Can Dogs Eat Gingerbread?


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For owners whose dogs like something sweet, answering “can dogs eat gingerbread” is crucial. Ginger might be on your list of recommendations from your doctor. It certainly has plenty of health benefits for humans (1). However, should it be something for your dogs to take too?

Its benefits as a health supplement are widely understood. Unfortunately, this has led many pet owners to assume that it must also be beneficial for their pet.

Of course, your average hungry pup is unlikely to salivate if you offer them some raw ginger. However, putting your dog near some deliciously-smelling gingerbread will send her taste buds into overdrive.

So if you are asking yourself, “can dogs eat gingerbread” read on to find out more information.

Have You Already Tried Giving Your Dog Gingerbread?

Sometimes, if their dogs are not feeling too well, an owner might offer their pet a few pieces of gingerbread to perk them up. But, unfortunately, they might be under the impression that if ginger is good for them, it will be good for the pet.

However, they soon discover that gingerbread has the opposite effect rather than improving their dog’s condition. In fact, they can be very toxic to dogs.

One person’s gingerbread may be a lot different from another’s. Gingerbread is the name given to a wide range of ginger-flavored baked products, including the famous gingerbread house and popular gingerbread cookie.

They are particularly popular around the holiday season. As well as ginger, they often contain cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sugar or molasses. The baked products vary from soft, moist loaves or cakes to thin ginger snaps (2).

What’s In Gingerbread Recipes?

Gingerbread contains lots of fat and sugar (3), among other ingredients. These ingredients make it an extremely poor choice of food or snack for your dogs.

You may also consider giving your dog some sugar-free gingerbread cookies to reduce these. However, this is still not ideal for your pet.

Of course, the gingerbread may be a delicious snack for you, but your pup will not be grateful for large doses of it in the long run. Instead, your dog will no doubt want to share in your print gingerbread cookies or snacks.

However, you should hold back from letting them have any of this treat to avoid health problems. Stick to ones with low sugar content, or use an artificial sweetener, instead.

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Gingerbread?

This is because gingerbreads can contain nutmeg, which is harmful to dogs (4). In addition, the nutmeg contains toxins, which causes the adverse condition that your dogs will experience.

You might call this a “gingerbread toxicity,” but the nutmeg, not the ginger, causes harm. Therefore you should keep your dog away from gingerbread cookies as much as possible.

Of course, this is easier said than done, particularly if you are enjoying a nice piece of this sweet snack yourself. However, you should be aware that the answer “can dogs eat gingerbread” is a resounding No.

If, for some reason, your dog manages to get hold of some gingerbread and consumes it, there is a specific action you should take immediately.

Give your dog plenty of water to drink, helping them drink if necessary, as this will eliminate the toxins within the gingerbread. In addition, drinking water will dilute the sugars within the gingerbread; too much can harm your furry friend.

Potential Symptoms if Your Dogs Eats Gingerbread Cookies

You will want to know why your dogs can’t eat gingerbread. You may also be asking how you can spot its toxicity?

Of course, you will know what to do if you see your dog eating gingerbread cookies, but what about if it is out of sight? It is crucial to identify gingerbread toxicity by spotting the symptoms in your pet.

Nutmeg Toxicity Signs In Dogs

To understand why dogs can’t eat gingerbread safely, you must know the symptoms of gingerbread toxicity. The harmful toxin present in the gingerbread’s nutmeg content is called myristicin(5)

This toxin can cause significant harm to your dog. However, there are a couple of symptoms that you may find challenging to pick up on. First, myristicin consumption can give your dog delusions and hallucinations.

Signs of gingerbread toxicity include the following :

  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Pulse racing
  • High blood pressure
  • Restlessness
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Panting
  • Vomiting

Gingerbread cookies and other gingerbread recipes contain nutmeg, an extremely popular spice used for baking many types of cakes and cookies. It has a rich and nutty smell that will attract your dog towards your pantry (6).

Indeed, if your dog is around you while eating your gingerbread snack, it is definitely going to get their attention.

However, it is toxic to dogs, so they will experience some or all of the symptoms above if your dogs eat too much nutmeg. Therefore, to be on the safe side, you should avoid giving your dog any products that could contain nutmeg in the gingerbread cookie.

If the symptoms become severe, you should contact your vet immediately, and they can provide veterinary advice on nutmeg toxicity.

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If Your Dog Ate Gingerbread, How Does It Affect Its Long-Term Health?

Although the symptoms mentioned above can be bad for dogs, and yourself, in most cases, they will pass, and your dog will stay healthy.

However, if your dog regularly consumes gingerbread, there is a chance of more severe complications. These can have a severe impact on you dog’s health.

One of the more serious issues could be complications with your dog’s pancreas. Pancreatitis (7) is a disorder that can come on through repeated consumption of gingerbread or other high-sugar foods.

There is no need to panic if your dog has managed to get hold of a little bit of your gingerbread snacks. More serious medical issues will only occur through prolonged consumption of gingerbread on the nutmeg it contains.

However, even if your dog has taken just a little bit of gingerbread, if you’ve any concerns, you should consider consulting with your vet to be on the safe side. You should also consider taking your dog to the vet if you are unsure of the quantity of gingerbread that your dog has consumed.

Hopefully, doing so will reduce the chance of any complications developing. You can do by yourself to make sure that you reduce the amount of high-calorie and fatty foods that you give your dog.

Other long-term complications your dog may suffer three overconsumption of gingerbread include the following:

Digestive Problems

Overconsumption of gingerbread can result in your dog suffering various digestive issues such as stomach aches, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Weight Gain

As already mentioned, gingerbread contains nutmeg, which is harmful to your dog and high in sugar or molasses. Therefore, if your dog is over-consuming gingerbread, it will gain weight, leading to diabetes or high blood pressure.


Gingerbread is made with a spice known as anise, which dogs love (8) as one of the ingredients. However, if consumed in low doses, this spice is harmless.

However, too much can trigger hyperactivity in your dog. Although these mood swings may not be threatening, they can lead to your dog’s actions resulting in accident or injury.

How to Reduce the Risk of Your Dog Eating Gingerbread

Prevention is Best

Prevention is always more preferable than clearing up after. Consuming gingerbread in small amounts is unlikely to have serious health issues for your pet. However, you can take a few precautions to reduce the risk (9).

Check the ingredients of gingerbread recipes to ensure there is no nutmeg present. If you have got any gingerbread in your home, ensure it is stored away securely.

Be aware of guests and children who may not know of gingerbread’s harmful effects on your dogs. It’s worthwhile reminding them to avoid the risk of them giving your pet dogs a toxic treat by mistake.


The smell of freshly baked gingerbread is tempting for dogs. Regardless of how persuasive your dog is, you should avoid giving them any gingerbread.

Although not life-threatening in small doses, avoiding gingerbread prevents the risk of accidental overconsumption. Remember to seek veterinary guidance if they’ve had large quantities of gingerbread.

Hopefully, now you can answer the question can your dogs eat gingerbread with a definite No.