Can my dog eat fennel?

Fennel (botanical name: Foeniculum vulgare) is very low in calories (only 19 kcal/100g) and contains vitamins and trace elements. Its essential oils have a healing effect on the stomach and intestines and also help with mild colds. But does this also apply to our dogs?

Yes or No?

Yes, fennel is actually very healthy for dogs. We show you the pros and cons of fennel for dogs and how best to feed it to your dog.


5 reasons why fennel is healthy for dogs

  1. Regulates the water content of the cells and acid-base balance

    First and foremost, fennel contains a lot of potassium at around 400mg/100g. Potassium is a vital mineral that regulates the water content of the cells and is needed for metabolic processes in the cells and for heart function. Especially for dogs with kidney or urinary problems, a good supply of potassium is important. But meat and fish also contain potassium.

  2. Helps with digestive problems and mild colds

    Fennel contains the essential oils anethole, fenchone and menthol. Anethole and fenchone have a positive effect on stomach and intestinal problems and have a calming and antispasmodic effect. Menthol helps with mild colds and has an expectorant effect.
  3. Good for blood

    The good amount of iron (0.4mg/100g) and the good amount of folic acid (33 µg/100g) contained in fennel help with the transport of oxygen in the blood and with blood formation. Fennel also contains vitamin B6, which is involved in the formation of blood.
  4. Strengthens the immune system

    Fennel contains important vitamins and antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and immunity - not in high amounts, but moderately, and several of them: zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A and beta-carotene.
  5. Important for bones and teeth

    Also worth mentioning is the not insignificant content of calcium and phosphate. Both are important for the bone structure and the teeth.


2 Cons of fennel

  1. Not to everyone's taste: not all dogs like fennel

    Due to the essential oils and the intense aniseed flavour, many dogs do not like fennel. This is especially the case with raw fennel. Therefore, it makes sense to lightly steam and mash or puree fennel.
  1. Slight allergy potential due to the essential oils

    Some dogs can have an allergic reaction to too much essential oil. Therefore, always give only small amounts at the beginning.


The best way to feed fennel to your dog

  • Fennel is best steamed and mashed

    After you have cut off the stalk of the fennel and removed any parts that are not so nice, rinse it well under water. Now you can steam the fennel until it is soft and puree it. This way it can be a regular part of the diet. Alternatively, you could puree the fennel raw, but cooked or steamed it is very well accepted.
  • Unseasoned

    Like any vegetable, fennel should not be seasoned for the dog.
  • Better organic and regional

    Fennel is in season from July to October. Then you can get it regionally with a good CO2 balance and if it comes from organic cultivation, it is less polluted with pesticides and artificial fertilisers and better for you and the environment.  

How much fennel can my dog eat?

To give you an idea of how much fennel your dog can eat per day, we use average BARF calculations:

  • The daily food portion of a dog is about 3% of body weight.
  • In BARF feeding, the vegetable part of the diet should make up about 20% of the total amount.
  • Two-thirds of this is vegetables and one-third fruit. Around 13% of the daily portion would therefore be vegetables.

Example calculation: An adult dog of 10kg would therefore receive a vegetable portion of approx. 40g per day. Fennel can be a part of this with other vegetables. So we are talking about maybe 15-20g of fennel a day for a dog weighing 10kg.

Note: BARF rations should be calculated individually for your dog according to age, breed, size, exercise, state of health and tolerances. The above rough calculation of the fennel portion is only intended to give you a feeling for how much or basically how little vegetable your dog should get.

Caution: Allergy possible. Feed fennel only as a test at the beginning and in very small quantities.
If your dog is sensitive, it is best to ask your vet beforehand whether you can feed him fennel. They know your dog and its individual needs and weaknesses best. As with almost any food, there is a risk that your dog may be allergic to fennel or simply not tolerate it well. This is a little more common with fennel in particular due to the essential oils. It is therefore always advisable to test a new vegetable in very small quantities at the beginning. If your dog shows allergic reactions such as swelling, breathing problems, rashes, itching, coughing, diarrhoea, vomiting or other allergy symptoms, you should of course stop giving it fennel and contact a vet.

Fun facts about fennel


Storing fennel
Fennel is not ideal for storage because it loses vitamins quickly and becomes woody. It can be stored in the vegetable compartment of the fridge for 3-4 days. The best way to store it is to wrap it in a damp kitchen towel, just like asparagus.

Where does fennel originally come from?
The wild ancestors of our fennel came from the Near East and the Mediterranean. Especially as a medicinal plant, fennel has been known and popular since the Middle Ages.

Fennel tea and fennel honey as home remedies also for dogs
You can offer your dog fennel tea for mild stomach and intestinal problems such as stomach ache, flatulence or diarrhoea. Fennel-aniseed-cumin tea can also help with mild stomach problems and is also well accepted by most dogs.

Fennel honey is also a good home remedy for dogs with mild colds. The mucous membranes are soothed and fennel honey has an expectorant effect. Of course, you should only give fennel honey in small amounts (approx. 1 teaspoon) and over a short period of time. Because of its sweetness, many dogs like it very much.

Conclusion on feeding fennel to dogs

Fennel is a very suitable vegetable for feeding dogs. It is low in calories and contains important vitamins and trace elements. It is well accepted and tolerated when steamed and mashed as part of the diet. You should not feed raw fennel too often because of the essential oils. Fennel tea and fennel honey are good home remedies for mild gastrointestinal complaints or colds.

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