6 benefits of honey for dogs | The good and the bad.

Honey is an all-around natural treat. However, is honey for dogs beneficial?


Harvested directly from beehives, honey is a sweet yet delightful natural product that can be consumed without any treatment. For humans, honey has proven itself to be very useful. It can be used to soothe cough and sore throat issues, reduce seasonal allergies, as a natural sweetener, et cetera. However, is honey for dogs a safe option? The short answer to this question would be YES! Honey, if provided to your dog in small quantities, can be beneficial and keep your dog protected. However, honey is not meant for all dogs. Therefore, read the blog post to the end to understand the benefits of honey for dogs, when should you give honey to your dog, when should you not, and how much?


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Benefits of honey for dogs
Benefits of honey for dogs



What is honey?


Honey is a golden liquid that is viscous in consistency. Industrious bees produce it. Honey is mainly made via the nectar from flowering plants and is saved in the beehive for consumption during scarcity periods. Bees extract nectar from the flowers and store it in their extra stomach, also referred to as a crop. When the nectar is sloshed around in the crop, it mixes with the enzymes produced by the bee's body. This transforms the pH and the chemical composition of the nectar, converting it into honey. The honey is deposited in the honeycomb.


Honey for dogs


Honey is known to provide dogs with an energy blast. When the sugar present in the honey gets broken down, it gives a burst of energy that can keep your dog awake and energetic for extended periods. Many people give their dog honey right before competition or training sessions for that extra energy blast. Honey is extremely rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. These are vital components for the well-being of your dog. Honey is also known to help control symptoms of allergy and skin issues. If your dog is suffering from weight problems, honey can help. However, due to the high presence of sugar in honey, you need to be careful.


Benefits of honey for dogs


Honey for dogs has a wide variety of benefits. Honey is full of natural nutrients and thus can be referred to as a superfood for dogs. It is superbly rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants and contains sugars like fructose and glucose, as well as minerals like iron, sodium, manganese, zinc, phosphate, copper, magnesium, and potassium. The specific vitamins that are present in honey are as follows:


  • Vitamin C. It is needed for keeping your dog's immune system in a healthy condition. It was also responsible for maintaining your dog's cartilage, teeth, and bones, growing and repairing the body tissues, et cetera.
  • Vitamin B is responsible for supporting good health and cell growth. It helps prevent infection and promotes cell metabolism. Vitamin C is also needed for good brain function and boosting energy levels.
  • Vitamin E is responsible for preventing the aging of the cells and acting as an antioxidant. It protects the cells from early death by harmful free radicals.
  • Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphate from the body. Deficiency in vitamin d has causes bone problems in dogs.
  • Vitamin K promotes the healing of wounds and is needed for proper blood clotting.
  • Antioxidants like phenolic acid and flavonoids are primarily needed to protect the body against oxidative stress. These also act as an excellent supplement in case the dog is pregnant.

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Helps with allergy problems


If your dog suffers from seasonal allergies, honey is the solution. You can look at this as a process of systemic desensitization of your dog towards pollen grain. Honey contains minuscule levels of flower pollen. When you give your dog a small amount of honey regularly, a very minute level of pollen grain gets introduced into your dog's digestive system.


Pollen is the most common reason behind seasonal allergies in dogs. When you introduce a small quantity of pollen, it is not enough to cause an allergic reaction. However, it is enough to induce the production of antibodies. Over time, the body starts to recognize these pollen grains as natural. Thus, when the time comes for seasonal allergies, your dog's body will learn to recognize pollen grains as natural components and will not launch an immune reaction against them. Thus, honey for dogs helps with seasonal allergy issues.


Another massive advantage of honey is that it contains a compound called quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that possesses antihistamines. Antihistamines are responsible for neutralizing the histamines produced in response to an allergic reaction. Most vets recommend using raw, unfiltered honey to strengthen the immune system of dogs so that they do not succumb to environmental allergens or seasonal allergies.


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For dealing with skin problems


If your dog is suffering from wounds, scrapes, scratches, eczema, insect bites, et cetera, honey can be used in a tropical manner to soothe and promote the healing of dog skin ailments. Honey is effective because unpasteurized honey contains antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties. Furthermore, the low moisture content in honey makes it extremely hard for bacteria to proliferate. Honey also contains hydrogen peroxide in low levels. This helps honey act as an antiseptic layer that keeps the tissue sanitized while promoting healing.

Honey has also been observed to promote the growth of healthy skin. On the other hand honey has been observed to help reduce inflammation and pain.


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Throat infection and kennel cough


This is something that humans are already aware of. Raw honey can work wonders if you suffer from a sore throat or cough and cold. However, were you aware that honey offers the same benefits to your canine companion as well? If your dog is suffering from kennel cough or any other kind of breathing problem, honey is your perfect aid.


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Honey to help with digestion


Honey for dogs has been observed to be a boon for solving digestive problems. A small amount of honey added to either your dog's diet or separately fed to your dog can help with constipation, indigestion, diarrhea, etc., and keep the intestines of your dog healthy. Honey is beneficial if your dog suffers from any gastrointestinal disease like bacteria overgrowth, colitis, editable bowel disease, or gastritis. Honey also acts as a natural antibacterial agent. Many vets recommend using honey for dogs suffering from minor stomach ulcers.


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Instant energy provision


Honey contains unsweetened sugar. Sugar provides instant energy. However, the breakdown of sugar in honey can provide slow energy to the dog over a longer time. Many dog guardians tend to use honey for dogs to promote endurance, athleticism, and vitality. In the case of senior dogs, honey can be used to help the dog regain some of the lost energy. Finally, the anti-inflammatory benefits of honey for dogs can be used to help soothe the inflammation of joints in the case of older dogs.


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Benefits of honey for dogs
Honey for dogs has numerous benefits



Reducing the weight of your dog


If your dog is slightly overweight, honey for dogs may be the right option for you. Honey has a tendency to reduce the hunger pangs in dogs. Honey can be referred to as a simple sugar. However, it is broken down in a manner that is very different from table sugar. Honey also requires much less quantity of insulin and gets absorbed slowly through the bloodstream. This helps in slowing down the digestion of your dog and glucose conversion. If your dog tends to quickly put on weight, giving your dog a small quantity of honey on a regular basis can help maintain a healthy balance of weight.


When is honey for dogs, not an option?


You must have noticed that in the case of humans, all food items cannot be eaten by everyone. Similarly, in the case of canines as well, honey cannot be given to all. If excessive honey is given to the dog, it can cause serious problems. Therefore, the following factors must be taken into account before you start giving your dog this sweet delicacy on a regular basis. It is always advisable to consult your veterinarian before you add a new supplement to your dog's diet. Your veterinarian already knows of your dog's medical conditions, allergy profile, et cetera. Your veterinarian can guide you regarding which superfoods should be added as a part of your dog's diet.


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If your dog is diabetic


If your dog is diabetic, the addition of honey may lead to a spike in your dog's blood sugar levels. Therefore, if your dog is suffering from diabetes, discuss with your vet before you introduce honey as a part of your dog's diet. Alternatively, you can choose to add items with low sugar content to your dog's diet, like cucumbers.


Dogs who are overweight


If your dog is overweight, do not give your dog honey. Honey contains sugar which in turn converts to calories. So, if you do give your dog honey, you are providing additional calories to your dog. Honey is also known to cause tooth decay in the case of dogs. Therefore, regular brushing is required.


Dogs who have hypersensitivity towards bees


If your dog is allergic to bee stings or bees, they may have an allergic reaction to the consumption of honey. Thus, be very cautious and consult your veterinarian before introducing anything new to your dog's diet.


Senior dogs and puppies


If your puppy or senior dog has a weak immune system, you should not give your dog honey. Honey contains bacteria that are good for the development of immunity, but when honey is given to dogs with weakened immunity, it may have a negative impact. Thus, talk to your vet about your dog's current condition and whether honey would make for a good supplement.


How much honey to give your dog?


First and foremost, honey is sugar. Therefore, you must be careful about how much money you can give your dog. Too much honey can cause serious side effects. You can administer honey to your dog as per the following doses:


  • If your dog is below 10 lbs, you can give him ¼ teaspoon of honey on a regular basis.
  • If your dog falls between 10 to 20 lbs, then you can give them half a teaspoon of honey on a regular basis.
  • If your dog falls between 20 to 50 lbs, one teaspoon of honey can be given daily.
  • If the dog is above 50 lbs, up to two teaspoons of honey can be given daily.


Start with a drop. Add one drop of honey to your dog's food till they get acclimated to the taste and smell of honey. Once your dog gets used to the essence of honey, you can increase the dose in a very gradual manner till you reach the dose that is right for your dog's weight. However, remember to consult your vet before you add honey to your dog's diet. Discuss all of your dog's recent and past illnesses, wounds, treatments, etcetera, and find out if honey is a good supplement for your pup.


Finding the right honey for dogs


Not every honey is pure or beneficial. A lot of times, honey is extracted by using fume boards or pesticides. This is not the honey that you should purchase for your dog. Go for honey that is pure, unfiltered, and raw. This is the honey that contains all the goodness and will be a great addition to your dog's diet. You can also opt for local beekeepers to get honey for dogs.


Bonus tip


If you have good quality honey that is unfiltered and raw, it will look dark in color and will crystallize if it is chilled. You can put a small amount of honey in the fridge and check if it is raw and unfiltered or not. If the honey does not crystallize when kept in the cold, the honey has been processed. This type of honey will not be beneficial for you or your dog since it does not have propolis and pollen.


How to feed honey to your dog?


There are many ways you can feed honey to your dog, from directly giving your dog raw honey to lick out of a spoon to making it a part of your dog's regular diet. Here are a few methods that you can use to get your pup used to honey:

  • Spread the honey in a thin layer on your dog's favorite treat. Make sure your dog does not eat the treat when on the bed or couch. Honey can create a massive mess if dropped.
  • Add a thin layer of honey on banana, apple, or any other dog-safe fruit and offer it to your dog.
  • Mix the honey with some plain yogurt, cream cheese, pumpkin puree, peanut butter, or your dog's regular food.
  • Allow your dog to lick it off the spatula or spoon.
  • People advise making cakes for dogs with honey. However, this cake will not provide your dog with all the nutritional benefits of honey because when the cake batter undergoes heating, the heat will kill the good bacteria present in the honey.


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Conclusion


Now you know how honey for dogs can be beneficial. However, as I have mentioned so many times before and in all my posts, you must consult with your vet before deciding to add any nutritional supplement to your dog's diet, no matter how small. Make sure that the honey is stored in an airtight and sealed container. Keep the raw honey in a place that is dry and cool. If the raw honey crystallizes, you do not have to worry. Crystallization means that the honey is pure and unprocessed. You can soak the jar of honey in warm water to bring the honey back to syrupy condition. Do not boil it since heat can spoil honey.


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See you in my next blog post

Shruti

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