September 16, 2016

Can Dogs Eat Ginger? Is This New, Exotic Flavor On The Menu?

Can dogs eat ginger? Click here to read about how safe ginger is for your dog. There’s a bonus recipe inside, too!

Does it seem to you that your dog’s diet is pretty boring? Lots of pet owners feel this way. Day in, day out, we feed our furry friends the same thing. We know salt and sugar are dangerous for dogs, but can dogs eat ginger?

Unfortunately, the answer to this burning question isn’t simple. The topic is a hot one, indeed, but there is a lot of mixed information, too.

Dogs probably wouldn’t eat ginger in the wild. We don’t exactly have a lot of studies about the eating habits of packs of wild dogs, however. I’ve got to go to the veterinary and scientific community for some answers for you.

Can Dogs Eat Ginger?​

The short answer is yes. Dogs can eat ginger. In order to feel secure about handing some over, however, it’s best to look a bit deeper. To that end, I have lots of thoughts about this for you all and I want to show you what I found when I dug around about this topic.

I always find myself wondering about the food I’m researching itself. Because of that, I got a little sidetracked learning about ginger. I thought you might find this interesting, too. We’ll get that out of the way first.

What Is Ginger?​

Ginger is the rhizome of a tropical plant called Zingiber Officinalis. Ginger that we consume grows underground and supports the flowering plant above it. It was widely propagated in the tropics during the days of colonial imperialism.

By the way, the flower is absolutely gorgeous. It is stunning and reaches up from the leaves of the plant like a cone. The ginger flower dresses in beautiful and exotic colors and looks very tempting. Perhaps that why people first wanted to taste its roots.

Ginger tastes spicy and a bit hot, too. It’s flavor profile is similar to pepper. Ginger is what gives gingersnap cookies their spicy, holiday tingle. The taste matches the flower, if you ask me.

Asian and Indian cooking feature ginger prominently. Arab cultures also use ginger. Additionally, it is very popular in baked goods all over the world. In the United States, for example, ginger is a quintessential Christmas and Thanksgiving flavor.

I can see the ginger dog cookies under the tree now!

Ginger is in the same family as turmeric, too.

Health Benefits of Ginger​

Many cultures and naturopathic healers tout ginger as an excellent cure for nausea. It also supports the immune system. In addition to sipping ginger ale before a car ride, ginger tea can soothe a cold at home.

​For starters, Dr. Axe has some great ginger information. According to the website, there are 115 separate chemical compounds in ginger root. The potent one, however, is gingerol. Gingerol is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. It’s really an oily resin that gets extracted from or eaten with the root itself.

As usual, guys, this goes for people. So, the question then becomes, can dogs eat ginger for health benefits? Most of ginger’s health benefits sound good for dogs, too.

Can Dogs Eat Ginger: The Pro Argument​

Dr. Marie from Ask A Vet A Question told her readers that she did some research about this question. Dr. Marnie didn’t find any evidence to prove ginger is toxic to dogs. Conversely, her recommendation is that dogs can safely eat ginger.

Dogs Naturally agrees that dogs can safely eat ginger, and goes even further as well. The site displays a lot of benefits a dog can get from eating ginger. These benefits include the following conditions and symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Bloat
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • And even heartworm, too!

In an article on the subject, Dogs Naturally additionally cites a study about ginger’s effectiveness against heartworm. You can check it out for yourself.

Still another site called Can I Give My Dog also believes it is ok to feed your dog some ginger. They are not exactly all for it, however. There are some additional cautions. Basically, don’t go overboard.

That being said, I do not recommend that you use ginger instead of heartworm medication. Now is a good time to add that you must always speak with your vet about changes to your dog's diet, too.

Read more: Can Dogs Eat Pears: Let’s Talk Fruit

Can Dogs Eat Ginger: The Con Argument​

Conversely, plenty of online sources tell us to just say no to dogs eating ginger. Can I Give My Dog writes that dogs can suffer digestive upset from eating too much ginger. Mostly, CIGMD’s website is pro-ginger for dogs, however.

Most of the negative references to dogs eating ginger are superficial and unfounded. Many people worry that their dog won’t like ginger. This could be the case, but it hardly means ginger is toxic.

Additionally, there is a serious danger to dogs eating nutmeg. Nutmeg is often used in recipes with ginger. This is especially true for baked goods. Therefore, check any treats you give your dog to ensure nutmeg didn’t get tossed in with the ginger.

So, can dogs eat ginger? Yes, they can. Will your dog like ginger, however? You’ll have to try it out and see!

My Opinion: Use Caution, But Try It!​

Go ahead and give ginger a shot, but use it sparingly. If your dog has motion sickness during car rides, slipping him a ginger dog cookie could do the trick. It could also help your dog recover from other stomach upsets.

I don’t foresee your dog sipping ginger tea, however, so you’ll have to find another way. You could share some of your takeout with your dog, but that’s dangerous for other reasons. I think I have a solution.

Ready for some doggie baking? I hope so, because I have a recipe for you, too!

Gingerbread Dog Biscuits​

You can omit the molasses from the following recipe if you desire. Conversely, if you want to add some in, choose blackstrap molasses. You could always mix some sweet potato into the squash puree, as well. This will sweeten the treat naturally. A banana could work the same way, too.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (230 g) flour. Oat, bran, or any gluten free flours work, too.
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) pureed squash of any kind. Make sure it's cooked, though! Remember to add your sweet potato here if you want to omit the next ingredient. Just make sure your end result is 1/2 cup of sweet potato or banana and squash, combined.
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.
  • First, mix all of your dry ingredients in a bowl. Keep this separate and mix it all up well.
  • Then, add your wet ingredients to the mix and stir until the dough comes together into a ball.
  • Now you're going to roll out the dough like a pie crust. You can use a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. Roll the dough out until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Next, cut out some fun shapes with cookie cutters and move your treats over to a baking sheet. You'll bake them for 15 minutes on each side, for a total of 30 minutes.

Your dog's cookies should be dry. Therefore, if you can break them in half when they're cool, you've done it right.

How Much Ginger Is Too Much For Dogs?​

It’s time to use your ample common sense. Your dog doesn’t need a lot of ginger. You’re testing out a new food, remember, so you want to go easy with it.

First, let your vet know and ask their recommendation. Follow that and your dog will stay safe.

When you’re ready to share ginger with your dog, try a little and wait. If ginger upsets your dog’s stomach, you’ll know about it. If everything seems fine, however, you can start giving your dog some ginger here and there.

Well, That Was Spicy!​

I have to tell you guys, when I researched this question, there was a lot of fear-mongering going on. A lot of websites that come up in search results aren’t about ginger at all. In all of my research including with veterinarians, I see no real evidence to suggest that ginger is dangerous.

I eat ginger myself to fight colds and ease nausea. It really works and is economical, too. Now, it seems to be one of the spices I can share with my dogs! I’m going to try it out and I’ll let you all know how it goes.

I’m really looking forward to baking those squash and ginger treats for my dogs, too!

If you make them, will you leave some photos in the comments section or send them to me on Twitter? I’m really getting into the idea of a pet recipe swap. If you’d like to see that, let me know that in the comments as well.

Thanks and see you soon!​

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Lauren

Lauren is a young woman with a true passion for animals. She has kept many pets over the years and has intimate knowledge of their needs both emotionally and physically. She loves that her dogs keep her so active and satisfy her desire to spend lots of time in nature.

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