Ginger root is not only safe for dogs but also said to be having many benefits, including managing bloat, nausea, arthritis pain, heartworms, and so on. Is there any evidence to support these uses?
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a perennial flowering plant in the family Zingiberaceae, which also has cardamom, galangal, and turmeric whose rhizome or ginger root serve as a spice and has some folk medicinal value.
This herbaceous plant has false stems (pseudostems) made of folded leaves that grow from its rhizome, which can go as high as a meter with narrow leaf blades. Additionally, it has flowers with purple edges and yellow petals that grow on inflorescences that independently shoot from the rhizome.
On uses, this pungent and aromatic spice, which has a peppery but slightly sweet taste, has many applications that include in various foods, sodas, alcoholic beverages, prickles, making herbal tea, and so on. Usually, you can use its fresh root, powdered form, tincture, tablet, or its teas.
Nutritional profile per 100g
A look at ginger’s nutrition reveals it is abundant in water and carbohydrates, but moderate to flow a few nutrients.
Besides the above, it has small quantities of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, folate, vitamins C and E, as well as small amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc.
Additionally, ginger has phytochemicals (biologically active compounds found in plants) such as terpenes, phenols (gingerols, paradols, and shogaol).
Finally, some of its properties are a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiemetic, anti-cancer, among others.
Safety to humans
It’s listed in the generally recognized as safe by the FDA. However, it may interact with warfarin (anticoagulant) and nifedipine (cardiovascular) drugs.
Can dogs have ginger?
Yes. Dogs can eat ginger, whether it is in herbal tea, freshly grated, powdered, alcohol-free tincture, or in dog treats or supplements. It is not bad or toxic, i.e., safe and has several benefits, as we are going to see next.
While it is not toxic, only let your dogs have nothing more than a teaspoon as excessive amounts can result in heartburn, stomach irritation, gassiness, bloat, and diarrhea, and vomiting. Also, some dogs may not like its zesty, hot, peppery taste.
Additionally, only give your Fido gingerbread, biscuits, ginger snaps, and so on if they are not allergic to wheat, and they don’t have any harmful ingredients. Otherwise, avoid them, including ginger ale.
Instead, buy supplements that have ginger such as Fruitables Pumpkin Dog Digestive Supplement, with Vitamin and Fiber, or treats such as Wellness CORE Petite Treats Turkey, Pomegranate & Ginger Recipe Soft Grain-Free Dog Treats.
Ginger benefits to dogs
Ginger has medical value as well as several benefits to humans. For instance, evidence shows it may help reduce menstrual pain, treat chronic indigestion, prevent nausea from morning sickness, reduce muscle soreness, and pain (has anti-inflammatory properties).
Also, it lowers blood pressure, reduce heart disease risk factors, benefit osteoporosis patients, lowers cholesterol, and has anti-cancer properties, and so on.
In dogs, some of its benefits include the following:
1. Helps with nausea and prevents vomiting (antiemetic)
Your dog may suffer from nausea due to many reasons, including eating fast, overeating, eating spoiled, indigestible food, or ingesting unpleasant substance (like detergent or flea prevention topical solution).
Also, motion sickness, medication side effects, post-anesthesia, any GI or secondary conditions that cause vomiting including cancer treatment, parvovirus, acute and chronic kidney failure, and so forth.
Ginger will help stop nausea and vomiting. For instance, one or two drops of essential ginger oil, 30 minutes before you embark on your train, car, or sea journey will be effective in managing motion or car sickness in your dog.
Furthermore, one study “suggests that ginger could be an effective and cheap antiemetic adjunct to cancer chemotherapy.”
However, ensure your canine receives proper diagnosis and treatment where necessary.
2. Bloating remedy and digestion aid
Quick or excessive eating or drinking, vigorous activity after eating, using a raised bowl, large means, and so on can cause bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus. It occurs when there are a gas and food buildup with no expulsion occurring.
As VCAHospitals notes, “ginger has been shown to stimulate stomach motility and accelerate stomach emptying time in multiple studies.” This action will effectively manage bloating and aid in digestion.
Finally, ginger may help mild stomachaches, thanks to the gingerols present, making it good for maintaining a healthy stomach. It is even added prebiotic powders for dogs such as Zesty Paws Probiotic with Hemp + Bone Broth & Ginger for Digestive Health, Dental Stick Dog Treat, and other supplements for this very reason.
3. May help with arthritis and muscle pain
Canine arthritis often results in sensitive, swollen, and painful joints evidenced by various symptoms like stiffness, lethargy, reluctance to participate in activities, and so on.
Incorporating ginger into diets of dogs suffering arthritis may help reduce the pain, swelling, and sensitivity, thanks to the potent anti-inflammatory properties. However, the effect is mild.
Human studies have shown promising results of ginger reducing the various symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.
Similarly, its anti-inflammatory properties may help resolve muscle pain that follows an intensely physical activity, shows studies.
4. Treating heartworm disease
Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) cause heartworm disease, which are a kind of filarial worms that live in a dog’s lungs, heart, and surrounding blood vessels transmitted by mosquitos. They are easy to prevent but very difficult to treats.
Fortunately, there is a promising study on ginger that proves anti-filarial activity to heartworms if subcutaneously injected with alcoholic extracts of ginger root. Results show a total reduction by 83-98% of microfilariae (early lifecycle of heartworms) concentration in a dog’s blood with milder side effects.
However, if your dog has heartworms, we recommend more effective treatments such as the Safe-Guard Canine Dewormer for Dogs, 3Day Treatment, or what your vet will recommend.
5. Reduces cancer risk
Ginger has some anti-cancer benefits. For instance, it inhibits mammary cancer in rats as well as killing lymphosarcoma cells inside a test tube.
In humans, “the anti-cancer potential of ginger is well documented, and its functional ingredients like gingerols, shogaol, and paradols are the valuable ingredients which can prevent various cancers,” a study notes.
Additionally, as an anti-inflammatory, it will reduce inflammation, which is the main way through which cancers develop.
Finally, since it boosts immunity, patients undergoing chemo, surgeries, and radiation cancer treatments stand a chance to benefit from ginger.
6. Treating some heart diseases
Some practitioners incorporate ginger in treatment therapies for heart disease due to its anti-clotting and cardiotonic effects.
As ScienceDirect defines it, cardiotonic drugs help “increase the efficiency and improve the contraction of the heart muscle, which leads to improved blood flow to all tissues of the body.”
7. Other benefits
Besides the above, it may boost brain health and keep your dog bright, especially in aging dogs.
Similarly, it does help boost immunity, especially in older dogs since it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, promotes blood circulation, lowers blood pressure and helps in flushing out toxins notes Wag walking.
How much ginger can my dog have?
The general guideline is to keep the ginger amount below a teaspoon for powders and raw ones. However, for teas, the amount can be slightly higher, while for tinctures, it should be a few to several drops.
While offering it, you can hide it in peanut butter, ham slice, mixed with food or buy treats and supplements, plus dog cookies with ginger.
Many online sites refer to the table below, courtesy of Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperers.
|1-10 lbs||a small pinch up to 1/8 tsp||less than 1/4 cup, 1-3 times/day||1/2 capsule, 1-3 times/day||1-3 drops, 2-3 times/day|
|10-20 lbs||1 larger pinch – 1/8 to ¼ tsp||1/4 cup, 1-3 times/day||1/2-1 capsule/tablet, 1-3 times/day||3-5 drops, 2-3 times/day|
|20-50 lbs||2 pinches – 1 teaspoon||1/4-1/2 cup, 1-3 times/day||1-2 capsules/tablets, 2-3 times/day||5-10 drops, 2-3 times/day|
|50-100 lbs 10-||2 pinches – 2 teaspoons||1/2-1 cup, 1-3 times/day||1-2 capsules/tablets, 3-4 times/day||20 drops, 2-3 times/day|
|Over 100 lbs,||up to 1 tablespoon||up to 1 cup 3 times/day||adult human dose||adult human dose|
While it may serve as a sensible guide, our best advice is to let your vet guide you since he will also consider your dog’s general condition.
Ginger safety and precautions
Ginger has a long history of use in managing vomiting, boat, and cardiovascular disorders in dogs without any safety issues except for the mild gastrointestinal irritation that may arise.
Fortunately, most herbal remedies hardly use ginger alone. Instead, they use it with other herbs, further minimizing the chances of any GI irritation. In your case, you can mix it with their food to reduce the chances of any stomach irritation.
Since when buying ginger or a supplement that has it, one doesn’t need a prescription, ensure you know all the ingredients present. However, if you are using ginger therapeutically, discuss the matter with your veterinarian.
Some safety precautions following:
- Avoid it within the first ten days of surgery as it has some blood-thinning effect.
- Avoid it if you have a diabetic dog using insulin as it lowers blood sugar, meaning your dogs will need lesser insulin.
- Don’t use it if your dog has ulcers or gallstones
- Avoid its use for dogs using any heart or high blood pressure medication since it has a slight blood pressure-lowering effect. This effect occurs since it increases blood circulation
- Do give it to nursing or pregnant dogs unless given the go-ahead by your vet.
- Ask your vet in case your dog is under any medication to be sure there will be no interactions
Finally, in case of vomiting, drooling, listlessness, loss of consciousness or loss of balance, or any abnormal symptoms, seek the assistance of a dog-savvy veterinarian.
Supplements and treats with ginger
Besides the few we have mentioned in the content, additional dog treats and supplements this spice include:
- Solid Gold Calming Aid Chews for Dogs with Natural Supplement with Chamomile, Passion Flower & Ginger.
- Cloud Star Dynamo Dog Tummy Soft Chews Pumpkin & Ginger Formula Dog Treats.
- Animal Essentials Daily Digestion Breath & Digestion Support Dog & Cat Supplement.