Touted as the “Nectar of the gods” is honey. Rich in natural sugars and a wealth of medicinal vitamins and minerals, it has earned a spot in our pantries.
Thanks to its anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties, the health tonic is equally a food and health supplement. Honey is believed to treat infections from sore throat, stomach ulcers, inflammation, and allergies.
With a delicious taste, soothing abilities, and energy-boosting effects- you can’t help but wonder if all this goodness can trickle down to your pup. Canines also have a sweet tooth and won’t give you a side-eye when you toss them a scoop of honey.
But, if you’re thinking of rewarding your pup with this natural treat or if your pooch raided the honey pot, you need to know this first.
Should Dogs Eat Honey?
Absolutely. Honey is safe for your four-legged friend to eat. But there’s a caveat- you should only offer it in small amounts. The delicious treat is one of the most versatile and potent natural remedies, and it’s one of the ingredients in most dog treats.
But, honey is high in calories and sugar, which can be problematic for dogs. Honey is a high glycemic food. A teaspoon of honey has about 21 calories and 6g of sugar which is quite a lot for such a small amount.
If your pup consumes too much honey, they are at risk of becoming obese or diabetic, especially if they don’t get balanced nutrition or adequate exercise.
Benefits of Honey to Dogs
As long as you’re not emptying the entire jar over your doggo’s kibble, honey is safe for your furry companion. It is an excellent source of vitamins, including natural sugars, pollen grains, minerals, enzymes, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphate, and sulfur.
Here’s how your dog will benefit from its goodness.
Supports Body Functions
Honey is loaded with essential vitamins that support your dog in various ways.
- Vitamin C is crucial for bone health, strong teeth and cartilage, repairing body tissues, and boosting immunity.
- Vitamin B supports cell growth and health, boosts energy levels, prevents infections, enhances cell metabolism, and supports brain function.
- Vitamin D balances phosphate and calcium levels in the body. These nutrients are necessary for healthy bones, muscles, and teeth.
- Vitamin E provides antioxidant properties that fight infection and illness. Additionally, it contributes to healthy skin and clear vision.
- Vitamin K is a family of vitamins essential for wound healing and blood clotting.
Relief for Kennel Cough
You can give your puppy a small amount of honey to soothe a sore throat, minimize inflammation, and cure kennel cough caused by bacterial and viral pathogens. But first, check with your vet if it’s okay to feed Chewy honey for this purpose.
Raw honey is loaded with natural sugars that are easily metabolized to provide quick energy. The burst of energy promotes vitality and endurance in pups.
Honey is an effective treatment for various wounds, including hot spots, minor burns, infections, and pressure sores. It can also help clean wounds by pulling edema out of the tissues, eliminating foul odor, and forming a protective cover over the wound.
If your dog has a cut or wound, use raw honey or clinical-grade honey as a topical salve. You can smear a thin layer of raw honey using a cotton swab and cover it with a dressing. Honey contains antimicrobial or inhibin compounds, including hydrogen peroxide, phenolic acid, and flavonoids, that contribute to its healing properties.
Phenolic acid and flavonoids are anti-inflammatory and speed up healing, while hydrogen peroxide is a bacteria-killing antiseptic.
Related: 23 Dog Skin Conditions (And How To Cure Them)
The pollen in honey contains quercetin. This is a bioflavonoid with antihistamines that minimize allergic symptoms such as itchiness and watery eyes.
Nevertheless, before offering your pup honey as a medicinal aid, you should consult your vet first. There’s no scientific evidence linking honey to preventing seasonal allergies in pups. Still, anecdotal evidence shows that if Fido’s allergies are triggered by pollen in the honey they eat, it might be helpful.
Relieve GI Upset
If your pup has digestive issues like colitis, gastritis, diarrhea, constipation, and indigestion, some honey can help soothe their stomach since it contains gut-friendly prebiotics and probiotics.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Honey?
Yes. You can never go wrong with raw honey when choosing the best honey for your canine companion. It is the purest form since it hasn’t been heated, pasteurized, or processed. Raw honey is only strained to remove beeswax particles, then bottled.
So the essential enzymes and antioxidants remain intact. But commercial honey is pasteurized and ultra-filtered for clarity and color. The manufacturing process removes some of honey’s health benefits and adds unnecessary additives.
However, unprocessed, unrefined honey may contain botulism spores since it’s not heated to kill bacteria. If you have an older dog with a clean bill of health, raw honey shouldn’t cause any health issues. But puppies and immuno-compromised pups shouldn’t eat raw honey, including those who have recently undergone surgery.
Can Dogs Eat Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is considered the most beneficial honey to humans and, to some extent, pets. Of all the types of honey available, it takes the crown for the most nutrients and medicinal properties. Native to New Zealand, Manuka honey has more enzymes and four times more nutrition than regular honey.
Can Honey Make My Dog Sick?
Yes. Honey can make your pup sick or worsen their illness in some instances.
Although raw honey is safe for older pups, it should not be fed to puppies, obese, diabetic dogs, and pups with compromised immune systems. Raw honey may contain botulism spores (clostridium botulinum) that release dangerous toxins into the digestive tract. These toxins can cause severe paralysis in dogs, especially puppies under one year old.
Puppies are young and still growing. It’s best to give them a balanced diet from high-quality dog food formulated for puppies. On the other hand, senior pups and humans can better tolerate botulism spores because of their robust immune systems.
Signs of botulism in pups include paralysis in the legs, weakness, and unresponsiveness. If you suspect your dog has botulism, rush them to the vet. Botulism can be cured if effectively treated.
If your hound is struggling with weight, has an issue with dental cavities, or diabetes, giving your dog honey in any form is detrimental to their health.
Stick to low sugar, calorie snacks like carrots, cucumbers, apples, and blueberries. If your pup consumes too much honey, monitor for signs of stomach distress, including vomiting and diarrhea, and alert your vet immediately.
Honey should also not be fed to dogs who’ve previously had an allergic reaction to bee stings as it can cause skin lesions, oral ulcers, and other allergic reactions.
What Quantity of Honey Can My Dog Eat?
Although honey is brimming with vital nutrients and vitamins that can benefit your furry friend, one teaspoon in a day is more than enough. But as with any “human food,” consult your vet before starting your dog on honey.
Ideally, less is more for smaller breeds. Here’s a guideline for how much honey is okay for your dog:
- 0-10lbs: ¼ teaspoon of honey per day
- 10-20lbs: ½ teaspoon per day
- 20-50lbs: 1 teaspoon daily
- 50lbs+: at most two teaspoons daily
As with most new foods, it’s best to start small to get your pup acquainted with the smell and taste. You can add more with time but don’t exceed the recommended amount for their size. Vets recommend that your doggo should get less than 10 percent of their calories from treats since a well-balanced diet should meet their nutritional needs.
Since honey is not a dog staple, it is best to remove all other treats from your dog’s diet on the days you’re serving honey to compensate for any extra calories. Also, remember to give their teeth a good brushing to prevent tooth decay.
How to Feed Honey to Dogs
You could just let Fido lick the honey from your spoon, but why don’t you try out creative ways to add honey to your pup’s diet.
- Smear a little honey on a bone, slice of apple, banana, or other dog-safe fruit.
- Make a honey popsicle by blending assorted dog fruits and honey, then freezing for some hours. This will make a refreshing, tasty treat during the hot summer.
- Drizzle a spoonful of honey over your dog’s treats.
- Season your dog’s regular kibble with some honey to sweeten his meal.
- Add honey while baking your homemade treats for Chewy.
- Prepare a tasty homemade treat for your dog by combining honey with peanut butter, plain yogurt, pumpkin puree, and garnish with a cookie or biscuit.
- Make herbal honey – use an assortment of dried herbs safe for dogs with antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties like lavender, lemon balm, and oregano. Steep the herbs in a honey jar and keep them sealed in a warm place for two weeks. Use a cheesecloth filter and strain the herbs. Herbal honey is more beneficial to dogs than regular honey.
- A creative way to get your furry friend to take their medicine or supplements is to hide them in a spoonful of honey.
Honey is a tasty treat brimming with nutrients essential for the optimum health of our furry friends. Nevertheless, moderation is vital, especially for diabetic, immuno-compromised, allergic, and overweight dogs.
You should serve no more than a teaspoon in a day for small dogs and a tablespoon for large dogs to prevent weight gain and diabetes.
If you have to feed your dog honey, ensure it’s the raw kind and skip the store-bought one, which is heat processed and contains low-quality ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup.