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Can Dogs Eat Nutmeg? Health Risks & FAQs

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

can dogs eat nutmeg?

If you do a lot of baking — especially around the holidays — then you may have accidentally (or otherwise) fed your dog something with nutmeg in it. It’s likely that, immediately after doing so, you frantically asked yourself whether nutmeg was safe for your pup or not.

The short answer is that it’s unlikely to hurt your dog in small amounts, but it could cause serious issues if consumed in large quantities.

Below, we’ll take a look at what nutmeg can do to your dog, as well as ways to prevent them from eating it in the first place.

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Is Nutmeg Safe for Dogs?

There’s a toxin in nutmeg called myristicin that can cause issues for your dog’s health. There’s not much myristicin in nutmeg, though, so a little bit of it is unlikely to cause much of a problem for your pup.

However, if your dog eats a bunch of nutmeg (or anything else containing myristicin, like parsley, pepper, or wild carrots), then all sorts of health issues could arise.

These issues include:

  • hallucinations
  • disorientation
  • elevated heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • abdominal pain
  • seizures

As entertaining as it may sound to watch a dog hallucinate, there’s nothing funny about it. You should do everything in your power to keep your dog from eating too much nutmeg.

The good news is that it takes quite a bit of nutmeg to see any of the serious health issues start to take effect. Your dog is unlikely to eat that much, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take nutmeg consumption seriously.

Image Credit: Piqsels

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Nutmeg?

If your dog only had a little bit of nutmeg in a baked treat or something, then there’s likely little reason to worry. If anything, you should check and make sure that the treat didn’t have anything worse in it, like raisins.

Don’t just assume that your dog will be fine, though. You should keep an eye on them for a day or so to make sure that they’re not acting out of the ordinary. In particular, be on the lookout for pacing, disorientation, or signs that their stomach might be hurting.

The effects of consuming large amounts of nutmeg can last for up to 48 hours, so don’t assume you’re fine just because a few hours have passed. However, the longer your dog goes without showing any symptoms, the less likely it becomes that they’ll suffer any ill effects.

If your dog ate a lot of nutmeg, then there’s more cause for concern. Call your vet or the local poison control center and ask them to advise you on the next steps to take. They’ll likely want to know how much your dog ate, so try to determine the amount that’s missing if you can.

Your dog’s overall prognosis will depend on many factors, including how much nutmeg they consumed and how big they are. As with most things, smaller dogs will be more likely to suffer adverse reactions from smaller amounts of toxins.

How Do I Stop My Dog from Eating Nutmeg?

In many cases, dogs eat nutmeg because their owners offered them something that had nutmeg in it. This is the easiest cause to solve — simply stop giving your dog anything with nutmeg (you can probably stop giving them human food entirely, actually).

Sometimes dogs eat nutmeg because they managed to snag the food on their own, though. In that case, you should keep anything edible on surfaces that are too high for your dog to reach and teach them not to counter-surf.

Stopping that particular problematic behavior can be easier said than done, so you might want to invest in a baby gate to keep them out of the kitchen altogether.

You should also teach your dog the “leave it” command to stop them from eating nutmeg-laced food that has been dropped on the ground accidentally. This is an extremely useful command overall, as it can stop your dog from ingesting all sorts of potentially deadly things (not that we’re saying that your baking is lethal).

Image Credit: Quique, Pixabay

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So, What’s the Verdict? Is Nutmeg Safe for Dogs?

Nutmeg is not safe for dogs, but it would take quite a bit of the stuff to cause serious issues for your dog. Most dogs aren’t crazy about nutmeg in general anyway, so it’s unlikely that your dog will ever consume enough of the spice to cause problems.

Still, you should take care not to let your dog eat any nutmeg, as even if it won’t cause serious issues, it’s not healthy for them. That’s especially true given that many of the things that have nutmeg in them are also full of other problematic ingredients like salt, fat, and potential toxins like raisins.

The next time you’re eating a Christmas cookie, don’t give in to your pet’s puppy dog eyes. Instead, give them something more suitable, like that entire ham you have cooking in the oven (don’t actually do this).

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Featured Image Credit: scym, Pixabay

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