sage is normally consumed in very small amounts. You would need to eat an excessively large amount of sage to get a lot of vitamins and minerals from the herb. Sage is very high in vitamin K. It also contains several important minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and copper.
Sage contains the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E in small amounts. It also has over 160 kinds of polyphenols. Polyphenols are another kind of antioxidant that are made up of plant material.
The acidic compounds in sage also act as antioxidants. Some of them have been linked to benefits such as a lower risk of cancer, improved memory, and improved brain function.
Recent studies also suggest that the medieval use of sage for oral health was probably well-founded. Sage appears to have antimicrobial effects that help to kill plaque. One study that used a sage-based mouthwash showed that it successfully killed the cavity-causing Streptococcus mutans bacteria. Another study that used a sage essential oil found that it was effective in killing the Candida albicans fungus and stopped it from spreading.
Sage has been used as a traditional way to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, sweating, vaginal dryness, and irritability due to a decrease in estrogen. Sage has some estrogen-like properties which may help ease some of these symptoms.
Studies with sage extract and sage leaf extract suggest that sage might be helpful in reducing blood sugar levels but more testing is needed.
Sage doesn’t appear to have any harmful side effects when taken in normal, small amounts as you would use it in cooking. However, common sage contains thujone. Thujone is the chemical in absinthe which can produce hallucinations and seizures. A number of herbs contain thujone. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration recognizes sage and sage oil as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). Research in animals has shown that thujone can be harmful to the brain at high doses.
We didn’t find specific regulations regarding thujone in herbs in Canada though there are regulations concerning alcohol that contains thujone.
Taking too much sage oil/sage essential oil can produce toxic effects.
If you are drinking sage tea, don’t drink more than 3-6 cups per day.
Can Dogs Have Sage?
Yes, sage is considered to be safe for dogs in small amounts. Dogs can enjoy some of the same benefits that have been attributed to the herb’s use in humans. Nothing about the plant or its leaves, stems, or flowers is harmful to dogs in moderation.
For dogs, common sage is a good source of antioxidants. It may act as an antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial ingredient.
Experts say that you should not give your dog sage oil/sage essential oil. It is very concentrated and it could produce toxic effects on the brain.
High doses of common sage appear to have an effect on blood sugar levels so if your dog is diabetic, make sure that you only use small amounts of this herb.
How Much Sage Can You Give Your Dog?
Sage can be given to dogs in the form of fresh chopped leaves or as the dried, ground herb. Both versions of sage are usually found in supermarkets.
If you are using fresh sage leaves, you can chop up 3-4 leaves to add to your dog’s meal. For dried sage, you can use ½ teaspoon for small dogs and up to 1 teaspoon for very large dogs.
Sage leaves can also be used to make a tea for dogs. You only need to pour boiling water over the leaves and let them steep for a few minutes. Then strain the leaves out and add a little of the tea to your dog’s food. Sage has a strong, recognizable taste so only add a little to your dog’s food so he won’t refuse it.
If you are making treats or cookies, you can add a few of the chopped fresh leaves to the recipe. If you are using dried sage, just a pinch added to the recipe is plenty since the herb does have a strong flavor.
How Often Can You Give Your Dog Sage?
Common sage is safe for dogs in small amounts. You could give it to your dog in small amounts several times per week as part of his regular meal or in treats/cookies.
Sage is an ancient herb that has been used for cooking and medicinal purposes by the Romans and many other people. It’s been very popular throughout Europe since at least the middle ages for oral care, improving memory, and many other health issues. Today it’s recognized for its potential as an antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial ingredient. Sage is safe for dogs in small amounts so you can add it to your dog’s meals and homemade cookies.