Ginger root is a herb with numerous health benefits for pets as well as humans.
We have been giving ginger water to our shih tzus, Pinoy cats, and rescues, for years now, specially during the cold months.
Rescued dogs and cats of Save Animals of Love and Light – Save ALL Inc. are given salabat or ginger tea. We boil ginger in water, and give the ginger water to the dogs and cats in small amounts. We do not buy powdered ginger because most have sugar and it is stronger or concentrated, thus it can “burn” a pet’s tongue.
Here is the amount we give and how:
1. For small dogs like shih tzus or pups: one teaspoon during cold nights
2. For cats : 1 ml every cold night
3. For medium dogs : one tablespoon per cold night.
4. For big or large dogs : 2 tablespoons per cold night.
Why do I say per cold night? There are nights that the weather is warm. We check the predicted temperature that night. If it is 25 degrees below, it will likely go lower (which means colder) by early morning. So it is best to give the ginger water before they go to sleep. You can use syringe, or put in a small of amount of their dinner to make sure they will get the ginger water.
We never give ginger powder.
By the way, ginger is different from turmeric. I will discuss turmeric another time.
Antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-cancer
“Do you know this spice has potent antimicrobial, i.e., antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral (1, 2) properties? That is not all, according to a publication on ‘Amazing and Might Ginger’ posted in Herbal Medicine: Bimolecular aspects. 2nd Edition, it is a powerful “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent, antinausea, and anticancer agent,” the editorial team of Pet Care Advisors (online) said in “Can Cats Eat Ginger – Safety + Benefits.”
Nutritionally, ginger mainly contains water, carbohydrates, some dietary fiber, sugars, proteins, vitamins, and minerals in smaller quantities.
What is unique about ginger is the fact it has 14 beneficial bioactive compounds, including phenols gingerol, paradol, shogaol, gingerdione, zingerone, zerumbone, terpenoids, flavonoids, among others.
Can cats also have ginger?
Yes! It is safe and healthy for cats. But make sure the ginger powder you buy has no flavoring or sugar or added ingredients which may be harmful to cats and dogs. “…avoid any other product flavored with it, including gingerbread as well as ginger ale, beer, biscuits, and so on, if they have other harmful ingredients,” the Pet Care Advisors said.
It is best to boil ginger in water instead.
While ginger is safe, it is still best to give only a small amount based on your vet’s advice. “Factors such as size, weight, age, and general health status will affect how much you give them,” The Pet Care Advisors said.
Do not give ginger on an empty stomach as it might cause gastrointestinal irritation. You can mix it with food to help minimize the possibility of such a symptom.
“Finally, being pungent and spicy with a zesty, peppery taste, your feline may refuse to eat it or drink water with ginger. If this happens, try to hide it in its food or soft treats,” the Pet Care Advisor said.
Benefits of ginger for cats
We do not have specific studies on the use of ginger on cats yet. But VCA Animal Hospital noted that “ginger has been used for many years in pets in the treatment of vomiting and cardiovascular disorders. Dogs and cats are the species most often treated. Its use may be expanded to the treatment of bloat (GDV) in dogs.”
The Pet Care Advisor said ginger can:
1. help manage some motion sickness symptoms like vomiting and nausea in cats;
2. help treat bloats;
3. improve digestion;
4. and reduce stomachache and arthritic pain;
5. reduce cancer risks;and
6. calm your kitty.
However, ask your vet if your dog or cat can be given ginger. “Before giving you an approval to use it, he is in the best position to assess the cause of the underlying symptoms you are trying to manage,” the Pet Care Advisor said.
Ginger has a slight blood-thinning effect and slightly lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, thus, it cannot be given to pets who have just undergone surgery. Also, it can not be given to pets who are being given medicine for blood pressure or diabetes, including insulin.
Pets with gallstones or ulcers should not be given ginger too.
“If your feline pal is under any medication, pregnant or nursing, discuss the matter with your vet first before letting them have this spice,” the Pet Care Advisor said.
Finally, in case of any diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, or any other symptoms, discontinue its use and talk to your vet.