Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
If you are researching turmeric for dogs, most likely you have learned about the spice's benefits or are looking for an alternative to conventional prescription medications. This health benefits of this herb were practically unknown years ago, but with a surge of interest in alternative remedies, it has recently garnered a reputation as a superfood. But what is exactly turmeric, where do you find it, and most of all, how can it benefit your dog?
What Exactly Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a perennial, rhizomatous plant native to tropical South Asia and related to the ginger family. Major cultivation of this herb can be found in India and Pakistan. It's commonly used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines in the form of a bright, orange-yellow powder. Because of its beautiful color, it's often also used as a dye. For this reason, if you ever decide to use this as a supplement for your dog, you need to be extra careful, as it can easily stain your clothes and carpets.
The active ingredient that makes it so popular is curcumin, a polyphenol that gives this spice an earthy, almost hot and peppery flavor and a mustard-like smell. While it's often used as a dye and a spice in dishes, it's also extensively used for its medicinal properties. In India, it was used for thousands of years and still remains popular as a part of Ayurvedic medicine.
How Does Turmeric Benefit Dogs?
With a reputation for being used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties, it comes as no surprise that dog owners are now considering this herb for their four-legged companions. The benefits seem manifold, and many owners who take turmeric share it with their dogs as well! Best of all, turmeric can be easily found at the supermarket, health food store or in Indian stores. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of this multi-purpose supplement.
Curcumin for Dog Cancer
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Researchers claim that “From numerous studies, it is quite apparent that curcumin has tremendous potential for prevention and therapy of various cancers.” How does this plant work? It appears that it suppresses tumor cell proliferation acting antiangiogenically and causing cell death, explains Narda G. Robinson, DO, DVM, MS, FAAMA in his article Why the Buzz about Turmeric?
Curcumin is one of the core ingredients I use in cancer supplement programs for my patients and I have seen literal shrinkage of different dog lumps, like hemangiosarcomas of the skin, fatty tumors (lipomas), fibrosarcomas, and plasmacytomas. I rely on it a lot.
— Damian Dressler, Veterinarian and Dog Cancer Expert
Ohio State researchers found that STAT3, a protein that plays a crucial role for a tumor cell’s ability to metastasize and resist chemotherapy, is inhibited by curcumin, but the only disadvantage is that it's not well absorbed after ingestion.
Curcumin for Dog Osteoarthritis
Turmeric benefits go way beyond its anti-cancer properties. In a group trial, dogs treated with turmeric for osteoarthritis showed significant improvement. This is due to this herb's anti-inflammatory properties. According to Vet Info " Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that can be safely administered to dogs and is very effective in controlling pain in arthritic dogs."
Along with Boswellia, yucca root, bromelain, and hawthorn, turmeric may help a dog with arthritis according to the Whole Dog Journal. Turmeric is an ingredient in the popular dog supplement produced by Only Natural and known as "Get up and Go". Unlike NSAIDs, such as dog Rimadyl which can cause digestive upset and ulcers, turmeric seems to soothe the digestive system and reduces the risk of ulcers.
Curcumin for Other Uses
To help with an abrasion, veterinarian Dr. Ron Wil, from Portland, Oregon claims, “To simply mix honey with the turmeric to form a paste and apply it to the abrasion.” It's also an antioxidant that protects against free radicals, supports the immune system, promotes good liver function and protects skin and eyes among a long list of other benefits, explains Karen Becker in the video below. More testimonials on some of the many benefits of Turmeric can be also found on the Earth Clinic website.
Turmeric for Dogs: Interactions and Risks
- Turmeric could negate some of the effects of chemotherapy, explains Narda G. Robinson.
- Because turmeric thins the blood, if your dog is going into surgery, the medication should be stopped some time prior.
- Turmeric shouldn't be taken with aspirin (which already thins blood) and other NSAIDs.
- Turmeric can also interfere with antibiotics.
Always discuss with your vet before adding a new supplement and inform him of other medications your dog takes so to prevent interactions and minimize risks.
Turmeric can cause constipation and dehydration, so it's best to make sure your dog has plenty of water. While it soothes the digestive tract, in high doses it can increase the levels of stomach acid. It's very important that you follow your vet's dosage recommendations. Also, consider that this herb stains, so prevent it from going on clothes and carpet!
Not all vets are familiar with turmeric. Before starting my dog on turmeric, I asked my vet and she had no clue about this supplement and wasn't aware of any potential interactions. She literally told me I had to conduct research on my own. If this happens to you, you may want to consult with another vet.
Turmeric Dosage for Dogs
Getting the right dose of turmeric is a bit challenging because it's not well absorbed outside of the gastrointestinal tract. Coupling it with other compounds that aid in absorption can be helpful, at times, but you should always discuss the ideal dosage for your pet with your holistic veterinarian before deciding to supplement your dog's diet with turmeric.
The dosage for turmeric for dogs is typically 15 to 20 mg per pound of body weight daily, according to Dr. Jon Rappaport DVM. In the video below, veterinarian Karen Becker discusses turmeric dog dosage by body weight, but again, be sure to speak with your vet before giving your dog this herb.
Vet Karen Becker on the Benefits of Turmeric
© 2013 Adrienne Farricelli
Tina jackson on August 02, 2018:
Can turmeric be given along side loxicom meloxicam and glco 3 supplement
Shelley at North County Dog Training on November 02, 2016:
I use Wonder Dog Superfoods. The specific I use is CBD/GLM but there is also an organic turmeric food topper as well. It's a dot com site, easy to find
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 06, 2014:
My male Rottie also developed a small lump in his mouth, I put him on turmeric and after a bit I went to look at it again and it was gone!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 16, 2013:
I am also giving turmeric to help my girl with her orthopedic problems so to prevent giving her tramadol and rimadyl. It has been helping so far!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 07, 2013:
My dog's lump on her paw disappeared after giving her turmeric capsules,-and the vets told me surgery was the only way out- amazing stuff!
Pet Artist on May 07, 2013:
What a great read! I had no idea that Tumeric could be beneficial to dogs as well.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 10, 2013:
Thanks for stopping by Midget38. My girl is on turmeric per my holistic vet advice and her lump on her foot has shrunk considerably! Of course, we first did a fine needle aspiration to rule out cancer, but now I can barely see it anymore! Another vet wanted me to have undergo surgery instead!
Michelle Liew from Singapore on April 09, 2013:
Alexadry, we eat lots of curry here in Singapore...so tumeric is a possible consideration. And I am glad to see that it has the same benefits for dogs as it does for us! Thanks for sharing!
What is Curcumin?
Curcumin is a magical ingredient in turmeric. This is the main ingredient that gives turmeric its antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, which can play a huge role in strengthening your dog's immune system. Because of its powerful healing properties, various top universities like Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, Texas supports the research results that curcumin in turmeric can significantly reduce health issues in test subjects.
Plus, it is known to treat various existing illnesses, therefore making it an essential ingredient in the field of preventative medicine. Because of this, veterinarian scientists are recommending that dog owners give turmeric supplements to their pets or administer turmeric in their dogs’ food for maximum health benefits.
The main secret that doctors and scientists have learned when dealing with turmeric is that first, you should include oil like coconut oil or olive oil to increase absorption into the body and second you should add what is known as peperine which can be found in black pepper which can help absorption rates by a ton.
If you have a dog dealing with allergies, pain, or inflammation a great product that recently came out is Natural Doggies Advanced Mobility Chews for Hip and Joints . These chews are amazing as they contain everything you need to have a great turmeric absorption rate in a dog-friendly treat. For more information click the button below!
Is turmeric safe for dogs?
- Oh yes, says Dr. RuthAnn Lobos, DVM, CCRT, a vet and also certified in canine physical rehabilitation through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute. Turmeric, she says, even though it hasn't been studied extensively in pets, it still continues to benefit animals because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has passed many tests for inclusion in animal foods and you might even see it as an ingredient in your dog’s food labeling if you are into holistic foods and medications from holistic vets.
- Because turmeric doesn’t seem to absorb well into the body on its own, it is better to mix it up with a healthy fat or some black pepper, adding this concoction to a paste. Then you can give it to your dog directly or add it to his food. We will tell you below how to make the glorious golden paste which makes it even easier to administer this spice to your beloved pet for amazing benefits.
- You need to check with your vet before you start administering anything new to your dog, particularly if you were contemplating giving him the turmeric capsules which are designed for humans and which might contain more curcumin than what your dog should be taking.
- Start off slow when you first start giving your dog turmeric, particularly dogs with sensitive stomachs, because then their stomachs could become even more irritated. It is recommended that you give your dog one-fifth of the recommended dosage, based on his weight, and then gradually increase the dose after that until you have reached the maximum dose. Here is a good idea:
1-10 lbs.: 1/16-1/8 tsp. of powder or ½ capsules
10-20 lbs.: 1/8-¼- tsp. or ½-1 capsule
20-50 lbs.: ¼ tsp.-1 tsp. powder or 1-2 capsules
50-100 lbs.: 1 tsp.-2 tsp. powder or 1-2 capsules
More than 100 lbs.: 2 tsp or the equivalent of an adult human dose of capsules
- Some vets sell chewable turmeric ‘tablets’ for dogs with coconut oil in it which is great for hip and joint health in dogs and those with arthritis.
How do you know if your dog suffers from skin and coat allergies?
- Hair loss
- Hot spots
- Scaly skin.
Approximately 160 different skin disorders affect dogs of every age, size and breed.
Skin irritation may be caused by:
- Seasonal allergies
- Skin infections
- Food allergies
One way to treat dog skin irritation is with an all-natural supplement.
A supplement containing turmeric can improve your dog’s skin and coat naturally.