Fennel is one of my favorite herbs for dogs.  If you cook, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, or you may just make a tea out of it for yourself.

Fennel seeds have been noted as useful in a number of applications for dogs in particular.

How Fennel May Help Your Dog

Fennel seed is commonly used as an herbal treatment for colic and flatulence.

It’s employed as a carminative in dogs and people, which essentially means that it pushes out gas to fight off flatulence. It has a rather gentle effect at doing so, too, which makes it the preferred treatment for a number of pet owners.

Thanks to their relative safety and ease of use, fennel seeds are a great treatment option for a number of afflictions. The side effects are also minimal, which is terrific news.

See my recipe for fennel dog treats here!

  • Because fennel seeds relax the gastrointestinal tract of people and dogs, the rhythms and movements of digestion can be regulated.  Many digestive problems are the result of turbulent contractions or spasms in the digestive system, which in turn cause food to not digest correctly. Given the fact that so much of the body’s immune system is related to the GI tract, any lack of balance can create health problems. The use of fennel seeds can help eliminate spasms and calm the tract.
  • Fennel seeds are high in antioxidants, which makes them effective in terms of cancer prevention. Thanks to the high amount of flavonoids, once referred to as Vitamin P, fennel seeds can reduce oxidative stress on the cardiovascular system and can stave off some of the effects of neurological disease.
  • There are also anti-inflammatory properties in fennel, unsurprisingly. These properties come from the antioxidants and can aid in treatments of conditions like arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
  • Fennel is high in calcium and iron. Calcium is important when it comes to maintaining healthy teeth and bones, plus there are cardiovascular support components involved that make fennel a very helpful herbal treatment. And iron is essential for the function of muscles and the brain as well as in the formation of hemoglobin. Any iron deficiency can lead to fatigue and other serious problems.


fennel seed for dogs

Directions and Dosage

In terms of how to use this gentle herb, there are a number of possible ways to use fennel seeds.  One of the best ways is with a cooled tea.

Use one teaspoon of either fresh or dried seeds in eight ounces of boiling water and steep until it cools. Use about two to four teaspoons for every 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight. You can also add it to drinking water.

Preventative Measures

It’s important to note here that fennel, while relatively safe, is like other plants that derive medicinal attributes from volatile oils. This makes it somewhat difficult for lactating or pregnant animals, which means caution should be used in that regard.

There’s also some evidence to suggest that fennel is associated with photosensitive dermatitis in some dogs and other animals. This is an allergic contact dermatitis, which generally presents itself as a rash with swelling and a possible burning sensation.

learn to use fennel for your dogReasons to Use

Fennel has a host of uses and a minimal list of side effects, which makes it a big winner on our list of herbal treatments for canines.

This herb is eaten raw on the Indian subcontinent and can be used as anything from a breath freshener to a diuretic.

Ancient Romans even believed that fennel would improve eyesight, although there aren’t any reasonable reasons to believe this.

A relatively easy herb to find and use, fennel should certainly be at the top of your to-use list when it comes to treatments for your four-legged friend especially for digestive issues.

You can learn more about herbal medicine and how different parts of the world use it here.

A Little About Fennel

From cancer prevention to use as a digestive aid, the seeds are comparable to elements like catnip and mint.

It is actually a flowering plant species found in the celery family, the sole species in the Foeniculum genus.

One of the more widely cultivated herbs on the planet, this is noted for its edible and flavorful leaves and its fruits.

Many people know about cooking with fennel seeds, which are strongly flavored because they come from the same aromatic compounds found in things like star anise.

Fennel can be found alongside roads and in pastures and other open areas in northern Europe, Canada, the United States, and parts of Asia and Australia. It spreads by its seeds and is actually considered a week in Australia and the United States.

Because fennel contains anethole, which is a derivative of phenylpropene, it has a number of medicinal effects. Its polymers also come in handy because they act as plant-derived xenoestrogens. Due to these compounds, fennel has a wide variety of applications in terms of animal and human medicine.

Bottom line, fennel offers many benefits for dogs.

References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen

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Showing 25 comments
  • Susan Anderson

    My dog has kidney disease and I’m treating it holistically with renal cleansing drops but her stomach is upset from acid reflux and I’m giving Slippery elm for upset stomach. Now I need to know if fennel seeds are ok for my dog. I have some that are combined with digestive enzymes. I want to try small amounts as she won’t eat now. I’ve tried four acid reducers the vet gave me and they don’t work. Sucralfate made her very sick. Pepcid and others didn’t help at all. My dog Angel is 11 pounds. Any help from anyone?

    • janie

      Hi Susan:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your little one. What are you feeding Angel and what other supplements and meds are you giving?

      I recommend using both FRESH ginger shredded and added to her food along with ALL NATURAL acid free aloe vera.

      Let me know what you’re feeding her.

      YourOldDog Admin

  • Pamela Connell

    I’m wondering if Fennel is good to treat Atopic dermatitis somehow??

    • janie

      Hi Pamela:

      Fennel’s not going to hurt; it’s high in anti-oxidant properties, but it won’t do the trick by itself. If your dog has allergies, I would look into our Daily Multi formula and our Yeast & Allergy Kit with the Shampoo and Lotion (not the spray).

      You can view them here.

      Hope this helps.


  • A Purcell

    My 7 yr old dog has been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. Someone told me that Fennel oil was an option to help. Do you know if this is true? If it’ll help, how many drops should I give? And how often? He is about 85 lbs.

  • Ereen Mclaggan

    Hey, my dog was diagnosed with Glaucoma and I read fennel is ver good for eye health. and helps reduce the pressure in the eye. Do you have any information on this?

  • jen

    My girl was just diagnosed with Cushings & gas/bloat is the worst for her. I can handle the water & urine, but her poor tummy! Im gona pick the powder up tmrw. Maybe once in her regular diet, she can eat green veggies again

    • janie

      Hi Jen:

      I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

      Please make sure you don’t use ANY chemical flea and tick products (ever on any dog) and remember that the only vaccine required by law is the rabies vaccine every three years. However, as a pet owner, we have to protect our pets and the rabies vaccine every three years is NOT safe. It is believed to be causing disease (including cushings), paralysis, joint problems and death. See ProtectthePets.com and join in Dr. Robb’s fight to force the government and BIG PHARMACEUTICAL to do the right thing. The right thing is to use titer testing always before vaccinating to see how much of the vaccine is left in the dog’s body. The fight also includes a cut off age. Order and elderly dogs often die after being vaccinated with the rabies vaccine.

      If your dog is suffering with Cushings, you need to make sure she is on a very, very good diet that consists of whole foods. Not kibble, not canned dog food. Real, people food.

      See this site here for a guaranteed product for Cushings Disease. For her tummy, you really should add our Daily Multi which will most likely help with that. You can read about it here. Daily Multi

      Best of luck.



    Reading this post gave me an idea. Why not plant fresh fennel in the yard so the dogs can chew on it at will?

    • janie

      Hi Elizabeth:

      Probably not a problem unless your dog eats too much and causes stomach upset, or your dog is pregnant, lactating or has some sort of allergic dermatitis caused by the fennel.


  • Maggie Olive

    Hi, is fresh fennel as good as fennel seeds?

  • Chris Herrera

    I am going to try fennel for my girl, we recently moved into a new home after 10 years and she was very nervous about the move so her digestive system is a little upset and she has been eating more grass so she’s not been her spunky self
    I am going to do everything to help my girl get over this so I have started fennel in her daily food.

    • yourolddog

      Hi Chris:

      I think trying Fennel is an excellent idea. We would love to know how it works for your girl. Your feedback can help someone else!


  • Stacy

    Thanks Janie! Really appreciate your advice.

    • janie knetzer

      You’re very welcome Stacy. I hope it helps. Would love to know how it goes so that we can share with others. 🙂

      • Stacy

        Hi Janie

        I crushed up the fennel seeds last night and fed her with a tiny bit of kangaroo meat. She was hesitant probably because of the smell. I had to give her more kangaroo meat than seeds to help her eat it. I can’t remember if I read it here or elsewhere, but I gave her one teaspoon. Is that the correct dosage per day?

        I may change her drinking water at night to fennel tea. Is there a limit as to how much she should have as tea? I read somewhere that there’s no harm in her having it as her drinking water. It would just be more diluted as her bowl takes more than one cup of tea.

        I’m going to give her the last 1mg Stilbestrol tomorrow and continue the fennel approach and see what happens after a week. I have a diaper ready to go on her next week just in case.

        • janie knetzer

          Hi Stacy:

          Please see the dosage recommendations in the article above. This is a very safe herb. But, I would still give her a little plain water here and there in addition to the tea as well. Just watch for any skin irritations or rashes which will indicate that it’s too much for her, but, these are rare. It’s considered a very safe herb Stacy.

          Let me know how it goes. 🙂


  • Stacy

    Thanks for getting back to me Janie.
    My dog will eat anything and I was thinking of putting whole fennel seeds in her meals rather than grinding them. Does it need to be in powder form for it to be effective?

    If the idea is to give the dog more fennel than food or broth, then how much time do I need to give her before she is fed her meal? I may be able to convince her to lick the fennel seeds from my hands. She LOVES food!

    With the tea, does she need to eat the fennel seeds for it to be effective or is the tea itself sufficient?

    Thanks for confirming!

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Stacy:
      Sometimes seeds are hard for dogs to digest (people too) which is why it’s recommended to grind or crush them. If the seeds go in and come right back out looking like they went in, then they weren’t digested or effective. This is why I suggested an organic, powdered form. It’s certainly not going to hurt her if you try feeding the seeds Stacy.

      I recommend giving her the fennel with a little food or tea in between meals maybe an hour before she eats, or whatever works for you in between. The steeped tea strained of the seeds is sufficient Stacy.

      Hope this helps.


  • Stacy

    Also, if I can only give her fennel via cooled tea, do I take out the fennel seeds once I’ve steeped it? Thanks.

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Stacy:
      Fennel seed is considered very safe for dogs. You can grind the seeds using a coffee grinder or even a food processor for that matter if it can handle powdering the seeds. Or, if you’d rather avoid all that, just purchase the organic powder form and mix one level teaspoon with a very small amount of food or broth. The idea is to give the dog more fennel than food or broth.

      And, to answer your question, you leave the fennel seeds in the tea. If the above doesn’t work, you can just feed or squirt one half teaspoon into her mouth several times daily. I would say for a 42 pound dog, maybe 3 teaspoons daily to see how it goes. Dogs typically love the taste of fennel. 🙂

      If that doesn’t work, you can also try corn silk.

      Hope I answered your questions.


  • Stacy

    Hi Janie

    I have a 42 lbs chow chow who turned two in April 2015. A couple of months ago, she developed incontinence when she’s sleeping at night. The vet said it was because she has been spayed and have given her 1mg Stilbestrol a week which has helped. However, I’d rather not have her on this synthetic estrogen. I’ve read that fennel seeds may mimick the estrogen she needs. Rather than making it into a cooled tea, am I able to give her dried fennel seeds in her raw kangaroo and fresh vegetables diet? She eats twice a day after her walk. How much should I give her?


  • Tracy

    If my dog is allergic to celery will fennel be an herb to avoid as it comes from the celery family?

    Many thanks

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Tracy:
      From what I understand, for celery allergies, a cross reaction to fennel is rare according to whatallergy.com.

      But, if you’re going to try it, I recommend starting at small doses and increasing to the full dose if your dog has no problems. If problems occur, you definitely want to immediately stop the fennel.



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