Remember turmeric lattes? There’s a reason why those things became the hottest new health craze all across the [Western] world a few years ago, and it only took a golden-hued Instagram-filter-defying coffeeshop drink to finally bring it to our attention.

It turns out that turmeric – that bright yellow powder sitting in the back of your spice rack from that one time you attempted to make Tikka Masala – is very, very good for you. So what’s the secret behind this seemingly magical spice? And if it’s so good for us, can it also be good for our pets?

What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a rhizome (a root-like stem, similar to ginger) that comes from the turmeric plant. It is most commonly known as a cooking spice and comes in a powdered form, lending its bold and vibrant color to foods like Indian curries and yellow mustard.

Beyond its use in the kitchen, turmeric has a long history of being used as an herbal medicine across a wide variety of cultures – from traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda (a traditional Indian system of treatment), Kampo (Japanese medicine), all the way back to the Ancient Egyptians. In the recent past, Western medicine has begun to study turmeric as a healing agent.

The main active compound in the turmeric root is called curcumin, which has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and can treat things like rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammation from cancer, gut inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and muscle pain. One study showed that it seemed to work as well as ibuprofen (Advil) for people with arthritis in their knees.

Outside of the tropics, turmeric is typically sold in either powder or capsule form, although fresh turmeric root is becoming more widespread and easier to find.

Does Turmeric Offer the Same Health Benefits to Dogs?

Curcumin can be just as beneficial for dogs as it is for humans. Unlike other veterinarian prescribed medications such as steroids or NSAIDs for dogs, turmeric is a natural health supplement that has all the benefits and none of the toxic side effects that can come from other drugs, such as weight gain, fatigue, high blood sugar level, weakened bones, and a suppressed immune system.

Some of the major natural health benefits that can come from adding turmeric to your pet’s diet include:

1) Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to trauma, toxin, or infection. If your dog was exposed to an infection or an injury, its body will react by dilating blood vessels to promote blood flow, which causes tissue swelling and pain. This process occurs with most diseases, such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, allergies, kidney disease, heart disease, and more. If your dog experiences chronic inflammation it can lead to severe pain and fever symptoms.
Turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties can reduce blood vessel dilation, thereby decreasing swelling and redness over time to relieve your dog’s joint pain.

2) A Powerful Antioxidant

Antioxidants are very important when it comes to fending off cell-destroying free radicals – a natural byproduct of metabolism that the body overproduces if your dog is sick, elderly, exposed to toxins, or eating unhealthy dog foods. As an antioxidant, turmeric can target free radicals, increase antioxidant enzymes, and inhibit lipid peroxidation so that your pet can maintain a strong immune system throughout its life and age in a healthy manner.

3) Preventative Therapy for Cancer

Chronic inflammation can lead to mutations within a cell, sometimes causing erroneous replication, which can lead to cancer. Since curcumurin is an anti-inflammatory supplement, it can interfere with the tumor’s ability to grow and prevent precancerous conditions from advancing to the next stage. Studies have shown that turmeric can kill cancer cells and prevent them from replicating, especially in older dogs who are susceptible to cancer.

4) Improved Heart Health

Studies have shown that curcumurin can decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) – or a type of “bad” cholesterol – and lower the risk of blood clots in the heart. When added to your dog’s diet over an extended period of time, it can be just as effective as anticoagulant medication, without the intense side effects.

5) May Reduce Risk of Brain Disease

Unfortunately, dogs are just as susceptible to degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – but unlike humans, the conditions are much harder to detect, and oftentimes go unnoticed until they’re far too advanced. Turmeric may be able to help prevent these types of disorders by promoting a certain growth hormone in the brain (called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF) which decreases in levels as dogs get older. Antioxidants like turmeric interact to maintain brain levels of BDNF, which may lead to improved cognitive performance.

Is Turmeric Safe for Dogs?

Even though turmeric is a completely natural ingredient, there are some potential side effects that are important to keep in mind.

First off, turmeric is a blood thinner, which can be very beneficial for preventing strokes or heart disease, but can also lead to problems if your dog is already on blood thinners or if used in excess (see recommended dosages below). Still, as a reference, its blood-thinning side effects are not as strong as, say, aspirin, so if you stick to the recommended dosage and your pet is not already on blood-thinners, this should not be a concern.

Also, since turmeric is a binding agent, it can be beneficial if your dog has diarrhea. Conversely, if your dog is dehydrated, it can lead to severe constipation. Other potential side effects can include:

  • Decrease in blood sugar levels
  • Nausea/upset stomach
  • Gallbladder contraction
  • Decrease in iron absorption
  • Bruising

If you witness any abnormal symptoms like these, consult your veterinarian to see if it was caused by turmeric or another underlying condition. All in all, turmeric is a natural supplement and is generally considered very safe for dogs if the proper dosage is being used.

Turmeric Dosage for Your Dog

All dogs vary in height, size, breed, and weight, so finding the perfect dosage of turmeric to give to your dog is not an exact science. However, the general rule of thumb is 15 to 20 mg per pound of body weight per day (that’s about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per day for every 10 pounds your dog weighs). This dosage is recommended by many veterinarians and by Dogs Natural Magazine, but if you want to play it safe it’s always better to start on the smaller end and then work your way up to that ¼ teaspoon.
Also, turmeric is absorbed and flushed by the body very quickly so it’s a good idea to spread out the dosage in small amounts throughout the day.

How to Give Turmeric to Your Dog

The first thing to keep in mind is that turmeric on its own is difficult for the body to absorb and digest, so simply sprinkling a bit on top of your dog’s food is not the best option. However, there are certain ingredients that you can pair it with for easier digestion.

The first one is freshly ground black pepper – which contains a phytochemical called piperine that can increase curcumin absorption by up to 2,000%. The other includes healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil, or hemp seed oil. Since turmeric is fat-soluble, mixing it with one of these oils and adding it to your dog’s meal will greatly increase curcumin absorption.

Making Your Own Turmeric Paste

You can always make your own turmeric paste with the above ingredients by mixing half a cup of turmeric powder [note: make sure you get the organic stuff without chemicals, pesticides, or any other artificial ingredients that are used to extend shelf life], one cup of filtered water, one and a half teaspoon of ground pepper, and 1/4 cup of coconut oil. Stir in a pot over medium heat until it forms a thick paste, place in a jar, and keep in the fridge.

You can use this for up to two weeks and mix it into your dog’s food (preferably wet) according to the recommended dosage of ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon per 10 lbs of your dog’s weight.

CBD Dog Treats

A much more convenient option is to give your pet our specially formulated CBD dog treats for joint pain and mobility, which contains an all-in-one blend of superfoods like turmeric root, boswellia, hemp seed powder, and CBD oil.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound extracted from the cannabis plant that is known for its wide array of therapeutic properties, such as treating anxiety and chronic pain. Now if you’re thinking – wait a minute, won’t this get my dog high? Don’t worry, CBD is the 100% non-psychoactive element of the plant and is completely safe for your dog.

Not only that, but CBD oil and turmeric are essentially a dynamic duo when it comes to reducing stress, reducing inflammation, and treating painful symptoms that your pet may be experiencing.

Conclusion

Turmeric is an all-natural alternative that can act as preventative therapy to help promote overall good health, fight off illness, and treat joint pain such as arthritis. Even if your dog is healthy, incorporating turmeric into his or her diet will only fortify their overall health and ensure that your best friend is in top shape.

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$34.99 or subscribe and save 20%

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  • All-natural CBD dog treats specially formulated for Joint & Mobility
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