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Natural Canine Health Symposium

Turmeric For Dogs


If you cook, you may already be familiar with turmeric, but for first timers, here’s a quick culinary lesson to get us started. The turmeric herb, a member of the ginger family, is most commonly known for its deep orange color and is used for cooking, herbal medicine and dyes. Native to Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries, it has been a staple in cooking for thousands of years. Today it is a key ingredient in most curry dishes as well as yummy Thai, Indian, and Persian plates.

Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines have long known the benefits of turmeric for the body, inside and out.

“Ay….ur…vedic medicine?”

Quick explanation. An ancient Ayurvedic proverb reads: “When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need.” Ayurvedic medicine is the traditional medicine of India, originating over 5000 years ago. How is this relevant today? Because it doesn’t just look at the aspect of treatment, it looks at prevention and using elements like nutrition, exercise and lifestyle factors to re-establish balance in the body.

What we eat is a key component of this holistic healing approach.

Spice of Life

OK, back to turmeric. So we know that it’s a spice. It’s orange. We cook Eastern and Asian food with it. But why is it so good for our pets? The bio-active compound (active ingredient or healing properties) of turmeric is “curcumin” (not to be confused with a different spice called cumin). Curcumin is responsible for its bright orange color as well as a host of health benefits. This prime ingredient acts as a spice, but also as a pain reliever. For this reason, it’s a great food additive for pets that suffer from ailments and illnesses which cause pain.

But it’s also beneficial in many other ways! Let’s look a little closer at Eastern medicine to understand how it is used to maintain good health.

Traditional Asian medicine used turmeric for its ability to detoxify the body, purify the blood, stimulate bile production in the liver, disinfect wounds, and as a stomach tonic. In addition, Thais used it to treat diarrhea and other stomach ailments, as well as to eradicate ringworm, a fungal infection. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, turmeric is applied to wounds to cleanse and stimulate recovery, keeping harmful bacteria away.


Western medicine is finally catching up with Eastern practice. Turmeric is now being researched extensively for pharmacological use in treating and/or reducing symptoms related to a wide range of health conditions. The National Institute of Health is conducting 19 clinical trials on turmeric and curcumin. A paper written for the American Academy of Pain Management discusses the health benefits of turmeric. “Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” says Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Dr. Horwitz also cites a 2006 University of Arizona study that found this potent anti-inflammatory to reduce the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical studies have shown that curcumin in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which cause the painful inflammation and damage to joints affected by arthritis.

This is pretty significant for our senior K9 friends that may be suffering from the aches and pains associated with arthritis and aging in general.

The anti-inflammatory properties, combined with the fact that turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, suggests that it’s also useful for disinfecting and treating skin injuries. Research suggests that when using it topically, mix it with honey. This creates a paste that you can easily apply to wounds. We talked about raw honey before, so you probably already know that honey also has high antibacterial properties. Of course, you will have to keep an eye on your furry friend as the combination of turmeric and honey may also be a tasty treat.

Heart Health

Another concern with our senior pets is ensuring heart health. Like us, our pets are susceptible to blood clots and excess cholesterol. You may have heard of LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). Well turmeric has been found to lower LDL levels which support both heart and liver health.

In addition, turmeric helps to thin the blood, reducing the risk of deadly clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks. It’s important not to thin your dog’s blood too much, but the right amount can be helpful. If your pet is on medication, especially those that thin the blood, check with your vet for the appropriate dosage.

The Great Detoxifier

What about the liver? Yes, turmeric is good for that too.

Our environment is becoming more and more toxic and that not only affects us, it impacts Fido as well. Our pets are susceptible to toxins in the environment and in their food, especially commercially produced kibble and treats.

The liver plays a significant role in removing toxins from the body. Think of the liver as the main industrial centre for the body. It’s involved in nearly every biochemical process required to run the body. The body’s abilities to clot blood, to breakdown harmful toxins, and to remove waste and store energy, are all affected by the liver. It is a major player in your pet’s digestion, storing vitamins and producing bile which is necessary to break down fat. It’s a pretty important piece of machinery for your pet’s overall health.

Curcumin is believed to stimulate bile production necessary for the digestion of fat in the liver. Active dogs need at least 20% fat in their diet; therefore, bile production is critical for good health.

In short, turmeric boosts the liver’s ability to metabolize fat and remove waste from the body.

As with any pre-existing condition, if your pet already suffers from liver disease, you should consult your vet before treating with turmeric as some studies indicate that turmeric may aggravate existing problems.

Anti-Cancer Properties!!!
One of the most interesting discoveries I made while investigating the benefits of turmeric is that there are now reports coming out claiming that turmeric may help in the fight against cancer! This powerful antioxidant plays a significant role in preventative medicine.

But wait, there’s more!

In a study at UCLA, doctors found that curcumin seemed to block the cancer promoting enzyme that stimulates the growth of head and neck cancer. The Department of Small Animal Clinical Scientists has conducted studies that show that curcumin can inhibit tumor growth and may even shrink existing tumors. This has to do with the spice’s amazing ability to shut down blood vessels that feed tumors.

Antioxidant properties are also helpful in reducing the negative side effects of chemotherapy.

Now, we are not saying turmeric is the only thing you should do to prevent, control and/or treat cancer; however, it certainly has us excited about its anti-cancer properties.

Other Uses

If we haven’t already convinced you about the health benefits of turmeric, here are a few more uses:

  • Aids in the treatment of epilepsy
  • Helps relieve allergies
  • Helps in preventing the formation of cataracts
  • Used in treating depression (Yes, dogs can get depressed too)
  • Kills parasites
  • Heals stomach ailments, aids in digestive disorders, and reduces gas and bloating
  • Acts as a binding agent and therefore great for treating diarrhea (Make sure you have lots of water available for your pet to drink!)
  • Aids in fat metabolism and weight management
  • High in fiber and rich in vitamins and mineral

So How Do I Feed It?

The suggested dosage is approximately 15 to 20 mg per pound of body weight in dogs, 150-200mg for cats. A simpler way of looking at it is an 1/8 to a 1/4 teaspoon per day, for every 10lbs of dog weight. Make sure your pet has lots of water to ensure that they don’t get constipated.

You can feed the powder, which is most commonly available, or crushed or fresh root. Sprinkle it right on top of your pet’s food and mix or, if you home cook, you can add it to the recipe. Quality varies and if you are buying turmeric in a local supermarket, it may be grown using nasty pesticides and herbicides. This lowers the potency. If possible, try to get high quality, organic turmeric. Be sure to store it in a tightly sealed container, kept in a cool, dark and dry place.

According to Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM known as the “Dog Cancer Vet” and author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity: “[…] curcumin has some bioavailability problems. This means that the stuff doesn’t, to a large extent, get absorbed into the blood after it is taken by mouth. However, there are ways around this.

Curcumin does not dissolve well in water. This is one of the things that limit its absorption. You can overcome this by mixing it with lecithin and water and making a slurry. Lecithin is available online. It is very, very gooey, so you must add some water to the curcumin-lecithin (about 4 parts water to 1 part lecithin). You can put some low sodium boullion, or similar agents, in it for flavor. Many of the commercial preparations have bromelain with it to enhance blood levels. No problem. Doses are approximate, and taken from human literature. For a large dog, use about 2 grams twice a day.”

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

Remember how turmeric is a bright orange color? Well, the ancient monks used turmeric as a dye to stain their robes. Moral of the story: be careful and mix it in well with your pets’ food, because your pets might end up with turmeric mustaches!

Turmeric is a binding agent, so ensure that your pet has lots of water to reduce the likelihood of constipation.

Our research didn’t find many contradictions to taking turmeric medicinally. However, if your pet does have a pre-existing condition, is currently on medication, has a planned surgery, or is pregnant, it’s advisable to talk to your vet before feeding.

Spice up yours and your pet’s life with a little turmeric!

Written by Planet Paws Blogger – Sarah MacKeigan
Sources & Information – Rodney Habib
Editor & Photographer - Lise Blinn

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  • 43 Responses to Turmeric For Dogs

    1. Sunny Baine

      Thank you for all the info. I have been on a new for me holistic raw food, doc, etc regimen for my golden and pomeranian and this helped me ….stay the course….l am sure folks are normally gung ho in the begining but it does cost more and takes lots of time……so we need to get refresher blasts, periodically.Please Keep it up!
      Sunny and the pack

    2. Smileyk

      My dog has turmeric paste (turmeric cooked in water, with black pepper and coconut oil added at the end) in her food every day. She was having problems getting up sometimes and the vet said there is some arthritis in her hips and put her on meds. I’ve now stopped these meds as there is no need for them. Interestingly I’ve also stopped her incurin which she was taking for incontinence. She still does “excited” wees sometimes but nothing like she used to be!

      I mix a teaspoon of paste with natural yoghurt and her millies wolfheart food and she LOVES it.

      I take the same paste in chocolate almond milk and my aches and pains are much better too! :)

      • Tbone

        What is your recipe, please? I would like to make this paste for my German shepherd.

    3. Donna Benware

      My dog has been diagnosed with stage 1 kidney disease. She is not taking any meds. Is it safe for me to give her turmeric? Are there any benefits for the kidneys? She is a 5 year old lab/fox hound mix.

    4. Gloria

      I became desperate because my shih tzu’s paws swelled from allergies to the point of bleeding. The antibotics the vet prescribed was not working in addition to how costly it is. I began to give him turmeric and the swelling is almost gone and he is walking again.

    5. Anna

      Wondering if the dosage info above is correct, 15 – 20 mg for dogs, 150 – 200 mg for cats? Ten times higher for cats?

      I recently made a paste with turmeric, olive oil and a touch of black pepper and applied it to our dogs very inflamed gingival hyperplasia. It responded very quickly by becoming less inflamed and less puffy after using it less than a week. But I am noticing he is having soft stools. Not runny but softer. I was looking for constipation and maybe it has nothing to do with the turmeric but I will stop and then try it again to see what happens. But the results were surprising!

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Anna, the way I read the article is that it’s 15-20 mg per pound of bodyweight for dogs, but TOTAL 150-200 mg for cats. I’m assuming that’s because there’s less size variety in cats. Glad it has helped your dog!

    6. Neen

      My little beagle has been on steroids for years for Chronic Bronchitis. I am desperate to get her off of these due to the side effects. Do you think Turmeric would be helpful for her?


      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Neen, we’ve read about turmeric’s benefits for respiratory ailments in humans so it’s possible it could help, but we suggest you talk with a holistic vet about it, and you should research possible interactions with steroids. You can find a holistic vet at ahvma.org. Many will do phone consults so they don’t necessarily need to be nearby.

    7. Terri

      Is it ok to give curcumin with novox for pain?

    8. Jodi

      My 3 year old dog has a history of mast cell tumors and is about to undergo her second tumor removal. I plan to add turmeric to her diet two weeks after her surgery. Is this herb beneficial for this problem? Thanks!

    9. Sally

      Some of you are going overboard with the turmeric. You just need a little for a dog. Fresh clove of garlic works wonders too. Chop that up put it in your dog’s food.

      The reason why turmeric and garlic are super awesome is because of their anti-inflammatory properties.

      If your dog is prone to seizures, do NOT give them oil of oregano. Essential oils for animals is a bad idea.

      Give them fresh garlic, pumpkin but not alot of turmeric and essential oils.

      Don’t get the capsules either. Just get the dried herb, measure 1/4 out on the spoon (sometimes even less!) and put it in the dog food unless your dog is prone to seizures then don’t do it period. Just use one fresh clove of garlic for food.

      Pumpkin is great for the digestive health.
      Chicken broth is too.

      Have a great day!

      • Sheryl

        Garlic is exceptionally toxic to dogs (and cats), both in fresh and dried forms. It causes damage to hemoglobin in red blood cells, causing them to break down. This can lead to life-threatening anemia, and in some cases requires tranfusions to treat. It is not advisable to give garlic or onions to a dog in ANY quantity. Small amounts can cause damage – especially on repeated basis. As an ER vet, it is something that we see quite often!

        • Vanessa

          Sheryl, I invite you to read this article from this same website:

          I have been giving garlic to my dogs for year with no adverse effect. They are healthier than ever, and have zero fleas or ticks without the use of chemicals or pesticides.

          To quote the article:

          Considering the data presented in this study, the average 75 pound Golden Retriever would need to eat five full heads of garlic or about 75 cloves of garlic in each meal before there would be any adverse effect on the red blood cells. Similarly, a dog weighing a mere 10 lbs would need to eat 25 grams of garlic – about half an entire head of garlic, or about 6 to 8 garlic cloves in every meal to experience any adverse effects.

          • Debbie

            Thanks for the valuable information about garlic for dogs. My sister’s dog has cancer, and supplementing with garlic and turmeric could possibly help him.

    10. jenna

      Hi there. I bought Turmeric capsules for my dog. The ingredients say Turmeric (curcuma longa) (root) 450 mg & turmeric extract (curcuma longa) (root) (standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids) 50 mg. I bought the capsules at Wallgreens in the vitamin & supplement section. I’ve been giving him the capsules wrapped in turkey slices. He is a Bullmastiff & weighs about 140lbs. Is this an effective form of Turmeric to give him or do I need to open the capsules & sprinkle it in his food?

    11. Just to make sure it is good for my dog, who is epileptic to have turmeric on his food, right? I can’t afford every vet product that is out there, and besides they are not natural products. Just trying to help my dog stop seizuring.

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Mary, it would be a really good idea to work with a homeopath. Homeopathy has a great track record with treating seizes! You can find a homeopathic vet at theavh.org

      • Diana

        I would definitely check with a specialist of some kind. I have two dogs and I gave turmeric to both of them and one of them has seizures whenever I have tried to give it to him. So, I give it to my female who does fine with it and give the male oil of oregano.

    12. Sue Christ

      My dog has high liver enzymes and pancreatic problems can I give turmeric safely or will this irritate the pancrease?

    13. Therese

      I recently started giving my 22 lb dog turmeric in addition to a liver detoxifier to try and address an ongoing skin staph infection. About four days after receiving about 400 mg mixed Into his raw food, he started having diarrhea and vomiting. I gave him pure pumpkin for a couple days and he seemed back to normal. I thought maybe he was detoxing so I waited five days and reintroduced the turmeric at 200mg Three days later it’s the same thing. I haven’t taken him to the vet because he would just give him more drugs. We don’t have any holistic vets in our area. Could this be detox or could he be super sensitive to the turmeric? I plan to stop giving it to him but am wondering if it could be detox. Thank you!

      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        You don’t need a holistic vet in your area. Homeopathic vets can do phone consults! Visit theavh.org to find one today

      • Claire Bennett

        I would suggest its because you are using too high a dose of turmeric.. It is essential that you start of using diminutive amounts regularly until he gets used to it..

    14. Diane

      it is very important to note that Turmeric should NOT be taken with any NSAID except aspirin, and especially NOT with Rimadyl.
      It is also contraindicated in dogs and humans prone to urinary tract stones
      ALSO Turmeric can increase the risk of bleeding and should be removed from diet 2 weeks before any surgeries

    15. I would like to know more about Turmeric as I intend to start using it for my Rottweiler who is seven years old and has developed joint problems.

      I would appreciate any help you have available.



      • jacinda

        Hello, I order organic tumeric powder for my cooking (because of it’s health properties) from http://www.wholespice.com. My recently adopted 8 yr old rescue weimeraner has fatty lipomas so I decided to mix tumeric with his food (a mixture of Nature’s logic dry & wet with water). He didn’t hesitate to eat it at all. So, I’ll be adding 1 tsp per meal (he’s appx 70 lbs) to hopefully reduce the lipomas. If not, at least it’s super healthy for him too!

        • Liz


          I have just read your article from last year that you were trying your dog on turmeric, can you tell me if this has helped at all

          Many thanks


    16. Manisha lakhwani


      • John Wassenaar

        I have done a lot of research on Turmeric for dogs. It also is a fungal killer. So feel free to use it. 15 to 20mg per pound of body weight. mix the turmeric with a quarter teaspoon of coconut oil. It makes it absorb much better in the body and the coconut oil is also very good for your dog. Do not use more of the oil than a quarter for small to medium dogs, and half a teaspoon for big dogs.

    17. Michelle

      My dog possibly has nasal cancer (or allergies, a tumor or a fungicide), but the vet can’t diagnose for a couple of reasons. I read about turmeric and I’m going to start him on it as soon as my order comes in. My question is, if it’s not cancer or a tumor in his sinus cavity, will the turmeric work to fight fungus or allergies in his sinuses?

      • Cora

        Look up Aurum Metallicum for dogs, for nasal fungus on google, its homeopathy. 30c 2-3 times a day, then ask a holistic vet about 200c. Helios is a homeopathic centre that can mail you this, it is only around 7 pounds for a large amount, get the kind that melt in mouth or in bit of water,and then syringe in the mouth..hope your dog is ok..many blessings to our babys..

      • Sirena

        Any chance your dog had a foxtail in his nose?

    18. Angie

      My dog has a tumor in his anul glands and it has been removed twice. The first tumor was huge the second was about the size of pea. He’s 7 pounds and he’s 10 years old and my vet advised against chemo or radiation, but I just started him wheat grass and changed his diet. He is currently on predizone and a stool softener. They guy at the vitamin shoppe recommeded that I give him Curcumin. Is this okay with the predizone and if so, how much should i give him?

    19. Alex Moreno

      My dog was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her mouth- is it TOO late to use something like turmeric?
      She’s a 60 lb Rotty- should I start her on a treatment now?


      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Hi Alex
        I would look into Neoplasene – it is a really effective option for tumors like this. Your vet will have to order and use it but if you look at Buck Mountain Botanicals, you’ll find more information on it there. Best of luck

      • Sue

        my Rotty Chester developed a hard lump the size of a golf
        ball in neck area-tumerac was recommended and I tried it
        before a vet visit-2 weeks it was gone. He was past 13 at
        the time-since has passed at 15 plus.
        I have been taking tumerac daily-New Chapter caps and
        swear by it.
        Organic powder available from Mountain Rose Herbs-very

    20. Patrice

      Hi, I was looking for something new to give my dog for her arthritis. (Also has enlarged liver). We’ll try this.

      Question: Can I give to her in pill form, or does it need to be mixed with food?


      • Dogs Naturally Magazine

        Capsules can work fine

        • What capsules should I be using…recently purchased new chapter turmeric force… 400 mg capsules, my lab weighs 98 lbs and has fatty tumors, sinus allergies, and hip dysplasia with arthritis…I looked into this because I am using this also for my RA and since it has helped me , wondered if it would help him too…

      • Bill Rod

        Alex, (or anyone else interested in pill form) visit http://www.thepowermall.com/

        This is the official site for an Internet/radio based program called; The Power Hour with Joyce Riley. The Power Mall has certified organic capsules of either Tumeric or Curcumin. To get a grasp of the importance and power of this root, download The Power Hour from the site’s archive page and listen to what BHARAT AGGARWAL PhD, professor at the the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, has to say about this spice (and others) for yourself.

        I’ll be happy to share the Power Hour “email blast” with anyone who is interested in Tumeric/Curcumin so that they can explore the wealth of information contained in the email blast including the broadcast of last Monday’s radio program (which is included in the email blast). The email blast is not a solicitation of any sort and is easily deleted from your email like any other email you get. However, it is my belief that once you examine the content in the email blast, I’m sure you’ll sign up for your own daily distribution of it. Good luck, be well.


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