Ginseng is an herb commonly used in Asian cuisine, tea, and herbal medicine. It’s renowned for its plethora of potential human health benefits, but does that mean dogs might reap some of these benefits if they eat ginseng? Is it even safe for them?
In most cases, yes, ginseng is safe for dogs. The majority of dogs can eat ginseng in moderation, but there are exceptions. Read on to get clued up on feeding ginseng to dogs.
Is Ginseng Beneficial for Dogs?
There haven’t been many studies conducted on this, so how much ginseng can benefit dogs health-wise is unclear, but anecdotal evidence 1 suggests that it may offer dogs a health boost in a number of ways. Ginseng might help regulate sugar levels, maintain liver function, boost the adrenal glands’ performance, and increase heart blood flow. Ginseng has anti-inflammatory properties in people, although this effect has not been demonstrated in dogs.
Ginseng might also support weight loss in dogs, as explained in a study 2 on the anti-obesity effects of ginseng extract in Beagles. Another study 3 showed that ginseng may promote improved healing after partial liver removal in dogs. More importantly, the studies did not report any adverse effects from ginseng. Because of these potential benefits, ginseng is sometimes offered in supplement form as an adjunctive therapy.
Can All Dogs Have Ginseng?
No. The risks of ginseng are not fully known due to a lack of studies, but it might not suit dogs with some conditions. This is why it’s so essential to get your vet’s advice before offering ginseng to your dog in case it does more harm than good.
Ginseng may be harmful to dogs with the below conditions. Consult your vet if your dog has any of the following conditions or is pregnant, nursing, a puppy, or not fully grown yet.
- Heart conditions (including cardiomyopathy)
- Bleeding disorders
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Kidney disease
Additionally, the following medications may interact negatively with Ginseng:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
How to Feed Ginseng
If you’re not offering ginseng in supplement form (capsules, powder, etc.), you can chop up a small amount of fresh ginseng to feed, and you can feed it as it is or sprinkle it into your dog’s food. Check with your vet how much ginseng would be the right amount for your dog and how often, as this varies depending on how big the dog is, or, if you’re offering supplements, check the guidelines on the packaging.
Extra Tips for Feeding Ginseng
- Never give ginseng to your dog in large amounts.
- It is not recommended for long term supplementation
- Feeding ginseng in the evening can keep dogs awake at night.
- Some dog foods are formulated with ginseng.
- Ginseng isn’t suitable for puppies and not-quite-adult dogs unless your vet says so.
As a quick recap, healthy adult dogs can eat a small amount of ginseng from time to time without any issues, but it becomes more complicated if the dog has a health condition.
While ginseng might be beneficial for dogs with certain conditions, it could have the opposite effect on dogs with other conditions. To be on the safe side, always speak to your vet if you’re not sure if ginseng would be okay for your dog.