How Good Is Turmeric For Dogs? Fact Checked By Our Vet
The world has woken up to the benefits that turmeric offers. Almost everywhere you turn, you can hear someone raving about the health benefits of turmeric.
But what about turmeric for dogs? Can canines reap its benefits just like humans do?
This is what this guide is about.
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Can Dogs Eat Turmeric?
Well, it seems that dogs generally accept turmeric well. There are no acute dangers associated with dogs eating turmeric, at least, and allergies to turmeric in dogs are very rare. Therefore, this beautiful herb is fine for dogs, but it’s still important to not overdo it. Large quantities of turmeric can upset the canine stomach.
Turmeric Benefits for Dogs
The main active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin, and it is this substance that is responsible for the healing effects of turmeric. Read below about all the ways turmeric can be beneficial for canines:
1. Turmeric is Anti-Inflammatory
The main active ingredient of turmeric, curcumin, is well known for its powerful antioxidant properties and all antioxidant-rich foods are nature's way to help fight inflammation in the body.
However, the benefits of curcumin go well beyond arthritis only.
"you may be thinking inflammation is only a problem for dogs with joint disease … but chronic, hidden inflammation is a silent killer. It’s the root of nearly all disease.” - As Dana Scott from Dogs Naturally
All of the benefits of turmeric for dogs are based on this basic anti-inflammatory characteristic. We’ll get into the specifics below, but for now, suffice it to say that turmeric helps treat all sorts of inflammation. It can be especially beneficial for dogs suffering from chronic inflammation which can be notoriously hard to treat.
2. Turmeric Can Help Dogs With Arthritis
Arthritis is a fairly common condition in elderly dogs. In essence, arthritis is nothing else than an inflammation of the joints. If nothing is done, it tends to just get progressively worse, causing more and more inflammation and pain.
When these cases get severe, vets sometimes prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to be used (3). Using turmeric for arthritis in dogs instead is a way to avoid using drugs. The anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric can often be just as effective.
3. Turmeric Can Help Sensitive Stomachs
Pet parents whose dogs are suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) surely know what we are talking about. Dogs experiencing gastrointestinal inflammation can exhibit terrible symptoms like constant vomiting, diarrhea, and consequently weight loss. What IBD does is essentially prevent food from being properly digested, which can lead to lots of other problems due to poor nutrition (4).
But it’s not only dogs suffering from such serious conditions that can benefit from turmeric. Many dogs suffer from food sensitivities, or simply have sensitive stomachs that flare up from time to time. Using turmeric can be the way to go in these cases.
4. Cancer Prevention and Relief
The scientific research on turmeric and cancer is still in its infancy. However, the existing studies look promising. It seems that curcumin, the main ingredient of turmeric, might help destroy cancer cells. That means it could be effective for cancer prevention and can slow down the development of disease (5).
Is turmeric the magic remedy for dog cancer we’ve all been looking for? Probably not. However, it seems to be able to help so it's worth a try, especially if your canine companion is suffering.
How Much Turmeric for Dogs: Dosage Guidelines
The recommended dosage for dogs is 15 to 20 mg of turmeric per pound of body weight (2). Translated into kilograms, that comes out to somewhere between 30 to 45 mg per kilogram of body weight. This would mean you need only ⅛ of a teaspoon for a dog weighing 8 - 10 kilograms.
While the dosage of turmeric does not have to be precise to a milligram, you should still try to avoid feeding too much turmeric to your canine companion. A little bit of this magic powder goes a long way. Taking too much could cause stomach problems for your dog.
Regardless of whether there is inflammation or not, turmeric has been used for ages in Indian medicine to treat problems with digestion. Perhaps there is something in that ancient wisdom.
Turmeric Paste for Dogs
The benefits of turmeric have been gaining scientific recognition in recent years, but scientists also noticed one problem: the bioavailability of curcumin is very low. That means that the body does not absorb enough of the substance to experience its full benefits.
However, it turns out that it’s possible to enhance the bioavailability of turmeric. An older study found that combining piperine (found in black pepper) with curcumin greatly increases the potential of the substance (6). Hence the idea to mix turmeric with black pepper to increase the healing effects.
Here is how to make turmeric paste for dogs:
- ½ cup turmeric powder
- 1 cup water (or as needed)
- ⅓ cup coconut oil (or your choice of fat like ghee, for example)
- 1-3 teaspoons of black pepper
The procedure is really simple. First, you’ll need to combine the turmeric with warm water in a saucepan and let it boil over low heat. You want the mixture to simmer down until it has a paste-like texture. After this, you can add the oil and the pepper. The mixture can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
One potential issue with this paste is the fact that it uses black. Can dogs eat black pepper? Well, there seems to be no evidence that they shouldn’t, but large quantities can cause stomach upset and other adverse reactions. And besides, many dogs don’t like the taste of pepper. Still, if you put just a small amount of pepper in the paste, it should be quite safe for dogs.
If you’d like to avoid using black pepper, though, it seems that mixing turmeric with just coconut oil or another type of oil or fat can increase the potency of turmeric too (7). You could also get creative and make your own dog biscuits with turmeric and a bit of pepper, or perhaps a home-cooked dog food topping with turmeric.
My Final Thoughts
Is using turmeric powder for dogs any good? And more importantly, is it safe? Well, there don’t seem to be many known side effects of turmeric in dogs if dosed properly. The benefits can be great, especially for dogs suffering from arthritis. In any case, adding a bit of curcumin to your canine companion’s diet certainly doesn’t hurt!
- Scott, Dana. January 14, 2021. “Turmeric For Dogs: 5 Surprising Health Benefits”. Dogs Naturally. Retrieved June 20, 2021. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/turmeric-dogs/
- PetMD Editorial. August 31, 2020. “4 Botanicals That Are Natural Anti-Inflammatories for Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved June 20, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/wellness/4-herbs-joint-pain-and-inflammation-pets
- Tupler, T. July 30, 2020. “How To Help Dogs With Arthritis”. PetMD. Retrieved June 20, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/how-help-dogs-arthritis
- “Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in Dogs”. February 13, 2021. WebMD Medical Reference. Retrieved June 20, 2021. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/inflammatory-bowel-disease-ibd-dogs#1
- Smith, M.W. June 15, 2020. “Can Turmeric Fight Cancer?”. WebMD. Retrieved June 20, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/cancer/can-turmeric-fight-cancer
- Stohs, S. J., Chen, O., Ray, S. D., Ji, J., Bucci, L. R., & Preuss, H. G. (2020). Highly Bioavailable Forms of Curcumin and Promising Avenues for Curcumin-Based Research and Application: A Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(6), 1397. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25061397
- Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):353-6. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-957450. PMID: 9619120.