Can Dogs Eat Gingerbread and Gingerbread Cookies? Is it Safe?

Is it even the holiday season, if your house doesn’t smell of cinnamon and gingerbread cookies? Aromas, like these, are mouthwatering for sure. It is hard, even for dogs, to resist this temptation.

So, can you offer gingerbread or gingerbread cookies to your greedy dog? Sorry to inform you, but your dog cannot share your delicious cookies. Gingerbread isn’t toxic. As for ginger, it is actually healthy. But, certain ingredients of gingerbread recipes, such as nutmeg, are dangerous for dogs. Sugar and fat aren’t necessarily healthy options either.

Gingerbread and gingerbread cookies can lead to quite a few health risks. But, you can always alter half the batch to make dog-friendly cookies. Keep reading to find out more!

Why Dogs Cannot Eat Gingerbread or Gingerbread Cookies

Considering how good ginger is for dogs, it’s pretty ironic that gingerbread isn’t. Actually, a lot of common human snacks are bad for dogs. The main reason why gingerbread is harmful is the addition of nutmeg in gingerbread recipes. Nutmeg consists of myristicin. This chemical causes upset stomachs in dogs since it in undigestible for them. Moreover, it also leads to hallucinations and delusions.

You may be wondering:

If you remove nutmeg, would that make gingerbread safe for dogs? Well, no. The sugar and fat content is unhealthy too. Gingerbread and these cookies can prove fatal to dogs because of such ingredients. The risk of serious issues such as pancreatitis, diabetes, liver problems, and tooth decay increase if you feed your dog sugary foods like gingerbread.

Some recipes also include a spice called anise. This isn’t poisonous or toxic for dogs. However, it can make dogs hyper instantly. Your dog will be extremely energetic, which is never good. Hyperactivity, more often than not, leads to a risk of accidents and injuries.

It seems like the only immediate effects are from nutmeg or anise. That is true. High sugar intake may cause vomiting. It will also trigger diabetic dogs. However, other than that, most of the effects are long-term. The good news is, if your dog ate a small about of gingerbread or the cookies, you don’t have much to worry about. It is only worrisome if a considerably big amount was ingested or if it becomes a habit.

If the cookies were frosted, the level of risks elevate. The frosting is not only a source of more sugar, but it also has xylitol and artificial colors. Xylitol is a definite no for dogs. It can potentially cause your dog’s death by dropping the blood sugar level instantly.

All in all:

I would recommend you to keep gingerbread and gingerbread cookies out of your dog’s reach. Even though the immediate effects seem harmless, they can end up cutting down years off your dog’s life. Also, prevention is always better than having to go through the hassle and anxiety of treatment.

Christmas Cookies for Dogs (Video)

Symptoms to Look Out For

In case your dog ingested gingerbread or gingerbread cookies, there is a possibility of a fair few risks. To ensure that your dog’s health is in check and nothing goes wrong, you should look out for certain symptoms.

The highest risk is nutmeg poisoning. If myristicin has affected the dog, it is likely that the dog will have a high heart rate. This further leads to high blood pressure. Abdominal pain should be expected since the chemical isn’t digestible. Dry mouth and disorientation are also common symptoms.

Even if these symptoms are not noticed, keep an eye on the dog. Lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting or hyperactivity is also possible. It is possible that the nutmeg didn’t affect the dog adversely. But, the high sugar intake can make the dog sick too.


If the cookies were chocolate-flavored, you should start getting worried. Chocolate is so toxic to dogs and it can even kill them. On the ingestion of chocolates, dogs will start to urinate excessively. Diarrhea, high heart rate, irritability, and seizures should be expected.

Healthy Cookies for Dogs

Just because gingerbread and gingerbread cookies are bad for dogs doesn’t mean you have to deprive your fur friend of the holiday treats. You can make some customized dog-friendly holiday cookies for your buddy to enjoy right next to you!

Here’s the recipe that I like to follow. You can always add or remove ingredients according to your dog’s liking.

Start with 1 and a half cup of wheat flour. Mix in the same amount of oat flour. You can alternate these flours for all-purpose flour too. In this flour mixture, add 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Also, add in the spices that you prefer. I usually go for turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and sometimes, ground clove. You can also use allspice. I use a tablespoon of ginger and a teaspoon of the rest of the spices.

In this dry mixture, add a quarter cup of molasses, three-quarter cups of applesauce, one egg, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a tablespoon of oil. You may use vegetable oil, coconut oil, or anything else. To alternate the flavor, sometimes, I add a third of a cup of peanut butter too. Make sure that the peanut butter you use, is free of xylitol.


Combine this mixture to make a dough. Roll it out and cut it like you would cut normal cookies. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for around 20 minutes. Line a baking tray, place the cookies on top and bake them until the edges become golden.

Voila! Your dog-safe gingerbread cookies are ready to be served! You can also use carob chips to make the eyes or buttons on the gingerbread-shaped cookies. However, avoid the use of frosting. Find more healthy treat options here.

Benefits of Ginger


I mentioned earlier that ginger itself is very good for dogs. To compensate for gingerbread, you can always go for other ginger-flavored treats for your dogs. It is a highly beneficial food. You should definitely give raw ginger or ginger powder to your dogs once in a while to reduce the risks of some serious health issues.

Ginger can soothe nausea and bloat. Dogs that get motion sickness can be given ginger a while before you head onto the journey. Similarly, if your dog ate something that caused gas build-up, ginger will be able to treat it effectively. Bloating is actually way more serious than most pet parents know. It is an uncomfortable situation for the dog that can take a bad turn very unexpectedly. Ginger is an instant magic potion that can get rid of the trapped gas.

Moving on:

This ingredient does wonders in the case of more serious illnesses too. Not only does it minimize the risk of cancer, but it also has the ability to fight against cancerous tumors. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger relieve the inflammation caused by arthritis. It is also used to treat heartworm disease in dogs. All in all, ginger boosts the strength of the immune system. Basically, your dog will be safe against most of the common sicknesses.


As with most foods, overfeeding ginger is bad too. Since it thins the blood, so it isn’t recommended for dogs that have to go through surgery. For others, a limited amount works fine. A quarter to a half teaspoon is enough for mini and small dogs. You can offer up to 3 quarter teaspoons of ginger to bigger dogs. If your dog dislikes eating ginger, but you want to avail of its benefits, it is safe to mix the ginger powder in your dog’s food. Ginger tea is also a good alternative.

Related Questions

Are shortbread cookies bad for dogs?

Generally, a shortbread cookie is made of lots of sugar. Chocolate, raisins, nutmeg, and macadamia nuts are some of the other common additions. All these ingredients are bad for dogs, if not poisonous. Too much sugar can make your dog sick immediately. Although shortbread cookies aren’t recommended for any dog, they must especially be avoided if your dog is diabetic. If your cookies do not include any of the aforementioned ingredients, refer to a vet before feeding them to your dog.

Are bananas toxic to dogs?

You may give your dog a banana once in a blue moon. They aren’t toxic, but too many bananas can lead to an upset stomach. Make sure to feed bananas without the peel. Banana peels aren’t toxic either, but they are hard to digest. If the peels remain undigested, it can cause a blockage. Also, if your dog seems to be having a bad reaction to bananas, avoid feeding them and consult a vet.

Can dogs eat candied ginger?

Ginger itself is great for dogs. As for candied ginger, whether it is safe or not depends on the ingredients. Usually, every candied item will contain high amounts of sugar. This is extremely unhealthy for dogs. Not only does the risk of diabetes and tooth decay increase, but sugar also causes instant diarrhea, vomiting, and pancreatitis.

Is peanut butter good for dogs?

Some kinds of peanut butter are good protein snacks for dogs. They also offer good fats. But, some commercial peanut butter recipes contain xylitol as a sweetener. Sometimes, chocolate can also be a part of the ingredient list. Both these ingredients are toxic for dogs and such peanut butter formulas should be avoided.

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