The spirit of the Holidays may make us extra generous not just with our human family and friends, but more so with our pooch.
However, before you give in to your dog’s begging eyes as you eat your favorite holiday treats, make sure that it’s safe for him to eat. We, as pet owners, should always be vigilant on what our pets consume.
And being a popular sugary treat this holiday season, we know you can’t help but wonder, “Can dogs eat gingerbread?”
Can Your Dog Eat Gingerbread?
Can dogs eat ginger biscuits? How about sugar free gingerbread cookies? Or can dogs eat ginger snaps? Unfortunately, the short answer is “No.” But, don’t be sad, there are a lot of healthier and safer dog treats that your furry friend can enjoy all year round.
Perhaps, you can also bake your pet dog gingerbread that doesn’t contain spices and ingredients that are potentially dangerous for him.
While ginger is not harmful to dogs, and the ingestion of small amounts of gingerbread won’t cause serious health issues to your pup, it’s best to just simply avoid it.
By doing so, you may prevent your dog from regularly craving gingerbread cookie, and eventually endure the long-term health complications of this unhealthy treat.
Is Gingerbread Safe for Dogs?
No, gingerbread is not safe for dogs. Again, if your dog ate a little bit of gingerbread, he should just be fine. However, it’s not something that you should be giving your canine best friend regularly, or even as a treat or reward.
The primary concern with gingerbread is that it contains nutmeg, which can be harmful to dogs when consumed in large quantities.
And this can be attributed to nutmeg’s myristicin content, which is not compatible with a dog’s stomach. More so, this psychoactive toxin also causes hallucinations and delusions, which can be traumatic for your pets.
Not only that, but gingerbread is also high in sugar and fats, which are both harmful when consumed regularly and in large amounts.
The presence of myristicin, as well as the high sugar content in gingerbread, can also give your dog an upset stomach for a few days at the very least.
Moreover, too much fat and sugar in your dog’s diet can also lead to pancreatitis over time, which can be fatal. And of course, should we even start with the unhealthy and life-threatening complications of too much sugar and fat to your dog’s health and wellness?
What else could possibly go wrong? Aside from digestive issues, gingerbread can also affect your dog’s metabolism. And you can blame this treat’s high sugar content for this side effect as increased secretion of insulin is common with excessive sugar consumption.
Excessive secretion of insulin inside your dog’s body can lead to muscle degeneration, obesity, and sluggishness. It also triggers the secretion of other hormones in the body thereby causing hormonal imbalance, which can eventually take a toll on your pet’s health.
Moreover, some gingerbread recipes also contain xylitol, a popular sugar substitute, which happens to be toxic for dogs and cats.
This artificial sweetener is even more toxic than chocolates, and dogs don’t have to consume a large quantity of foods that contain xylitol for them to experience its harmful side effects.
What Are Some Ingredients to Avoid?
While ginger isn’t harmful to dogs, a lot of the ingredients used in making gingerbread are. Take a look at the following ingredients that should be avoided at all costs:
As mentioned earlier, one of the essential components in making this tasty seasonal treat is nutmeg. And sad to say, this spice is toxic to your canine companion.
Dogs may have to eat a large quantity of nutmeg to experience nutmeg toxicity and other more serious complications. However, dogs may also feel ill even if they only ate a small amount of nutmeg. Again, one of the problems with this ingredient is its myristicin content, which causes neurologic side effects in dogs.
Symptoms of myristicin exposure that you should watch out for include dry mouth, heart palpitations, nausea, hallucinations, and delusions. Take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice any of these.
Some, if not all gingerbread recipes also contain cinnamon. This popular ingredient in several desserts and foods for humans also causes the same side effect as nutmeg, as well as black pepper.
When consumed in large amounts, star anise can be poisonous for dogs. And it is also known to make dogs hyperactive, which can cause them to act undesirably, and put them at risk for injuries. Sad to say, star anise is also used in some gingerbread recipes.
Hence, it is important to know the ingredients before giving some to your pup. However, sometimes we just don’t have access to the bakers who made these goodies, especially if they were only given by our friends who bought them somewhere else.
Sugar and Fats
Sugary and fatty foods are not your dog’s best friends. These unhealthy ingredients won’t only cause digestive issues in dogs, but also more serious long-term complications, such as heart disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, and a lot more.
Do Gingerbread Cookies and Biscuits Offer Health Benefits to Your Dog?
You might be hoping for a positive answer, but unfortunately, gingerbread doesn’t offer health benefits to your dog. If you are aiming to share the health benefits of ginger with your dog, then, there are different options that you can try.
You can mince raw, fresh ginger and mix it into his dog food along with other tasty toppings. However, you should only add about one to two pinches of minced raw ginger and only do it occasionally. You should also know that not all dogs can tolerate ginger, or ginger doesn’t have the same effects for all canines.
Ginger can have a blood-thinning effect, which makes it dangerous for dogs with blood disorders. Hence, if your pup has an underlying medical condition, it’s best to seek veterinary advice first. You should also avoid giving ginger to pregnant and lactating canines.
Or even if your dog is perfectly healthy, you may also want to consult your vet for veterinary guidance before you add ginger into his diet.
What If Your Dog Has Accidentally Eaten a Gingerbread?
If you noticed that your dog ate a piece or two of gingerbread biscuits sitting on your table, don’t panic – your dog will most likely experience an upset stomach for a few days and he should just be fine.
If you suspect that your pup ate more than two biscuits, then, it’s best to take him to your veterinarian so he can assess him properly and provide veterinary advice and interventions as needed.
Symptoms of Nutmeg Poisoning and Xylitol Toxicity
With the different ingredients that can potentially cause serious side effects to your dog, you should pay special attention to the symptoms of nutmeg and xylitol poisoning, which include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Dry mouth
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
If you notice any of these symptoms or any other abnormal changes in your dog’s behavior after eating gingerbread, you should take him to the vet immediately.
Final Thoughts: Can Dogs Eat Gingerbread?
Gingerbread is a tasty festive treat for us, humans, and it should be kept that way. Don’t feel bad for not sharing your gingerbread biscuits with your dog.
If your pup can speak, he will definitely thank you for saving him from the inconvenience and even fatal complications caused by eating large amounts of gingerbread.
And if you insist on giving your dog gingerbread, you may want to bake him his very own gingerbread using a dog-friendly recipe, see recipes below.
Or better yet, simply buy your furry buddy his favorite dog treats so he can munch on them as you enjoy your cookies and other sweet treats with your family and friends.
Can dogs eat gingerbread snaps?
Gingersnaps are an excellent occasional treat for your dog. In fact, if you give your dog one of these crunchy treats before a road trip, they might not get as car sick. Just don't give your dog a lot of gingersnap cookies at one time or often.
How toxic is nutmeg to dogs?
Nutmeg is toxic for dogs, and dogs should never eat it. Nutmeg poisoning can cause disorientation, high heart rate, seizures, and hallucinations in dogs. The amount of nutmeg in a baked treat is not likely to be toxic for a dog but should still be kept out of reach.
Are ginger nut biscuits OK for dogs?
Your dog probably shouldn't eat a ginger biscuit, but it shouldn't cause any immediate harm if they happen to snaffle one. The ingredients and nutritional value vary between brands, but generally, a ginger biscuit doesn't contain anything toxic to dogs. So if your pooch pilfers a ginger nut, they should be okay.
Why do dogs like ginger biscuits?
Ginger has been known to help to settle a dog's stomach. A small amount can be added to baby food or pumpkin puree and given to a dog with an upset stomach. Can I give my dog a ginger biscuit? A ginger biscuit is okay for an occasional treat and to help with an upset stomach or prevent car sickness.