Many humans love honey for a number of reasons, including its natural sweetening properties and its many uses for health and diet. But, can dogs eat honey?
Yes, they can.
Let me explain.
Recently, after doing a little bit of research for honey as a natural aid for human allergies, I came across a lot of information that found health benefits of honey for dogs as well.
I never would have thought about giving my dogs honey, but they benefit from it almost as much as humans do.
Feeding honey to dogs isn't a new revelation, but it is gaining popularity thanks to the current focus on natural and holistic pet health.
A nice bonus is that most dogs enjoy the taste of honey, so it usually isn't hard to get your dog to eat it.
Mixed with his food, your dog probably won't even realize that the honey is there. Adding this sweet ingredient to his diet may also save you money on future vet care and add to the length of your pet's life.
If you’re wondering how you can improve your adult dog’s health, check out these six benefits of honey for dogs.
Is Honey Good For Dogs?
As a general rule of thumb, yes honey has many uses and benefits, but since it is sugar feed in moderation. And when I say moderation I mean not much.
If your dog has a kennel cough you can treat it by giving them a little bit at a time.
6 Uses and Health Benefits of Honey for Dogs
Dogs suffer from allergies almost as much as humans do, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola. For most dogs, it doesn’t look like human allergies, with sneezing and watery eyes. It looks more like dry, itchy skin and shedding or excess dandruff.
When this happens, vets usually recommend a small dose of Benadryl to help “take the edge off,” but some holistic veterinarians believe that a teaspoon of natural, raw honey every day can actually prevent allergies in dogs after just a few days.
It’s important to note that if your dog has allergies year-round and honey doesn’t seem to help, it could be that your dog may actually have an underlying condition causing the itching and dry skin. It's likely that it is probably a food allergy, and the health benefits of honey for dogs won't help that.
It’s very important that you see a veterinarian to diagnose your dog’s allergies properly.
Many dog breeders and kennel operators use honey as a Neosporin-type wound dressing.
When it comes to honey for dogs, topical application is shown to be the most common use.
As in human studies, honey is often used to treat burns and wounds (Jalali et al. 2007).
Yemen-produced Sidr honey has been shown to treat contaminated wounds in the same time span as iodine.
Further research into the effects of Sidr honey displayed the added benefit of healing wounds of full-thickness (Hananeh et al. 2015).
On a similar vein, non-boiled honey from West Azerbaijan has shown great potential in being an effective healer of surgical wounds (Goharshenasan et al. 2016).
Honey used in these ways provides an alternative for those lacking the necessary medical supplies or for those who experience adverse/allergic reactions to conventional antiseptics.
If a dog has a cut, bite, scratch, burn, etc., they apply the raw honey directly onto the site, and then wrap it up so the dog doesn’t lick the honey clean off.
The disinfectant and antibacterial properties proven to be in honey help the wound heal, and the thickness of the honey helps create a barrier until the wound heals more.
Pro tip: Make sure to warm the honey to make it easier to apply to sore areas.
Of course, if your dog has been badly injured, you should take him or her to the vet rather than trying to slather honey on the wound. My dog recently got bitten by a bot fly, but we didn’t know it.
We tried honey on it, and it didn’t work, but that’s because there was a bot fly larva growing in the bite site!
Yuck! Honey can only do so much, apparently.
3. Tummy Troubles and Intestinal Issues
If your dog has bouts of indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation the health benefits of honey for dogs will certainly come in handy. A dog with tummy trouble is miserable (and usually stinky), so if you’ve ruled out issues with the food he is eating, try a little bit of honey.
Most dogs respond well to about a teaspoon of honey in their food daily, but for larger dogs it can be increased up to a tablespoon or two.
Slowly introduce it into his daily diet, and see if you notice a difference in his digestion. If your dog seems to be more “regular” or has a less upset stomach, it means it’s working! If the honey doesn’t help, though, talk to your veterinarian about possible food allergies or medical conditions.
My dogs both eat a small teaspoon of honey in their food, and it has helped with my smaller dog’s digestive issues to an extent. But honey can’t fix everything, especially an existing medical condition.
It's important that you observe and monitor your dog regularly to make sure there isn't anything else going on. Look for symptoms other than digestive trouble, and take him to the vet if you notice anything else.
The most promising internal application of honey revolves around kynurenic acid (KYNA) (Turski et al. 2013).
KYNA, a known antiexcitotoxic and anticonvulsant, is used in the treatment of neurobiological disorders. Among all analyzed foods, honey has been shown to contain the highest levels of kynurenic acid (Urbanska et al. 2014)
It is due to this that honey is praised for its neuroprotective properties.
So much so that KYNA is currently used in the treatment of brain disorders centered around neuronal loss.
During studies involving experimental colon obstruction KYNA was introduced to dogs and showed the ability to inhibit hypermotility and xanthine oxidase activity during (Kaszaki et al. 2008).
KYNA exerts a protective, anti-inflammatory effect.
So not only does KYNA effectively decrease abnormal movement of the intestinal tract, which would have caused great pain and may have led to tearing of the intestinal wall.
But, KYNA also prevented the release and spread of destructive superoxides.
As an added bonus, KYNA aids the healing process by decreasing the inflammation often associated with injury and infection.
This decreases the discomfort felt by the dog and allows treatment without negative feedback from the subject.
When combined with glutamine, it has been shown that honey may provide a viable alternate treatment for short bowel syndrome in dogs (Eyarefe et al. 2012).
For canines that underwent some sort of surgery to decrease the length of their intestinal tract, the probiotic-promoting properties of honey for dogs allows them to increase the amount of nutrient absorbed.
This has dire ramifications in terms of maintaining the health of the dog.
4. Pick Me Up
Because it has natural sugars, it stimulates the body and the dog gets a little “pick me up” out of it.
Use honey with caution though, because too much honey for dogs can actually cause dental and stomach problems.
RECOMMENDED READ: 6 Vet's Tips On How To Care For Senior Dogs
5. Is It Safe to Give Dogs Honey for Cough?
For humans, a teaspoon of honey when they have a terrible cough can provide instant relief.
One of the greatest health benefits of honey for dogs is that it does the same thing for adult dogs who are unlucky enough to get kennel cough.
How Much Honey Can I Give My Dog for a Cough?
Try just half a teaspoon for smaller dogs and one teaspoon a day for larger dogs, and increase if your dog handles it well.
A lot of veterinarians are familiar with this practice, so they may be able to give you a better idea of daily dosage to treat it.
IMPORTANT: Note that you should not give puppies honey; puppies are most likely to have kennel cough from their time in shelters or pet stores but do not use this until they are considered an adult (over 2 years of age).
Does your dog always seem to have an ear infection?
I’m not even sure how it happens, but my dog seems to get one at least once a month.
I was surprised to find out that one of the many health benefits of honey for dogs is preventing ear infections.
Once I started introducing a teaspoon of honey into his food, though, the ear infections stopped.
You may find that introducing honey into your dog’s diet helps prevent ear infections, but it can also help you get rid of a particularly nasty one as well.
Of note, medical-grade honey has successfully demonstrated its effectiveness at treating canine otitis externa – an inflammation or infection of the external ear canal – in both lab and clinical settings (Maruhashi et al. 2016)
When to Not Use Honey for Dogs?
Dogs’ bodies do not break down sugars very easily, and they can become obese if their body isn’t burning the extra sugar properly.
This is why I don’t increase my dog’s daily dosage over a teaspoon, even though he tolerates it well.
I don’t want him to get chunky, and I also don’t want any dental problems from the sugars resting in his mouth.
Veterinarians also want dog owners to know that honey is not for puppies or dogs with diabetes.
If your dog isn’t over the age of 2, don’t even try honey as it can mess with their teeth and digestive systems.
If your dog is diabetic, there are plenty of other remedies out there that don’t contain sugar.
Common Questions About Honey For Dogs
How Much Honey Can a Dog Have a Day?
If your dog ways less than 10lbs: 1/4 of a teaspoon a day; if your dog weighs 10-20 lbs: 1/2 a teaspoon a day; and between 20 and 50lbs: 1 teaspoon a day. If your dog is larger than perhaps a tablespoon.
Can Honey Cause Diarrhea in Dogs?
Yes, because honey raises your dog's blood sugar, and if that gets too high they could begin vomiting or have diarrhea
Does Honey Help Dogs With Collapsed Trachea?
Honey for Dogs: Daily Doggy Fix
Try out honey and see what it can do for your dog (and for you). If you want something really natural, healthy, and good for your dog, there's a decent selection of organic, natural raw honey for dogs on Amazon.
Eco Bee Farm Raw Honey has been very popular among owners.
Start with a teaspoon a day, and stop if you notice anything unsavory, like itching, swelling, diarrhea, weight gain, etc.
Not every dog is going to respond well to honey, just like they don’t all respond well to medications.
I love honey, and I use it daily for me and my dogs. I hope that you can enjoy the health benefits of honey for dogs and people, too!