Turmeric For Dogs: The Ultimate Guide
When we give our dogs medications and supplements to improve their health, the last thing we want is something that may end up hurting them. Many conventional medications are notorious for their harsh side effects which can run the gambit from personality changes to even death.
Many pet owners refuse to run the risks associated with certain prescription medications and are turning to natural alternatives to avoid these harsh side effects. And while some are bad, others OK, some are simply wonderful, and we are talking about one of them today.
It makes a delicious spicy tea, has powerful anti-inflammatory fighting abilities, and is one the best natural remedy that you need to know about. If you’re looking to holistically improve your pupperoni's health, then it’s time you get hip with turmeric.
What is Turmeric for Dogs?
Known for its pungent, spicy notes and lavish golden color turmeric commonly finds itself in some of the most divine Indian and Thai dishes around. A member of the ginger family, humans have been using turmeric to flavor up their food and benefit their health dating all the way back to 2500 BCE. In 500 BCE, turmeric became a core component in Ayurveda medicine — ancient Indian form of holistic healing that’s still practiced today.
Today, It’s easy to see why turmeric has been so popular throughout the ages. There are over 6,000 studies that back its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Benefits that can and should extend to our furry companions in this world.
What is Curcumin?
When discussing turmeric, you’ll run into the word “curcumin” quite a lot. And if you look closely at the name “cure-cumin” will clue you into why that is. Derived from the plant’s roots and bulbs, curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for its many benefits. And when we say many, we are talking about a whole ocean of benefits that can improve our dog’s health.
Check out all of curcumin’s potential benefits:
- Preventative health
What Can Turmeric Help With?
What isn’t turmeric good for? Studies have shown that turmeric may help fight diseases left and right. Turmeric may help your dog fight diseases such as cancer, arthritis, liver disease, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease. And this is just scratching the surface. So the big question on your mind is probably, how does it stack up to prescriptions medications. Good question, let’s find out . . .
1. Turmeric As Natural Anti-Inflammatory For Dogs
Inflammation is a blessing and a curse. While it’s the bane of many people’s existence, inflammation has a vital purpose. It kills nasty pathogens like bacteria, toxins, and even heat to protect the body. So how does it do this?
Well, when pathogens enter the bloodstream, your body recognizes the threat and sends special white blood cells called macrophages 1 to remove the threat. These cells will continue to call in reinforcements by releasing inflammatory signals called cytokines.
After m1 cells remove the threat they signal for m2 cells which will come and remove m1 cells before they attack the body. As we’re sure you’ve guessed, chronic inflammation happens when m1 cells don’t send signals for m2 cells.
Above we mentioned that inflammation is the bane of many, and this is because inflammation is a hallmark seen in many diseases.
- Digestive disease
- Kidney disease
- Dental disease
- Neurological disease
However, it’s not all bad news as there are many studies showing the wonderful anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, one of the substances found in turmeric. Some studies have found that curcumin can stand right alongside conventional anti-inflammatory drugs and has even outperformed ibuprofen and aspirin.
We cannot state the importance of fighting inflammation enough. Because it’s a key element in so many diseases, fighting it alone can skyrocket your dog’s health in nearly every way.
2. Turmeric Antioxidant Supplements
They sound like they are about to tear down the system, and in this case, the system is your dog’s health. Free radicals are unstable atoms that tear apart cells and are linked to rapid aging and a long . . . long . . . long list of diseases. Pollutions, toxins processed foods, and pesticides can all cause free radicals to occur in the body. The best way to shield ourselves and our pets from their destructive nature are by consuming antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that offer cells a protective layer against free radicals. They can help prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes — just to name a few. Curcumin has been shown to be an excellent antioxidant. This gives turmeric a multilayered approach to fighting illness and benefiting our dog’s health.
3. Turmeric For Arthritis In Dogs
Arthritis can cut your pet’s life short. And even when it doesn’t kill, its crippling nature severely hinders your dog’s enjoyment in life. With its multi-faceted anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties, turmeric can be an excellent medication for treating arthritis.
Whether used in tandem with conventual medications or as a complete replacer, turmeric kicks arthritis’ butt. Even better, it can do this without the risk of gastrointestinal side effects — a 2014 study found it reduced pain just as well as ibuprofen without running the risk of the aforementioned side effect.
Don’t let arthritis take away your dog’s life and leave them in pain and discomfort. So if you see the signs, start supplementing turmeric into your dog’s diet to give them an upper hand.
4. Turmeric For Pain
Inflammation is back again, and this time it's at the heart of many pain conditions. Swelling from inflammation can cause your dog to feel serious pain in their joints and other parts of their body.
No longer will they be able to enjoy playing fetch and chasing ducks around the pond without experiencing bursts of excruciating pain shooting throughout their body. If it gets bad enough, your pup can become reluctant to even get up and walk around the house.
Turmeric anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the swelling that’s causing your dog hell. It’s a much safer alternative to many over-the-counter medications that we might be inclined to reach for.
5. Improving Heart Health
Unlike common NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), turmeric benefits extend pass pain reduction and relief from inflammation. One way it does this is by improving heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol and preventing blood clots. We like to see a NSAID do that!
6. Turmeric For Dogs With Cancer
It’s so important that we have the best tools available when fighting cancer, but wouldn’t it be even better if we could prevent it from ever occurring? With turmeric that might be a possibility.
Turmeric’s ability to help prevent and treat chronic inflammation is fantastic for helping prevent cancer from developing. But what happens if it’s too late and there are cancer cells already present, will turmeric still help?
The answer is a resounding yes! The American Cancer Society list curcumin as having the ability to not only shrink cancer cells but kill them. Cancer is the most prevalent group of diseases in both humans and dogs, and the longer we live, the likelihood of us developing cancer skyrockets.
7. Treating Gastrointestinal In Dogs
It’s easy to feel a lot like Jan from the Brady Bunch, but instead of us cursing Marsha, we’re cursing “inflammation, inflammation, inflammation.” We mean, it’s even right in the name of this next disease.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can wreck your dog’s gut, and the more we learn about gut health, the more we realize how important it is to staying healthy. Turmeric has wonderful potential for improving gut permeability by reducing inflammation. Again, we see more ways that by reducing inflammation alone, we can improve our dog’s health in countless ways.
8. Alternative To Steroids
Sometimes it's difficult to get completely away from conventional medications. And honestly, this is OK, as the issue with many of them is the side effects that only occur with higher dosages.
A fantastic natural health supplement doesn’t need to completely remove reliance on conventional medications — often it can be impossible for them to, and it might be dangerous. What we really want to see in a wonderful natural health supplement is the ability for it to reduce the use of conventional treatments — preferably to where it keeps their side effects low.
We use steroids when joint pain, allergies, and other conditions move to the point of extreme severity, however, they can have nasty side effects. Studies have found that turmeric can be just as powerful and effective in treating certain conditions as steroids are. And if they absolutely need steroids, it’s smart to pair them turmeric lower their side effects.
9. Turmeric Supports The Liver
The liver takes the brunt of the damage that many conventional drugs deliver with long-term usage. However, by pairing them with turmeric, we can lower their use, saving our dog’s liver. Even better, studies have shown that turmeric can help the liver process nutrients, regulate our blood, and remove toxins by helping it break down lipids and waste.
Even More Turmeric Uses!
Yes, you read that completely right! There are still many more benefits from supplementing turmeric into our dog’s diet.
Here are just a few more:
- Alleviates allergies
- Appellate regulation and weight control
- Better management over seizures
- Fills gaps in the diet with additional fiber, vitamins, and minerals
- Helps with neurological disorders like Alzheimer's Disease
- Improves mood
- Kills fleas and ticks
- Reduces arthritis and joint pain
- Quells nausea and diarrhea
How To Use Turmeric
Unfortunately, turmeric is poorly absorbed without fat molecules it can bind to.
This means you can’t just sprinkle turmeric powder on your dog’s food. If you’ve made turmeric tea before — which we highly recommend — you’ll know you mix milk or an oil into the tea so the body can better absorb it.
You’ll use a similar method when giving turmeric to your dog. It’s really easy to mix turmeric with a healthy oil like coconut oil, and this way you’re benefiting your pet’s health even more.
“The golden paste” is the traditional method for preparing turmeric for maximum health.
- ½ cup - Turmeric Powder — make sure it’s high in curcumin as that’s what we really want.
- 1 cup water — filter water is the best.
- Organic coconut oil — any oil is fine, look for healthier alternatives like hemp seed oil instead of vegetable oil.
A pinch of black pepper (use with caution) — it’s common to see other websites recommend black pepper, as it along fats help improve curcumin’s absorption.
While black pepper does not contain capsaicin, its active ingredient, piperine stimulates some of the same receptors and may give your dog an upset stomach. Many pet owners find that black pepper isn’t required, and out of safety, we recommend leaving the black pepper out if possible. If not possible, slowly introduce it.
- Mix the turmeric powder and water in a bowl or pan — add more water if needed.
- While heating over low heat, stir for 10 minutes or until the liquid has formed into a thick paste. If the liquid fails to properly thicken feel free to add more turmeric.
- Add oil and the rest of the desired ingredients into the mixture, then set mixture aside to cool before placing it into a sealable container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To administer, simply place the golden paste in their food — as well, you can directly give it to them. We recommend starting with the dosages below for up to two weeks before adjusting accordingly.
- Small dogs (below 20 lbs) - 1/4 teaspoon per day
- Medium dogs - 1/2 teaspoon per day
- Large dogs - 3/4 teaspoon per day
- Giant dogs (100 lbs and above) - 1 teaspoon per day
Turmeric Dog Treats
If you have a picky eater then we have just the thing for you. We dare any dog to resist our delectable turmeric treats.
Brown Sugar Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Treats:
- 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
- ¾ cup of hot water
- 1 tsp. bouillon (choose your pup’s favorite protein)
- 1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 2/2 quick oats
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- ½ cup of peanut butter
Pumpkin Coconut Dog Treats:
- 1 ¾ cup garbanzo bean flour
- 1 cup coconut (dried)
- 2 tbsp turmeric powder
- A pinch of ground black pepper (optional)
- ¾ cup boiled and mashed pumpkin
You can bake most dog treats in a similar fashion so feel free to experiment around to find the flavors your pup loves the most. All you ever need to do is add all the ingredients together and blend until the dough is ever so slightly sticky — add more flour if mixture it’s too sticky.
Then roll it out and grab your dog’s favorite mold cut-out the treats, which you’ll place on a baking sheet. The magic baking temperature is anywhere between 325°F to 350°F/180°C, and you’ll typically bake the treats for around 15-20 minutes.
Where to Buy Turmeric Powder
While it’s easy to just grab any ol’ turmeric off the grocery store shelves, you’re likely just throwing money away. The majority of the studies that look at turmeric aren’t really looking at turmeric, but curcumin — and a lot of it. Curcumin extracts contain up to 95% active curcumin and offer the most potent form available. So how about we find the best out there for our pupperies?
We recommend following three easy guidelines as they will lead you to the best curcumin/turmeric for your dog:
- Bioavailability — Because turmeric is so difficult for the body to absorb, many of the best turmeric products for dogs are formulated for improved bioavailability. Often they do this without adding black pepper which can upset your dog’s stomach.
- 95% Curcumindiods — Most studies showing the benefits of turmeric are looking at curcumin extract which is the active ingredient in turmeric.
- Organic and no additives — Always a great rule that we personally follow.
Turmeric is a relatively low risk, and this is the same until you move into very high dosages. Turmeric has a short lifespan and leaves the body quickly so you may want to administer up to three times a day for maximum results. Curcumin capsules formulated for dogs commonly comes in 95% concentrations.
1-10 lbs: 1/16 to 1/8 tsp. of powder or ½ capsule
10-20 lbs: 1/8 tsp to ¼ tsp. or ½ to 1 capsule
20-50 lbs: ¼ tsp. to 1 tsp. powder or 1 to 2 capsules
50-100 lbs: 1 tsp. to 2 tsp. powder or 1 to 2 capsules
100 lbs and up: 2 tsp or 2-4 capsules
Turmeric Side Effects
While turmeric has a very low-risk side effect profile, like all things in life, there are side effects that you still need to be on the lookout for. The major concern is that turmeric is a natural blood thinner and should not be mixed with another blood thinner unless OK’ed by your veterinarian.
As well, issues such as upset stomach, dizziness, nausea, gallbladder issues, and bruising have been seen. If your dog is dehydrated or prone to overheating, turmeric can make symptoms worse because it’s a warming spice.
Can You Take Too Much Turmeric?
Fortunately, we typically only see the side effects above when curcumin dosages are too high. Sometimes they sneak up on us, and we don’t realize that we were giving too much. It’s understandable, but you can definitely give too much of a good thing. Go slow is the best advice we can give.
Turmeric and Hemp Oil
CBD hemp oil has taken holistic medicine and completely turned it upside down. Scientific studies and personal accounts show that CBD may possibly help to reduce your dog’s pain, regulate their appetite, obliterate their anxiety, and be used in tandem with conventional cancer treatments to keep the side effects at a minimal.
And like turmeric, research shows CBD may boast an even more impressive anti-inflammatory profile while having a better chance at reducing reliance on other drugs.
And this all makes it perfect to pair with turmeric giving you a multifaceted approach to better health. Together turmeric and CBD may be able to provide a powerful one-two punch against inflammation — potentially saving your dog from taking a drug that can harm them. We can use turmeric and CBD together as an alternative for both preventive health and in tandem to help treat many diseases.
You can find delectable CBD dog treats or find CBD oil as a tincture — giving you the ability to mix it into your golden paste or turmeric treats. Treats are great as they give you a super easy way to give your dog CBD. Just watch out for one-size-fits-all treats as they are catered to bigger dogs. A product like Soft Hemp Chews is perfect for small dogs, and great for older dogs that have trouble eating harder treats.
Tinctures are nice because they allow you to give your dog a precise dose. As well, they absorb into the bloodstream at a faster rate for quicker results.
Final Thoughts On Giving Your Dog Turmeric
How do we give our dogs the best health possible? Well, the difficult answer is a lot as they will all come together for maximum protection. There is no single cure-all, and we need to pay attention to preventive health as much as we do when treating a medical condition.
Fortunately, we are here to help and offer numerous ways that you can do day to day — without much effort — to improve your pet’s health. CBD and turmeric are a great start and may go incredibly far in both preventive health as an alternative to prescribed medications.
While often delivering fantastic results, conventional medications can spell some seriously bad news. Fortunately, we have scientific studies after study showing how both CBD and turmeric can help lower reliance on them avoiding side effects.
For more information on CBD for pet health, click here!
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. We Love You!
The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.