Maybe you’re surrounded by gingerbread because it’s the holidays, or maybe you just felt like baking something delicious because you felt like it (because why the hell not, right?).
If Fido is your constant companion, you may be wondering if he can partake in the drinking with you. Unfortunately, the answer is no; gingerbread is toxic to dogs.
Although dogs can safely eat small amounts of ginger—in fact, it can be beneficial—many of the other ingredients commonly found in gingerbread are poisonous to canines. He probably shouldn’t eat it anyway because, like all fatty foods, it’s not great for humans.
Let’s get into the specifics of why you shouldn’t give it to him to fully grasp my point.
Is Gingerbread Safe for Dogs?
Canines should not eat gingerbread, unfortunately. And while one bite of a gingerbread leg probably won’t kill him, it probably will make him sick for a couple of days.
You shouldn’t feed it to him because there are plenty of other biscuit options that are much healthier.
Ingredients to Avoid
The question then becomes why he is unable to consume it. Well, nutmeg is found in most gingerbread recipes, and it is poisonous to dogs. It would take a lot for him to die from eating it, but even a little bit is enough to make him very sick.
Myristicin is a naturally occurring compound found in many herbs and spices, including nutmeg.
Myristicin’s hallucinogenic and psychoactive properties make it a popular ingredient in illegal drugs as well as a useful insecticide. Overall, Fido should avoid nutmeg like the plague.
The toxic effects of nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper are all shared by some gingerbread recipes.
Star anise, another ingredient in many gingerbread recipes, is also potentially lethal in large doses. In addition to causing hyperactivity in dogs, star anise has been linked to other negative side effects.
Sugar and fats are typical ingredients in gingerbread recipes. Most of us who have dogs already know that sugar and fats are bad for them.
Their digestive system isn’t made to process it well, and eating it can lead to rapid weight gain.
He’ll trump all day and night if it’s not simple to dismantle. Even if a few extra pounds here and there are cute at first, being overweight is a slippery slope to obesity.
And this means additional health issues, so it’s best to stay away from those unhealthy fatty human snacks.
In the same way that it can cause diabetes in humans, sugar can wreak havoc on a dog’s blood sugar levels. It could cause a spike in blood sugar if he has diabetes, or it could trigger a diabetic crisis if he doesn’t. Periodontal disease has also been linked to a sugary diet.
The sugar substitute Xylitol can be found in some gingerbread recipes. Dogs are more sensitive to the effects of xylitol than they are to those of chocolate, and even a small amount consumed by your pet can have devastating effects.
Is gingerbread bad for dogs?
Fat and sugar found in gingerbread can be harmful to dogs.
According to Dr. Lau’s interview with The Dodo, “Dogs generally should not eat food or sweets intended for humans,” as they can develop digestive issues from eating too much fat or sugar.
When the pancreas in your dog swells, it can be extremely painful and lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
Are There Any Health Benefits?
To put it plainly, Fido shouldn’t eat gingerbread because it has no value to him.
Although we’ve established that even a trace amount of ginger has health benefits, gingerbread isn’t the best way to sneak it into his diet.
The anti-emetic properties of ginger make it useful for treating motion sickness and throwing up. Veterinarians may also use it to treat gastric torsion.
You can add a pinch of ground ginger or finely minced raw ginger to his food. Depending on the size of your dog, use no more than a small pinch. Fido should only be given ginger in small amounts and only when and how directed.
Keep in mind that not all dogs can eat ginger. It has the potential to thin the blood, making it unsafe for those with blood clotting disorders or who are scheduled for surgery soon after taking it.
Additionally, dogs that are pregnant or nursing should not consume it.
Consult Fido’s vet if you’re unsure if ginger is good for him.
What if he has Accidentally Eaten Gingerbread?
Don’t freak out right away. If he has only eaten a couple of biscuits, he may experience mild stomach discomfort for a day or two at most.
We recommend taking him in for an examination at the vet if he has consumed more than a few biscuits. At the end of the day, precaution is always warranted.
You need to watch out that he doesn’t get nutmeg or Xylitol poisoning from the potentially harmful ingredients in it.
Toxic levels of Xylitol and nutmeg can cause the following symptoms:
- Pain in the belly
- a sped-up heartbeat
- Dry mouth
- Chronic hypertension
Get your dog to the vet ASAP if you observe any of the aforementioned symptoms or a drastic shift in his normal behavior after feeding him gingerbread.
Dr. Lau says that there are gingerbread and ginger cookie recipes that are safe for canines.
Avoid giving your dog any of these holiday treats, as not every recipe is dog-friendly.
Dr. Lau warned that the traditional gingerbread and other holiday sweets may contain potentially dangerous ingredients.
Among these are:
- Quantities of nutmeg that are considered large
- Nuts, macadamia
What to give your dog instead
We totally get how alluring it is to sneak your dog a little piece of gingerbread. However, there are other delicious holiday-themed treats that are made with the dog in mind.
Because of its potential negative effects on a dog’s health, gingerbread is not a good treat to give your pooch. It may be manufactured with harmful substances, but even if it isn’t, consuming it may cause pancreatitis.
Thanks to the abundance of dog treats with seasonal designs, you can include Fido in the festivities without worrying about him getting sick.
The Wrap Up
Even if Fido begs you with his puppy dog eyes, he will not be allowed to share in your holiday tradition of eating gingerbread men.
Thankfully, the pungent smell of nutmeg turns off a lot of canine companions. However, you shouldn’t keep it around for testing’s sake.
The other ingredients are what are harming him, not the ginger. Instead of giving him ginger in the form of gingerbread, you should give it to him in a more manageable form.
In sum, I wouldn’t put it at risk for a gingerbread cookie.