Can Dogs Eat Nutmeg? Is the Winter Spice Safe for Dogs?


No, dogs cannot eat nutmeg. The reason behind the negative answer is pretty simple – nutmeg is toxic to dogs. Even in smaller amounts that are too low to cause toxicity, nutmeg is still dangerous as it triggers digestive upsets.

Dogs can get their paws and tongues on nutmeg in two ways – attacking the jar of nutmeg directly or consuming edibles containing nutmeg. The first scenario is more likely to result in toxicity and the second in digestive upset.

Why is Nutmeg Bad for Dogs?

The reasons nutmeg is bad for dogs differ based on the consumed amount. Namely, a dog eating a piece of cookie or a slice of gingerbread with nutmeg cannot get intoxicated as the amount of nutmeg will below.

In general, it takes a significant amount of nutmeg to cause myristicin toxicity in canines. Here is a more detailed overview of the effects of nutmeg on dogs.


Stomach Upset

In small amounts, nutmeg wreaks havoc on the dog’s digestive system. The canine stomach is not designed to process intense spices, and the presence of nutmeg is quite irritating, causing severe stomach upset with vomiting and diarrhea as telltale signs.

Myristicin Toxicity

In large amounts, nutmeg is toxic to dogs. Its toxicity is due to a chemical compound called myristicin. Myristicin is a strong hallucinogenic, and in extreme cases, its effects can be fatal.

Signs Your Dog Has Eaten Nutmeg

As explained, the signs of a dog eating nutmeg will depend on the ingested amount. A dog with stomach upset will show the following signs and symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy.

On the other hand, in more severe cases, dogs with myristicin toxicity will exhibit more serious signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Dry mouth and lip-smacking
  • Abdominal pain
  • Disorientation
  • Ataxia (lack of coordination)
  • Hallucinations
  • Vocalization
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heavy breathing or panting
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).

What to Do If My Dog Ate Nutmeg?

If your dog ate nutmeg, the first thing you should do is evaluate the situation. By evaluating the situation, we mean to determine how much your dog ate and consider its size and weight.

Then, you need to call the vet and explain what happened. It may sound easier said than done, but it is imperative that you stay calm and provide as much information as possible.

Based on the info you provide, the vet will recommend you to monitor the dog at home (if the amount of nutmeg was too small to cause serious issues) or go to the clinic for an in-person examination and stabilization (if the risk of myristicin toxicity is high).

In both cases, it is imperative to listen to the vet and stick to professional advice. Never attempt to self-treat your dog on your own – many over-the-counter human medications are dangerous to dogs and can do more harm than good.

nice girl feeding her dog


All in all, nutmeg is a no-go for dogs. The savory spice from the Myristica fragrans hard seeds is toxic to dogs due to its inclusion of the chemical myristicin. Even in small and non-toxic amounts, nutmeg is hazardous and causes stomach issues.

Always keep the spices out of your dog’s reach and make sure there are no nutmeg-inclusive baked goods near your pet. In case of accidental ingestion, call your vet or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.


  1. Myristicin, Science Direct, 2021
  2. Nutmeg and Cinnamon Toxicity, Pet Poison Helpline, 2021
  3. Nutmeg Poisoning, A. R. CUSHNY, AM.D., F.R.S., 1908

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Ivana Crnec

Ivana Crnec

Dr. Ivana Crnec is a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine, a passionate writer and a devoted pet parent. Specializing in domestic carnivores, her professional experience ranges from preventative medicine and routine wellness care through diagnosing and treating conditions to emergency and specialty care
Bitola, Macedonia