If you’re a dog owner, then you certainly want what’s best for your pet, but determining the best way to help your animal companion may not be straightforward or simple. For example, turmeric has recently come into popularity for its usage in treating common ailments in our furry friends – but how can you be sure of the health benefits of turmeric for dogs?
This article will look at the history of turmeric, what ailments it can help alleviate in dogs and offer some tips for giving your pet this traditional medicine. Before we dive in, though, let’s look at the history of turmeric.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a kind of ginger plant which grows throughout forests in southern and southeastern Asian. When it was first discovered by those living near these forests, its main use was to create a yellow-toned dye and it quickly became popular for its commercial uses. As centuries passed, however, the focus on turmeric slowly changed to become more medicinal.
Turmeric is a large part of Asian, particularly Indian, traditional medicine and has been used for more than one thousand years. It was used to treat a wide variety of health concerns, including:
- Increasing vitality and energy
- Relieving gas
- Removing worms
- Relieving arthritic pains
- Regulating menstruation cycles
In more recent years, turmeric’s primary use has been as an ingredient in Asian food dishes. As a culinary ingredient, turmeric is most well-known for a distinct ginger-esque taste and its ability to turn foods yellow. For this reason, it’s often used in high-end Asian restaurants to add color to their dishes.
Now that you know what turmeric is and how it has been used throughout history, let’s look at how this Asian herb can help man’s best friend.
How Does Turmeric Help My Dog’s Health?
1. Makes a Healthier Heart
Recent studies have found that turmeric has a profoundly positive impact on heart health in dogs, which can be especially important if your pet is getting older. Turmeric lowers cholesterol levels and stops clots from appearing around the heart. This can be especially important if your dog is taking cancer-treating medications, which have a long history of causing heart complications.
2. Prevents Strokes and Improves Stroke Damage
Turmeric contains large amounts of curcumin, which allows it to thin blood and prevent the clotting mentioned above. While this is obviously good for heart health, it’s also an excellent way to reduce both the likelihood and severity of strokes. Because strokes are caused when a blood clot stops an artery from properly supplying the brain with blood, using turmeric prevents strokes by thinning the blood and stopping clots from building up.
3. Reduce Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms
Curcumin makes an excellent blood thinner, but that isn’t all it can do. This essential part of turmeric can stimulate bile production in the liver, which ensures proper digestion for dogs suffering from IBS. This extra bile ensures that dietary fats are properly broken down, which can be especially important if your dog is underweight, as they will need to have more access to healthy fats to live healthily.
4. Relieving Osteoarthritis Symptoms
If your dog has lived an active lifestyle, there’s a decent chance they’ll experience osteoarthritis as they age. You’ll likely find yourself looking to reduce these painful symptoms, and turmeric is an excellent treatment option for this issue. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can alleviate the pain that comes when inflamed joints and cartilage collide. While it unfortunately hasn’t been shown to cure osteoarthritis, it can make your dog’s symptoms much more manageable than taking kidney-harming painkillers on a daily basis.
5. Reduce Symptoms of Uveitis
Uveitis is the inflammation of the center layer of the eye, and it can be a painful and frustrating issues for dogs to suffer through. Because uveitis comes from an eye infection, turmeric is a popular treatment in early stages because it boots the immune system and can treat the inflammation before it becomes more serious. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling and make uveitis substantially more comfortable for dogs. It’s best that turmeric be taken as soon as possible in cases of uveitis, as this condition, when left untreated, is known to devolve into glaucoma which can be much harder to treat.
6. Reduce the Signs of Vitiligo
Vitiligo isn’t a life-threatening issue for dogs, but it can be disconcerting for owners to slowly watch their pets change colors. Because of turmeric’s role as an antioxidant, it can counteract vitiligo’s production of oxygen via hydrogen peroxide in skin, which sometimes causes a dog’s discoloration. When vitiligo creates oxygen, it can also cause lipids to break down and stop melanin from being properly produced, and turmeric works to counteract this new oxygen and ensure that melanin can be produced normally.
7. Anti-Cancer Properties
Cancer is often caused by chronic inflammation and, as we’ve established, turmeric makes a great anti-inflammatory. This means that by alleviating inflammation in precancerous stages, turmeric can stop cancer from developing in your dog. More than simple prevention, however, studies have shown that turmeric has outright killed cancer cells and stopped more from growing, effectively eradicating cancer in a dog’s body. Since half of adult dogs will get cancer at some point in their lifetime, it’s wise to start your pet on a diet with turmeric as a preventative measure.
8. Relieves Skin Conditions
Skin conditions can occur for a variety of reasons, but turmeric is well-suited to treating most of these causes. If your dog is suffering from an uncomfortable skin infection, turmeric can bolster their immune system to fight the infection. Additionally, turmeric’s role as an antioxidant means it can encourage dead skin cells to be replaced with new, healthy cells and replace itchy, dried-out skin.
9. Prevents Bone Cancer
Osteosarcoma, more commonly known as bone cancer, is a systemic issue in many dog breeds. If your pet is an at-risk breed, then consider turmeric to stop bone cancer from developing. We’ve established that turmeric prevents cancerous cells from growing, and bone cancer is no exception. Turmeric works to stop osteosarcoma tumors from growing and also works as a chemosensitizer, which means it makes chemotherapy treatment more effective in removing bone cancer from your dog.
10. Reduce and Prevent Arthritis
We’ve established that turmeric works as an anti-inflammatory and thus can minimize arthritis symptoms, but let’s delve deeper into this subject. Turmeric stops inflammation of the joints, which means it can stop both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis from developing in dogs. Additionally, one study found that turmeric worked just as well as ibuprofen in treating arthritic pain and came with none of the stomach-upsetting side effects.
If you’re dog is suffering from Arthritis, you should check out on guide on Arthritis treatments.
Is Turmeric Safe?
Of course, none of the above benefits of turmeric would be worth much if it was unsafe for dogs to eat and digest. Turmeric is thankfully safe for most dogs to take without concern, but there are a few noteworthy exceptions to this rule.
Because turmeric serves such a wide variety of roles, it can interact with other medications seeking to treat your dog. For this reason, if your dog takes any medications or supplements regularly, it’s wise to talk with your dog’s veterinarian before starting a regular turmeric regiment. Additionally, the effects of turmeric on puppies isn’t entirely clear, so it’s best to avoid giving it to your dog if they’re breastfeeding.
Turmeric has many uses as a blood thinner, but not every dog benefits from this side effect. For example, turmeric shouldn’t be taken by dogs that are about to undergo surgery, have kidney disease or those that suffer from chronic heart conditions. In these scenarios, turmeric could cause unwanted bleeding by preventing blood from clotting and could be disastrous for your dog.
Ways to Feed Your Dog Turmeric
There are plenty of ways to feed your dog turmeric, even if your beloved pet is the pickiest of eaters. If you’re looking to incorporate turmeric into your dog’s diet, consider the following options:
- Sprinkle turmeric powder into their food.
- Create a turmeric gravy by adding a teaspoon of turmeric to a cup and filling it up 1/3 of the way with boiling water. Then, top it off with a dozen grinds of black pepper and drizzle it over your dog’s regular meal.
- Feed your dog a turmeric capsule.
- Create turmeric paste, AKA golden paste, by mixing 1/2 cup of turmeric powder with 1/2 cup of a raw oil of your choosing. Then just add a cup of water and mix in two or three teaspoons of ground black pepper. Feed your pet 1/4 tsp with every meal.
- Add turmeric as an ingredient to your normal home-made dog treats.
- Wrap dog treats in turmeric leaves.
- If you want to get some of the health benefits of turmeric as well, simply make a regular curry with turmeric and feed your dog the leftovers. Note that you’ll need to make sure the turmeric dosage is appropriate for your four-legged friend before feeding it to them.
As you can see, there are countless ways to feed your dog turmeric in a way that fits their lifestyle and personality. With each of the above doses of turmeric, be sure to account for your dog’s size using the chart below. Too much turmeric on a small dog could be harmful and too little turmeric for a large dog can be ineffective.
How to Feed Your Dog Turmeric
You may have noticed that oils and black pepper seemed to come up in a lot of the above recipes, and that’s not an accident. Coconut oil, olive oil and black pepper all allow turmeric to be properly absorbed into your dog’s digestive system. Without these, turmeric recipes wouldn’t just taste unpleasant, but they’d also be much less effective.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure to serve your turmeric recipes with a bowl full of water. Without water, turmeric has been known to cause constipation in dogs, so offer your pet a drink with their turmeric treat to avoid any unpleasant side effects.
|Dog’s weight||Dosage (teaspoons)||Dosage (grams)|
|Up to 10 lb||1/16 – 1/8||0.0625 – 0.125|
|10 – 20lb||1/8 – 1/4||0.125 – 1.25|
|20 – 50 lb||1/4 – 1||1.25 – 5|
|50 – 100lb||1 -2||5 – 10|
Dosage supplied by Turmeric for health.
As you can see, there is almost no end to the health benefits of turmeric for dogs. Whether you’re looking to treat arthritic pains, irritable bowel syndrome or another ailment entirely, there’s a good chance that turmeric will be the best option available for you and your pet. Use this article as a guideline for how to care for your dog with turmeric and you can be sure to ease whatever pain they’re having without paying an arm and a leg for expensive veterinary treatments.