If you’ve been paying attention to recent trends in holistic veterinary medicine, you may have noticed that more and more people are giving their dogs turmeric, as they claim it offers a whole host of important health benefits.
But is that true? And more importantly, is turmeric safe for dogs?
Let’s take a closer look at this trend and find out once and for all.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is an Asian plant that’s quite similar to ginger. You’ll commonly find it used in many Asian dishes (most notably, curry), and it has a bitter taste and yellow color.
In addition to being used in food, it’s also found in many medicines.
Is Turmeric Safe for Dogs?
To date, there haven’t been any large-scale studies on turmeric’s use on pets. However, we do know that it’s safe in small quantities, so giving your dog a taste here or there shouldn’t be an issue.
We don’t know for sure if it would be toxic if consumed in large quantities, but generally speaking, it would be hard to convince your dog to eat a ton of turmeric anyway, as it’s not especially appetizing in raw form.
Does Turmeric Have Any Health Benefits for Dogs?
Again, there has been little research on this spice’s impact on canine health. However, there have been quite a few studies that have looked at its impact on humans.
The broad consensus is that turmeric is one of the most beneficial spices that a person can consume, as it can positively impact just about every area of the body. This is largely due to the presence of curcumin, an ingredient that’s found in small quantities inside turmeric.
Here are just a few of the benefits that turmeric can offer:
Turmeric Is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory
The spice fights inflammation at the molecular level, as it can block a certain molecule that activates the genes believed to be responsible for causing inflammation.
This is extremely important, as inflammation is believed to be behind a wide variety of devastating illnesses. These include heart disease, cancer, and degenerative conditions like arthritis.
If your dog suffers from issues like hip dysplasia, a little turmeric may go a long way toward making them feel better.
Turmeric Is Full of Antioxidants
Free radicals are another major cause of disease; these are highly reactive molecules that bounce around your body, causing damage to any organic substances they come in contact with.
The best way to combat free radicals is by consuming antioxidants. These stop free radicals in their tracks, and they can even activate your body’s own defenses — and turmeric is full of them.
If you minimize the impact of free radicals, you can prevent many diseases and possibly even slow down the aging process. Who doesn’t want a few extra healthy years with their dog?
Turmeric May Be Able to Prevent or Treat Cancer
This is kind of a tricky point, as “cancer” isn’t a single, homogenous entity. There are many types of cancer, and they don’t all react the same way to treatment.
Better yet, turmeric may be able to stop some cancers from occurring in the first place. It’s especially effective against cancers that originate in the digestive system, so adding turmeric to your dog’s food may help keep their intestines in fine working order.
Of course, if your dog already has cancer, you should follow your vet’s instructions rather than just trying to turmeric the disease into submission.
Turmeric Is Good for the Brain
It’s a superstition that you can’t create new brain cells or neuron connections after childhood — but that doesn’t mean that doing so is easy.
Turmeric can help make the process less difficult, as it increases the levels of a certain hormone that spurs brain development. As a result, it can potentially keep your dog’s mind sharp and their brain healthy well into their senior years.
Turmeric Can Help Battle Heart Disease
Heart disease is a major killer of dogs, especially larger breeds, so you should welcome the discovery of anything that can keep your mutt’s ticker operational.
We mentioned how turmeric can reduce inflammation and combat free radicals above, and both of those are key drivers of heart disease. Turmeric doesn’t stop there, however.
It can improve the lining of the blood vessels, which makes it easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. This can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of clotting, and more.
The result is a heart that doesn’t have to work as hard — and that’s less likely to quit prematurely.
What’s the Best Way to Feed a Dog Turmeric?
There’s a good chance that turmeric is already in your dog’s food, as it’s found in many kibbles. However, it’s traditionally used as a coloring agent, so there’s usually not enough inside to offer much in the way of health benefits.
You should also know that the body doesn’t do a good job of absorbing turmeric on its own. As a result, most doctors recommend pairing it with piperine, a substance found in black pepper.
You may have problems getting your dog to eat black pepper, though, so it’s a good thing that turmeric is also fat-soluble. Many vets recommend mixing it in with a healthy fat like salmon oil, olive oil, or coconut oil, and then pouring the concoction over their food.
Lecithin is another compound that improves the absorption of turmeric, and you might want to mix lecithin, turmeric, and water to form a kind of slurry. Your dog may or may not enjoy the taste; if they don’t, consider mixing in a low-sodium chicken bouillon cube to improve the flavor.
What’s the Verdict? Can Dogs Eat Turmeric?
While we can’t say that turmeric is definitely beneficial for dogs, all of the available evidence strongly points to it being one of the best things that a pooch can eat. It can help counter the effects of certain diseases while preventing others, and it’s safe for dogs to eat in small doses.
As a result, there’s a good chance that the question you should be asking is, “How can I get my dog to eat more turmeric?”
Featured image credit: stevepb, Pixabay