Can Dogs Eat Gingerbread Cookies? (Plus A Dog Safe Recipe)

Can Dogs Eat Gingerbread Cookies? Photo of a dog and two gingerbread cookies.

If you’re making gingerbread and your dog is looking at you longingly for a cookie, you might be curious about your dog’s ability to digest gingerbread! All of the details are waiting below.

Yes, dogs can eat gingerbread. Gingerbread isn’t considered to be dangerous for dogs, but it does depend on the recipe used. Ginger is considered healthy for dogs in small doses. However, nutmeg, common in gingerbread, can be dangerous for dogs. Below, you’ll learn about the risks of gingerbread and how to avoid them!

Are gingerbread cookies bad for dogs?

Even though dogs can technically eat a few gingerbread cookies and be fine, that’s not to say that gingerbread cookies are good for dogs! 

Most contain a lot of sugar and fat, both of which will cause several health problems in dogs, including obesity and pancreatitis. In addition, many gingerbread cookies have icing or powdered sugar as part of their decoration, further adding to both the fat and sugar content.

Store-bought/store-made cookies can pose as much of a threat as homemade cookies, too, because of how ingredients are listed or disclosed.

Dog harmful ingredients in gingerbread cookies?

Below, we’ve listed some of the potentially dangerous ingredients for dogs in gingerbread cookies.

  • Baking soda 
  • Vanilla extract
  • Nutmeg
  • Xylitol

Baking soda 

For us humans, baking soda is a critical ingredient for enjoying soft and fluffy cookies! But, dogs will struggle with it in large doses. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be a problem in most types of cookies but, but you’ll want to be careful just in case.

Vanilla extract

Besides being loaded with sugar, the vanilla extract also has a high alcohol content which can be toxic to dogs. If there is a lot of extract in many cookie recipes, if you will be giving some to your dog, you’ll want to switch to alcohol-free vanilla extract!

Nutmeg

This is one of the most dangerous ingredients in gingerbread for dogs. While most spices have to be in higher concentrations (more on that in a moment) to cause a problem, nutmeg has a much lower threshold when it comes to causing a problem. This is because it contains a toxin to dogs called “myristicin”. This can create all sorts of horrible, dangerous symptoms for your dog, including disorientation, high blood pressure, severe abdominal pain, and more.

Nutmeg isn’t often in recipes for gingerbread, but when it is, it tends to be in doses high enough to cause a problem if your dog eats a generous portion!

Xylitol

This is common in sugar-free gingerbread cookies. Replacing the sugar with this artificial sweetener helps many people with diabetes enjoy them. Still, this sweetener can be toxic to dogs, even in minimal doses. So a dog should never eat anything with xylitol in it!

There are other ingredients common in gingerbread recipes that can create problems in dogs. Still, these are more about the amount of gingerbread your dog eats. For example, butter, eggs, and sugar aren’t dangerous, but they can lead to many health complications in large quantities. Also, molasses, meringue, and salt can lead to diabetes and salt toxicity, depending on quantities.

A special note gingerbread spices 

There are all sorts of gingerbread spices that will vary in amount and use from one recipe to another. Some of the most common ones include allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. These are technically not dangerous or toxic for dogs since their amount per cookie is so low. 

That being said, dog sizes and sensitivities will be different. Likewise, each cookie is going to have a different ratio of spices than another. Then, of course, other recipes use different amounts of each of these spices.

Basically, a lot of gingerbread spices can potentially put your dog at risk in a way that is really hard to prevent. The best rule of thumb to protect your dog is by giving him only very tiny amounts of a gingerbread cookie or by not giving him any at all!

What happens if a dog eats gingerbread cookies?

If he’s only had a few nibbles, your dog will most likely be totally fine! However, there are some signs that you can watch for. This is especially so if he’s helped himself to an entire pan of gingerbread cookies!

  • Speeding or slowing heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures or loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Sudden and unquenchable thirst

In the case of any or all of these symptoms, your dog may be struggling with one or more of the ingredients. You’ll want to contact your vet and possibly take him to an emergency vet, especially if he has lost consciousness! Remember to bring the ingredients list of the bookies with you and try to estimate how much he’s eaten.

How to make dog safe gingerbread cookies

If you’ve got your heart set on making dog-safe gingerbread cookies, you’ll be happy to know that there is a delicious dog-friendly recipe that is going to give you both a nice treat! For this, you’ll need:

  • 141g (4.9oz) of oat flour
  • 93g (3.2oz) of rice flour
  • 48g (1.6oz) of potato starch
  • 1 egg
  • 5g (0.17oz) of cinnamon
  • 14g (0.4oz) of ginger
  • 20g (0.7oz) of applesauce
  • 98g (3.4oz) of water
  • 38g (1.3oz) of honey
  • 37g (1.3oz) of oil

Fold the dough multiple times until it is well mixed and firm. Cut into whatever shapes you think your dog will like most. Place onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees F (162 degrees C) for 20 minutes, flipping halfway. Let cool and then serve!

Are you feeling curious about the taste? Have a bite and see for yourself just how scrumptious they are. Just make sure you ask your dog first!

While dogs can eat gingerbread cookies, it’s best to limit their amounts as much as possible to prevent any health complications. Know someone who needs to read this? Please share it with them!

Conclusion

Gingerbread cookies are safe for dogs, but too many of them can lead to spice toxicity and long-term issues with obesity and diabetes. So limit their amount or consider dog-safe gingerbread cookies!

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Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have.