Can Dogs Eat Gingerbread?

When you think of wintertime, what comes up for you? Your thoughts may go to family, ugly sweaters, and giving back, or like many of us, your brain goes directly to gingerbread.

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Gingerbread is simply delightful. It's spicy, it's sweet, and for many, it signifies the start of the holiday season. So, if there is a chance that you love gingerbread almost as much as you love your dog, you may be wondering if it is safe for your best friend to sneak a taste of your favorite holiday treat? You may even want to know if you can leave a few of those sweet and spicy cookies out for Santa Paws!

So what about gingerbread? Is gingerbread safe for dogs? Can dogs eat gingerbread?

Where does gingerbread come from?

So what is gingerbread, anyway? Gingerbread is a festive, wintertime confectionary treat. It essentially tastes like spices, roaring fireplaces, and fuzzy socks that you don't appreciate until you are older. Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the decadent icing of seasonally shaped gingerbread cookies, while the gingerbread house is considered to originate in Germany and has long been associated with Christmas tradition. Gingerbread can additionally be made into loaves, lattes, and iced cookies shaped like little people, and is widely enjoyed throughout the holiday season.

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Can dogs eat gingerbread?

No, dogs cannot eat gingerbread. Although your dog may not be in immediate danger if he picks up a little bit of gingerbread, gingerbread does contain the spice nutmeg, which can be harmful to your pet. So why risk it? It's best to avoid giving your pet (or Santa Paws) gingerbread, and stick to more dog-friendly, festive treats around the holidays.

What are the concerns with feeding gingerbread to dogs?

While ginger itself is not necessarily toxic to dogs, gingerbread does contain nutmeg, which can be very harmful to your dog if consumed in large amounts. In addition, the high fat and sugar content of gingerbread is not good for your dog and can cause tummy trouble, pancreatitis, or even be of concern for dogs with underlying health problems like diabetes or a heart condition.

Myristicin

Gingerbread contains nutmeg, and nutmeg contains a toxin to dogs called myristicin. While there may not be enough nutmeg in gingerbread to harm your dog, every situation and dog is different (size, health, age). Besides, it is very important that you are not intentionally giving something to your dog that could be potentially harmful to his health and well being!

Signs of nutmeg poisoning in dogs

It's important 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 ingests nutmeg and displays any of these symptoms, take him to your vet immediately:

  • hallucinations
  • disorientation
  • increased heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • dry mouth
  • abdominal pain
  • seizures
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Conclusion

Gingerbread is simply delicious for humans, but it is not something you should be leaving around or feeding to your furry friend. While gingerbread may not be completely harmful to dogs, the sweet treat contains nutmeg, which in large amounts is very toxic to canines. In addition, the high fat and sugar content of gingerbread can only lead to tummy trouble for your pooch. Knowledge is power, so while you enjoy your gingerbread this holiday season you will know to keep it far away from your doggo pal! And not to worry. Santa Paws will surely understand and appreciate you leaving him a dog-friendly substitute this winter.

For more information on which foods are safe for dogs to eat, check out our comprehensive guide to everything your dog can and cannot eat.