We all want what's best for our four-legged family members. Therefore, it's no surprise that the more studies that uncover the dangers of conventional medications, the more dog owners search for natural replacements. It makes sense, why subject your dog to a laundry list of potentially harmful side effects when you could choose a treatment method with virtually zero adverse reactions? What if we told you that a little spice that very well may be in your kitchen cabinet could make a world of difference for your pup? Well... it's true. Turmeric for dogs is making important headway in the world of holistic health and we're happy to be the ones to share this groundbreaking information for pet parents everywhere!
What is Turmeric for Dogs
Let's start with the basics.
￼Turmeric is a spice that is yellow-orange in color. It gives curry it’s deep, earthy flavor notes and is commonly used in Indian and Thai dishes. It’s likely that you’ve had turmeric, whether or not you realized it at the time or not. Actually, it’s likely that you have some in your kitchen cabinet as we speak. Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. It’s a root that is native to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Turmeric root has been widely used as a medicinal treatment for hundreds of years, but it’s benefits for our furry friends are finally getting the recognition it deserves.
With over 6,000 studies to its credit, turmeric has been effectively proving to eliminate the need for many conventional medications. There are a plethora of reasons as to why you may be wanting to add turmeric to your dog's life. From treating dogs with arthritis to being a powerful anti-inflammatory itself, turmeric is an extremely important little spice that may just make a world of difference for your dog.
What is Curcumin
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and is found in the roots and bulbs of the Curcuma longa root. In the 6,000+ studies of turmeric, we've learned quite a bit about its primary active ingredient. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer properties.
In fact, curcumin's incredible healing potential got it its nickname, "Cure-cumin" in one study at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
Furthermore, while curcumin is extremely powerful in treating existing ailments, preventative medicine is also using the herb to stop diseases and ailments to occur in the first place.
What is Turmeric Good For
The health benefits of turmeric are highly impressive. Turmeric root can help fight diseases like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, gastrointestinal issues, and Alzheimer's Disease (among others). But just how does it stand up against conventional medicines? Take a look!
Turmeric as an Anti Inflammatory for Dogs
The herb is an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory, but what exactly does that mean?
When you think about inflammation, you may only consider it to be associated with conditions like joint issues and swelling. However, inflammation is at the core of a number of health problems.
In fact, inflammation causes:
- Kidney disease
- Dental disease
- Digestive disease
- And many others
Not all inflammation is bad. It's simply the body’s natural response to bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat, etc. If your dog experiences something like trauma or bacterial exposure, the body will automatically send an army of white blood cells to the area to increase blood flow and ultimately cause inflammation. The problems arise when inflammation exists for weeks, months and even years. This is known as chronic inflammation and is the reason behind just about every disease you can think of.
However, there is good news. Studies have found that curcumin (turmeric's active ingredient) works just as well as conventional anti-inflammatory drugs and actually outperformed both aspirin and ibuprofen in terms of treating individuals with inflammation.
With inflammation being the key factor in most diseases that your dog can face, having a natural remedy like turmeric is truly a wonderful thing.
Turmeric also has powerful antioxidant properties. By fighting free radicals, antioxidants have the ability to slow aging, degeneration, and can even increase your lifespan. While free radicals exist and form in the body naturally, they also develop when the body is exposed to pesticides, processed dog food, chemicals, pollution, radiation, and toxins. Turmeric works to fight off these free radicals and eliminate potentially irreversible cell damage.
Turmeric for Arthritis
Because of the fact that turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, the herb is wonderful at treating dogs with arthritis. Not only can turmeric reduce inflammation, but it can relieve the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
Furthermore, a 2014 study comparison of turmeric and ibuprofen showed that turmeric worked just as well as ibuprofen to reduce pain yet without the gastrointestinal side effects associated with ibuprofen.
If your pup suffers from arthritis, you know first hand just how heart-wrenching it is to watch simple activities become painful for them. Adding turmeric into Fido's diet is a safe, effective way to help your pup get back on their feet.
Turmeric for Pain
Turmeric's anti-inflammatory effects also make it great at easing pain. Inflammation typically involves swelling and can cause your beloved pup to be in a great amount of discomfort. Turmeric helps to reduce and eliminate the discomfort significantly.
Another great feature of turmeric that you certainly won't find in other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) is that it promotes heart health. That's right! Curcumin is actually terrific for dogs who suffer from congestive heart failure. Turmeric is able to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol) and reduce the potential of blood clots.
Turmeric for Dogs with Cancer
Incredibly, turmeric cannot only treat cancer, it can actually prevent it.
We know that chronic inflammation leads to cancer. Curcumin is able to stop the precancerous changes in the dog's body from becoming cancer, making it a great preventative.
Additionally, The American Cancer Society states that curcumin interferes with cancer cells and their ability to grow and spread. Curcumin is also able to reduce tumor size and actually kill cancer cells!
Nearly half of all adult dogs will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. Turmeric is a great way to stop cancer in its tracks.
Treating Gastrointestinal Disorders
The anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric are effective in treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) as well as additional gastrointestinal disorders. Turmeric also has positive effects on gut inflammation and gut permeability.
If your dog has joint pain, suffers from allergies, or has a slew of other conditions, it is likely that your vet may recommend a steroid medication. However, like all conventional medications, steroids come with their fair share of adverse reactions. Luckily, studies have found that turmeric is just as effective as convention steroid medications without the potentially harmful adverse effects.
Furthermore, if it is absolutely necessary for your dog to be on a conventional steroid medication, studies have found that taking the turmeric along with the steroid can help reduce the side effects associated with the steroid.
Turmeric for Supporting the Liver
Most of us are fully aware of how vital a fully functioning liver is. The liver plays a paramount role in removing hazardous toxins, regulating the blood, and processing nutrients.
Studies show that turmeric supports the liver function by helping it break down fat and remove waste.
Even More Benefits of Turmeric!
Remarkably, the list of benefits doesn't stop there. Check out these other health benefits of turmeric for dogs.
- Helps with weight management
- Eliminates parasites such as fleas and ticks
- Can elevate mood
- Has the ability to treat depression
- Alleviates allergies
- Relieves joint pain
- Remedy for diarrhea
- Prevents cataracts
- Can help manage epilepsy
- High in fiber, vitamins, and minerals
- Aids in treating and prevent Alzheimer's Disease
How to Use Turmeric
By now, you're likely convinced that turmeric has the potential to do wonders for your pup. So how do you incorporate it into their lives? Unfortunately, sprinkling the spice on top of the food won't really do the trick. Turmeric isn't easily absorbed by the body, but now to worry. Combining turmeric with a healthy oil such as coconut oil will significantly increase its absorption ability.
Check out these great ways to ensure that your fur baby is reaping all of the health benefits that turmeric has to offer!
You may have heard of golden paste. It's easy to make and will give Fido all the turmeric benefits they deserve!
1/2 cup - Turmeric powder (*make sure that the turmeric powder is organic and is loaded with curcumin!)
1 - 1 1/2 cups - Filtered water
1 1/2 teaspoons - Freshly ground black pepper (*we recommend using a coffee grinder or magic bullet)
1/4 cup - Organic, cold pressed coconut oil
1. Mix the turmeric with the filtered water in a pan
2. Begin with 1 cup water and add more if needed
3. Stir the liquid combination on low/medium heat until it forms a thick paste (approximately 7-10 minutes)
4. If the paste is watery, simply add more turmeric powder
5. Next, add the pepper and coconut oil to the paste and stir in very well
6. Allow the paste to cool. The mixture can be put in a jar (one with a lid) and should live in the refrigerator for no more than 2 weeks
Pet parents can add the golden paste directly into their dog's meals. Here's the recommended guideline for dosages:
- Small dogs - start with about 1/4 teaspoon per day
- Medium dogs - start with 1/2 teaspoon per day
- Large dogs - start with 3/4 teaspoon per day
- Giant dogs - start with 1 teaspoon per day
Again, we always recommend starting off slowly, there's no need to rush the process.
Next up: turmeric gravy by Dr. Doug English!
1. Place 1 teaspoon of organic turmeric powder into a cup
2. Next, add boiled water to the cup until it is approximately 1/3 full
3. Then, add approximately 16 grinds of black pepper and a dessert spoonful of olive oil
4. Add the gravy mixture to your pup's food and let it soak in
Finally, turmeric oil!
1. First, start off with 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder and place it in a cup
2. Next, add oil! We recommend coconut oil or olive oil (approximately 2-5 ml)
3. Then, add 6-8 grinds of ground black pepper
4. Mix the oil concoction together and add on top of your dog's food
Where to Buy Turmeric
When it comes to new advancements in holistic wellness, there is a lot of good news but also some bad news. The good news is that with the growing conversation around alternative healing (i.e turmeric and CBD) you will be able to find whatever product you are looking for. The bad news is that with the growing popularity comes products may not be exactly how they seem. There are a lot of copycats or companies that claim to be a top-notch product and will certainly fall short.
When purchasing turmeric it is always best to buy organic. We recommend purchasing from your local health food store or co-op. Avoid buying from mainstream grocery stores as their turmeric often contains a fraction (sometimes only 2%-4%) of curcumin by weight. Furthermore, you'll want to stay far away from turmeric that has been treated with any kind of pesticides or chemicals.
Finally, when shopping for turmeric, look for products with 95% curcuminoids. This will help ensure that Fido is getting all of the health benefits that the root has to offer.
Speaking of reaping all of the benefits of turmeric brings us to the topic of bioavailability. As we previously mentioned, turmeric doesn't have the best absorption rate when taken on its own. That's why we included the recipes above. Simply sprinkling the powder into your dog's food bowl won't do the trick, there has to be some kind of base (typically an oil).
Additionally, there are other ways to increase Fido's ability to absorb the turmeric supplement.
You may have noticed that all of the recipes we included contain black pepper. There's a reason behind it! Dr. Michael Greger found that a phytochemical in black pepper (called peperine) that can increase the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%. Black pepper also has antibacterial as well as antioxidant properties.
Add Healthy Fat
Also, as you may have noticed, it's important to add a healthy fat such as coconut oil.
Add Some Heat
The final way to increase absorption is adding a bit of heat. By warming up your oil you are increasing bioavailability and ensuring that Fido is able to reap all of turmeric's awesome benefits.
We don't have to tell you that no two dogs are exactly alike. For this reason, it is always important to keep a close eye on Fido when introducing a new supplement into their lives. While most dogs do not have any side effects with the supplement, it's always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to Fido.
According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, “the recommended dose of turmeric for dogs is 15mg – 20mg per pound of body weight per day, or more simply put, 1/8 to 1/4 tsp per day for every 10lbs in weight.”
Experts also state that turmeric tends to leave the body fairly quickly. Therefore, it is recommended to add small amounts to your dog's diet with every meal throughout the day.
Turmeric Side Effects
Because of the fact that turmeric is all natural, it is generally regarded as being very safe. However, there are a few potential side effects that we want our readers to be aware of.
First, turmeric is a blood thinner making it a powerful agent for reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack. However, if your dog is already on another medication that is also a blood thinner, this could present some problems.
Additionally, turmeric is a binding agent, making it a great remedy for dogs with diarrhea. However, if the dog is dehydrated, it could pose issues and lead them to have constipation.
In humans, there have been a few issues reported when too much turmeric has been added into the diet. These adverse reactions include:
- Gallbladder contractions
- Increased bruising
- Decreased blood sugar
- Interference with iron binding
Again, these reactions were found in humans and only occurred when too much turmeric was added into the diet. In the vast majority of cases, no adverse reactions were reported in dogs.
As with many matters in life, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Because turmeric for dogs has so many wonderful qualities you may think that it's best to load up Fido with all the goodness. Please don't do this! Turmeric is great when used appropriately. Too much turmeric can lead to your pup not being able to absorb the herb. Always consult with your holistic vet regarding the appropriate dosage for your dog's individual needs. We recommend starting off slowly. There's no need to rush the process.
What's That Smell?!
As strange as it sounds, some pet owners report that their dog smells like cat urine after taking turmeric. While this certainly isn't a hazardous side effect, we understand that it can be unpleasant. We recommend adding cinnamon to the turmeric supplement in order to counteract the smell. Cinnamon is another great anti-inflammatory agent.
Warning for the Warming Spice
Finally, turmeric is a warming spice. Therefore, if you live in a very hot climate and your dog is always seeking a cold ground to lay on, turmeric may not be the best supplement for them.
Turmeric and CBD
By now you've likely heard of the incredible herb, CBD. CBD is making substantial and vital strides in the world of holistic wellness. From treating dogs suffering from epilepsy to reducing cancer cells to (you guessed it) eliminating inflammation, CBD finally getting the attention it deserves.
Another great fact about CBD is that it works wonderfully when paired with other supplements, such as turmeric. CBD and turmeric work hand in hand to reduce inflammation, ease symptoms of countless conditions, as well as prevent diseases from developing.
CBD and turmeric also work great in cases where conventional medicine has to be used. Sadly, we understand that sometimes when a condition is finally diagnosed, it has progressed. Using CBD and turmeric alongside conventional treatment such as chemotherapy can actually help the medicine work more effectively while eliminating the potential for adverse reactions.
With our Relief CBD Dog Treats pet owners have the ability to get both CBD and turmeric in one delicious treat that Fido is sure to love.
Turmeric for Dogs: The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, your dog's health is incredibly important. Since Fido isn't able to tell you exactly what is wrong at any given time, pet owners have to be implicitly aware of warning signs and act appropriately when necessary. However, a simple trip to the vet is not where the responsibilities end. Being able to recognize that conventional medications come with a slew of potential consequences is also incredibly important. Always do your homework and know the side effects of any new drug before administering it to Fido.
Whenever possible (the majority of the time), we recommend finding an all natural, non-toxic alternative to conventional medications. Supplements such as turmeric and CBD are two powerful and wonderful options but there are so many available. Speak with a holistic vet and find a natural treatment plan that will work best for your dog. Trust us, your pup will thank you for it!