Sharing a ginger snap is never going to hurt your dog. Or is it?
Generally speaking, a piece of ginger snap or even some gingerbread isn’t going to hurt your dog. But what if he/she has food sensitivities? What if you accidentally give your dog a cookie with an artificial sweetener in it?
This post will bring you clarity and peace of mind, especially if your dog has already eaten small amounts of sugary ginger treats.
Don’t worry! It’s not all bad. Keep reading to discover more about the health benefits of ginger.
Learn more about potential health implications of high sugar content foods. At the end of the post you’ll find a few easy ginger-based recipes for your dog!
What is Ginger Root?
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a perennial, flowering plant. It belongs to the same family as cardamom, galangal, and turmeric. Traditionally, ginger has been used as a spice in food,
Ginger is used in a variety of human products including:
- Ginger Tea
- Ginger ale
- Scented Candles
- To spice food
- To bake into cookies, ginger bread, etc.
Some alternative practitioners feel that supplementing a dog’s diet with ginger may offer some of the following health benefits:
Foods with antioxidant properties (cruciferous vegetables, blueberries, etc.) work to reduce “free radicals” in the body. Free radicals are thought to contribute to certain diseases because of the way they prevent the body from naturally detoxifying.
Chemical analysis of ginger shows that it contains over 400 different compounds including:
- Carbohydrates (50-70%)
- Lipids (3-8%)
- Phenolic compounds (including gingerols and shogaol)
Gingerols display various nutraceutical benefits including counteracting obesity and diabetes. Malignant tumours were successfully treated by gingerols in animal models.
Ruchi Badoni Semwal, Deepak Kumar Semwal, Sandra Combrinck, Alvaro M. Viljoen,
Gingerols and shogaols: Important nutraceutical principles from ginger,
Inflammation means more than just joint inflammation. It can also refer to systemic inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s natural defence against injury or illness. Sometimes that inflammation goes into overdrive and becomes a problem.
Small amounts of ginger may have natural anti-inflammatory effects on your dog. The following conditions indicate the body is having an inflammatory response:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
An antiemetic is a supplement used to prevent the onset of motion sickness. In dogs, antiemetics work well for those who suffer from car sickness.
Thankfully, car sickness (although common) is a condition that most dogs outgrow as they get older.
Before embarking on a road trip, dog owners could administer small doses of supplements made with ginger to help ease stomach problems on the trip.
The best idea is to experiment with small amounts. Fresh ginger root has a very strong taste that your dog may not like. Try shredding a small amount (start with ¼ tsp for small dogs and ½ tsp for large dogs) and mixing it into their regular food.
If you’ve opted to try giving your dog ginger to reduce car sickness, consider feeding it to your dog anywhere from 1 hour to ½ hour before leaving.
Feeding it to your dog too soon before the trip won’t allow enough time for the ginger to digest and absorb into the dog’s system.
IMPORTANT: Check with your veterinarian before giving your dog supplements. Sometimes supplements can interfere with current medications. There are a variety of reasons why your veterinarian may not recommend raw ginger. Be safe and check first.
When NOT To Give Your Dog Ginger
Raw ginger has been shown to have practical uses including as an anti-nausea and anti-vomiting supplements. There have even been studies that show it may be effective at reducing heartworm microfilaria in the blood. Note: It does not cure heartworm disease.
How is Ginger Given?
Ginger is given by mouth in the form of powder, table, liquid, or capsule. It can also be mixed with dog food by using a small amount of the fresh root.
Note: There may be some drug interactions when ginger is mixed with anti-coagulants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Side Effects to Watch For
Although information regarding side-effects of ginger in dogs is limited, reactions are possible when ginger is exposed to the skin.
Reactions can include redness, itchiness, or hives. Other uncommon side-effects could include stomach pain, diarrhea, or gas.
Use With Caution
Although raw ginger is unlikely to cause serious side-effects in dogs, it’s always best to check with a veterinarian before use. This is especially true if your dog is pregnant, on other medications, or has a compromised immune system.
5 Reasons to Limit Your Dog’s Consumption of High Sugar Foods
While there are potential health benefits associated with raw ginger, it’s a different story when we talk about ginger cookies.
Depending on the dog, occasional “human” treats may be okay. Unfortunately, too much fat and sugar can cause serious health problems (or worsen conditions already present).
Some dogs are more prone to obesity than others. An occasional treat isn’t likely to harm your dog. The size, age, breed, and health of the dog will play a role in how many extra calories he/she can handle.
For example, a toy breed weighing 10 pounds only needs 350 to 400 calories a day! Two or three cookies could easily fulfill more than half of the dog’s daily caloric intake.
Canine pancreatitis causes inflammation in the pancreas. The inflammation disrupts the proper flow of digestive enzymes. When this happens, the enzymes will break down fat and proteins in other organs including the pancreas.
If a dog already suffers from painful pancreatitis, the addition of dietary fat in the dog’s diet can significantly increase abdominal pain and discomfort.
3. Heart Disease
Commercially prepared gingerbread cookies are likely high in saturated fat, salt and sugar. If your dog has any problems with obesity or heart trouble, these sugary treats could spell disaster.
Yes, sugar and saturated fat are definitely something to be concerned about. But what about the salt content?
Too much salt in a dog’s diet causes increased levels of sodium circulating in the blood. This elevation causes water retention in the blood vessels and elevated blood pressure.
At that point, the diseased heart has to enlarge in order to compensate for the increased pressure and to ensure appropriate blood flow. This is what’s known as high blood pressure.
Food allergies in dogs are difficult to diagnose. It can take a long time of trial and error to narrow down the offending food/ingredients.
If your dog eats a small amount of gingerbread, watch him/her for signs of skin itching, redness, swelling, or other unusual behaviors. Not all dogs have the same tolerance for human foods. Some dogs seem to be able to eat anything without issue, where other dogs may end up with an upset stomach…or worse.
Commercial and home-made cookies often contain many types of potential allergens including:
-all purpose flour
-whole wheat flour
-lots of sugar
We Like These Preservative-Free DIY Treats for Dogs
5. Artificial Sweeteners
Even if you don’t use artificial sweeteners in your baking, your friends and family might. As cautious as you are, it only takes a brief distraction for your dog to help himself to a big feed of cookies containing artificial sweetener.
The biggest issue is the addition of xylitol in various foods. Xylitol is a naturally occurring five-carbon sugar alcohol found in most plant material including fruits and vegetables. While this substance is harmless in humans, it can be very toxic for dogs.
Human Food = Tempting Treats for the Dog
When the holidays roll around, it’s easy to get caught up in festivities. The next thing you know, a friend or family member is slipping your dog some gingerbread. Small amounts given as an occasional treat probably isn’t a big deal.
Unfortunately, dogs with underlying health conditions may end up with a stomach ache or worse.
Many dogs see just about any human food as potential treats for them. Whether you have handcrafted gingerbread houses on the table, candy canes on the tree, or chocolates in open boxes, your dog is going to be tempted.
Keep your furry friend safe during the holidays by removing temptation. This way, everyone can enjoy the festivities without worrying about your dog succumbing to health problems.
Healthy Alternatives for Dogs
Here are a few recipes to help get you started. By offering a healthy food choice to your pooch, you can avoid guilt and everyone can enjoy a taste treat.
The first recipe is from Dukes&Duchesses
Gingerbread Dog Biscuits
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Mix the flour, ginger, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix in the oil, molasses and water. Be sure to let that sit for 15 minutes.
Roll out the mixture and use a cookie cutter (bone-shapes are fun!). Move them to the cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until firm.
For more fantastic dog treat recipes, be sure to visit Dukes&Duchesses on Pinterest. Try this one on Homemade Carrot Dog Biscuits
Ginger Chicken Dog Treat Recipe
This gluten-free recipe comes from doggydessertchef.com
List of Ingredients:
1 chicken breast cooked and shredded
1/4 tsp dried ginger (powder)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup potato flour
1/2 tsp dried peppermint
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet
with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
Knead the dough into a ball and roll onto a floured surface 1/2 inch thick. Take a straight edge and score the dough horizontally, then vertically to make a grid. Be careful to score the dough and not cut all the way through.
Place on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the edges are brown.
Cool. Break into pieces. Refrigerate.
Safe Holidays No Matter the Season
At the end of the day, we want our dogs to enjoy the holidays (any holiday!) as much as we do. Unfortunately, some of the foods we eat may contain harmful ingredients for your dog. Dog’s have specific food requirements for healthy digestion.
Unfortunately, your dog’s digestive system may not be able to handle even moderate amounts of certain foods.
Although things like ginger cookies contain small amounts of ginger powder, it’s generally not enough to provide potential benefits to your dog. A little bit is probably okay for your dog. However, baking your own dog treats is the safest bet.
READ NEXT: Are Dog’s Mouths Cleaner than Human’s?
Avoid Toxic Holidays
Pets are more at-risk of consuming toxic ingredients during holiday seasons. Well-meaning family and friends may slip your dog something they shouldn’t eat. The business of the holiday season may mean we don’t pay close attention to the types of food within a dog’s reach.
Unfortunately, gingerbread cookies, cake, and other holiday treats (candy cane!) are packed with high sugar content.
Commercially made gingersnap cookies and gingerbread (includes gingerbread house kits) contain ingredients including flour, spices, sugar, yeast, high fructose corn syrup, and more.
GENERALLY speaking, a small amount of ginger cookie isn’t likely going to hurt your dog unless he/she has serious allergies.
If your dog has eaten a little more than he/she should have, it’s important to watch the dog’s reaction. Signs that your dog is not feeling well include:
- Itchy skin
Pet owners should not rely on ginger snap cookies (or other baked items) as a way to supplement the dog’s diet. The best way to supplement a dog’s diet with ginger is by actually using the root.
In small amounts, ginger root can help to ease stomach upset and nausea. Large amounts of raw ginger root may have the opposite effect. If your dog accidentally eats large amounts of ginger, he/she will likely just vomit.
One thing that wasn’t mentioned above is the risk of dental disease. Like humans, too much sugar can cause tooth decay in dogs.
Vomiting isn’t serious unless it continues over a 24 hour period. If there is persistent vomiting and diarrhea, a dog is at risk of dehydration. Dehydration is serious and can be deadly in puppies.