Honey is a natural health food that we humans have used since ancient times for medicinal purposes - and as a healthy sweet treat! It's in many homemade dog treat recipes, and you may have seen some pet parents using it to treat wounds on their dog's body. So you may wonder - is it safe to feed honey to your dog? Can dogs eat raw honey? Is honey good for dogs in the first place? Below, we'll tell you all about the wonders of honey and all that it can do for your pet!
Can Dogs Eat Honey?
So, can dogs eat honey? Yes - honey is safe for most healthy adult dogs to eat in small amounts. Honey is a nutritious powerhouse with many medicinal properties, so it benefits a dog's health! It's also not toxic, so it's safe for dogs to eat. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind before feeding your dogs honey!
Health Benefits Of Honey
These health benefits are true of all honey, but particularly of unfiltered, raw honey. The typical honey you'll find in stores has been pasteurized, heated, and processed. It's delicious and satisfies a sweet tooth, but raw honey is best for dogs (and for you!).
Vitamins and Minerals
Honey contains vitamin C, multiple B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, and zinc. These nutrients do many things, such as strengthen your dog's immune system, help produce red blood cells and collagen, and promote muscle development and bone density.
Honey has anti-inflammatory properties making it particularly helpful for soothing a sore throat. This is a handy treatment for kennel cough!
Raw honey has long been used for its antiviral, antifungal, and anti-bacterial properties. When ingested, unpasteurized honey can help regulate the gut biome and soothe irritable bowel disease. Topically, honey is good for wound healing, insect bites, scratches, scrapes, and fungal issues. Honey is a natural antibiotic!
Some studies have shown that eating local honey regularly may help lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies. By eating honey made from local bees, you get small doses of exposure to the flower pollen that is triggering your allergies. This helps your body build antibodies and therefore have less severe allergy symptoms!
The Downside Of Honey For Dogs
High Sugar Content
For all of its health benefits, honey is very high in sugar. Natural sugars are better than high fructose corn syrup, but sugar is still sugar. You should never feed overweight dogs honey, as it can very easily lead to weight gain. Honey also can spike blood sugar levels, so you should not feed diabetic dogs honey. Brushing your dog's teeth after feeding them honey is also recommended, as it can lead to tooth decay.
If your dog has ever had allergic reactions to bee stings, then it will likely also react to honey. Dogs allergic to honey can react with oral ulcers, stomach ulcers, and skin lesions.
Raw, unfiltered honey may be the most nutrient-dense, but it also may contain botulism spores. These spores can lead to paralysis. A fully-functioning immune system will not be troubled by these spores, but puppies (or dogs with compromised immune systems) may experience a build-up of the botulism toxin and become seriously sick.
What Is The Best Way To Feed Your Dog Honey?
Honey is often used as a sweetener in many homemade dog treats. You can also mix a small amount with yogurt and spread it on a lick mat. Or, pet owners can simply drizzle a small amount atop a bowl of dog food!
With honey, it's important to use a very small amount. Too much honey can lead to obese dogs and many related health problems. A dog's diet doesn't require honey in any way, so it's best to err on the side of caution.
So how much honey can your dog eat? This depends on the size of your dog. A full 90% of a dog's daily calories should come from well-formulated dog food, with only 10% relegated to treats. Honey is such a high-calorie food that a little goes a long way - particularly in small breeds with lower-calorie needs! Small dogs should have half a teaspoon daily, and even the largest breeds should never have more than 2 teaspoons each day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Bee Pollen?
Yes, bee pollen is safe for dogs to eat. It has many of the same health benefits as honey, but with the added benefit of protecting against free radicals. These damaged molecules can lead to many chronic health problems. When feeding bee pollen to dogs, start with only a few granules at a time. A little goes a long way.
Can Dogs Eat Manuka Honey?
Yes, dogs can eat manuka honey. Manuka honey is considered to be the most potent type of raw honey. Sourced from a specific region in New Zealand, this type of honey has up to four times the antibacterial properties of regular honey! It is safe for dogs to eat, but it's pricey and is typically saved for medicinal purposes.
Can Dogs Eat Royal Jelly?
Yes, dogs can have royal jelly. Worker bees feed this milky substance to larvae that they want to develop into queen bees. It can give your dog a healthier coat, improve their endurance, and help with anxiety and depression.