Pitbull looking at honey.

Can Dogs Eat Honey Sold In Australia?

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 18th January 2024

This breakfast staple is a must-have in any kitchen… but can dogs eat honey? Before sharing with your pup, check out what the experts have to say about the risks of feeding honey to dogs.

Is Honey Safe For Dogs?

Yes, honey is generally safe for dogs to eat in small quantities.

If you have the choice, prioritise Australian raw honey to give your dog. Raw honey has slightly higher concentrations ministering 5 mL of honey every day for 5 weeks, the dogs showed no issues and no changes in blood glucose. Symptoms of atopic dermatitis (itchiness, bald patches, and redness) significantly improved. So, if your dog tends to have itchy skin, a teaspoonof micronutrients compared to pasteurised or processed honey [1].

The raw version of honey is a better choice, not only for the higher carbohydrate content, but it is richer in antioxidants and probiotics which are sometimes destroyed  during the pasteurisation process.

Smeared honey.

Can Dogs Eat Honey? Possible Benefits of Honey

While there is relatively little research about the possible health benefits of honey for dogs,. However, in recent years  some pioneering studies in recent years have found interesting results. Here are some of the potential benefits of honey for your pup:

Honey could relieve dog allergies: If your dog suffers from seasonal allergies, small amounts of honey could help. Raw honey contains microscopic amounts of pollen. By slowly introducing pollen into your dog’s diet, researchers have found their immune system could learn to be less reactive to allergens [2].

PRO TIP: To use honey to relieve seasonal allergies, choose locally produced honeys. These will contain pollen from local plant species, which will help your dog’s immune system handle the pollen behind its allergies.

Improve itchy skin and eczema: Honey appears to significantly improve skin conditions among dogs. A 2022 study [35] showed that when given orally, honey greatly improved skin health and dermatitis symptoms among a group of stray dogs. After ad of honey every day could help.

Australian honey has strong antibacterial properties: In different studies, researchers have found honey to inhibit growth of around 60 species of bacteria. Manuka honey (from Leptospermum scoparium) shows particularly strong antibacterial properties compared to other types [4]. In spite of the promising results, researchers are yet to identify which are the high performing compounds in Manuka honey.. A recent theory proposes that the dark colour in honey is linked to stronger antibacterial effects. This is the case of Manuka and chestnut honey.

Topical honey can heal minor wounds: The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties in honey also make it a great healing aid. An Indian research group found that topical honey acts over leukocytes (white blood cells) to jumpstart the healing process [5]. Honey should only be applied to minor, superficial wounds and should not replace medical attention.

Alleviate small burns: The acidity in honey is also beneficial for minor burns, since it promotes oxygen release at a cellular level. In turn, this promotes healing. Clinical studies show that a slathering of topical honey can be as effective as silver sulphadiazine, the typical treatment for burns [5].

PRO TIP: If your dog has a small, superficial burn, applying a thin layer of honey then protecting the wound with a gauze can help aid healing. However, anything deeper than 1-2 mm or a serious burn needs immediate veterinary attention.

Honey can round up your dog’s nutrition: Honey is rich in fructose, so from a macronutrient standpoint it adds carbohydrates to your dog’s diet. However, honey also contains several B-complex vitamins, vitamin C and minerals like copper, iron, magnesium and potassium [6]. While your dog should get its micronutrients from their main diet, a teaspoon of honey might support an otherwise healthy diet.

It can protect your dog’s heart: Most people would assume the high sugar content in honey makes it a bad choice for dogs with heart disease, diabetes or those that are obese. However, a research group found that honey ameliorated the symptoms of metabolic syndrome in diabetic rats and protected their cardiovascular health. Because the sugar in honey is non-refined, it is processed differently than plain white sugar and doesn’t spike insulin levels as much [6]. Of course, we recommend always asking your vet before giving sweet treats to diabetic dogs.

Is Honey Bad For Dogs? Risks of Feeding Honey to Dogs

Although honey has some interesting health benefits, it also involves some risks.

NEVER offer honey if your dog has had an allergic reaction to bee stings. A history of bee allergies increases the risks of allergic reaction. Giving honey to an allergic dog can cause oral ulcers, skin lesions or more serious allergic reactions.

PRO TIP: If your dog tends to be allergic to bugs, ask your vet before giving them honey for the first time.

On the other hand, puppies should not be fed raw honey. Raw honey can have a low concentration of C. botulinum spores that can cause botulism in young dogs with a weaker immune system. Botulism is a rare condition, but it can be very serious and cause paralysis. Dogs (and humans) with strong immune systems are usually safe, but puppies and babies should not be offered raw honey. If your pup is younger than 12 months, their gastrointestinal system is too immature to handle C. botulinum spores. Stay on the safe side and skip the honey altogether!

How Much Honey Is Good For Dogs?

Honey should be considered an occasional treat. Feed up to 1 teaspoon once or twice a week, unless you’re using honey as part of an anti-inflammatory treatment.

Always consult your vet before giving honey to your dog for the first time, especially if your dog has chronic conditions affecting their blood sugar (diabetes, thyroid problems…).

Is Honey Good For Dogs? Our Final Verdict

Generally speaking, honey can be a great addition to your dog’s diet. Of course, this sweet treat should be offered in moderation and never to young puppies.

Are you interested in the toxicity of other common foods? Check out our other food safety guides down below!

Check out our food safety series:


  1.  “Honey: Raw, Unpasteurized, and Pasteurized”. Country Bee Honey Farm. Retrieved March 20, 2023. https://www.countrybeehoney.ca/honey-raw-unpasteurized-and-pasteurized/
  2. Monetto, AM; et al (1999). A Study of Botulinum Spores in Honey. Anaerobe, 5(3-4), pp.185-186. Retreived March 20, 2023. https://www.academia.edu/7224677/A_Study_of_Botulinum_Spores_in_Honey  
  3. Suartha, IN; et al (2022). Effect of Oral Administration of Honey on Hemato-biochemical Parameters of Dogs with Atopic Dermatitis. World's Veterinary Journal, 12(2), 197-202. Retrieved March 20, 2023. https://wvj.science-line.com/attachments/article/69/WVJ%2012(2),%20197-202,%20June%2025,%202022.pdf
  4. Oddo, LP; et al (2008) Composition and Antioxidant Activity of Trigona carbonaria Honey from Australia. Journal of Medicinal Food 11 (4): 789-794. Retrieved March 20, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2007.0724
  5. Subrahmanyam (2007). Topical Application of Honey for Burn Wound Treatment - an Overview. Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters. Retrieved March 20, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3188068/ 
  6. Tolbert, MK (2022). Dietary management of chronic enteropathy in dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 63(6), 425-434. Retrieved March 20, 2023. https://europepmc.org/article/med/34991182

Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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