Nutmeg is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, libido booster, and kitchen staple mostly used when baking seasonal sweet treats like cakes, biscuits, and cookies. The aromatic spice brings magic to our sweet and savory foods with its rich, warm, and nutty flavor.
The strong and distinct aroma will also have your dog drooling and begging for a bite of the yummy nutmeg treat you are cooking. But with so many human foods that are toxic to dogs, such as raisins, xylitol, and chocolates– what’s the verdict on nutmeg?
In small amounts, nutmeg is unlikely to harm your dog, but it could cause life-threatening conditions if consumed in large quantities.
Keep reading to find out surprising facts you need to know about feeding your dog nutmeg.
Can Dogs have Nutmeg?
Nutmeg is a rich, aromatic spice obtained from the seed of Myristica Fragrans, also known as the nutmeg tree. The spice is flavorful and fragrant with a warm, nutty flavor and pairs well with various dishes.
It contains antioxidants, vitamins A and C, fiber, and minerals like zinc, iron, and manganese. When consumed in moderation, nutmeg provides plenty of health benefits, including reduced inflammation, good digestive health, and improved brain and heart health.
The high manganese levels in nutmeg can help prevent blood clotting, regulate blood sugar, enhance calcium absorption, and lower blood pressure. However, nutmeg contains myristicin, a toxic compound to dogs found in the oil of the seed. Myristicin is also in parsley, peyote, wild carrots, dill, and pepper.
The low dosage of nutmeg in our foods might not cause any side effects when consumed by your pup. Fido will have to consume a significant amount of nutmeg to experience severe symptoms such as hallucinations, dehydration, increased heart rate, and seizures.
Hallucinations can be traumatic for your dog. You’ll notice your puppy staring off into space, barking in the air, and frantically biting and nipping at imaginary things, among other fearful behaviors.
Although Chewy can get away with wolfing a cookie or two containing nutmeg, you should keep the treats out of reach. Even though the probability of toxicity is low, other ingredients such as sugar, milk, and butter can cause your dog to have a tummy upset.
What Happens If My Dog Eats Nutmeg?
The toxin myristicin in nutmeg can cause havoc to your dog’s health. Fortunately, the myristicin content in nutmeg is not much, and a small amount is unlikely to cause Fido any health problems.
If your dog eats nutmeg, watch out for the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Dilated or constricted pupils
- Decreased body temperature
- Muscle tremors
- Pale gums
- Hyperactivity or lethargy
Although your pup is unlikely to digest enough nutmeg to trigger these reactions, it’s still possible. Remember that your dog’s size, health status, weight, age, and amount of nutmeg consumed will determine the severity of their symptoms. For instance, a Chihuahua who’s gobbled a slice of apple pie with nutmeg will be at more risk than a Labrador who’s wolfed the same quantity.
These symptoms will appear 3-8 hours after consumption and can last for up to 48 hours. So even if a few hours have passed and Fido seems okay, don’t assume it’s out of the woods. But, the longer your pup goes without showing any adverse effects, the less likely it’ll suffer complications.
In case they do, contact your vet as soon as possible or rush your dog to the animal clinic.
What Quantity Of Nutmeg Is Safe For My Dog?
Nutmeg is toxic to your dog and should be avoided even though its toxicity is only evident in high amounts.
The general rule is that at least 2.5g of nutmeg or ½ a teaspoon can cause poisoning in most dogs.
My Dog Ate Nutmeg – What Should I Do?
If your dog accidentally wolfed down your baked treats with nutmeg, don’t panic. First, remove the food from your dog’s reach or place Fido in a separate room as you clear any scraps.
If your pup ate enough nutmeg to cause the life-threatening symptoms listed above, don’t hesitate to call your vet, the Animal Poison Control, or rush your furry friend to the emergency clinic. With nutmeg poisoning, the sooner your pup gets treatment, the better.
Treatment For Nutmeg Poisoning In Dogs
Treatment for Nutmeg poisoning ideally involves supportive care. If you suspect your pup has consumed a large amount of nutmeg, your vet can insert a tube into your dog’s stomach to flush out the toxins or administer an emetic solution.
Activated charcoal is also a common effective treatment to bind any toxins absorbed into the bloodstream. Your vet might need to hospitalize your dog to monitor his vitals and recovery for 24-48 hours.
Alternative Dog-Safe Spices
If you want to treat your pup to some tasty home-baked treats, there are plenty of dog-friendly herbs and spices that you can use instead of nutmeg. But, it’s still best to use these options in moderation because too much can upset your Fido’s tummy.
Nutmeg is a fantastic aromatic seasoning with various uses, especially in baked foods. But we don’t recommend feeding your dog nutmeg because it contains a toxic chemical known as myristicin.
Though small amounts of nutmeg are less likely to harm your dog, large amounts can pose serious health risks and be fatal if left untreated. Ensure your pup’s safety and keep baked goods and spice jars out of their reach. Also, invest in a baby gate to keep your dog out of the kitchen and stick to healthy and nutritious dog treats for Chewy.
Finally, let the kids and guests know they should check with you before sharing any food bites with your pup; they might not realize their friendly gesture may pose severe, dangerous consequences.