Ginger is a yummy spice that’s known for its distinctive smell and flavor. It’s often described as spicy and offers depth to many dishes. But besides taste, it also has some incredible health benefits that many humans take advantage of, for things like nausea relief and upset stomach.
So you may be wondering, can dogs have ginger? Does it have some of the same health benefits as it does for humans? And more importantly, is ginger safe for dogs? Here’s what you need to know about ginger for dogs.
Ginger: A Brief Overview
“Ginger is a common tropical plant, and it is the root of this plant that is used as an herbal supplement in Western medicine,” says Dr. Lori M. Teller, clinical associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University. “The root is thick and knobby with a brown exterior and a pale light tan interior.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, ginger has been mentioned in ancient Sanskrit, Chinese, Greek, Roman, and Arabic texts for its health-related purposes. It has been used for thousands of years, particularly in Asian medicine, to treat stomach aches, diarrhea, and nausea.
Can Dogs Have Ginger?
Yes! Ginger and ginger root is safe for dogs, says Dr. Teller.
Dosing depends on the size of your pup.
“The dose for ginger is based on the size of your dog, and the range is 20-50mg/kg (about 10 to 25mg per pound of body weight),” says Dr. Tori Countner, veterinarian and owner of The Balanced Pet Vet.
Ginger comes in multiple forms ranging from fresh to powdered and thankfully they all have the same benefits.
Can Dogs Have Fresh Ginger?
Fresh ginger is a great option for dogs and can be given in sliced or grated forms.
A case where fresh ginger may work better than the dried herb is IBD flare up cases.
“In Chinese medicine, dried ginger can be a little too hot for their digestive tracts, so trying to sneak fresh ginger into their food is preferred,” adds Dr. Countner.
But she warns that some dogs may be put off by fresh ginger in their food. “Many dogs may not like the taste of fresh ginger, so the dried form or baked into a treat works well,” she says.
Can Dogs Have Ginger Root?
Any form of ginger is okay to give to your dog—including ginger root. Ultimately, it comes down to what your dog will eat.
“Find the form that is easiest for you to administer and that your dog is willing to accept,” says Dr. Teller.
If you give your dog ginger root, make sure to supervise your dog at all times to prevent them from swallowing a large piece.
Benefits of Ginger for Dogs
Fortunately dogs can experience many of the same health benefits from ginger that humans can. These include:
Nausea and Motion Sickness
“It can help with nausea from motion sickness and chemo-induced nausea,” says Dr. Countner. “A study showed that dogs receiving Cisplatin, a chemotherapeutic agent, had much less vomiting and nausea than dogs not taking ginger.”
“It is important to check with your veterinarian first and make sure the ginger will not interact with any of the chemotherapeutic agents your dog is receiving,” adds Dr. Teller.
Giving a dog ginger about 30 minutes before a car ride can have the same effects as giving Dramamine, according to one study.
Gas and Bloating
“Ginger can help decrease gas and bloating, and also relax spasms in smooth muscle in the intestinal loops, which helps decrease pain with digestive issues, such as IBD (inflammatory bowel disease),” says Dr. Countner.
Ginger also may have anti-inflammatory benefits for dogs with hip and joint pain.
“There have been a few human studies that show anti-inflammatory effects of ginger, which can help relieve pain in 75 percent of osteoarthritis patients and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms,” says Dr. Countner.
“Ginger is an antioxidant, and may provide some cognitive support, so it can be given to dogs with cognitive dysfunction,” says Dr. Teller.
How to Give Ginger to Dogs
There are tons of ways you can give your dog ginger, and it mostly comes down to trial-and-error in regard to taste and what your pup likes.
“You can add fresh ginger to your dog’s food, and many will eat it if it is finely chopped or grated and mixed in,” says Dr. Countner. “You could also bake ginger into dog treats, blend it in a dog appropriate smoothie, and even freeze the smoothie into small frozen cubes for a treat!”
You could also take a hydrating route. “You could also make ginger water or ginger infused water,” adds Dr. Teller.
Additionally, there are plenty of ginger treats and ginger supplements available for dogs that provide the benefits of ginger without the mess or hassle of keeping it fresh.
Ginger Side Effects for Dogs
Overall, ginger is regarded as being very safe for dogs. However, there are a few risks you should be aware of.
“Ginger may be a little too hot for some dogs, especially if they are having severe gastrointestinal issues,” says Dr. Counter.
And in extremely rare cases, ginger may react with blood clotting times.
“Dogs with bleeding disorders or that are on medications or supplements that increase the risk of bleeding should not receive ginger,” says Dr. Teller. “This includes any dogs on NSAIDs. Dogs with bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia or von Willebrand’s disease, also should not receive ginger.”
Ginger and Dogs: The Bottom Line
Ginger is generally considered safe for most dogs and can benefit them in many ways. However, it’s always smart to talk to your veterinarian before you start including it in their diet.
“Always discuss your pet’s medications, including vitamins, supplements, and herbs with your veterinarian to make sure any potential interactions are taken into consideration,” says Dr. Teller.