There’s a good reason why you instinctively reach for some ginger ale whenever your stomach feels off. A large part of ginger ale’s soothing qualities is, you guessed it, ginger.
So what’s so great about ginger?
The root of the ginger plant, which is in the same family as turmeric, has been used as a spice and medicine in Asian, Arabic and Indian countries for thousands of years. Ginger’s function as a digestive aid for stomach upset and nausea is probably the best known benefit. But it’s far from the only one. In fact, its potential benefits extend way past digestive into more serious conditions like osteoarthritis and even cancer.
For this reason, many holistic practitioners have been recommending incorporating this powerful root into diets of pets with specific conditions, as well as for general health maintenance. Here are five ways ginger may help your dog:
There are many reasons why a dog might be having nausea and vomiting. Perhaps he’s a little under the weather? Or he has car sickness? Or maybe he’s undergoing cancer treatment? Whatever the reason, there’s a very good chance some fresh ginger or even the powdered spice version can help. Always keep some handy for when you suspect your dog has an upset stomach. If your dog gets car sick, give him the ginger about 30 minutes before he gets in the car.
Gastric dilatation volvulus (aka bloat) is a life-threatening condition of larger breeds that involves expansion of the stomach from built up food and gas that isn’t being expelled. Though an exact cause hasn’t been scientifically confirmed, there are plenty of risk factors.
According to materials written by Steve Marsden, DVM, and Shawn Messonnier, DVM, and Cheryl Yuill, DVM, for PetCareNaturally.com, ginger may play a role in relieving or preventing bloat in dogs due to its ability to stimulate movement in the stomach and accelerate emptying of the stomach, as demonstrated in several studies.
Since arthritis is an inflammatory disease and ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, incorporating ginger into your dog’s diet if he is suffering from inflamed joints could offer some relief. It is certainly showing promise in studies for arthritic humans.
Yes, ginger has even shown benefits as a cancer fighter in some studies. According to Demian Dressler, DVM, in the DogCancerBlog.com, one study showed that ginger could slow the rate of breast cancer growth in mice; while another study demonstrated that ginger could kill lymphosarcoma cells in a test tube. Plus, since inflammation plays a role in cancer development, ginger’s anti-inflammatory abilities also come in handy when it comes to cancer, according to Dressler. And since cancer and immune system suppression typically go hand-in-hand, ginger’s immune-boosting powers are another plus, he says.
Heartworm is one of those diseases you really don’t want your dog to get. Conventional treatment options are risky and difficult. But conventional prevention options are full of chemicals and risks as well.
Take comfort in knowing that at least one study has shown great promise in using ginger to treat heartworm disease in dogs. The reduction of microfilarial (heartworm larvae) concentration ranged between 83 percent to 98 percent in infected dogs treated with ginger.
How to Use
Ginger comes in a variety of forms, including powder, capsule/pill, tincture, tea and raw root.
To administer in raw form, you’ll need to cut the skin off with a knife and finely mince the yellow part of the root, according to Dressler. Give 1/2 teaspoon for dogs under 35 pounds (1/4 teaspoon for miniature breeds) and 3/4 teaspoon for larger dogs, he says. It can be mixed into your dog’s food. Always start slow and check with your holistic veterinarian if you are unsure about dosing.
How To Give Your Dog Ginger
Ginger can thin the blood, so avoid it if your dog will be undergoing surgery or if she will be going into labor. It may also lower blood sugar and blood pressure, so talk to your vet if your dog has diabetes or has any kind of heart condition. Also consult with your vet if your dog is pregnant, on any medications or is being treated for a condition.