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With its earthy sweetness, nutmeg is virtually indispensable in many fall and holiday baked goods, sauces, and stews. This is fine for us humans, but can your dog eat nutmeg? No, and here’s why.

Is Nutmeg Toxic to Dogs?

Nutmeg is derived from the seed of the tropical evergreen tree Myristica fragrans. The spice mace also comes from a different part of the same seed. Nutmeg contains myristicin, which is used in insecticides. When consumed in high doses by humans, nutmeg also has psychotropic effects and can cause hallucinations and altered sensations.

Siberian Husky gently taking a treat from a hand.
©koldunova_anna -

In dogs, myristicin causes drastic and harmful reactions, including high blood pressure, hallucinations, increased heart rate, abdominal pain, or even seizures. Although the amount of nutmeg your dog may consume in a bite of a cookie may have little or no effect, it’s best to keep your dog away from nutmeg altogether.

Symptoms of Nutmeg Poisoning

If you suspect your dog has consumed the contents of the nutmeg shaker, eaten the nutmegs you brought home from a vacation, or helped themselves to a serving of pumpkin pie, be alert for the warning signs:

  • Disorientation
  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Lack of coordination

If your dog has eaten nutmeg and displays any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away. You can also call Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435.

How is Nutmeg Poisoning Treated?

Unless upon specific advice from your vet or Poison Control, this is no time for home remedies. Your dog needs medical treatment, which may involve giving them emetics and IV fluids, monitoring their blood pressure and heart rate, and keeping them safe in case of hallucinations or seizures.

What Can I Give My Dog Instead of Nutmeg?

Your pup doesn’t need to forego some of fall and winter’s favorite flavors. In moderation, dogs can have tiny portions of some fall-flavored spices, some of which may even be beneficial. For instance, dogs can have a small amount of cinnamon, which has anti-inflammatory properties. However, not all forms of cinnamon are safe for dogs; learn how to safely give your pet a bit of cinnamon.

Golden Retriever eating from a bowl on the kitchen counter with its owner having breakfast right beside it.
©Africa Studio -

A little bit of ginger is also safe for dogs. This spice soothes nausea and digestive upsets. It also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Even while avoiding nutmeg, your dog doesn’t have to miss out on all types of gingerbread (you can make it without dangerous spices in there). If you’re looking to give your pet a taste of the season, here are three dog-friendly pumpkin recipes that are perfect for fall and winter.




Related article: Which Thanksgiving Foods Can I Give My Dog?
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