In this article you will find:
- What Is Honey?
- Can Dogs Eat Honey?
- Is Honey Good for Dogs?
- Is Honey Safe for Dogs?
- Health Benefits of Adding Honey to Your Dog’s Diet
- How Much Honey Can You Give Your Dog?
- Contraindications of Feeding Honey to Dogs
- How to Properly Give Your Dog Honey?
Being one of nature’s sweetest gifts, honey is without a doubt a delicious and valuable tasty treat for us humans. But how about for our canine companion?
Can they also enjoy an occasional lick on this sweet and viscous food substance produced by the honey bees? Can dogs eat honey?
What Is Honey?
Honey is literally and essentially a sweet liquid gold due to its flavor, medicinal properties, and its color. Not new to us, humans, honey is a viscous liquid made by honey bees.
They produce it from nectar, the sweet liquid used by flowers to attract them, so they can spread their pollen from one flower to another.
Honey is available raw or pasteurized, and its color and flavor vary depending on which flower it came from. Some of the most desirable honey is produced by the domestic honeybee using clover flowers.
Nonetheless, regardless of which flower species it came from, honey contains 80% sugar, 18% water, and traces of wax, yeast, and flower pollen.
Can Dogs Eat Honey?
Yes, dogs can eat raw honey. However, just like other human foods, you should only give honey to them in moderation. There are also some exceptions that you need to know before offering even a small amount of this sweet treat to your canine companion.
Is Honey Good for Dogs?
Honey is one of the most powerful and flexible natural remedies both in humans and dogs. Every drop of this liquid gold counts since it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help support optimum health among canines.
The following are the most important ones and why these nutrients are beneficial for your pup:
- Vitamin C is essential in strengthening your dog’s immune system, so he can be more resistant to foreign bodies and pathogens that cause illness. Vitamin C is also helpful in maintaining your dog’s bones, and in repairing and growing body tissues.
- Vitamin B supports cells in general by promoting cell growth, health, and metabolism. It is also beneficial in increasing your dog’s energy levels, supporting his brain functions, and preventing infections.
- Vitamin E helps your dog’s health by acting as an antioxidant that fights free radicals and promotes cellular health.
- Vitamin D helps maintain the equilibrium of calcium and phosphate levels in your dog’s body. Vitamin D insufficiency is one of the common causes of bone issues in dogs.
- Vitamin K helps in wound healing and is an important vitamin for blood clotting
- Antioxidants such as phenolic acid and flavonoids help protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals and help reduce the effects of oxidative stress among canines. Antioxidants may also help reduce the risk of dogs for heart diseases, and certain cancers. They also help the aging process in canines and are beneficial in pregnant dogs.
Is Honey Safe for Dogs?
As mentioned earlier, honey is safe for dogs when given in moderation. And if you are going to offer your dogs honey you should stick to raw unpasteurized honey as this contains antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.
Honey also contains natural sugars, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. However, its sweet taste comes with a price – it could come with the hefty cost of treatments and medications for several health issues caused by the overconsumption of honey.
Apparently, the high sugar concentration of honey can cause unhealthy weight gain, which can eventually lead to obesity in dogs. Hence, while eating honey is safe, it can easily escalate to becoming detrimental to your dog’s health when he is already consuming too much honey regularly.
The intake of too much sugar paired with poor dental hygiene can also cause tooth decay. So, if you are planning to incorporate honey into your dog’s diet, don’t forget to brush your dog’s teeth after.
Another health and safety concern regarding raw honey is that you should not feed it to dogs or puppies with compromised immune systems, as it may contain toxic botulism spores that can lead to poisoning.
You should be extra careful when you are giving honey to diabetic dogs, or obese dogs. As always, it’s best to consult your veterinarian since your dog has an underlying health issue that needs special dietary restrictions and caloric requirements.
Health Benefits of Adding Honey to Your Dog’s Diet
As mentioned earlier, raw honey is generally good and safe for canines, but it can be problematic for diabetic or obese dogs.
If your dog is generally healthy, and he doesn’t have a history of having allergic reactions to honey or bee stings, then, feel free to give him just a little honey, especially if it’s his first time.
Your dog won’t just love the honey’s sweet taste, but he will also benefit from its many wonders, such as the following:
Relief from Allergies
Dogs suffering from seasonal allergies may benefit from local honey. Not known to everyone, honey contains trace amounts of flower pollens.
So, by slowly introducing honey to your dog, you are also priming your dog’s immune system to help create antibodies to prevent allergic reactions or autoimmune responses to airborne pollen.
It’s best to offer your dog local honey because it contains the pollen that will affect your dog. We also recommend that you use raw, unfiltered honey because it is more potent than honey that has been highly pasteurized already. Hence, the former can be more helpful in boosting your dog’s overall health.
Help with Wound Irritation and Skin Problems
Raw unpasteurized honey contains antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties, which make it useful in healing your canine’s wound and soothing his other skin issues from hot spots, eczema, to insect bites.
Simply apply a thin layer of honey on the affected area, and cover it with gauze to prevent your dog from licking the honey off his wound.
Aside from its low moisture content that discourages bacterial growth, honey also contains low levels of hydrogen peroxide. And because of this, it can also act as an antiseptic to sanitize the skin without harming surrounding healing tissues.
Additionally, the enzymes present in honey also help promote skin health, and its anti inflammatory properties help reduce pain and inflammation.
Soothe Kennel Cough and Aid with Other Breathing Irritations
Most of us might have already tried using honey to soothe our coughs. So, as pet parents, it’s just normal for us to wonder if it is also effective in soothing our dogs’ sore throats and other breathing irritations.
Fortunately, raw honey can also do wonders in providing relief for your dog’s itchy or sore throat. And for even better relief, you can try using local honey or Manuka honey because these varieties are known for their high antibacterial properties.
Help with Minor Stomach Ulcers and Gastrointestinal Upsets
Giving your pup a little bit of honey daily can help soothe his minor bouts of digestive upsets, which can be caused by something trivial as eating grass in your yard.
Honey can also help with more serious gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel disease, colitis, gastritis, bacterial overgrowth, and ulcers.
Provide an Instant Boost of Energy
As pet owners, sometimes it may be hard to catch up with the hyperactive nature of our canine buddies. There are also times when we suddenly feel nauseous after running long distances with our dog, especially if we didn’t eat or drink beforehand. And this can be due to the drop in our blood sugar levels causing us to be dizzy, or to even faint.
This same scenario could also happen with our dogs, and the good thing is that honey, being a rich source of natural sugars can provide an instant boost of energy to our furry friend.
Also, the natural sugars found in honey break down slower than table sugar or processed sugars, so it can increase your pup’s energy levels in a healthier way.
Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties in honey can soothe the painful arthritic joints of senior dogs, which can help them move around easily and more comfortably.
Maintain Healthy Body Weight
Studies have shown that honey can slow down the hunger response in dogs, which is why it can be a promising addition to your dog’s weight control regimen if he puts on excess pounds easily.
And as mentioned earlier, the sugar from honey breaks down slower and is absorbed in the bloodstream more slowly compared with table sugar. This only means that honey may slow down the digestion and the conversion of glucose.
How Much Honey Can You Give Your Dog?
Before you get too excited about using honey as dog treats, don’t forget that it is still a simple sugar. So, giving your pup too much honey can have negative effects on your dog’s health.
Follow these guidelines to make sure that your pup isn’t consuming more than enough honey:
- Dogs under 10 lbs: ¼ teaspoon per day
- 10-25 lbs: ½ tsp daily
- 20-50 lbs: 1 tsp per day
- Over 50 lbs: up to 2 tsp daily
And as with all new food that you add to your dog’s diet, start small and observe his reactions. Giving a small amount of honey is even more important for small dogs, as you can easily overfeed them, which can eventually lead to unhealthy weight gain, and obesity.
If you also give bee pollen, go even slower. You can start with a few granules per day, and if he responds positively with this amount, you can give ½ teaspoon for every 25 lbs of your dog’s body weight.
And remember to observe your dog for adverse reactions, such as changes in his bowel movements and his overall behavior.
Contraindications of Feeding Honey to Dogs
We’ve already said that honey is safe and good for dogs when given in moderation. However, as pet parents, it’s also important for us to know that not all dogs can benefit from consuming even a small amount of honey. Some dogs are simply better off without honey.
Below are some conditions or instances when it’s best to avoid feeding honey to dogs:
Honey has a high glycemic index, which can easily cause a spike in a diabetic dog’s blood sugar levels.
If your dog is diabetic, you should first consult your veterinarian before introducing even a small amount of honey into his diet. Generally, if you are looking for some treats, you should stick to the low-sugar options, such as cucumbers.
Honey is rich in sugar, and giving too much sugar even to healthy dogs can compromise their health and put them at risk for obesity and other weight-related problems.
Dogs That Are Allergic to Bees
If you have bees in your area, there’s a chance that your pup may develop an allergy to bee stings. And if he experiences a hypersensitive reaction to it, he will most likely have an allergic reaction to honey.
Puppies and Senior Dogs
Puppies, senior dogs, and adult dogs with a compromised immune system should avoid honey at all costs because it contains bacteria that can do more harm than good to their already compromised state of health.
How to Properly Give Your Dog Honey?
There are several ways to safely feed honey to your pup other than simply letting him lick it off a spoon. Below are some fun ways to add honey into your dog’s diet:
- Spread a thin layer of honey on a slice of fresh fruit such as banana and apple. You can also mix different fruits that are safe for your pup to eat, add a bit of honey, freeze the mixture, and serve it to your pup as a refreshing treat.
- Make your dog’s favorite treat more special by smearing a little bit of honey on it.
- Mix honey with plain yogurt, and peanut butter, and top it off with a biscuit.
- Make your pup his healthy blend of herbal honey. You can do this by gathering herbs with medicinal properties, such as lemon balm, oregano, thyme, lavender, etc. Put all of these herbs in a jar until it’s half-filled, and then fill the jar with honey until it’s full. Cover the jar, and leave it in a warm place for at least two weeks. Get a strainer or a cheesecloth and filter the herbal honey to remove the herbs. You can store it inside your fridge or at room temperature.