In addition to being a popular spice across the world, it is fast becoming popular as an alternate treatment for diverse medical conditions. Now, many of us are using turmeric to treat various conditions in our dogs. Here is a detailed look at the health benefits of turmeric for dogs.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa L., is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the ginger family. This perennial plant is commonly found in India, some parts of Asia (including China), and Africa. Although it has a bitter taste, it is widely used in food curries as well as for coloring cheese and butter. What's more, traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine practitioners have used turmeric for centuries to treat skin diseases and as an anti-inflammatory drug.
Why Is Turmeric So Good For Our Health?
In recent years, medical researchers have found that curcumin, a substance found in turmeric, has numerous health benefits. Some of the health benefits of turmeric include:
1. Anti-cancer properties
According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, turmeric has anti-cancer properties. In particular, turmeric has delivered promising results in treating pancreatic, colorectal, prostate, lung, and oral cancer according to a medical review published in the journal of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS).
2. Relieving osteoarthritis symptoms
An article published by the University of Maryland Medical Center claims that researchers have found that people with osteoarthritis experienced less pain and disability after taking turmeric. This is because turmeric's main compound, curcumin, has anti-inflammation properties. Moreover, a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that turmeric has no adverse effects and exhibited anti-rheumatic properties similar to those exerted by conventional osteoarthritis medications.
3. Reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IrBS) symptoms
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common and chronic problem that affects the large intestines. Some of the common symptoms associated with IrBS include constipation, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain. Luckily, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that turmeric reduced the prevalence of IrBS by up to 60%.
4. Reduce symptoms of Uveitis (inflammation the eye)
A scientific study published in the Phytotherapy Research journal found that turmeric reduces inflammation of the uvea (middle layer of the eye). This is significant because the steroids, which are normally used to treat uveitis, tend to have adverse effects.
5. Reduce the signs of Vitiligo (loss of skin pigment)
Research has found that the curcuminoids found in turmeric have anti-oxidant properties that cause significant re-pigmentation in people with vitiligo. Remember vitiligo is a skin disorder characterized by the destruction of cells that produce skin pigment.
6. Makes a healthier heart
Turmeric can help maintain a heart health by reducing cholesterol oxidation, reducing plaque buildup and reducing reduce bad cholesterol. A study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that turmeric significantly lowered overall cholesterol levels.
7. Prevents strokes and improves stroke damage
There are studies in animals at the Medical College of Georgia, that have found turmeric can regenerate brain cells after being affected by a stroke. They also found that turmeric acts as a blood thinner and reduces the size of the clots and may even be able to prevent a stroke from occurring.
Does Turmeric Work For Dogs?
Yes! Although the health benefits discussed above apply to humans, dogs too can enjoy similar benefits since they are genetically similar to humans. Additional benefits for giving our dogs turmeric include:
1. Prevents bone cancer
A compound derived from turmeric prevents the growth of bone cancer cells and accounts for 85% of all bone tumors in dogs.
2. Reduce and prevents arthritis
Scientists have found that turmeric has a significant therapeutic effect in dogs with osteoarthritis due to it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In fact, researchers at the University of Arizona found that turmeric prevents the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in dogs.
3. Relieves Skin Conditions
Skin diseases are common in dogs and generally occur as a result of allergies, bacteria and immune conditions. Common treatments include ointments, shampoos or a change of diet More intrusive medication will include steroids and anti-inflammatories. The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties in turmeric will help to reduce and prevent your dog's skin conditions.
How To Feed Turmeric To Dogs
I would highly recommend using a high-quality, organic brand of turmeric so that you know exactly what you are getting and how much you are feeding your dog.
Most dogs love the taste of turmeric so to start with, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on your dog's food. Another option is giving your dog a supplement that contains turmeric. If you do this, ensure you read the labels and understand the quantity and ingredients. Remember to give your dog lots of water afterwards to prevent constipation.
Turmeric and Black pepper
Even though turmeric is so good for us, it is not generally not well absorbed by our bodies. The properties of black or cayenne pepper increases the bioavailability of Turmeric by 2000%. So if you are going to take turmeric, ensure you add the pepper for full effect.
Dosage of turmeric for your dog
Turmeric for health have a table to guide the dosage for your dog.
Your dog's weight
Up to 10 lb
1/16 - 1/8
0.0625 - 0.125
10 - 20lb
1/8 - 1/4
0.125 - 1.25
20 - 50 lb
1/4 - 1
1.25 - 5
50 - 100lb
5 - 10
Turmeric paste is often called Golden Paste and is an easy way to administer turmeric to your dog. Here is one popular recipe:
Here is a video from Elmo's kitchen that shows how the Golden Paste is made.
Use the dosage chart above to determine how much to give your dog. Once the amount is determined you may water it down again and pour over your dog’s food. I recommend starting with small doses build up the dose gradually to prevent any initial stomache upsets due to your dog being used to the paste.
When it's not practical for you to make your own golden paste, there are always excellent alternatives. For example these top selling, highly rated Turmeric Chews by Amazing Nutritionals, these also include vitamins, Omega 3 fish oil salmon, probiotics, glucosamine, chondroitin, msm for overall health.
When Not To Give Your Dog Turmeric
Turmeric is relatively safe when taken according to the recommended dosage. However, dog owners should exercise caution because turmeric can interact with other herbs/supplements or medications. As such, you should consult your vet before giving your dog turmeric.
It is also not advisable to give turmeric to pregnant or breastfeeding dogs.
Since turmeric acts like a blood thinner, avoid giving your dog turmeric if it is scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure or has liver of kidney disease.
To get your dog used to the addition of turmeric to your dog’s diet, add it gradually so that their digestive system can get used to it.
Turmeric is a common spice used to flavor and color foods but more importantly, it has a myriad of health benefits. Why not try adding turmeric to your dog’s diet to significantly improve his health and to treat and prevent numerous doggy diseases.