Turmeric for Dogs: How To Safely Use It

by janie knetzer

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turmericRegular use of turmeric in the diet is common place in many parts of the world.

There are a number of natural herbs, spices and plants for dogs that are often considered outside the realm of “normal,” but offer serious benefits that work just as well for our 4 legged friends as they do for people.

For instance, dogs who suffer with joint inflammation or memory issues may benefit when turmeric aka  indian saffron is regularly added to the diet.  It provides powerful nutrients  for dogs and owners.

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.

Pain: 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.  However, I’m a firm believer in greens and the benefits they have of the body as a whole (including pain control), so I also recommend adding greens to the diet.

Blood Clots: 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.  Although cholesterol doesn’t effect dogs like it does people, clots can lead to a number of problems for dogs, like strokes and heart attacks and turmeric becomes very helpful indeed.

Irritable Bowel Disease: 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.

Cancer: 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.

Dementia:  In India where turmeric is used regularly among many; the number of people suffering from dementia and similar memory related diseases is considered very low.

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I LOVE Starwest Botanical products. I routinely use them for myself and my own dogs.  You can research or purchase the same organic Turmeric that I use here.

 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.
  • Studies in people conclude that turmeric can have a negative effect if taking drugs for acid indigestion such as Tagamet, etc.  So, I’d recommend avoid feeding turmeric and acid reducers at the same time (hopefully you’re not feeding acid reducers regularly anyway).
  • They also indicate that it can have an effect on those taking prescription drugs for diabetes or if taking aspirin.  So, same applies here; I would avoid giving turmeric and diabetic drugs together, and if you’re giving your dog aspirin, I also wouldn’t give the two together.  Give one or the other.

Overall, however, most case studies have revealed many positive effects with dogs taking turmeric.  Nonetheless, better safe than sorry.

What’s the Dosage Amount?

Depending on the dog, the dosage for health benefits is usually around one eighth to one quarter teaspoon per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight.  I always recommend starting slow and working up to the recommended dosage.  Especially if you’re including other supplements.

{ 40 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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Jacob December 23, 2014 at 9:24 am

My dog has an enlarged heart which is causing fluid build up in the heart and lungs, and I think because of the pot belly he has got because of the condition, he is having trouble walking on his left leg. He had a fall when he was a pup, but the vet has never been able to find out what is wrong. He seems to think it’s arthritis and he was reluctant to give him pain killers probably because of his condition.

I have some turmeric powder I bought in the spice section at a supermarket, but it’s passed the use by date. I’ve heard most spices don’t actually go off, but they just lose potency. Would it still be okay to give him some?

I just want to ease his pain in any way possible.

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janie knetzer December 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Hi Jacob:

Thanks for writing in. Before you do anything, I suggest that you take action for his heart first through natural methods. Please see my article here that shares specific instructions and product recommendations with a high success rate for treating dogs with fluid in the heart.

With regards to the turmeric powder, it’s not going to hurt him, however, unfortunately, it’s probably not going to help much either UNLESS you get fresh and you use it correctly. You definitely need something stronger. They’ve come a long way with treating pain naturally. There are two additional products that I would like to see you add to his daily diet that will help with pain and quality of life. This one is a liquid that includes hyaluronic acid which helps tremendously with pain.

The other is called Cell Advance 880 which is antioxidant formula that will help significantly with your old boy’s immune system and fighting off his different health issues. I’ve recommended this product to many and the results are always very good.

So, while turmeric is good for fighting pain and inflammation, you definitely need additional supplements to help with his condition(s). I hope this information helps Jacob.

Janie

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Maria January 2, 2015 at 7:07 pm

My 14 year old shihtzu also has enlarged heart, I started to give her turmeric about 4 mos ago, and she is doing so well, she now sleep through the night, she also had fluid in her lungs because of her enlarge heart, and she stop coughing , she cough only when when she wants to eat. And she also was very stiff and barely could walk, now she walks faster and even made little jumps when my husband comes home. Turmeric saved my dog life, she will be around for a least another 5 years.

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janie knetzer January 3, 2015 at 3:06 am

Hi Maria!

Thank you so much for sharing this very uplifting story about your little Shi Tzu and how Turmeric made such a difference in the quality of her life. Good job!!!!

Janie

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Lita Marie Flood January 5, 2015 at 11:18 pm

Hi Janie,

Loved the article and will explore your site after I send this. :)

I have a MinPin that though she’s considered “geriatric” in age (19) she does not look (except for 1 cataract) nor act like it (challenges the other 6 dogs in our house and NEVER backs down). She’s been diagnosed with bladder cancer. I do not want to do invasive procedures or chemo and stress her out, plus be away from us for any length of time.

Anyway, I read a lot about tumeric and how it may help cancer, plus of course all the other health benefits it provides.

I got my box from Vitacost today with the tumeric. It’s from Frontier Natural Product Co-op and is certified organic.
Plus I got gelatin capsules to try to administer it that way, if I need to.

Candy (we didn’t name -her she was an owner surrender to us, when she kept running away and ending up at our house over 6 blocks away) in just under 10 lbs. (9.6) and I know that’s 1/4 tsp.

But how many times a day should I give it (seeing she already has cancer) and HOW should I give it to her. While she’s always been a good eater, I’m afraid of just adding it to her food, since she doesn’t get a lot anyway- maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup 2 times a day.

Do you have any suggestions? Should I try to mix it in her food? Should I try filling the plain gelatin capsule and giving it to her inside her favorite liver sausage, since she already take a milk thistle capsule every morning that way?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank-you so much.
Sincerely,
Lita M. Flood

P.S. Sorry for rambling. :)

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janie knetzer January 6, 2015 at 1:52 am

Hi Lita:

Thank you so much; I’m really glad that you liked the article. Doctor Dressler says that dosages for dogs are taken from human dosages and he recommends that for a large dog, you would use two grams twice daily. Based on that, I would use 1/8 tsp. or a little less twice daily for a 10 pound dog.

I recently read that the Chinese herb Yunnan Baiyao can be very helpful for dogs with kidney and bladder cancer. Here’s an excellent page from a gentleman who treated his own dog who had bladder cancer and recovered completely. He shares the diet and herbs that he used.

I hope this helps. Happy New Year and we’ll keep our fingers and paws crossed for your little, old girl.

Janie

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Kris January 14, 2015 at 6:03 pm

My 14 yr old border collie had a splenic tumor that ruptured & was removed. The pathology came back as Hemangosarcoma..no surprise.
I have been told to give turmeric & have read all the great things about it. I have found the dose for powder tumeric but I bought the whole organic root thinking that would be a better choice.
How much do I give as a whole root?
Thank you for your help!!
Kris littleson

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janie knetzer January 15, 2015 at 2:36 am

Hi Kris:
Powder form is certainly easier to work with, but you can use whole organic root. Some recommend that the best way to feed it to your dog would be to mix it with lecithin and water and create a slurry substance. The reason for this is that they say Turmeric doesn’t dissolve well in water and has bioavailability issues, and doesn’t easily enter the blood stream when taken orally. You can buy lecithin on line. I’ve never made it, but from what I read, the slurry will be sticky, so you have to add some water so you can work with it. Four parts water to one part lecithin-turmeric mixture is recommended.

However, I’m not completely confident that I agree with mixing a natural herb (which has been used for centuries without creating a slurry) into lecithin which is usually soy.

I suggest that you crush the fresh root and use this as a guide. One teaspoon of powder form is equal to roughly 3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of fresh. Approximately 2″ of fresh turmeric root will give you one tablespoon of fresh spice once grated. Do not feed on an empty stomach.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your old friend. FEED A GOOD DIET RICH IN QUALITY PROTEIN (MEATS) AND ADD SOME VEGGIES PLEASE SUCH AS STEAMED KALE AND SPINACH!!!! NO KIBBLE…..

Janie

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Katie January 15, 2015 at 10:49 am

About a month ago my 15 year old dog started wheezing and the vet thinks she has laryngeal paralysis and/or asthma. She was on an antibiotic and prednisone for a couple weeks and was back to her old self after a week. Once we lowered the prednisone to every other day she started wheezing again and was back at the vet. (Its bad, the only way she can breathe is with her nose sticking straight out) The vet put her back on the prednisone every day and wants to keep her on it forever since its working. I’m really not comfortable with that since Copper is extremely healthy for being almost 16 and I know how bad long term prednisone use can be. (She still plays and runs like a puppy).

I started researching natural alternatives to NSAID since I don’t like the side effect that can come from those either. The 3 things I found recommended were tumeric, quercetin and bromelain. I started giving her the prednisone every other day to wean her off of it and on the days she doesn’t get that I give her quercetin with bromelain. She also gets Sam-E and milk thistle (she has high liver enzymes/unknown cause), fish oil, vitamin E and a B complex every day. So far she hasn’t started wheezing again and she has almost completely stopped limping from her arthritis.

After all of that my question is this: From everything I’ve read it says not to give the quercetin for longer than 3 months and I was wondering does that apply to tumeric also? I know that in people its recommended to switch up/stop taking herbs for a time and assume that applies to dogs also. I was planning on trying tumeric after the 3 months of quercetin/bromelain but if she could be on tumeric for longer than I’d rather do that.

Sorry it was a bit long. I adopted Copper when she was 12 so I’ve only had a few years with her and would like to keep her healthy.

Thanks,
Katie :)

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janie knetzer January 15, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Hi Katie:

First, let me start by saying a big “thank you” for adopting your old girl, when she was already old. God bless.

I do not recommend keeping your old girl on prednisone the rest of her life. I would NEVER do this for my own animals and I don’t recommend it for anyone else’s either. I barely recommend the use of steroids, unless the situation is critical and the length of time on the steroid is minimal.

I love the herbs that you’re using Katie. Good job! From what I understand, there aren’t any long term side effects for the herb. Once you start feeding turmeric, if you’re concerned, you can always stop for a week and restart again. I hope this helps. What a very helpful comment you shared Katie.

I plan on sharing more in my newsletter about the benefits of turmeric and your comment will definitely be shared. Thanks again.

Janie

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linda January 16, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Will the tumeric work to shrink a growth in a mammary gland?

My sweetie, Natalie, a 10 yr old lab/rottie mix developed a growth about 3 months ago. It is growing slowing but it is growing (about 1″ dia now). Now there is a 1/4″ growth on the mammary gland across from the first – these are near her chest.

She eats a raw diet, no vaccines or chemicals, receives canine powdered garlic and tumeric in her food daily at the levels mentioned here but it is not shrinking.

Any one had any experience with this? Additional treatments that worked? My finances are very limited right now and my holistic vet charges $250 for checkup. Live in metro-Atlanta – open to a different holistic vet who may charge less.

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janie knetzer January 17, 2015 at 2:58 am

Hi Linda:

It sounds like you are feeding a great diet. Take a look at this product Linda and hear from others whose dogs’ tumors shrunk.

Hope this helps.

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trisha January 19, 2015 at 12:12 pm

My dog has a heart problem and she’s on heart medication can she take turmeric

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janie knetzer January 20, 2015 at 2:26 am

As far as I know turmeric is safe and doesn’t effect heart meds. However, it should not be given with NSAIDS such as aspirin or any drugs that slow blood clotting.

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Liz January 22, 2015 at 9:45 pm

@ Katie,
I have had a similar experience with my dog. She was wheezing and having trouble breathing. The doctor also thought it was laryngeal paralysis or asthma. Because the treatment for them is significantly different we had a scope done to determine the cause. Thank God we did because it was laryngeal paralysis and emergency surgery was needed. I am all for a natural approach but only after life threatening situations are ruled out. Please make sure your vet rules out laryngeal paralysis through a scope. Best of luck.

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janie knetzer January 22, 2015 at 10:03 pm

Hi Liz:

Not sure if you seen my the article here regarding laryngeal paralysis?

Janie

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Katie January 24, 2015 at 7:50 pm

She did mention doing a scope but after we got her wheezing under control, and Copper hasn’t actually been wheezing both times we’ve been to the vet, it hasn’t been mentioned again. I will definitely ask her when she has her follow up appointment though. Thanks!

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Carolyn January 23, 2015 at 10:14 pm

Loved the article. We have a 20 month old 100 lb Bernese Mountain Dog that has been diagnosed with allergies (dust, trees, grass, chicken & beef). He is on oral immunotherapy which I am not convinced is doing a lot but we were told it would take at least a year to notice a big difference. Someone told me that turmeric can also help with his allergies. I have tried sprinkling on his food and he will eat it. However he gets a terrible turmeric moustache. I take a Curcumin capsule every day that has 133.3 mg of optimized Curcumin. Could I give him a capsule instead of the powder?

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janie knetzer January 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm

Hi Carolyn:

I’m sure a capsule would work just fine! Just make sure you’re feeding the necessary dosage.

Thanks for writing in. I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

Janie

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Julie K. January 24, 2015 at 6:03 pm

Just found this website. Very informative. I had just starred using turmeric for my dogs a few months ago. I adopted a mastiff and she was starting to limp and have a hard time getting up and down. The vet has her on Carprofen, she was taking it 2 x a day…now we are on once a day, I believe it is due to the turmeric. She is about 8 years old. Can I feed her turmeric and yuca root tea together. I am making my first batch of yuca root tea for them. My Lab/shepherd mix has some kind of allergies that the vet can’t seem to get under control, she gets bald spots and itches herself like crazy, I am hoping the yuca tea will help, as the turmeric does not seem to (it is not touted as help for allergies, I know).

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janie knetzer January 24, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Hi Julie:

The first thing is to make sure that the food you are feeding is up to par. If its not, then no herbs or supplements will matter. I suggest that you also take a look at the comments over on my article on Arnica, where a dog lover said that it was helping her older dog’s arthritis. Here’s a link to the article. I don’t see a problem using turmeric and yucca in the same meal. If your dog shows signs of discomfort, back off. Again, with regards to your dog’s allergies, look at the food and include a good multivitamin daily (I use these for my own dogs and they crush pretty easily if necessary) as well as organic coconut oil daily!

Hope this helps.

Janie

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Julie January 25, 2015 at 1:03 pm

Thank you so much. I feed her Nutrisca chickpea and chicken recipe. As of last night they are both getting Coconut oil with their meals -

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janie knetzer January 25, 2015 at 4:59 pm

That’s great Julie!!

Janie

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Katie January 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Hi Julie,
You might want to look into quercetin with bromelain for allergies. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine and bromelain is an anti inflammatory. I’ve read a few articles where people have used it for their dog’s allergies and had success. I’ve been using it for my dog’s wheezing and its definitely helped.

Katie

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Julie January 25, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Thank you!! I found where I can buy it and found that to calculate how much to give her you multiply her weight by 8 for the proper mgs doseage – going out today to pick it up. I am so hoping this gives my baby girl some relief.

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