Turmeric is not just good for dogs; it’s one of the most amazing supplements that your best bud can benefit from! And science backs up many of the health benefits of turmeric. This humble spice that’s just been sitting in your kitchen cupboard, mostly forgotten, has more value than you’ve given it credit for. Read on to learn more about how you can use turmeric to “spice up” Fido’s overall wellness!
What you need to know about turmeric
The active compound in turmeric which is responsible for its many health benefits - as well as its characteristic yellow color - is curcumin. Turmeric is a flowering plant that belongs to the ginger family and is native to Southeast Asia and India. As a spice, only the roots of the plant are used in cooking. It is a popular ingredient in many Indian dishes; it’s the main spice in curry and is often used as a natural flavoring or coloring in curry powders, butters, cheeses, and mustards.
Turmeric has also been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Recently, curcumin has been the subject of numerous clinical studies and been found to have strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer properties. Due to its great potential improving health and treating certain ailments, curcumin in Turmeric has also been labeled as “cure-cumin” and the “solid gold” of health supplements.
While turmeric is the best source of curcumin, the herb only contains between 3% and 5% of the highly beneficial chemical compound. Most of the studies done on curcumin involved higher amounts than what one would normally get from turmeric in the diet. So the best way to maximize the positive health effects of curcumin is to take it in supplement form, which is formulated with the optimal levels of the compound.
Turmeric offers similar health benefits for dogs. Let’s take a closer look at each one of these benefits.
Inflammation is the cause of nearly every disease known to man, and this is also true for dogs. Diseases that are directly associated with inflammation vary widely, from allergies to arthritis, periodontal disease, gastrointestinal diseases, kidney disease, and even cancer.
As an anti-inflammatory, studies have found that curcumin in turmeric works just as well as or better than anti-inflammatory medications used to treat joint disease, such as arthritis. Curcumin can effectively provide relief from the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Aging dogs who are particularly susceptible to joint disease will greatly benefit from turmeric in their diet, or curcumin supplements.
Relief from allergy symptoms
Some studies have discovered that curcumin is just as effective as corticosteroids in treating allergy symptoms, such as swelling, itching, and redness. When given alongside steroid medications, curcumin significantly reduces the side effects of the drugs.
Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects also give it the amazing potential to treat inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal disorders. If Fido suffers from a mild stomach upset or a more serious GI disorder, talk to your vet about giving him curcumin or turmeric as a supplementary treatment.
Cancer occurs when there is an abnormal or excessive growth of cells. Many cancer studies that have looked at how curcumin in turmeric affects cancer cells have found that the chemical compound interferes with the development, growth, and spread of cancer, and has the ability to reduce the size of tumors as well as kill cancer cells.
How to Give Turmeric to Your Dog
Curcumin in turmeric is not easily absorbed by the body. This means that simply adding turmeric to your dog’s diet will not ensure that he will get the maximum health effects of the herb. And remember that turmeric only contains 3% to 5% curcumin. So the best option is to give your best bud curcumin supplements.
It has been found that combining curcumin with piperine, which is found in black pepper, increases absorption into the bloodstream by 2,000%. Make sure that the curcumin supplement you get contains piperine. Because curcumin is fat-soluble, you can further boost absorption levels by combining the curcumin supplement with a healthy oil when you give it to your dog.
For general wellness, your dog may not need the full potency of curcumin. Your furry pal can still derive health benefits from turmeric. One way you can add turmeric to your dog’s diet is by making turmeric paste and mixing it with his meals.
You can make the paste simply by mixing organic turmeric powder with water and cooking the mixture in low heat. Adjust the amount of turmeric or water to get the consistency of paste. Once the mixture is thick enough, add some black pepper and coconut oil (which has its own host of amazing benefits for dogs) and stir until everything is well-combined. Let the mixture cool before placing it in a tightly-sealed container. You can store the turmeric paste in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Make sure to choose organic turmeric powder, as this contains high amounts of curcumin and zero added and artificial ingredients.
If you wish to treat an ailment with curcumin, your best bet is a curcumin supplement. Talk to your vet about giving your best bud curcumin, especially if he has a health condition and/or is taking medications.
How much turmeric or curcumin should you give to your dog?
Again, your vet would be the most qualified to determine the appropriate amount of turmeric or curcumin to give to your dog to achieve maximum benefits.
If you’re using the turmeric paste, mix it with some water or even a probiotic drink before adding it to your dog’s food. It can cause constipation, so mixing it with water or a probiotic drink can help counter this effect. Start with a small amount and see how your dog responds to it. If you have a small dog, you can start with ¼ teaspoon per day; medium-sized dogs can have ½ teaspoon per day; ¾ teaspoon for large breeds; and one teaspoon for extra-large/giant breeds.
You can gradually increase the amount until you figure out how much is ideal for your dog. It is also better to give turmeric in smaller amounts throughout the day, instead of in one go.
Take note that turmeric stains almost anything it touches, even your dog’s hair. So mix the paste well into his food so none of it will get onto his face.
If your dog becomes constipated, you should reduce the amount you’re giving him, or only give him the paste every other day. You can also simply add more water or probiotic drink to the paste when you mix it with his food.
Turmeric for Dogs - Final Thoughts
The benefits of turmeric are due to the curcumin this herb contains. Scientific studies have proven what ayurvedic medicine has known all along - that curcumin in turmeric has the amazing potential to improve overall wellness and treat various ailments, both in humans and dogs.
Even better, the use of curcumin does not have any associated side effects. So your dog can take advantage of this compound’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer properties without you worrying about any negative effects on his health.
Always consult your vet before starting your dog on a new supplement, especially if Fido has a health condition and/or is taking medications, or if your dog is pregnant or nursing.
Turmeric sets the bar high for other health supplements. You may want to grab more than a few bottles of this golden spice the next time you go to the supermarket.