The Natural Benefits of Rosemary in Dogs

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Rosemary is added to Meatsnax for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits.


Rosemary is a Mediterranean native belonging to the Lamiaceae family; it has long been used as an anti-aging and food preserving herb. Rosemary has strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; it has rightly earned its renowned reputation and thus is found in many of our gardens and recipes. It can be utilized for its preventative work in younger as well as older dogs.

Now before I go any further let me clarify some of the misinformation regarding rosemary floating about the internet on this multi beneficial herb. Rosemary in its whole powered form is totally safe and has been used for many years in commercial dog foods, indeed rosemary and many other aromatic spices have been used for millennia to prevent oxidative and microbial induced food spoilage. However rosemary in its purified essential oil form which is much more concentrated is not appropriate for use in any person or animal prone to seizures, and absolutely not in high doses. So using pure essential oils for yourself or your pet is very different from using small amounts of the whole herb. As with any herb, supplement or feed, best practice is to use the appropriate amount in the appropriate form. While any herb or food can cause idiosyncratic reactions in susceptible people or pets, such reactions are rare.

Rosemary is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that strengthens capillaries and protects against free radical damage (oxidation) to DNA. Rosmarol, an extract from the leaves, has shown remarkably high antioxidant activity which makes this a wonderful natural preservative.

Why we use rosemary in Meatsnax

Rosemary has many benefits; it has a long association with the heart and is employed by herbalists to improve circulation and blood vessel health. Part of the cardiovascular benefits may stem from the ability of rosemary to improve the function of cells lining the blood vessel walls. Better blood flow explains improved nutrient and oxygen transport and waste removal, in turn improving overall health. Moreover, rosemary seems to strengthen heart function, reducing arrhythmias (irregular or abnormal heart beat rhythm) and helping animals that have been under stress.

In the digestive tract, rosemary reduces spasms and gas, which translates to reduce dog breath, since bad breath often originates from poor digestive function further down the tract rather than just a bacteria filled mouth. Rosemary will also counter infections in the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth down, as well as in the urinary tract, eyes and on the skin. Rosemary may also have cancer related applications, as it strongly reduces two drivers of cancer progression, oxidative stress and inflammation and may even reverse the resistance of tumor cells to chemotherapy. Rosemary is best not used medicinally during pregnancy, though small amounts found in food would not be expected to pose a problem.

Rosemary is derived from the Latin words "ros" and "marinus", which mean "dew of the sea". It refers to the Mediterranean coastal region where it grows in abundance. In folk medicine rosemary is said to enhance memory, and during the 16th century the burning of rosemary was carried out to disinfect rooms! 

Rosemary is a symbol of loyalty and love. In certain parts of the world, the bride, groom and their guests wear branches of rosemary during wedding ceremonies. Rosemary is sometimes used in the funeral rituals; by placing rosemary into the hands of the deceased and scattering rosemary on the grave is seen as a symbol of remembrance.

Rosemary can reproduce either from the seeds or cuttings; rosemary is an easy herb to cultivate not requiring special care, although in colder climates guard against frost by bringing it inside during winter, it can be topiary shaped and been of Mediterranean costal origin withstands salt spray. Rosemary attracts bees and facilitates pollination of other plants in the garden.

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