Turmeric, a spice found in many kitchen cabinets might show potential in not only helping improve human health but canine health as well. Many researchers are looking into turmeric for dogs to see how it might help them deal with several different types of health issues.
Let’s take a look at some of the specific conditions this spice could help improve, and whether or not it will be right for your pooch.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric (which also goes by the scientific name curcuma longa) is a major ingredient used in Indian cooking. It not only gives curry its yellow color, it also gives this staple of the Indian diet its flavor. Turmeric is also used to give color to many of the more common foods that are likely sitting in your refrigerator.1
The turmeric root has also been used as medicine for thousands of years in many countries to help conditions such as skin problems and wounds, as well as digestive and liver issues.2 These are just some of the ways that turmeric root might be able to help dogs.
Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Root
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties too, which can go a long way in helping to reduce symptoms associated with digestive problems. Research indicates that turmeric might actually help improve gut health.3
These anti-inflammatory properties may be one benefit of using turmeric for dogs.
For instance, inflammation is an important part of not only our natural defenses but your dog’s too.
Turns out, inflammation can help us heal after an injury and also helps us defend ourselves against harmful microbes like bacteria and viruses. If inflammation didn’t happen, any wound you or your dog suffered would become infected to the point that it would be life threatening.4
As helpful and important as inflammation can be, it’s not always beneficial. In fact, chronic inflammation can cause severe problems.
For example, inflammation can cause the body to perceive something as a threat when it’s perfectly harmless. The white blood cells released by inflammation sometimes will mistakenly attack other cells or even organs. This can lead to problems with the heart, lungs, bones, and more.5
In such cases, your pup’s body will need some help. One solution to inflammation-related problems is to treat it with powerful drugs, but using turmeric for dogs might be another solution. Research on humans shows that curcumin (which is in turmeric) actually performed better than ibuprofen in people suffering from joint problems.6
The curcumin in turmeric is also an antioxidant.7 This is a substance that helps protect cells. There are natural antioxidants, such as curcumin, and man-made antioxidants as well. Other natural antioxidants include vitamin C and vitamin E.8
As the word implies, antioxidants can help protect the body from some of the effects of oxidation.
While oxidation can help us in many ways, it can also lead to the formation of molecules known as free radicals.
These molecules are missing an electron and will scour the body in order to find and steal it. And they don’t care where they get the electron. They could get it from a cell or even a portion of tissue. This, in turn, can lead to many different health problems.9
Antioxidants help make sure that free radicals remain under control. They keep them from doing damage by stealing electrons. Antioxidants actually give free radicals the electrons they’re looking for.10
How to Use Turmeric for Dogs
Now, there are many ways to prepare turmeric for dogs. One of the easiest is to make a turmeric paste, also known as “golden paste.”
1. Pour a half a cup of turmeric powder and a full cup of water into a pan.
2. Gently heat the pan to the point where steam starts to appear. Don’t bring the mixture to a boil.
3. Stir until you see a thick, orange-colored paste. You can add a bit more turmeric if you feel the paste is too thin. Add a little more water if you think it’s too thick.
4. Once you have the turmeric paste the way you want it, add a teaspoon of black pepper. Then add two tablespoons of coconut oil. These will be vital because they will help your dog’s body properly absorb the turmeric.
5. Mix the new ingredients and then pour the paste into a jar. Put a lid on it and store it in your refrigerator.11
Of course, you’ll need to speak with your veterinarian first to make sure turmeric for dogs is the right, safe option. Once your vet gives you the OK, make sure you’re giving your pet the right dose.
In general, you should give about an eighth of a teaspoon for every 10 pounds your dog weighs. So if your dog weighs 80 pounds, that would be a full teaspoon. Give your dog the turmeric paste once or twice a day, per your vet’s recommendation. You can give it to him or her at mealtime or with a treat.12
A Final Note
Turmeric powder may be able to provide your dog with many health benefits. Again, however, it will be critically important that you are completely sure it will be safe for your beloved companion. Never use turmeric for dogs or anything else without getting your vet’s permission first.