The root of the ginger plant has been used by humanity for centuries, primarily for adding spice to food and for holistic medicinal purposes. Perhaps most closely connected with ginger ale, ginger root has been used to calm an upset stomach. Scientific studies now link it to the prevention and management of acute diseases, such as arthritis and cancer. But can dogs eat ginger too, and is ginger good for dogs or is ginger bad for dogs at all times?
If you've been wondering, “can I give my dog ginger,” the answer is YES – dogs can eat ginger in small amounts and under your strict supervision. A little bit of ginger for dogs will provide so benefits, but too much can be harmful for pets.
In this article, we'll discuss ginger in greater detail, can dogs eat ginger and in what amounts, what are the benefits and is ginger good for dogs and how, and is ginger bad for dogs and why.
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What is ginger?
Ginger is a flowering plant whose root, or underground stem, can be eaten fresh, dried as a spice, ground into powder, used in oil form, or made into juice. This spice is one of many plant foods that studies have found can positively impact multiple body functions as well as potentially prevent some illnesses and diseases.
This is what ginger looks like:
As a staple in many Asian, Indian, and Arabic foods, this healthy and tasty spice adds the right amount of flavor and zing to meals. It provides many health benefits many of which have been proven in clinical trials. But can dogs eat ginger just as we can? Is ginger good for dogs and what kind of benefits it provides? And is ginger bad for dogs in certain amounts? Let's take a closer look.
Ginger for Dogs 101
Can Dogs Eat Ginger?
So can dogs eat ginger and reap the benefits? Yes, for the most part, ginger is safe and nutritious for dogs to consume provided it is given in limited quantities. Too much ginger can hurt a dog’s gastrointestinal system.
Fed in appropriate amounts, ginger can provide dogs with additional nutrients, including essential minerals and vitamins, that may lead to longer, healthier lives. It may also help dogs ward off or fight disease and illness.
Here's what we currently know about the health benefits of ginger and ginger root extract in humans and animals:
- Ginger helps with vomiting and nausea (1, 2)
- Ginger prevents inflammation and helps with osteoarthritis (3, 4)
- Ginger has medicinal properties (5)
- Ginger reduces muscle pain and soreness (6, 7)
- Ginger can treat digestion problems (8, 9)
- Ginger may prevent heart disease (10)
- Ginger may prevent cancer (11, 12)
- Ginger lowers bad cholesterol levels (13, 14)
- Ginger improves brain function (15, 16)
- Ginger fights different types of infections (17, 18)
The health benefits of ginger and ginger root extract are undeniable, which were proven in human and animal studies. But can dogs eat ginger as part of their regular diet? Is ginger good for dogs and how much of this evidence applies to canines? And is ginger bad for dogs at specific amounts or certain forms?
6 Benefits of Ginger for Dogs
1. Ginger can settle an upset stomach in dogs.
Dogs can experience gastrointestinal issues for a number of reasons, including car sickness, irritable bowel syndrome, changes in diet, or cancer. Some fresh ginger or powdered spice can help alleviate nausea and produce calm within your dog’s digestive system.
2. Ginger eases canine arthritis and other forms of inflammation.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, so dogs who suffer from chronic arthritis, osteoarthritis, or pain may benefit from the addition of this spice to their diet. As exercise-induced pain may also be relieved by the use of ginger, athletic or highly active dogs can benefit from the additive as well.
This spice will not have an immediate impact on sore joints and muscles, but over time may be effective in reducing the daily progression of pain.
3. Ginger relieves and prevents canine bloat.
Bloat, or gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), is a life-threatening condition that affects large breed canines wherein food and gas build up to dangerous levels in a dog’s stomach. Studies have shown that ginger can stimulate movement in the stomach and accelerate the emptying of the stomach. In this way, ginger can relieve or even prevent bloat from occurring.
4. Ginger can treat heartworm disease.
Ginger is a natural way to treat heartworm disease in canines. Studies have shown that the decrease of heartworm larvae in dogs given ginger fell between 83 and 98 percent in infected dogs (Datta et al. 1987).
5. Ginger may prevent cancer.
Between ginger’s anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, the spice has been carefully examined as a holistic method for preventing cancer. In scientific studies, ginger was found to slow the growth of cancerous tumors and kill cancerous cells. The key to this cancer-fighting spice is one ingredient, 6-gingerol, which is found in large amounts in raw ginger.
Ginger can also help any dog undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery as a means to slow down or eliminate nausea.
6. Ginger may keep a dog’s brain sharp.
The aging process in dogs, as with humans, is accelerated by oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Scientists believe these conditions are directly related to cognitive decline. Ginger can enhance brain function by improving working memory and reaction time, keeping the mind sharp and focused as a dog ages.
So, can dogs eat ginger and reap the benefits?
Given the above evidence, it's likely that ginger will benefit dogs' health in one way or another. Ginger is safe for dogs to consume in moderate amounts, but there are a few precautions that pet owners need to take, and a few side effects of ginger for dogs that you must be aware of.
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3 Potential Side Effects of Ginger in Dogs
So is ginger bad for dogs then? Not necessarily. However, there are risks of giving too much ginger for dogs, and you need to be aware of the following:
1. Ginger is a blood-thinner.
Ginger can also lower blood pressure and blood sugar, so it’s vitally important that you discuss adding ginger to your dog’s diet with a veterinarian, especially if your dog has diabetes or heart disease.
2. Ginger might not mix well with medications.
If your dog is currently taking medication, you should not add ginger to his diet without talking with a veterinarian first. Ginger doesn’t mix well with anti-inflammatory drugs such as Rimadyl, Metacam, or Deramaxx.
3. Gastrointestinal upset may occur in dogs who consume ginger.
As with any supplement, ginger may cause stomach upset in dogs who are sensitive to it, or if given to a dog in large doses in an abrupt manner. Ginger should only be dispensed in small doses. Consult your veterinarian to be sure that you are giving your dog the appropriate dosage to avoid nausea or diarrhea.
Can Dogs Eat Ginger?
In conclusion, can dogs eat ginger and is ginger good for dogs to consume as part of their diet? Technically yes, dogs can eat ginger safely, but it must be consumed in the proper, small amounts and strictly monitored. It's best to discuss it with your vet.
Is ginger bad for dogs in any way, shape or form? Too much ginger will be dangerous, as well as giving ginger for dogs with certain health conditions or those taking specific medication.
Overall, given in moderation, ginger may help dogs overcome various ailments, from stomach upset to cancer prevention, and improve their health in more than one way.