Can I Give My Dog Ginger?
Food has long been considered one of the most powerful forms of medicine, and few foods have enjoyed as positive a reputation for improving overall health as spices. Spices are flavorful, low in calories, and often said to provide powerful health benefits even when consumed in fairly small quantities. While we have to eat several cups of leafy greens to enjoy their health benefits, it only takes a sprinkle of spice to improve our health. One of our favorite spices in the western world is ginger, which we eat almost compulsively throughout the holiday season.
Ginger is said to have powerful health benefits, but for those of us who share our homes with pets, the real question is: do these health benefits transfer to our furry friends? Can dogs have ginger?
The answer is yes, dogs can eat small quantities of ginger. This food is not considered toxic to pets, so eating a bite of a gingerbread cookie will not hurt them, but it is a very powerful food that should be approached with caution. Because ginger is so strong, it would be wise to use it as a medicinal food for your dog. Instead of feeding them a chunk of ginger, or trying to share candied ginger with them, use small amounts of the spice to flavor their food. This can give them all the benefits of ginger without the risk of serious digestive problems.
So, what can ginger do for your dog? Like other spices, it can have both short and long-term health effects. If you are looking for a way to experience the awesome power of ginger immediately, keep ginger on hand to use the next time they are stressed out. Whether they get anxious in the car or they panic during thunderstorms, a medicinal dose of ginger may be the perfect way to mellow them out without needing to rely on a tranquilizer.
If you plan on giving your dog ginger to reduce their anxiety, ask a veterinarian about the appropriate dosage for their weight. When in doubt, be conservative—you can easily give your dog a slightly higher amount in the future, but if you give them too much, you will only make them sick. Nothing will compound your poor pooch’s anxiety quite like diarrhea and vomiting as a result of too much ginger. It is also important to remember that ginger is not a suitable substitute for actual veterinary care; some dogs who suffer from severe anxiety may need tranquilizers or other medications in order to deal with stressful situations like thunderstorms and car trips.
Though too much ginger can cause stomach problems, the correct dosage may actually alleviate them. If your dog is prone to mild bloating and nausea, or if they experience carsickness on long trips, try administering a small amount of ginger to treat (or prevent) their symptoms. However, if your furry friend seems to suffer from chronic stomach problems that have no obvious cause, make sure you consult a veterinarian. Ginger can work wonders on the occasional stomachache, but it should not be used to mask symptoms of a more serious underlying issue. Any chronic health problems must be examined by a professional.
There is also some evidence that ginger may help fight cancer. Though it is not a substitute for professional medical care, ginger may boost immunity, destroy free radicals, and reduce your dog’s chances of ever developing cancer. Studies performed on mice found that ginger slowed down the spread of cancer cells. Another found that it could kill cancer cells in a test tube setting. There have not been many studies performed on dogs, but we know that, if nothing else, ginger’s ability to boost immunity will help prevent cancer!
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can even help alleviate symptoms of painful diseases like osteoarthritis. By decreasing joint inflammation, foods like ginger can help reduce pain levels and improve mobility. It may be able to reduce inflammation associated with mild injuries, too.
Things to Consider
There are some dogs who should not eat ginger. If your dog has chronic stomach problems, inflammatory bowel disease, or ulcers, avoid giving them any spices. It is also important to know that ginger acts as a blood thinner—if your dog is about to undergo surgery or deliver puppies any time soon, do not give them any amount of ginger root, as it may increase their risk of serious bleeding. Ginger has also been known to lower both blood pressure and blood sugar levels, so if your dog already struggles with low blood pressure or hypoglycemia, you may want to skip on this spice.
In sum, ginger is a powerful medicinal foods that is safe for dogs to consume in small quantities. It can help treat anxiety, nausea, and inflammation, and it may help reduce your dog’s risk of developing several chronic diseases, including cancer. If your dog has stomach problems, or if they have been diagnosed with any other condition, consult a veterinarian before you begin supplementing their diet with ginger.