Can dogs have honey?

While there’s nothing sweeter than the devotion of a loyal canine companion, adding honey to your dog’s diet may sweeten your loving pup even further. Honey is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help support optimum health in your pet. In general, honey is safe for dogs to consume, with a few exceptions to be aware of.

What are the beneficial properties of honey?

Honey is a complex food, packed with a variety of beneficial nutrients, such as:

  • Sugars, such as fructose and glucose

  • Enzymes needed to accelerate chemical reactions within the body

  • Minerals like zinc, iron, manganese, phosphate, calcium, copper, sodium, magnesium, and potassium

  • Vitamins: B complex, C, D, E, and K

  • Antioxidants, such as phenolic acids and flavonoids

  • Pollen grains that can be helpful with environmental allergies

With all of the beneficial nutrients honey contains, it’s no wonder this sweet substance has so many different medical applications.

Keep in mind that most supermarket honey products have been processed to include high fructose corn syrup or other low-quality ingredients. Processing honey in this manner—especially heating it—negates many of its health benefits, so stick with raw, local honey or Manuka honey to reap the maximum benefits.

What canine conditions can be treated with honey?*

Honey can be utilized as part of a treatment plan for a wide variety of health issues in dogs.

  1. Allergies — One of the most common medical conditions to affect dogs, allergies can be frustrating to treat. A multimodal approach employing several different tactics is often necessary to combat this condition. In addition to medications, prescriptions diets, and environmental modification, some holistic veterinarians may also add honey to the treatment protocol. The effectiveness of honey lies within the pollen collected by bees from different native flowers. Anecdotally, daily dosing of raw, local wildflower honey may help desensitize your dog’s immune system to environmental allergens, improving allergy symptoms.

  2. Wound care — A variety of wounds, including minor burns, infections, hot spots, and pressure sores, can benefit from the application of honey. Applying pure Manuka honey can fight bacterial infection, reduce inflammation, and help regrow healthy new skin.

  3. Kennel cough — This contagious respiratory infection can be caused by several cough-inducing pathogens, some of which are bacterial in nature. Due to its antibacterial properties, doling out Manuka honey to combat infection and soothe the throat may be helpful.

  4. Digestion — Digestive issues occur frequently in dogs. Fortunately, honey is a safe, natural product that may help combat gastrointestinal diseases, such as gastritis, colitis, irritable bowel disease, and bacterial overgrowth. Honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may aid traditional treatments in soothing your pet’s irritated digestive system, in addition to balancing out the natural gut bacterial flora.

  5. Energy boost — The sugar content of honey can give sluggish pets an energy boost. The natural sugars in honey are broken down more slowly than processed sugars and can increase healthy levels of energy.

  6. Mobility improvement —The anti-inflammatory qualities of honey can help older pets move around more easily. Stiff, arthritic joints may be a little less sore with a daily helping of Manuka honey.

Honey may appear to be a magical cure-all, but that is not the case! Often, it can be used in conjunction with appropriate veterinary treatment to provide the most effective care for your pet. Always consult your veterinarian before attempting to add honey to your dog’s treatment plan.

Are there any negative side effects to honey use in dogs?

Unfortunately, some pets may be unable to reap the health benefits of honey. If your dog falls into one of these categories, he should not be given honey:

  1. Diabetic dogs — Honey has a high glycemic index, and can raise blood sugar, so its use should be avoided in diabetic pets.

  2. Puppies — Use of honey should be avoided in dogs less than one year old. Due to their immature gastrointestinal systems, puppies are more likely to fall ill from bacterial spores that can contaminate honey. Wait until your dog is an adult before adding honey to his diet. Even then, if your adult dog has a compromised immune system you’ll want to avoid feeding her honey.

  3. Allergies to bees —Pets can develop an allergy to bee stings. Pets that are hypersensitive may have a reaction from simply ingesting honey.

  4. Obese dogs -- Honey should not be given to obese dogs given the high caloric value. So watch for weight gain in your dog and stop feeding them honey if they’re gaining weight.

How to incorporate honey into your dog’s diet

If you’re looking to add some pep to your elderly canine’s step, or place another tool in your allergy arsenal, simply portion out some honey to your pet’s food on a daily basis. Small dogs can usually tolerate a teaspoon of honey once daily, while larger breeds can handle up to a tablespoon. Remember to stay away from processed supermarket products and stick with raw, local honey or Manuka honey, depending on the desired effect.

Is your pup’s birthday approaching? Plan a pooch party with this tasty birthday cake from Allrecipes:

Doggy Birthday Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ cup peanut butter

  • ¼ cup oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1 cup shredded carrots

  • 1 cup whole wheat or white flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

  2.  Grease a 6-cup ring mold or Bundt pan.

  3. Combine egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey in a large bowl and mix well.

  4. Stir in the carrots.

  5. Sift together the flour and baking soda, then fold into the carrot mixture.

  6. Spoon batter into cake pan.

  7. Bake for 40 minutes.

  8. Let cool in cake pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to completely

cool.

9. Once cool, cut into slices and serve one to the birthday pooch.

10.Feel free to indulge in a slice yourself, since all ingredients are safe for pups as

well as people!

* Additional sources for treating conditions with honey:

https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/manuka-honey-for-your-dog/

https://www.furrytips.com/can-dogs-eat-honey/

https://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/honey-benefits.html

https://yourolddog.com/honey-for-dogs

https://itsadoggiething.com/dogs-have-honey/