Can Dogs Eat Ginger?

April Saylor
By April Saylor. Reviewed by Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP on Aug. 15, 2023
beagle standing up on hind legs looking at the kitchen table

NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be OK for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.

Ginger is a popular spice that’s known for its distinct aroma and flavor. Its signature spicy kick is found in popular dishes from around the world, and it’s also known for its therapeutic benefits. For centuries, people have turned to ginger-based remedies and supplements for various ailments, from nausea to inflammation and even migraines and colds.

But what about your furry friend? Can dogs eat ginger, or should they steer clear of these roots? Good news: Dogs can safely eat ginger, and it can even provide some health benefits. But there are still a few things to be aware of before adding ginger in your dog’s diet. Namely, they should have ginger only in tiny amounts, and it needs to be the fresh or powdered kind—not pickled!

Read on to learn more about how to feed your dog ginger safely and when you need to ask your vet for advice.

Is Ginger Good for Dogs?

Similar to the ways in which ginger can help us humans with stomach issues or inflammation, dogs can also reap the benefits of eating ginger. Ginger roots contain a bioactive compound called gingerol, which is the reason it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These are used as a natural method of relieving common conditions like upset stomach or joint pain.

If your dog is experiencing digestive issues or is prone to motion sickness, a small amount of ginger may help ease their nausea. Some pet parents add a small amount of grated ginger to their dog’s food or offer ginger-infused treats as a way to help settle their pooch’s stomach.

Just as humans use ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties to help alleviate joint swelling and stiffness, dogs may also find that ginger helps promote relief from joint pain. Always ask your vet before giving your dog ginger for joint pain, as they may have other recommendations for your pet. 

Are There Risks To Feeding Dogs Ginger?

While ginger can be a natural anti-nausea remedy or help with joint pain, that doesn’t mean you should add a heaping helping to your dog’s bowl. As always, moderation is key when introducing a new ingredient to your pet’s mealtime routine, even when it’s healthy for them.

Too much ginger can actually upset your dog’s stomach, so start with a very small amount and gradually increase over time. Also, dogs who are on certain medications should avoid ginger because it can act as a natural blood thinner.

If your dog has any health conditions or allergies, it’s always best to talk to your vet before adding a new supplement to their diet, including natural ones like ginger. Your vet can help determine if it’s safe for your pup to have ginger based on other factors like their health history, age, and weight.

Can Dogs Eat Pickled Ginger?

Pickled ginger—aka the kind that’s served alongside sushi—should not be shared with dogs. This is because the pickling process includes added sugar and vinegar, both of which can be harmful to dogs in excess (not to mention your dog probably won’t like the taste).

While a small piece or two of pickled ginger probably won’t cause your dog harm if he snags some off the floor, the added sugar and/or salt from the pickling process can lead to health problems or cause GI issues. Too much sugar and/or salt can also cause long-term health issues such as weight gain or endocrine issues like diabetes.

Can Dogs Eat Gingerbread?

While it may be a holiday staple, gingerbread should not be a part of your dog’s seasonal snacks. Though the ginger itself does not pose a major threat to your pooch, the other ingredients found in most gingerbread recipes are not safe for dogs to eat—especially nutmeg. Nutmeg is toxic to dogs, and it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures in severe cases.

Nutmeg isn’t the only reason to steer clear of gingerbread. The extra icing and candies used to decorate gingerbread houses can also be dangerous for dogs. While it may be tempting to sneak a bite or two to your four-legged friend while decorating, don’t do it!

The sugar and candies (especially chocolate or sugar-free sweets containing xylitol) can be very harmful, so it’s best to avoid this altogether. There are plenty of dog-friendly gingerbread treats that are better options if you want to offer a holiday-themed snack that’s safe.

How Much Ginger Can a Dog Eat?

As with any new addition to your dog’s diet, start with a small amount of ginger before offering a full serving size. But even then, the “full” serving size of ginger for dogs is very, very small. While ginger can provide some benefits for dogs dealing with upset stomach or inflammation from arthritis, giving too much ginger can cause digestive upset.

Remember: Steer clear of pickled ginger and opt for very small amounts of fresh-grated ginger and ginger powder, which can be mixed in with their food. Here are some general portion guidelines to follow if you’re introducing ginger to a healthy, adult dog:

How to Safely Feed a Dog Ginger

When it comes to feeding your dog ginger, start slow and adjust after you know how they react to a small amount. A little bit of grated raw ginger or ginger powder sprinkled onto their regular dog food can be a good way to introduce it to them slowly. Then monitor them for any adverse reactions.

You can also make your very own DIY ginger-infused treats. Try adding grated ginger or ginger powder to dog-friendly ingredients like pumpkin, unsweetened applesauce, or sweet potato. Spoon into ice cube trays and pop into the freezer for a dog-friendly “pupsicle” and offer on hot days. Or bake into homemade dog treats, like these ginger biscuits for dogs.

Even though ginger does provide some health benefits, it doesn’t take the place of a well-balanced dog food designed for your pup’s health and well-being. A good rule of thumb is to keep treats to just 10% of your dog’s overall caloric intake—simply subtract those calories from their “regular” dog food they get for mealtime.

Remember that not all vegetables (or more specifically rhizomes, like ginger) are safe for dogs to eat. Onions and garlic should both be avoided, as they are toxic to dogs. Again, always talk to your vet before introducing new foods to your dog, as they may have dietary advice tailored to your dog based on their health, age, and weight. 

Featured Image: Adobe/marinatynik


April Saylor

WRITTEN BY

April Saylor

Freelance Writer


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