For anyone who has ever sipped ginger tea to settle an upset stomach, it’s natural to wonder if this tropical root could be as beneficial to dogs. Many herbs and spices are harmful to our pets, but the good news is that yes, ginger, in small amounts, is safe for dogs and might even be good for them.
Numerous studies have shown ginger’s curative effects on humans. While less research has been conducted into its effects on dogs, some studies and anecdotal evidence show the many benefits of ginger, long used for its medicinal effects, for what ails your dog.
Benefits of Ginger for Dogs
- Contains antioxidants, which protect against cell damage
- Works as a natural anti-inflammatory, which can improve muscle and joint health and ease canine arthritis
- Decreases gas and bloating
- Stimulates the circulatory system
- Can possibly reduce heartworm microfilaria
How Should I Feed Ginger to My Dog?
All forms of ginger are safe for dogs, including fresh, powdered, and even ginger juice. If you’re using fresh ginger, peel it thoroughly and finely mince it. Then it can be sprinkled over your dog’s food. Or you can slice it thinly and use it as a snack.
As with any human food, ginger should only be given to dogs in moderation. The rule of thumb is a serving should never be more than one-sixteenth of a teaspoon per pound of body weight. To be on the safe side, feed no more than one-quarter teaspoon to small dogs and three-quarters of a teaspoon to large breeds.
Are There Any Risks to Feeding My Dog Ginger?
Moderation is key. Ginger in large amounts can cause gas and nausea. Avoid giving ginger to dogs with bleeding disorders, dogs having surgery soon, and dogs taking Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), because ginger acts as a blood thinner.
Ginger can also lower blood pressure and blood sugar, so consult your veterinarian if your dog has diabetes or heart disease. Some vets advise avoiding ginger in pregnant and nursing dogs, as well because its safety has not been established.
Can Dogs Eat Pickled Ginger?
It’s probably best to keep the pickled ginger to yourself. A tiny taste probably won’t harm your pup, but there are several reasons to save it for the humans at the table. First, most dogs don’t like the taste of vinegar or the citric acid used to pickle the ginger. It may also contain salt that your dog doesn’t need, and may even contain an artificial sweetener like xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
If you’re considering adding ginger to your dog’s diet as a health measure, please talk to your veterinarian first. But as a flavorful treat, in small amounts, go ahead and let your dog enjoy this popular spice.