No one likes seeing their dog growing older – especially when the aging process brings a handful of medical issues that results in more expensive vet bills. In recent years, many pet owners have started turning to natural remedies like turmeric to treat a range of elderly pet health issues, but is turmeric good for dogs? And if so, what benefits does turmeric bring to our canine friends? We break down the important stuff you need to know about giving your dog turmeric.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a flowering plant belonging to the ginger family and is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The brightly coloured powder derived from this plant is frequently used in Asian cuisine to add colour and flavouring to dishes, however it also has a long and rich history of use in non-traditional and herbal medicine.
Humans in India have used turmeric since 500 BCE as a natural remedy for mild digestive issues, inflammation, pain relief, and for joint and bone disorders like arthritis. Yet it is only in recently that turmeric has started to become more popular and widely used in the western world, with the sudden interest sparking over 3,000 studies into the potential uses of turmeric during the past 25 years!
In animal products, turmeric is primarily promoted as an anti-inflammatory supplement for dogs suffering from medical conditions that cause stiffness and discomfort in their bones and joints (such as arthritis). Yet you may be wondering if any of these claims are true, and whether there is any evidence to back up the benefits of giving your dog turmeric?
Is turmeric good for dogs?
Although research into whether turmeric is good for dogs has not been as extensive as it has been for humans, there have been a handful of studies that have found noticeable inflammation improvements when using turmeric in animal trials:
- A study published in BMC Veterinary Research in 2017 found that dogs with osteoarthritis showed less indicators of pain after receiving a mixture containing curcumin extract for 3 months.
- A study published in Research in Veterinary Science in 2016 found that dietary curcumin (a chemical produced in turmeric) triggered an immunological response that “confirmed antioxidant and liver protectant activities”.
- A study published in Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology in 2012 found that curcumin could act as a “complementary anti-inflammatory support” for osteoarthritis in dogs.
- A study published in the Italian Journal of Animal Science in 2009 found that curcumin suppressed cytokines that cause inflammation.
So, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can be used to treat common joint conditions such as arthritis. However, if you do decide to purchase turmeric supplements to treat your dog’s joints, be wary to use them as a supplement to compliment other treatments your dog may be receiving, and not as a cheaper alternative to veterinary care.
In addition to treating joint issues, turmeric can also be used for dogs suffering from digestive issues, as it stimulates the production of bile in the liver that help break food down quicker, enabling your dog to feel more comfortable after eating. Turmeric is also considered a powerful antioxidant, which are important to your dog’s diet as they may reduce the risk of many diseases and cancers developing.
Our 4Joints Turmeric Granules can be easily mixed in with your dog’s food and comes with a scoop to ensure you get the exact measurements your dog needs. In addition to being formulated with both turmeric and curcumin, our powerful recipe also contains vital vitamins and minerals such as Omega 3 and Vitamins C and E to further aid the health of your dog.
Is turmeric safe for dogs?
Turmeric is widely understood to be safe for dogs in small quantities and is often used in dog food as a colour and flavour enhancer. However, the quantity typically used in dog food is often too small to provide any anti-inflammatory benefits.
We recommend a well-formulated supplement if you want to improve your dog’s joint movement, and to always speak to your vet before giving your dog turmeric.
Can dogs eat turmeric?
They already do! As mentioned previously, many canine food brands on the market today use small quantities of turmeric in their recipes to enhance the colour and flavour of their products.
However, you must be careful with how much turmeric you give dogs, as too much could result in an upset stomach or constipation. For this reason, it may be wiser to go for a supplement over crafting you own turmeric dog recipe.
How much turmeric should I be giving my dog per day?
The recommended daily dose of turmeric for dogs is around 1/8 – ¼ tsp for every 10 Ib your dog weighs. If you are planning to introduce turmeric into your dog’s diet, then it is recommended that you start slowly with small doses to monitor how your dog reacts to it; gradually increasing the dosage over a period of weeks until you are at the recommended amount for your dog’s weight.
Are there any side effects of giving dogs turmeric?
Although turmeric is considered safe, as with any supplement and medication there can be side effects in some dogs – especially if they are given too high a dosage. The most severe side effects can include an upset stomach, bruising, clotting issues and gallbladder problems.
For this reason, we always recommend speaking to your vet first before giving your dog a turmeric supplement, to ensure that the correct dosage is given and that it does not conflict with any other medication they are on.
What other anti-inflammatory options are available for dogs?
If your dog has stiff and achy joints, another widely studied ingredient that can offer significant anti-inflammatory benefits is Omega 3, which is most frequently found in fish oil. For this reason, Johnson’s 4Joints Turmeric Granules also includes Omega 3 in its formulation to further enhance joint mobility in dogs and lessen discomfort and pain.
So is turmeric good for dogs? Although scientific research into turmeric for dogs is still in its infancy, the evidence that we have seen so far demonstrating turmeric’s benefits are certainly promising. However, the effects of turmeric are still not powerful enough to use as a sole treatment and should act as an additional supplement to any veterinary treatment that your dog may be receiving.
If your dog is not receiving treatment for their joint issues, then it is advisable that you speak to your vet before putting them on turmeric just to keep an eye out for any adverse effects such as stomach or blood issues.
However, this is just as a precautionary measure, as turmeric is widely deemed as not only safe for dog consumption but may benefit their health and discomfort.