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The Benefits of Turmeric for Dogs
Turmeric for dogs is an increasingly popular natural pet remedy. Turmeric, whether for humans or pets, is one of the most widely studied natural supplements.
Turmeric may have medicinal effects that are similar to arthritis drugs, steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Humans often use turmeric to help with pain from conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Many of the benefits of turmeric for humans also translate to dogs.
Below, we explore everything you should know about turmeric for dogs. We answer questions like how much turmeric for dogs and whether or not turmeric is safe for dogs. We also highlight our picks for the best brands of turmeric for dogs.
First, before getting into the specific benefits of turmeric for dogs, what is it?
Turmeric is a bright orange-yellow spice that’s used in cooking. It’s been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes as well. Turmeric, and more specifically, one of its components called curcumin, has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.
Curcumin has other benefits as well including antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties.
Understanding inflammation and especially chronic inflammation can be an important part of helping your dog be healthier and have a better quality of life.
Inflammation is a response to infection, toxins, trauma, and illness. It can lead to pain and swelling. In dogs with arthritis, it’s common for inflammation in the joints to cause pain and stiffness.
Inflammation can also occur in cancer, allergies, heart disease, digestive disease, and dental issues.
Ongoing inflammation can lead to serious illnesses for dogs and a lot of discomfort.
Turmeric, or more specifically, curcumin, may help reduce inflammation by minimizing blood vessel dilation and decreasing swelling. It can also slow or reduce the release of cytokines, which are inflammatory proteins.
So, beyond generally helping reduce inflammation, the following are some of the potential benefits of turmeric for dogs:
- Perhaps the biggest reason you might want to give your dog turmeric is that it can reduce pain. It’s a good natural way to reduce swelling and discomfort so your dog can have a better quality of life. There are several studies that have looked at the benefits of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever in dogs. For example, one study found that curcumin could be an effective anti-inflammatory for a dog with osteoarthritis. In a separate study of dogs with osteoarthritis, curcumin helped modulate immune response and had anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
- Turmeric might be used on its own as an arthritis treatment for dogs, or it can be used along with something like Metacam or ibuprofen at the direction of your vet.
- Some dogs have congestive heart failure. Turmeric may help lower levels of bad cholesterol, which can reduce blood clots in the heart. Turmeric is thought to be a good anticoagulant, but it has fewer side effects than similar prescription medicines.
- Chronic inflammation is linked with cancer. Turmeric may have benefits as far as preventing cancer or dogs or helping alleviate some of the symptoms in a dog with cancer. Around half of adult dogs get cancer, so by tackling some of the underlying inflammation, you may be able to improve your dog’s health and life.
- Curcumin has potential benefits for digestion. For example, it can help stimulate the liver to produce more bile, which can help your dog more easily digest fats. Chronic inflammation can lead to inflammatory bowel disease in dogs, with symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, and vomiting. Specifically, curcumin and turmeric may help combat the symptoms of IBD and promote a healthy GI system in your dog.
- One of the medicines often prescribed for dogs, particularly dogs with joint pain, is steroids. Steroids are powerful in terms of reducing inflammation, but they have negative side effects such as high blood sugar, a suppressed immune system and weight gain. Turmeric may be an alternative to steroids if your vet gives you the approval.
- Your dog’s liver is responsible for helping remove toxins, absorb nutrients, and in the regulation of their blood. Turmeric can help promote a healthy liver that’s able to break down fats and remove waste effectively.
Is Turmeric Safe for Dogs?
Is turmeric safe for dogs?
This is a common question.
The answer is yes, generally in small doses that follow product guidelines, turmeric is safe for dogs.
You should speak to your vet before giving your dog turmeric.
If your dog has a bleeding disorder or gallbladder obstruction, they might not be able to take turmeric. Turmeric has anticoagulant properties. Anticoagulant properties mean that turmeric can worsen an existing clotting problem. Turmeric also has blood-thinning properties. In some dogs, there may be liver disorders that also cause clotting issues, so turmeric may be advised against by your vet.
If your dog is already on an anticoagulation medicine or an antiplatelet medicine, talk to your doctor before giving him turmeric.
At large doses, even in dogs without a bleeding disorder, there is a risk of gastrointestinal side effects, so follow dosage instructions carefully.
If you’re planning to use turmeric topically, test it on a small area of your dog first to make sure he doesn’t have an allergic reaction.
How to Give Your Dog Turmeric
You have a lot of different ways you can give a dog turmeric.
Some of the ways to give a dog turmeric include:
- Turmeric powder: When you buy turmeric powder in bulk, it tends to be less expensive than other types of the supplement. You also have some flexibility in how you use it. For example, you can mix it with pepper and olive oil and then mix it into your dog’s food. It forms a paste. Mixing turmeric with black pepper and oil are important because this helps maximize absorption. Turmeric isn’t well-absorbed by humans or dogs otherwise.
- Liquid turmeric: There are turmeric drops available for dogs, and they’re beneficial because liquids tend to be absorbed more easily (this is true in humans too).
- Chewables: A lot of companies make chewable tablets for dogs that have curcumin and turmeric. The chewables often have flavors that are dog-friendly, so they’re like a treat.
When you’re using a powder, paste, or liquid, you can simply add it to your dog’s food. You can give them the chewables as a treat.
Again, it’s really important when you’re choosing a turmeric supplement for dogs that you find one that has fat and black pepper, or you add that in with it to make a past. Turmeric is not very bioavailable or absorbable in dogs or people.
Black pepper has piperine, which is a substance that helps improve absorption, so your dog will get the most benefits. You only need a small amount of black pepper.
How Much Turmeric for Dogs?
There are two primary sources to look to when it comes to figuring out how much turmeric for dogs.
The first is your vet, and the second is the set of instructions with the supplement you choose.
- In general, if your dog is small—less than 20 pounds—you should probably only give them around ¼ tsp of turmeric.
- If your dog weighs anywhere from 21 pounds to 40 pounds, you might give them perhaps around ½ tsp of turmeric a day.
- For larger dogs, you can give them up to ¾ tsp of turmeric a day, and for very large dogs, around 1 tsp of turmeric a day.
These turmeric doses for dogs are just a starting point, and if you get the approval from your vet, you might eventually work your way up a bit more.
A word of caution—turmeric is bright yellow. If you’re making it into a paste, it will dye your fingers, your countertops, and any surfaces it touches.
The effects of turmeric for dogs tend to be cumulative, so try to be consistent and make sure your dog is getting it every day, so it builds in their system.
The Best Turmeric for Dogs
Below, we’ve selected some of our favorite turmeric supplements for dogs and included a few details about each.
- Good for joint pain and inflammation
- Affordable and each bottle contains 120 chews
- Taste like bacon and beef liver
- No refrigeration needed
- Hypoallergenic formulation
- 3rd-party tested for purity
We like the Amazon Nutritionals Amazing Turmeric for dogs for a few reasons. First, it’s affordable and cost-effective. We also like that these are flavored chews without ingredients that are considered allergens.
Each serving contains 300 milligrams of turmeric curcumin directly from the root. These turmeric chews for dogs also include desiccated beef liver for even more health benefits.
You are advised to start your dog out on two tablets a day and give it three to four weeks to see a noticeable difference.
- Top-rated on Amazon with thousands of reviews
- Contains coconut oil and BioPerine (black pepper) for optimal absorption
- Contains high-quality curcumin with 95% curcuminoids for maximum effectiveness
- Made with organic ingredients
- The coconut oil in Zesty Paws is also good for cognitive function, energy levels, and weight management
We like the Zesty Paws Turmeric Curcumin for dogs because it is easily absorbed thanks to coconut oil and BioPerine. This supplement may support skin, liver, heart, gut and hip and joint health in dogs.
These are great-flavored chews so you don’t have to struggle to get your dog to take them.
Zesty Paws is also part of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), which is a nonprofit that works to promote quality and standardization in the animal supplement industry.
- Includes BioPerine for absorption
- Helps with joint stiffness and inflammatory response
- Made in the U.S. with no chemicals or GMOs
- Also includes ingredients like spirulina, flaxseed, and fish oil to support joint, immune and digestive health
- No fillers
- Soft chew supplements
- Pumpkin-coconut flavor
There are a few reasons we selected the PetHonesty supplement as one of our top picks for turmeric for dogs.
First, like the other products on this ranking, it’s top-rated by users. For example, customers say this product has helped them see big improvements in their dogs’ mobility in a relatively short period of time. Users say that has helped, in their opinion, extend their dogs’ lifespan, and it makes their dogs seem happier and more energetic.
We also like this dog turmeric supplement because it contains a few other ingredients that are potentially beneficial.
For example, it contains spirulina which is an algae that fights inflammation.
- 95% potent curcuminoids
- The only ingredients are 97% organic turmeric curcumin, organic tapioca starch, and distilled water
- Can be used topically
- Top-rated on Amazon
We always like a liquid supplement, whether it’s for people or dogs. There’s a reason for this—our bodies absorb liquid supplements better so we’re going to get the most possible benefits. This liquid turmeric supplement for dogs is easy to use. You can give your dog a few drops or put it on their food.
We also like that there are only three simple ingredients.
- Includes multiple inflammation and pain-fighting ingredients
- Hemp extract and glucosamine help with pain
- Taste great
- May have a calming effect
- 170 chews in each bottle
- Natural ingredients
- No wheat, corn, sugar or preservatives
These FurroLandia Hemp Hip & Joint Supplements pack a punch. They contain turmeric but also chondroitin, glucosamine, MSM and of course hemp. The result of the combination is full comfort and pain-relief for your dog. Since they have hemp, they may be calming as well.
The product is made in the U.S. and is top-rated among customers. Customers say that they saw results in their dog’s apparent pain and energy levels pretty quickly after starting this supplement.
Final Thoughts—Turmeric for Dogs
Turmeric for dogs can be a great option if you get the green light from your vet. You can use turmeric preemptively if your dog is healthy but you’d like to take steps to prevent health problems later on. This is especially true for health problems related to inflammation, like arthritis, liver issues and cancer.
You might also see the benefits of turmeric for dogs if your dog is already experiencing a health condition like joint and hip pain, and you’d like to improve their health, comfort, and quality of life.