Ghee isn’t just something you cook with … it has a long list of benefits for your dog. It’s a form of clarified butter used in Indian cooking … and it’s great for your dog as a supplement to his diet and for skin irritations and a healthy coat.
What Is Ghee?
Ghee is made when you boil the butter from cow’s milk and then strain out all the milk solids. What you are left with has no sugars, lactose or casein. Ghee is a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats.
Ghee Vs. Butter
Casein is a milk protein in dairy products from cows. It can sometimes cause inflammation in the body as well as free radical build-up. This can lead to many health issues such as cancer and other diseases. Often dogs will have dairy allergies or reactions to casein or lactose. By removing these solids, ghee is a more concentrated fat without the proteins that affect dogs.
Ghee is made from animal products so it’s a saturated fat. It’s an abundant source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) so it’s a worthwhile fat and a nutritious food for dogs. CLA has been shown to help with weight loss and it may even prevent diabetes and cancer. While fat should be consumed in moderation, studies show eating fatty foods like ghee help the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.
5 Benefits Of Ghee For Dogs
You can give your dog the benefits of ghee by feeding it or using it topically. Here’s how:
1. Healthy Joints
Ghee helps build strong bones and lubricates the hips and joints. Ghee works because it’s one of the only foods that’s rich in Vitamin K2. Vitamin K is an essential vitamin for the body’s absorption of calcium and it’s critical for:
- Building strong bones
- Allowing tendons and ligaments to have more flexibility
- Prolonging the process of tooth decay for healthier teeth and gums
If you’re a raw feeder, you know how important calcium is for your dog. Ghee is a perfect supplement that complements all the amazing things a good diet can give your dog.
2. Skin And Coat
Ghee is also high in butyric acid. This reduces inflammation in the hips and joints as well as the skin. Ghee can help with skin irritations like eczema and dermatitis. You can feed ghee or apply it topically.
Of course, if your dog does have any type of skin inflammation you’ll want to figure out what’s causing it. Skin irritations typically mean there’s something else happening deeper in the body. So you might need your holistic vet’s help getting to the bottom of the problem.
Ghee is useful as a natural paw balm for dogs. Just warm it up and gently massage it into each paw pad.
3. Immunity Boost
Ghee is also full of vitamin A. And that’s great for your dog’s immune system.
Vitamin A has powerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help manage damaged cells called free radicals in the body. Free radicals can lead to disease and faster aging when they’re uncontrolled. It increases the immune system’s ability to function properly. It helps fight off any foreign organisms that may breach the system and cause the body harm.
4. Healthy Brain And Eyes
Ghee can help improve brain health and cognitive functions as well as vision. Ghee is rich in cholesterol, another vitally important brain-boosting nutrient. And before you get worried about your dog’s cholesterol, remember that cholesterol is an important nutrient that’s been wrongly attacked for years. Your dog’s body (as well as yours) actually needs cholesterol for:
- Forming and maintaining cell membranes and structures
- Making critical hormones like the stress hormone cortisol
- Helping the liver make bile
- Insulating nerves
And the Vitamin A in ghee helps to protect against eye disease caused by the degeneration of macular cells as well.
5. Improved Digestion
As noted earlier, ghee is high in butyric acid. Butyric acid is a short-chain fatty acid that is essential for healthy digestion.
- Strengthen the lining in the intestinal wall
- Reduce gastrointestinal inflammation
- Reduce the risk of undigested food particles leaking into the body via the digestive tract
How To Use Ghee For Dogs
You can use ghee topically on your dog or feed it in small quantities.
Grass-fed ghee is the best option when you’re sourcing ghee as it’s got a higher level of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). The quality of ghee you purchase greatly impacts how effective it is.
You’ll also find CLA in grass-fed butter. But when you use ghee you avoid the dairy altogether. And that’s better for your dog.
How Much Ghee To Give Your Dog
If you’re feeding it, do so on a cycle as opposed to using it as a daily supplement.
You only need to feed a small amount:
- Small dog (5-25lbs) – 1/4 tsp
- Medium dog (25-55lbs) – 1/2 tsp
- Large dog (55+lbs) – 1 tsp
Use Ghee In Moderation
You should use ghee in moderation – too much of anything can cause harm. Because ghee is pure fat, a little goes a long way … internally and externally. Be cautious if your dog has pancreatitis or another condition that needs a lower-fat diet.
How To Cycle Ghee For Your Dog
Ghee is more beneficial as a dietary tool by cycling it into your dog’s diet rather than using it as a daily supplement. You can give your dog ghee on the days that he’ll be very active or as a tool during periods of fasting.
You can give your dog ghee about 30 minutes before an energy-demanding activity. For example, you can feed a medium-sized dog a ½ tsp of ghee right before a long hike. For fasting, feed ¼ teaspoon several hours into a fast to help sustain your dog. That way he’s got some nourishment if he’s low on energy but his digestive system still gets a break.
So choose whatever cycle works for you and your dog. Rotate on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis … whichever suits your dog’s activity level.
Use Ghee Topically For Your Dog
Ghee is so nourishing to the skin you probably won’t need to use it daily. It’s a wonderful topical for dogs when they have itching or dry skin. If your dog gets dry elbow pads, ghee is a great moisturizer. You can apply ghee twice a week to help moisturize that area – if needed. Ghee is so moisturizing that you don’t need to apply it as frequently as other products.
To apply, use your hands to slightly warm up the ghee to a comfortable temperature. Then massage the ghee onto the irritated or dry area until it’s completely absorbed. Ghee is very moisturizing, so you might not have to do this often.
Ghee may be a new discovery for you with its amazing benefits for your dog. Enjoy using it and watch your dog thrive.
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Canani, Roberto Berni, et al. Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Mar 28; 17(12): 1519–1528.
Datta, Hema Sharma, et al. Wound Healing Activity of Topical Application Forms Based on Ayurveda. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicin. Vol. 2011, Article ID 134378.