Turmeric has become extremely popular over the past decade as people mainly use it to manage long-term pain and inflammation caused by chronic conditions such as arthritis and other osteo-skeletal issues.
But how about giving your dog some turmeric? How much is safe? Can it interfere with other meds? We’re answering all of these questions and more in today’s article.
Before we move on, though, we’d like to note that turmeric is absorbed only when it’s combined with ground black pepper; otherwise, it provides no benefits at all.
Is turmeric safe for dogs?
Turmeric has been used in the Indian and Thai cuisines for many, many years, which is why people assume that it’s perfectly safe to eat and even apply to rashes, in some cases. But while this might be true to some extent for people, not enough turmeric studies were performed on dogs and cats.
However, it is safe to assume that turmeric is generally safe so long as you don’t overdo it in terms of quantity and frequency of administration. It’s also safe to give to dogs that do not have diabetes or do not take any other medications at this time.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory effects, and it is now present in a wide variety of dog supplements for managing pain and inflammation in conditions such as arthritis, allergies, kidney disease, cancer, dental problems, and even chronic digestive inflammation.
How much turmeric are dogs allowed to have?
Dogs vary a lot in terms of size, so it would be impossible to provide you with a universal rule when it comes to the amount of turmeric that is safe, and that can provide your canine companion with the right benefits.
Check out the table below.
|Dog size||Breed example||Recommended amount|
|Up to 10 kg (22 pounds)||Dachshund||¼ tsp|
|11-20 kg (24-44 pounds)||Jack Russell Terrier||½ tsp|
|21-40 kg (46-88 pounds)||Cocker Spaniel||¾ tsp|
|40kg+(88 pounds+)||Newfoundland||1 tsp|
Benefits of giving your dog turmeric
It acts as an anti-inflammatory medication
One of the biggest issues of pet parents trying to manage chronic health issues in their canine friends is that they can’t use NSAIDs or corticosteroids for a long time. Synthetic drugs have serious side effects, especially when they are administered long-term.
Turmeric has been linked with lowering inflammation in a number of conditions, from cancer to allergies and dental disease. While there are some studies according to which turmeric can be more effective than ibuprofen, we wouldn’t go as far as to say that this applies in all cases.
It might treat digestive distress
Due to the same anti-inflammatory properties that we were mentioning above, turmeric has a beneficial effect on chronic inflammatory digestive issues such as IBS. Additional tests and studies should have to be performed in order to fully sustain this statement, however.
It provides pain relief to dogs suffering from arthritis
This is perhaps the only well-documented benefit that turmeric does offer. Combined with ground black pepper, turmeric does have a number of positive effects on a dog’s mobility and pain levels, especially geriatric dogs suffering from arthritis and other joint health problems.
What types of turmeric are there?
The typical forms in which turmeric is currently available are the following:
- Chewable tablets
All of these have advantages and disadvantages. The powder can be mixed into your dog’s wet food (so long as you also add a very, very small amount of ground pepper to it, too). The liquid is said to be absorbed by the dog’s body easier and faster.
As for the chewable tablets, they can be a good choice for dogs that have nothing against taking pills, especially if they are flavored and smell like bacon.
You can make your own turmeric product at home by getting turmeric powder. You can create a paste by mixing ½ cup of powder with 1 cup of water and 1.5 teaspoons of ground black pepper. You should also add some oil to the mix, whether ghee, olive oil, or coconut oil, as this makes the paste a lot more appealing to dogs.
Another option that you have available is to cook some turmeric gravy – which would basically mean that you’d add turmeric and ground black pepper into a condiment-free, salt-free, and spice-free gravy.
For an even easier serving idea, you can simply add turmeric powder and black pepper powder to some olive oil, pour it into a spray bottle, and spray it onto your dog’s kibble.
Since not enough studies about the administration of turmeric to animals have been performed, it’s difficult to say whether turmeric might cause any adverse reactions or not.
Another aspect worth noting, in this case, is that turmeric might be able to interact with other medications. For this reason, we recommend that you have a talk with your vet before deciding to give turmeric to your canine friend.
Several examples where turmeric might not be a good idea are if your dog is going to have surgery soon or if he or she is taking medication for lowering blood sugar (in diabetes). Turmeric has blood sugar lowering properties, too.
Turmeric is also known to cause constipation, especially in dogs that suffer from chronic constipation or those that are dehydrated. It’s a warming spice, which means that it should never be given to dogs that tend to spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun, particularly in the summer.
A final note
Make sure to always talk to your veterinarian before deciding to add anything to your dog’s diet, whether it’s a treat or a supplement such as turmeric. Also, ask your vet to recommend a safe supplement.
Avoid getting your turmeric powder from overseas and vendors that aren’t reputable as these products might not have gone through the extensive testing processes put in place by organizations such as the FDA.
Take all of the statements about turmeric that you come across online with a grain of salt. Most of the ‘proof’ that shows the benefits that turmeric can have on dog health is empirical, at least at this point in time.