Dogs and Herbs

narcnh(z5nh)November 6, 2005

Thought I'd pose this question to the group. This summer among the various pots of herbs that were lined up along my driveway apron were several pots of African Blue Basil, both regular and variegated. ABB is a very free bloomer all most all year long (even inside) but being sterile doesn't bolt or change flavor after blooming. So, I always let it be, unless it needs a good pruning. It is also fragrant. Anyway, my dog, a Chow, would routinely go over to the ABB and stick his face right into them for a few seconds. At first, I thought he was sniffing some critter or whatever. But, eventually I came to realize that he was actually sniffing the plants. He did it all summer long. He occasionally sniffed other herbs, too, but definitely was most attracted to the ABB. For me, it was nice to see him almost make it a part of his routine, kind of like something we shared (sorry for the anthropomorphism).

Outside of the obvious attraction of cats to catnip and the like, has anyone observed their pets, especially dogs, 'appreciating' their herbs or other plants for that matter?


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CA Kate

I've had dogs eat parsely when they weren't feeling good. One was quite sick with the doggie flu and ate a whole huge plant before she got well.

Our last dog liked to roll in the oregano ... which was infinitely better than dead frog. I think it helped her "hide" from the squirrels she was hunting.

Since I'm always walking thru my gardens... which are primarily Salvias... my pants must pick up a lot of scents. I always have dogs and cats super sniffing my legs when I visit someone with pets.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 12:51PM
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My cat is the same way with the common garden sage. When he goes outside (under supervision, since he's an indoor dude) he always goes right over to the sage plant and sticks his face in between every branch. I initially thought he was simply sniffing to see who else had been there, but since I read this I've watched him, and what he's doing is brushing the leaves over his face and chin. He even smell a little sagey when he comes in!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 1:29PM
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My Gardenia smelled kinda stinky until one day I witnessed our male Chow-Chow doing his territory marking. I keep moving the plant around attempting to keep him away. He would always discover wherever the plant was located. We also have two Min Pin who's daily diet includes Jasmine flowers and fresh tomatoes. I guess they each have their own favorite much like we do! Em... maybe that's how they got their fresh smelly breath ha!

Ankrara's Hobby Corner

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 4:25PM
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lilpearlly(z4 IA)

Lemongrass is the favorite for my cat, not only because it's a good hiding place, but I think she likes the scent, I've found her rolling on it before. She has also found a recent taste for the remainder of my ginger tea. Our Rat Terrier will roll on sage plants and he likes to smell and lick the thyme and rosemary a lot.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 12:21AM
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I have found many a spot where my dogs have made nests. I now use an herbal dog soap and they smell nice for a partial day.
I lived on a Spanish island for a year in 1969 and lived near a woods where the undergrowth were huge shrubs of rosemary. The house cat would run through the woods and the rosemary scent would attach to the cat. It's one of my all time favourite memories.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 1:00PM
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I've been disconcerted to find that the other thing my cat finds attractive are the huge bags of juice bar leaving I bring home for the compost pile. I dump the 40-50 lbs in the compost bin and drop the bag. While I'm mixing things together he runs over to the bag and begins tearing at it and rolling on it. I wonder if he'd like rolling in it so much if he got the beet and carrot fibers all over him!

But then, he just might. Siamese are pretty weird....

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 2:57PM
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I have a dog that absolutely can not leave the fallen rose pettals on the ground. she must eat each and every one. At least i'm fortunate enough that she doesn't eat them directly off the plant but waits for them to fall. :-P what are we going to do with these animals of ours.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 11:27AM
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Alison, cats have scent glands on their faces, when they do that face rubbing thing they are marking their scent. It's good he is marking sage instead of something stinky :)

I have one cat that eats my calendula seedlings and he really chomps down on garden pea plants. He also goes catnip crazy over certain seed packages, it appears to be the few seeds that have been treated, its really odd, I guess the chemicals do something to him.

The other cat really likes snapping alstroemeria flowers off the stems, he doesn't eat them. Weirdest thing, in a vase he will leave all the other flowers alone but dehead all alstroemeria. He also avoids tansy like like it's the plague or something.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 1:48PM
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"The house cat would run through the woods and the rosemary scent would attach to the cat. It's one of my all time favourite memories".

Oh that sounds fabulous! I'd love to train my Dobie and Border Collie/Chow to run through my rosemary. Oh I'd be in heaven with every sniff! Thanks for that story.

My Dobie is very curious (onle 1 year old). He sniffs some herbs but seems to enjoy the hot peppers the most.
I wish he preferred herbs!

BTW I had a Chow for 12 years (Sable). She was an amazing dog!!!!! Smart, loyal and ever so sweet.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 9:52PM
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Genilee(z6 KY)

I am new to this website and was happy to find the subject on "dogs and herbs". I've had 2 dogs that love vanilla grass (also known as dog grass). They were a Lab and a part-Lab. I have a part-Chow that doesn't pay any attention to it. Anyway, I have read that vanilla grass is to a dog what catnip is to a cat.

I've very interested in finding more herbs that my dogs will love. As for the vanilla grass, they love to run through it and eat it.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 12:00PM
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shercules(z6 TN)

Nice to hear that pets have herb preferences too. My Doberman has preferred Garlic from the time she came to us as a little puppy. I noticed that she would sniff the flowers of my Society Garlic when I walked her. Then she began to eat the flowers, which I heartily discouraged. When we went to Europe, my son took care of the house/puppy, and, when I returned he said that strangely when Dixie would be out for her daily duties, she came back with garlic breath. I looked at my garden, and the plant was eaten to the ground. She also ate my chives to the ground. Subsequently, she has demolished the plants. She also is excited when I am cooking with garlic, eating up the paper skin of the cloves when it falls to the floor. She shows interest in no herbs other than the genus Allium. I thought she had Italian rather than German origins.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 2:55PM
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I'm convinced cats like mint. I had a Russian Blue male who would sip creme de minthe liqueor if left in a glass on the floor. (Embarrassing when one entertained!) I've also heard cats will eat chives.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 2:03PM
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teryaki(z5B NE OHIO)

I've had cats use peppermint as cover while stalking, squirrels digging under the thyme, and a deer chomped a basil bush down to the base. No dogs though.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 10:51PM
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CA Kate

I have to put a mesh cage around the Basil and Parsely plants every year or we don't get any. I tried growing them in pots UP on a higher ledge and something still got to them... I bet it was the deer because they do jump the wall.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 1:37PM
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Don't know about dogs, I don't let mine into the gardens, but I do have chickens that will pick a certain plant to scratch around and nothing stops them until the plant is dead, then they move on to another. Last year it was mint, maybe the mint smell helps with bird mites in the feathers, I do know they have the beautiful feathers and no bald spots.

I'll also have to teach my dogs to run through the herbs, they always stink, maybe this will help, lol.

But two are large, a 90 pound chow cross (chow crosses seem to be the breed of the forum), a 80 pound standard poodle, and a 20 pound lhassa. Don't know how much damage they'll do.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 3:55PM
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granite(z6 NC)

I used to let my sheltie dog Indy garden with me, he'd pick the low beans and I'd pick the high ones. Indy likes parsley, mint, and all veggies.

My new sheltie, Emma, will eat everything. She does not get to visit to the gardens or I would have nothing at all but bare ground.

My cats are indoors, but like to bite at christmas cactus, basil, oat grass, and of course catnip.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 12:03AM
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I once had a cat that would go into the woods and sleep in a patch of groundsel. Fresh groundsel smells too strong, but mellowed on the cat's fur, it smelled wonderful. Another one of my cats was always chewing on chives, indoors or out, where ever she could find it. One time when we moved in early spring, she was the first one to find an existing patch just sprouting near the house.
My dog, on the other hand, has a thing for a creeping smartweed(can't remember the name), no matter where we're living, he'll find it, dig at it and chew on the roots.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 1:30PM
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Another cat who likes to eat chives.

At one point, my neighbor had a large Labrador, who had a house in the corner of the yard. I had planted applemint on the other side of the fence, and it quickly surrounded the dog house.

Reba always smelled faintly of apple mint, which was a decided improvement!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 1:37PM
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