Can Dogs Eat Gingerbread? Is Gingerbread Safe for Dogs?

Whether it’s the holidays and your surrounded by gingerbread, or you just fancied baking yourself a batch of tasty goods just because (and why the hell not, right?). You might find yourself wondering if Fido can join you on the consumption. But unfortunately, the answer is no, dogs cannot eat gingerbread.

Although ginger itself is not toxic to dogs, and in fact, a little can be beneficial for him, the other ingredients often found in gingerbread is toxic to dogs. And just like all fatty human foods, it’s not great for him anyway.

Let’s delve into the details a little more so you know exactly why you can’t feed it to him.

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Is Gingerbread Safe for Dogs?

No, gingerbread is not safe for dogs. And although a little chomp of a gingerbread leg isn’t going to kill him, it will probably upset his stomach for a few days at the very least. And with many other biscuit options out there that are better for him, there is no need to give it to him.

gingerbread heart cookies
Image credit: Håkan Stigson, Pixabay

Ingredients to Avoid

So, why can’t he eat it? Well, most gingerbread recipes contain nutmeg, and nutmeg is toxic to dogs. And although he would have to eat a large quantity for it to be fatal, it doesn’t take a lot to make him very ill.

Nutmeg contains a toxin called myristicin, which is a naturally occurring compound in many herbs and spices. Myristicin is used as an insecticide, and it is also used in drugs because of its psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects. All in all, nutmeg is a big nope for Fido.

Some gingerbread recipes also contain cinnamon, which has the same toxic effect that nutmeg does, as does black pepper.

And other gingerbread recipes also include star anise, which is also poisonous in large amounts. Star anise is also known to make dogs hyper, which can lead to injuries and other undesirable behaviors.

Gingerbread recipes almost always contain sugar and fats. As most of us dog owners know, sugar and fats are also not very good for our pooches. Not only is their stomach not designed to break it down easily, but it can make them pile on the pounds super quick.

If it isn’t easy to break down, he’ll trump all day and night. And although a few chunky rolls might seem cute, being overweight can easily lead to obesity. And this means other health-related problems, so unhealthy fatty human snacks should be avoided.

Sugar can also wreak havoc with a dog’s blood sugars, which can eventually lead to diabetes. Or, if he already has diabetes, it could send him into a spike. Sugar intake is also linked to periodontal diseases.

Some gingerbread recipes also contain Xylitol, which is a sugar-free sweetener. Xylitol is more toxic to dogs than chocolate, and he only needs to eat a little bit of it for it to be seriously harmful.

Sick dog on pillow
Image credit: PickPik

Are There Any Health Benefits?

No, there are no benefits to eating gingerbread for Fido.

But we did mention that a little bit of ginger is beneficial, so if you’re tempted to feed him gingerbread for the ginger, there are far better ways to get it into his diet.

Ginger is known to be anti-emetic, meaning it soothes nausea and vomiting. It is also sometimes used as a relief for gastric torsion by vets.

You can finely mince raw ginger, or take a pinch of ground ginger, and mix it into his food. Only use between a small pinch and two pinches, depending on the size of your dog. As with everything in life, ginger should be fed to Fido in moderation and according to instructions.

Remember that ginger is not suitable for every dog. It can have a blood-thinning effect, meaning for those with blood clotting disorders or those about to undergo surgery, it is not suitable for them. And it shouldn’t be fed to those with cardiac issues or pregnant/lactating dogs.

If you’re unsure about whether ginger is right for Fido, speak to your vet who can give you tailored advice.

What if he has Accidentally Eaten Gingerbread?

First things first, don’t panic. If he has eaten one or two biscuits, he’ll likely get an upset stomach for a day or two, and that’s it.

If he has eaten more than a few biscuits, it’s best to get him down to the vet for a checkup. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. With potentially so many dangerous ingredients in it, you need to make sure that he doesn’t get nutmeg or Xylitol poisoning.

Symptoms of nutmeg and Xylitol poisoning include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • High blood pressure

If you notice any of the above symptoms or an abnormal change in your dog’s behavior after eating gingerbread, get him straight down to the vet.

Gingerbread cookies
Image credit: skeeze, Pixabay

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The Wrap Up

So, now you know that Fido cannot partake in your festive gingerbread feast, no matter how much he gives you his best puppy dog eyes. Thankfully, nutmeg has a strong odor that tends to put many dogs off. But it’s best not to leave it around to test it.

It isn’t the ginger that is bad for him, but instead, many of the other ingredients are. There are much safer ways to feed him ginger than in the form of gingerbread.

Overall, please don’t risk it for a gingerbread biscuit.


Featured Image: asgardkrakow, Pixabay