Delicious golden honey often appeals to animals as much as it does to humans. Just think of bears eating honey. Winnie the Pooh is not the only bear who likes to eat honey! Bears really love honey – and so do many dogs. Is it safe for dogs to eat honey? If you’re eating honey and your dog is giving you “the look,” can you give your dog some? We have the answers you need to do about whether dogs can eat honey.
Can dogs eat honey?
Honey contains natural sugars and, according to some sources, even has some medicinal properties. Honey can be given to dogs and puppies in small amounts. As usual, there are a few dogs that should not eat honey for certain health reasons.
Many health claims are made about honey for humans. Not all of them have evidence to support them. There are a few cases where honey is used for specific reasons for dog health.
Facts about honey
Bees make honey from sugary substances found on flowers. Humans collect honey from wild bee colonies or from bee hives when bees are kept domestically. Humans have been collecting honey from bees for thousands of years. Honey has about the same sweetness as table sugar. Most microorganisms don’t grow in honey so honey that is sealed doesn’t spoil. Jars of sealed honey have been found in Egyptian tombs that were just as good as when they were placed in the tomb – and no bacteria had grown in the honey over the course of several thousand years. For this reason, honey has been used in some cultures as a wound dressing, since it prevents bacterial growth.
Some of the honey you see in stores has been mixed with other sugars, syrups, or flavors so it is not pure honey. A product that is labeled as “honey” in the United States must be a pure honey product. Check the label carefully if you are buying a honey product.
Honey can have different tastes, based on the area where the bees collected substance to make the honey. There are also regional differences in the taste of honey.
Honey can be processed and sold in several ways or sold straight from the beehive.
Raw honey is honey that exists the way it is taken from the beehive. It is not heated. It may contain some pollen and pieces of wax.
Strained honey has been passed through a mesh to remove larger particles without removing pollen, minerals, or enzymes.
Comb honey is still in the bees’ honeycomb.
Honey is mainly made up of fructose and glucose. It is composed of 17 percent water and 82 percent carbohydrates. It is low in fat content, dietary fiber, and protein.
Is honey healthy?
In small amounts, honey is considered to be safe for dogs to eat. Most health claims are yet to be proven.
One old folk remedy for humans recommends adding honey and lemon together or mixing in a tea to soothe a sore throat. A small amount of honey could also help your dog’s throat if he is coughing.
Some dog lovers praise honey as a possible treatment for seasonal allergies in dogs that are allergic to pollen, if you can buy local honey that has the kind of pollens that bother your dog. However, the scientific evidence to support these claims is inconclusive.
Some diets for dogs with various forms of cancer, such as canine lymphoma, also recommend the use of honey but, again, those claims have not been proven.
Some sources have also suggested giving honey for digestive problems. Honey, which is antimicrobial, has a mild negative effect on gut bacteria and probiotics, but it does seem to help some dogs with gastrointestinal problems.
Honey has been recommended as a temporary treatment for a dog (or child) that is suspected of ingesting a button cell or watch battery to lower the risk of injury to the esophagus caused by the battery before a veterinarian (or doctor) can remove the battery.
Are there concerns about giving your dog honey?
In the past, some dog breeders have used honey as glucose in a formula for nursing puppies with poor results. Breeders and others with newborn puppies are advised not to use honey in puppy formula today. Use karo syrup/corn syrup or talk to your vet about a safe glucose to use in homemade puppy formula. Human infants can develop botulism after consuming honey contaminated with botulism spores and so can puppies.
Any dogs that have a weakened immune system could be at risk from bacterial or fungal infection from eating honey though this may not happen very often. There is no good evidence that many dogs become sick from eating honey.
Dogs that have diabetes should not be given honey for obvious reasons. Honey and other sugars can be dangerous to their blood sugar and insulin levels. Ask your veterinarian if your dog has a health condition and you are curious about giving him honey.
Remember that giving your dog too much honey, even if he is in good health, is not good for him. Honey is full of simple sugars and too much sugar can lead to weight gain for dogs.
How should you give your dog honey?
Many dog cookie and treat recipes include honey as a sweetener in small amounts. These recipes are usually safe for your dog to eat as long as you follow the recipe.
If your dog is a picky eater, you can also try placing just a little honey on his food to see if it will tempt him to eat. This is sometimes helpful with senior dogs who like the sweet flavor.
Most dogs can eat small amounts of honey safely. Some health claims have been made about honey over the centuries but the evidence for most of them is inconclusive at this time. There are lots of good recipes for dog cookies and treats that use honey if you are looking for a delicious way to add some honey to your dog’s diet.