There’s a good reason why you instinctively reach for ginger ale whenever your stomach feels off. It’s because of the ginger in it.
And it turns out that the properties that make ginger good for you can help your dog as well.
Asian and Arabic cultures have used ginger root as a spice and medicine for thousands of years.
Ginger’s function as a digestive aid for stomach upset and nausea is most likely the best known benefit. But it’s far from the only one. In fact, its potential benefits extend way past the stomach.
That’s why many holistic practitioners recommend this powerful root for dogs.
Here are 6 ways ginger may help your dog …
There are many reasons why a dog might be nauseous and vomiting.
Whatever the reason, there’s a very good chance some fresh ginger (or even ginger tea or the powdered spice) can help. Always keep some handy for when you suspect your dog has an upset stomach.
One study compared ginger to a common nausea drug – dimenhydrinate (Dramamine). It was as effective as dimenhydrinate in humans and had fewer side effects. Veterinarians also prescribe this same drug to dogs to treat nausea and motion sickness.
Ginger’s anti-nausea effect is because of gingerol and shogaol. These compounds give ginger its taste and help speed up the digestive process.
Ginger also acts as an anti-inflammatory, soothing the digestive tract to reduce nausea.
Give your dog some ginger when you notice signs of nausea …
- Excessive drool
- Loss of appetite
- Drinking less water
- Lip licking or smacking
- Odd facial expressions
Your dog may also eat grass when his stomach’s upset but there should be other signs as well. Otherwise, he may just be eating grass for fun … or because he’s looking for extra nutrients.
If your dog gets car sick, give him ginger about 30 minutes before he gets in the car.
(I’ll talk more about how to give your dog ginger a bit later.)
Bloat is when your dog’s stomach expands from built up air, food and fluid. Pressure builds up and expands your dog’s stomach.
Bloat often progresses to gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), which is life-threatening. So if you think your dog is bloating, you need to get to the vet urgently.
The first stage is dilatation. The stomach will expand and put pressure on other parts of your dog’s body …
Blood flow will slow between the heart, abdomen and hind legs. And so will blood flow to and from the stomach lining. Pressure on the diaphragm will make it difficult for your dog to breathe. Without proper air and blood flow your dog’s cells may begin to die.
The stomach can then twist from the amount of pressure. It will close off the entrance and exit to your dog’s stomach. Nothing will be able to move in or out. This is the volvulus stage.
If the stomach twists, blood circulation becomes compromised. Organs won’t get the blood and oxygen they need to function and your dog will go into shock. Dogs can die from bloat or GDV in a matter of hours.
If your dog has bloat, you may see these symptoms …
- Enlarged abdomen
- Excessive drooling
- Abdominal pain
- Pale gums
As it worsens, you’ll begin to see …
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
An exact cause hasn’t been scientifically confirmed for GDV. But there are plenty of risk factors including poor diet and genetics.
There are also steps you can take to prevent bloat such as …
- Feeding a raw diet
- Feeding bones
- Proper exercise
- Non-elevated bowls (feed your dog at ground level)
- Smaller meals
Ginger may help at early stages of bloat. I mentioned before that ginger can stimulate movement in the stomach. This can help move the contents of the stomach out quicker and prevent build ups. It can also help reduce gas build up, which I’ll talk about next.
As stinky as it may be, sometimes your dog has to pass gas. Gas builds up in your dog’s digestive system for two major reasons …
- He swallows air while eating and drinking
- Digestive gases release as food breaks down (think beans and cruciferous vegetables)
A little bit of gas is normal. But when your dog has a build up it can get uncomfortable. And as you now know, it can cause major issues (like bloat).
Ginger is a carminative herb. This means it can help prevent and expel gas from your dog’s digestive tract.
So it should come as no surprise that adding ginger to your dog’s diet could help ease arthritis symptoms.
There aren’t any studies that look at the effect of ginger on joint pain in dogs. But human and animal studies do show promise.
One study showed ginger could reduce symptoms in osteoarthritis of the knee.
In another study with rats, ginger helped reduce inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Yes, ginger has even shown benefits as a cancer fighter in some studies.
One study showed that ginger could slow the rate of breast cancer growth in mice. Another study demonstrated that ginger could kill lymphosarcoma cells in a test tube. It also had a positive effect on rats with liver cancer.
And since inflammation plays a role in cancer development … ginger can help prevent cancer. That’s because it’s an anti-inflammatory and an immune booster.
Ginger can also help ease the side effects of cancer treatment. This is because it can ease nausea.
A common chemo drug used for dogs is cisplatin, which causes nausea and vomiting. A study showed that ginger reduced vomiting in dogs on this drug.
Heartworm is a scary disease that can lead to …
- Lung disease
- Heart failure
- Organ damage
But when it comes to prevention, conventional options are a risky choice. They’re full of neurotoxic chemicals that can harm your dog. And conventional treatments are also risky and hard on your dog.
Not to mention the preventatives don’t actually stop your dog from getting infected. It just kills the larvae before they become adult worms.
The good news is there are more holistic approaches to prevent and remedy heartworm.
One of these remedies may be ginger.
In one study, ginger showed promise in managing heartworm disease in dogs. Injections of alcohol extracts of ginger root reduced microfilarie by 83 to 98% in infected dogs.
How To Feed Ginger To Your Dog
Ginger comes in a variety of forms, including powder, capsule/pill, tincture, tea and raw root.
Fresh organic ginger root:
Cut the skin off with a knife and finely mince the yellow part of the root.
Demian Dressler DVM (Dog Cancer Vet), recommends the following dosages to help prevent nausea from cancer treatments …
10 lbs or less … ¼ tsp, 3 times daily
10 to 35 lbs … ½ tsp, 3 times daily
35 lbs or more … ¾ tsp, 3 times daily
Always start slow and work your way up to the full dose.
For other forms, Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer recommends the following dosages:
1 to 10 lbs … up to ⅛ tsp
10 to 20 lbs … ⅛ to ¼ tsp
20 to 50 lbs … 1 tsp
50 to 100 lbs … 2 tsp
Over 100 lbs … up to 1 tbsp
You can buy ginger tea or make your own from fresh ginger root.
1 to 10 lbs … less than ¼ cup, 1 to 3 times daily
10 to 20 lbs … ¼ cup, 1 to 3 times daily
20 to 50 lbs … ¼ to ½ cup, 1 to 3 times daily
50 to 100 lbs … ½ to 1 cup, 1 to 3 times daily
Over 100 lbs … up to 1 cup, 1 to 3 times daily
1 to 10 lbs … ½ capsule, 1 to 3 times daily
10 to 20 lbs … ½ to 1 capsule, 1 to 3 times daily
20 to 50 lbs … 1 to 2 capsules, 2 to 3 times daily
50 to 100 lbs … 1 to 2 capsules, 3 to 4 times daily
Over 100 lbs … adult human dose
1 to 10 lbs … 1 to 3 drops, 2 to 3 times daily
10 to 20 lbs … 3 to 5 drops, 2 to 3 times daily
20 to 50 lbs … 5 to 10 drops, 2 to 3 times daily
50 to 100 lbs … 20 drops, 2 to 3 times daily
Over 100 lbs … adult human dose
Ginger can thin the blood, so avoid it if your dog’s on blood thinning medication, or will be undergoing surgery or going into labor. It may also lower blood sugar and blood pressure. 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.
So … Can Dogs Eat Ginger?
Ginger is safe for dogs to eat. And it can offer many health benefits from digestive relief to heartworm and cancer prevention.
So add ginger to your list of natural remedies for your dog and grab some the next time you’re at the store