Can Dogs Eat Ginger, Should They?

Fresh ginger whole and chopped on rustic wood surface
© iStock.com/grafvision

Written by Rebecca Mathews

Published: November 9, 2022

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Dogs can eat a lot of what we might describe as human food, but there are a few plants they need to avoid because some can cause temporary gastric upsets and others are highly toxic. Since ginger is so good for humans, it’s worth considering whether dogs can eat ginger and should they?

Let’s take a closer look at how eating ginger can affect a dog.

Is Ginger Safe For My Dog To Eat?

Yes, in small amounts ginger is perfectly safe for dogs and it may even have health benefits. It’s a sensible question because there are herbs and spices which can harm our pets. Garlic is one such herb which causes anemia.

Although ginger is not toxic to dogs, it’s important to offer small amounts. Moderation is key to avoiding any potential harm such as a gastric upset.

What Is Ginger?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a tropical plant in the Zingiberaceae family that’s native to south east Asia and frequently used in Asian cuisine. It’s a perennial plant with long leaves and a yellow flowering stem that reaches around four feet tall in summer, but it’s the rhizome that we eat.

Ginger rhizomes are pale brown roots covered in flaky skin. Beneath the skin lies a deep orange zingy fresh flesh that is added to meals to bring deep warming flavor. Ginger is also used in medicines and remedies. It is particularly popular as an anti-nausea cure when people want to avoid chemicals.

Ginger is available fresh and powered and you can grow it yourself in tropical and sub-tropical zones.

fresh Ginger root and leaf on the soil

Ginger root is the rhizome of the ginger plant.

©iStock.com/Maksims Grigorjevs

What Are The Health Benefits?

Lots of studies indicate ginger root is good for humans and there are some studies that suggest it’s also good for our dogs, in particular it’s potentially a treatment for worms and parasitic infections. Raw ginger is not top veg for vitamin and mineral content, but it does contain the following important nutrients:

  • Potassium – essential for a strong nervous system
  • Copper – helps boost energy levels and connective tissues
  • Vitamin B – converts food into energy
  • Vitamin C – essential for a healthy immune system

And it may also have these benefits:

  • Anti-oxidants – these protect against cell damage which some experts think can help prevent cancer
  • Anti-inflammatories – may help ease arthritis and inflammation from injury or sickness
  • Anti-bloating – eases flatulence and calms down the digestive system
  • Stimulants – ginger root may stimulate circulation and improve blood flow
Two dogs begging at a table

Some

studies

that suggest it’s also good for our dogs, in particular it’s potentially a treatment for worms and parasitic infections.

©iStock.com/fotyma

Is Ginger Toxic To Dogs?

Ginger is not toxic to dogs, but feeding them small amounts is important. Large amounts of ginger can create bloating and stomach ache plus vomiting and diarrhoea.

Some experts think that because ginger may be a blood thinner, pregnant or lactating dogs, those due for surgery, or any dog on NSAID drugs should avoid it. Dogs with diabetes and heart disease may also be affected by ginger’s potential to lower blood pressure. In short, ginger may be unsuitable for dogs in poor health. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a vet.

There’s also a small risk that ginger could cause an allergic reaction. This is usually a swift reaction such as hives, itching, redness or a rash.

How Can I Feed Ginger to my Dog?

When feeding ginger to your dog for the first time, give them a very small piece and monitor their reaction over a few days to ensure they are not allergic or it upsets their stomach.

Fresh, powdered or ginger juice are all ways you can give your dog this root. If you choose fresh ginger, peel all the flaky skin away and chop it finely. You can add finely chopped ginger, ginger powder or ginger juice to a main meal to increase its flavor. Another method is to slice ginger root very finely and treat them to a zingy snack.

Woman feeding dog

You can add finely chopped ginger, ginger powder or ginger juice to a main meal to increase its flavor.

©Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.com

Will Ginger Stop my Dogs Getting Sick in the Car?

Possibly. This study suggests ginger has the same effectiveness as dimenhydrinate but with fewer side effects. The study was on humans, but there’s a chance it could apply to dogs too because vets often prescribe dimenhydrinate as an anti-nausea medication for motion-sick dogs.

Try giving your dog a small amount of ginger half an hour before a car trip. It’s not toxic, so it won’t hurt and may even help.

dog in car

Try giving your dog a small amount of ginger half an hour before a car trip.

©Christin Lola/Shutterstock.com

Is Ginger a Pain Reliever for Dogs?

Some research suggests that because ginger is an anti-inflammatory it can help lessen inflammatory pain, such as some forms of arthritis.

There are no definitive studies to confirm it either way, so if your dog is in pain it’s best to speak to a vet for advice rather than rely on ginger.

How Much Ginger Can I Give My Dog?

This all depends on the size and health of your pup.

The American Kennel Club suggest 1/16th of a teaspoon per pound of weight, which works out roughly as a ¼ of a teaspoon for small breeds and up to ¾ for large dogs, however, this is an approximation and care should be taken to monitor your dog’s reaction to any dose of ginger. Large doses of ginger will lead to an upset stomach.

What About Cats? Can Cats Eat Ginger?

Cats can safely eat ginger just as dogs can and it may have the same beneficial effects on their health.

However, because ginger is strong smelling, some cats may be unwilling to eat it. Use very small amounts and try to disguise it in their main meal, but don’t try to force them.

cat food bowls

Because ginger is strong smelling, some cats may be unwilling to eat it.

©iStock.com/Lightspruch

My Dog Ate Ginger, What Should I Do?

Don’t panic, eating ginger won’t harm your dog, but it may cause a gastric upset for a few days depending on how much they’ve eaten. However, if your dog is young, old, or in poor health it’s best to speak to your vet just in case.

Keep an eye out for an allergic reaction or an upset stomach over the following few days. Excessive flatulence may also be a problem – be prepared to open windows!

Can Dogs Eat Ginger Biscuits?

Feeding a dog biscuits made for humans is not a good idea, even if they do contain ginger.

Like the majority of sweet foods, biscuits contain salt, sugar, and fat which are bad for your dog. Biscuits may also contain some of the seriously toxic ingredients listed below. Choose a good quality dog biscuit if you’d like to treat your friend to a sweet treat. Check out our list of top quality dog foods here.

What Foods Should Dogs Avoid?

Sick dog sticks its head out from under a blanket

Whilst ginger is not toxic and potentially a healthy treat for dogs, there are other foods that can cause serious problems.

©iStock.com/igorr1

Whilst ginger is not toxic and potentially a healthy treat for dogs, there are other foods that can cause serious problems.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nut compounds are toxic and can produce symptoms in less than an hour such as weak back legs, vomiting, diarrhoea, and seizures.

Chocolate

All types of chocolate contain theobromine and caffeine which are blood vessel dilators and diuretics. These compounds put pressure on a dog’s organs because they can’t process them as quickly as we can. In severe cases, chocolate can be fatal. The symptoms of chocolate poisoning are vomiting, seizures, diarrhoea, panting, and collapse.

Garlic and Onions

The allium family is highly toxic to dogs. All onions and garlic should be kept safely away from your canine friend. This is because they contain several compounds they can’t digest including N-Propyl Disulfide that binds to dog blood cells and causes anemia. The symptoms are lethargy, pale gums, vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.

Grapes

Grapes in all their forms including raisons, sultanas, juice, and wine can lead to kidney failure in dogs because they can’t process the tannins, flavonoids and monosaccharides. Symptoms are vomiting, lethargy, and blood in their urine.

So in conclusion, can dogs eat ginger and should they?

Dogs can eat ginger, despite it being a spice which is usually an issue for canines. In moderate small amounts, ginger can be safely fed to dogs as a snack or as a way to enhance their meal’s flavor.

Ginger may also have extra health benefits such as destroying internal worms, protecting against oxidant damage, and helping with motion sickness.

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About the Author

Rebecca is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on plants and geography. Rebecca has been writing and researching the environment for over 10 years and holds a Master’s Degree from Reading University in Archaeology, which she earned in 2005. A resident of England’s south coast, Rebecca enjoys rehabilitating injured wildlife and visiting Greek islands to support the stray cat population.

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