Turmeric for Dogs: The Health Benefits

Written by Hilary Wilkie

Hilary is a qualified canine nutritionist, who is passionate about educating dog parents on optimal ways to feed their dogs so they can thrive.

10 October 2022

Is Turmeric Good for Dogs?

Turmeric is a bright yellow aromatic plant that is part of the ginger family. Native to the tropical Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, turmeric is more than a spice to add flavour to your curry. There are several health benefits for prescribing turmeric to dogs, especially older dogs.

A Brief History

Turmeric’s uses date back thousands of years. It has been used in food, medicine and for religious purposes. Close to 4000 years ago it was used in India for its culinary attributes. Then it spread across to China, Africa and reached as far as Jamaica in the eighteenth century. Today, Western cultures know the benefits of turmeric and use it medicinally to treat dogs for a variety of ailments.

Benefits of Turmeric for Dogs

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, holds all the health benefits including natural antioxidants.

Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic illnesses.

Curcumin: the Indian solid gold

Numerous studies show the benefits of turmeric, including its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and the relief of gastrointestinal issue.

 

6 Benefits of Turmeric for Dogs

  1. Turmeric is Anti-inflammatory – A 2007 study found that curcumin inhibited certain types of enzymes that typically speed up substances that cause inflammation and pain.
  2. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant – Curcumin is a strong antioxidant that can attack free radicals, which cause oxidative stress, a suspected cause of ageing and many diseases.
  3. Turmeric Fights Cancer – Studies of Curcumin show its ability to slow the growth and survival of almost all types of tumor cells, while normal cells remain unharmed. With the increase rates of cancer in dogs today, adding turmeric into your dog’s diet may be a preventative option.
  4. Turmeric Can Relieve Arthritis in Dogs – Inflammation causes arthritis. Turmeric is known to decrease inflammation, thus reducing pain and discomfort caused by arthritis. Studies have shown that treating arthritis with turmeric may work better than conventional medicine. One study found that treating patients with knee osteoarthritis was just as effective as nurofen. Plus, it didn’t have the negative side effects that may be caused by nurofen.
  5. Turmeric may reduce the side effects of steroids – Many dogs today are prescribed steroids for allergies and joint pain. A 2014 study showed that when used in combination, the turmeric helped relieve the symptoms of arthritis while alleviating the toxicity of the steroid.
  6. Turmeric Can Relieve gastrointestinal issues – The anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric may relieve gastro issues in your dog, including:
    • Aid digestion.
    • Alleviate stomach pain
    • Ease diarrhoea
    • May reduce gas in your dog

How to Feed Turmeric to Dogs

The most effective way to feed turmeric to your dog is as a paste, commonly called Golden Paste. Adding a fat, like coconut oil, to the turmeric powder will enable your dog to absorb the turmeric better.

It is also recommended to add a small amount of pepper to further aid with your dog’s ability to digest the turmeric.

The Golden Paste recipe we follow includes pepper. Though an alternative method that may be just as effective is fermenting the turmeric and making a paste without the addition of pepper. The fermentation apparently replaces the need for the pepper.

How Much Turmeric for Dogs

Dogs need to consume turmeric multiple times a day, between 2-3 times a day, to reap its benefits because it leaves the body quickly.

 Every dog is different, so start with a small amount and slowly build up over time.

The recommended daily dosage is ¼ tsp per 5kg of body weight.

Potential Issues with Turmeric

Turmeric works and is safe, but not all dogs should be given it. Below is a list of reasons when your dog should avoid turmeric:

  • Those scheduled for surgery
  • Those with gallbladder disease
  • Diabetes
  • GERD – Gastroesophageal Disease
  • Hormone-sensitive tumours
  • Problems absorbing iron
  • Certain medications – turmeric can interact with some medications.
  • As turmeric is “warming” spice best not to administer to dogs that are hot

Speak to an integrative or holisitic veterinarian or qualified canine nutritionist to see if your dog would benefit from turmeric and how best to add this healing spice into your dog’s diet.

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