Benefits of Turmeric for Dogs

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There are a number of natural herbs, spices and plants for dogs that are often considered outside the realm of “normal,” but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some serious benefits to exploring options that are off the beaten path.

We’ve been talking lately about the benefits of green tea, for instance, and have come to some surprising conclusions. Another natural treatment worth exploring is turmeric.

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family that is native to tropical South Asia. Called Curcuma longa, turmeric is gathered for its roots – much in the same way ginger is gathered. These root stalks, called “rhizomes,” are generally boiled and dried. After that, they are ground into powder. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, housing all of its beneficial properties.

Interestingly, turmeric was first used as a dye. It was also adapted as a part of Hindu medicine, largely because of its phytochemicals. Some research has indicated that the phytochemicals in turmeric have reduced the severity of lung injuries in mice, while other studies have revealed it to have anti-fungal properties.

In South Asian culture, turmeric is invaluable. It is used for its antiseptic properties and is used on cuts, scrapes and burns. It is also used as a dietary supplement and has been known to help with stomach problems.

What are the benefits of turmeric for dogs?

There are a number of recorded benefits of turmeric for dogs, but any new treatment of any kind should be discussed with your dog’s holistic veterinarian. Always err on the side of caution before embarking on any new treatment paths.

Because all dog breeds are subject to arthritis, turmeric can play an important role due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In dogs that have a little extra weight, turmeric can help with the painful inflammation that comes when arthritis takes hold.  It tops the list for natural remedies for treating dogs with arthritis.

Curcumin is also a blood thinner, which makes it an essential component when it comes to reducing the risk of blood clots and ridding the body of excess cholesterol. Because clots can lead to a number of problems for dogs, like strokes and heart attacks, turmeric becomes very helpful indeed.

Curcumin also stimulates bile production in the liver, which aids in digesting food properly because it helps break down dietary fats. Active dogs require diets that have at least 20 percent fat, so a little turmeric can go a long way with respect to aiding in overall digestion. Dogs that are pregnant, nursing or underweight require more fat in the diet, which means that, you guessed it, more turmeric could help.

There are some reports emerging, albeit somewhat tentatively, that turmeric could play a role in fighting cancer. Animal and test tube studies have revealed the herb’s capability to play a role in preventative medicine as an antioxidant. It has also been proven to shut down the blood vessels that feed cancer cells in some cases, although more research is certainly needed on the subject.

I highly recommend using an organic turmeric root powder for treating cancer or arthritis in your dog.

What’s the downside?

As with almost anything, there are some downsides to using turmeric.

It’s a binding agent, for one thing, which means that it can lead to constipation in some dogs. Because of this possibility, dogs should use plenty of water along with turmeric. Yogurt can also be administered to balance out the digestive flora. **Dogs that are prone to kidney stones should not be given turmeric since it increases urinary oxalate levels.

Also, some dogs are sensitive to turmeric and develop stomach upset.  If this happens, it’s possible that you’re giving too much or that your dog is simply sensitive to the  herb when added directly to their food.

Overall, however, most case studies have revealed many positive effects with dogs taking turmeric.  Nonetheless, better safe than sorry.  Studies in people conclude that turmeric can have a negative effect if taking drugs for acid indigestion such as Tagamet, etc.  They also indicate that it can have an effect on those taking prescription drugs for diabetes or if taking aspirin.

How do I get it?

Turmeric is available in a number of ways, from the traditional powder to supplements. In health food stores, it is available in capsules usually in the range of 250 to 500 mg. Depending on the dog, the dosage for health benefits is usually around 15 to 20 mg per pound of body weight. *See my comment below for more specific dosage amounts.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan S January 14, 2013 at 1:10 am

I have an 11 year old Golden Retriever and she is currently taking Medicaments for her arthritis. We were told by the woman who sells us our raw diet that tumeric would be really good for Holly. We are willing to try this as Medicaments is very expensive. If tumeric is just as effective or better, then I would start her on tumeric. Holly weighs about 70lbs. How much would she need to take on a daily basis? Please tell me using teaspoon or tablespoon measurement only if possible. Thank you.

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admin January 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm

You should use an organic Turmeric like the one I mention in the article and dosage for Turmeric powder can fluctuate. While the norm seems to be as follows; these same recommended daily dosages have been doubled:
1/4 tsp small dogs
1/2 tsp medium dogs
1 tsp large dogs

Turmeric is one of many natural inflammatories. It’s like anything else though; it works for some dogs and others it doesn’t. If it doesn’t try other alternatives. Be sure to check out all of our pages on dog pain and dog arthritis.

A natural product that gets excellent reviews is called Lubrysyn and it’s used for both dogs and horses. You can read the reviews on Amazon.

Hope this helps

Janie

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Bev March 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Hi,

I tried adding Turmeric to my dog’s food and it upset his stomach. What about turmeric added to dog biscuits? I recently purchased a natural homemade pkg of dog biscuits and turmeric was one of its ingredients. I also tried Wagatha’s senior biscuits because they add turmeric as well. And if I wanted to bake biscuits how much should I add? Thanks so much!! Great site!!!!!!!

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janie knetzer March 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Hi Bev:
First, “thanks so much” for your compliment regarding my site. I’m glad you like it. Yes, turmeric can cause stomach upset for some dogs and people too, so it’s best to stop feeding it when that happens. Regarding how much to include in dog biscuit recipes; I’m going to say roughly 2 teaspoons to 3-3/4 cups of flour.

Hope that helps.

Janie :o

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Bev March 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Janie thanks so much!
Cubbie has a eyelid wart and when I started giving him either the homemade biscuits or wagatha’s the wart started to shrink, I forgot where I read the article, I think I googled natural remedy for dog eye warts and turmeric came up. Keep on doing what you do, I so love your articles :)

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janie knetzer March 8, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Awe, thanks so much Bev. I really appreciate that.

Glad to hear that the turmeric was shrinking the wart on the eyelid. I don’t think I heard of that before. Great to know!

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Sandra March 28, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Hi Janie, and Bev,
My little girl, Quila (short for that strong Mexican drink) loves her dinner. She has never liked dog biscuits of any kind. I put less than 1/8 tsp in her food. As far as pepper corns are concerned. It amounts to very few “grains” of the pepper. Not even close to the amount of tumeric.
I also make my own kefir which is plan to incorporate in her dinner. It will actually be some of the kefir grains. Lots of wonderful probiotics for her little tummy, even though she has not had any tummy problems. I believe she is more active so it must be holding arthritis in check. She will be 9 on Aug. 9 2013
Sandra

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Sandra March 28, 2013 at 2:17 am

Hi there, I began giving tumeric to my chihuahua quite awhile ago. I think about a year. She has a tumor between her 2 front upper teeth. The tumor quit growing. Then a few months ago I read that black pepper makes it work better. I have a pepper mill I had on hand that comes full of pepper corns. I started giving about 1/2 twist to her food with the tumeric. Her tumor is almost gone now. It didn’t start shrinking until I added the pepper. I also add a little diatomaceous earth to keep her worm free.

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janie knetzer March 28, 2013 at 2:20 am

Hey Sandra:
Wow! Thanks for sharing; that’s wonderful about the tumor in her mouth shrinking like that. I love stories like this. What a great job; keep up the good work!

Janie :o

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Jim April 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm

@ Sandra..

I’ve been reading up on Turmeric, and you’re right the body will absorb the Turmeric better when you blend it with Black pepper. It’s highly recommended that it is blended with black pepper, so the body will absorb it.

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Bev April 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm

That is very interesting Jim, maybe I will add a “pinch” to Cubbie’s food because he already eats biscuits w/ turmeric.

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Bev March 28, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Very interesting Sandra, i would try pepper corns too but my lab’s stomach is very sensitive. I just ordered a 3lb box of Wagatha’s senior biscuits which has turmeric baked in.

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janie knetzer March 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Let us know if they help or not Bev!

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Bev March 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Oh I first tried the biscuits several months ago and ran out, but the wart on his eye was shrinking and so when I ran out and could not buy them until now, naturally the wart started to grow again.

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Bev March 28, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Oh I understand :)
Cubbie does have some Arthritis in his shoulder. He is 9 yrs old going on toddler 2 ! LOL!!

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Jeffrey August 20, 2013 at 11:58 pm

We just lost one of our beloved miniature schnauzers to cancer last week. Now I’m interested in trying this with her daughter who is still with us as an aid to prevent cancer in this little dear one. I don’t want her to suffer the same fate as her mom.

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