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Can Dogs Eat Gingerbread? Everything You Need to Know

No, dogs cannot eat gingerbread unless they have a dog-friendly version of this very treat. Gingerbreads that contain nutmeg, chocolate, or Xylitol can be dangerous for dogs when consumed in large quantities. This is because nutmeg contains a toxin called myristicin that doesn’t agree with dogs’ stomachs. Also, gingerbread is high in sugar and fats, which are both harmful in large doses.

A cup of hot cocoa with some gingerbread cookies on the side – isn’t this a common sight during the Christmas season? yet not something ideal for your dogs. Read ahead to know why. 

What is Gingerbread?  

Gingerbread is a festive confectionery treat. Gingerbread can also be made into loaves, lattes, and iced cookies shaped like little people and widely enjoyed throughout the holiday season. As the name implies, this type of bread is flavored with ginger and cloves, cinnamon, or nutmeg.

Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the decadent icing on seasonally shaped gingerbread cookies. The gingerbread house originated in Germany and has long been associated with Christmas tradition. 

Is Gingerbread Safe for Dogs?  

Gingerbread lies in the same category of baked goods, which has several ingredients that could have different effects on your pet dog. So, let’s take a look at some harmful factors if you feed your dog gingerbread.  

Gingerbread is a festive treat which means it is high in sugar content. Unfortunately, dogs also face the same consequences of high sugar content in their blood, just like humans. Therefore, treats like gingerbread might expose them to conditions like obesity, diabetes, and dental issues.Another potential risk of offering gingerbread to your dog is the toxic ingredient. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is one ingredient that is utterly toxic to dogs. It is often found in store-bought versions of this treat along with some amount of chocolate, which is also notoriously toxic to dogs. In addition, Gingerbread recipes commonly contain a spice known by the name ‘Nutmeg.’ This spice has a compound called myristicin, which can severely interfere with your dog’s neurological functions.  

So, you might find yourself wondering if your pet dog can have some yummy gingerbread during this festive season. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no. 

Why is Gingerbread Good for Dogs?

Your dog could benefit from occasionally snacking on healthy and supervised gingerbread treats. Hear us out why this is so -In gingerbread, ginger is known to contain gingerol, which has endless health benefits. For example, gingerol can help fight nausea, flu, and digestion-related issues. In addition, it is doubly armed up with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent an array of diseases.  

Health Benefits of Ginger 

  • Relieves chronic indigestion 
  • Relieves menstrual pain
  • Consists of anti-diabetic properties and prevents heart disease 
  • Prevents cancer 
  • Reduces the joint stiffness and pain associated with osteoporosis 
  • Soothes joint stiffness  
  • Works against osteoporosis  

But before you are excited by the benefits that come with ginger, remember that ginger isn’t the only ingredient in gingerbread. So, all these health benefits are overshadowed by toxic additives. And this is why you should be concerned if your dog consumed a lot of gingerbread. 

Why is Gingerbread Bad for Dogs?  

Learn which ingredients in gingerbread are harmful and their respective adversary effects: 

Ingredients to Avoid  

Nutmeg 

Nutmeg is toxic to dogs, and this spice contains a toxin called myristicin, a naturally occurring compound in many herbs and spices. Myristicin as an element in itself is used in insecticides. It is also used in some medications because of its psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects. All in all, nutmeg is a big no for dogs. 

Cinnamon 

Commonly, gingerbread recipes contain cinnamon, which has the same toxic effect as nutmeg when ingested in large doses. 

Star anise 

Star anise is known to make dogs hyperactive, which can lead to injuries and other undesirable behaviors. In addition, small traces of star anise in your dog’s food causes diarrhea, vomiting, respiratory issues, liver failure, coma, and even death, in some instances. Hence, star anise is harmful to dogs. 

Sugar and trans fat 

Gingerbread recipes generally contain sugar and fats in high ratios. This sugary and buttery flavor is what creates a great buzz about this festive treat! And as dog owners, we know that sugar and fats are not very good for our pups. Their stomachs cannot break and digest such things easily, which would lead to various medical issues such as obesity, diabetes, and pancreatitis. 

Xylitol 

Some gingerbreads also contain the ingredient Xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener. This component is more toxic to dogs than chocolate, and he only needs to eat a little bit of it to be seriously harmful. 

Ginger 

Are you surprised by the mention of ginger in this section of the article? Yes, ginger in high quantities can also be harmful due to its inherent blood-thinning effect. This ingredient can also effect  

  • Dogs about to undergo surgery 
  • Dogs with cardiac issues  
  • pregnant or lactating dog 

If you are unsure about the effects of any of these ingredients on your dog, speak to your vet, who can give you tailored advice.  

What if my Dog ate Gingerbread?  

Your first worry would be the addition of chocolate in the gingerbread cookie your dog accidentally consumed. 

Signs of Nutmeg Poisoning 

It is essential to recognize the signs of nutmeg poisoning in dogs. According to Pet Poison Helpline, nutmeg poisoning is unlikely to occur unless a large amount of nutmeg is ingested. But if your dog eats nutmeg and displays any of these symptoms, take him to your vet immediately:  

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

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.  

Also, feeding your pet gingerbread is known to leave the following symptoms: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Bloody stool
  • Dizziness 
  • Gas 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Renal failure 
  • Diabetes 
  • Death, in severe cases 

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

To find if your dog is allergic to gingerbread or if you are feeding the treat for the first time, kindly look out for symptoms after providing. When your dog suffers from diarrhea or vomiting, give him enough water and some fibrous foods to avoid worsening the situation. Immediately visit the vet. It is suggested to consult your vet before you share any new recipe with your pet. 

Alternatives to Gingerbread 

Why risk it when you can opt for more dog-friendly, festive treats around the holidays – here is a recipe for a dog-friendly gingerbread treat! 

RECIPE: Gingerbread Cookie for Dogs  

Ingredients:  

  • 1 and a half cups (180g) of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon  
  • 1 tbsp of crushed ginger  
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed cloves  
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water  
  • 1/4 cup of molasses

Method:  

1. Begin by preheating the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  

2. Line the baking tray with parchment paper and set it aside. 

3. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in an appropriate mixing bowl.  

4. Whisk together the wet ingredients in another mixing bowl.  

5. Pour the mixture of wet ingredients with the dry ingredients’ mixture, and mix well. 

6. Roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thickness before cutting the shapes out of it.  

7. Allow these shapes to bake for around 20 minutes, then allow your baked cookies ample time on the baking sheet so that they may cool.  

Here are some gingerbread cookies recipes for your dog this holiday season, tailored with your dog’s health and happiness in mind! 

Dog-Friendly Gingerbread Cookies for Dogs   

Conclusion  

Gingerbread is an unforgettable holiday treat for humans, but it is not recommended to feed your furry friend. While gingerbread may not be entirely harmful to dogs, this sweet treat contains nutmeg, which is very toxic to canines in large amounts. In addition, the high fat and sugar content of gingerbread can only lead to tummy trouble for your pup.

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