Have you ever heard of ghee? If not, you’ve probably never heard about the benefits of ghee for dogs.
Well, I want to fill you in. Ghee is a form of clarified butter used a lot in East Indian cooking … and it’s great for your dog! As a supplement to a good diet and for topical use for things like skin irritations and a healthy coat, ghee can’t be beat!
Benefits Of Ghee For Dogs
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.
Casein are milk proteins that come from cow dairy. 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 reactions to casein or lactose. By removing these solids, ghee is a more concentrated fat.
Ghee is made from animal products so it’s a saturated fat. It contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) so it’s a worthwhile fat to add to your dog’s diet. CLA has shown to help with weight loss and it may even prevent diabetes and cancer.
Another thing good for gut health is butyrate which is a short-chain fatty acid. And you’ll find it in ghee.
Here are 5 major benefits of ghee for your dog.
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 animal. Ghee is a perfect supplement that complements all the amazing things a good diet can give your pet.
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 should talk to your holistic vet. Skin irritations typically mean there’s something more serious happening under the surface.
You can use ghee as a natural paw balm for your dog by warming it up and gently massaging 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 helps kill off free radicals in the body that may cause disease. 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 Vision
Ghee can help improve brain health and cognitive functions such as vision.
Ghee is rich in cholesterol, another vitally important brain-boosting nutrient. And before you freak out about that, remember that cholesterol is an important nutrient that’s been wrongly attacked for years. Your dog’s body 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, because of the Vitamin A in ghee, the body’s increased immune system and ability to fight off free radicals helps to protect against numerous eye diseases caused by the degeneration of macular cells as well.
5. Improved Digestion
As mentioned earlier, ghee is high in butyric acid. Butyric acid is not only great for the skin, it’s also 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
There are many brands of ghee available. Grass-fed is the best option when you’re sourcing ghee as it’s got a higher level of CLA. You’ll also find CLA in grass-fed butter. But when you use ghee you avoid the dairy altogether. The quality of ghee you purchase greatly impacts how effective it is.
Because ghee is purely saturated and unsaturated fats, use it very sparingly. This goes for both you and your dog. If you or your dog suffer from pancreatitis, ghee should be avoided.
You can use ghee topically, but because it’s so nourishing to the skin you probably won’t need to use it daily. If you’re feeding it, do so on a cycle as opposed to using it as a daily supplement.
As mentioned, 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
What does it mean to cycle ghee? I use ghee as a dietary tool by cycling it into my dogs’ diets rather than using it as a daily supplement. Because my dogs aren’t working dogs, I’ll only give ghee on the days I know will be very active days or as a tool during periods of fasting. I cycle them on a weekly basis.
On the days I feed ghee, I give it within 30 minutes of whatever the energy demanding activity is. For example, I will feed both of my dogs ½ teaspoon of ghee right before an eight-mile hike. For fasting, I feed ¼ teaspoon several hours into a fast to help sustain them if I feel they’re low on energy but still want to give their digestive systems a break.
You can choose whatever cycle you like. Cycle on a bi-weekly or monthly basis if it’s more fitting to your pet’s activity level.
If you have a very active working dog, I recommend supplementing more than this but still cycling your dog. If you decide to use ghee as a dietary tool with a working dog, I recommend using it every other day or bi-weekly. You can even use it only on resting days to help your dog restore and reserve the healthy fats as energy for the days you plan on working. It’s important that you are tuned in to what your dog needs.
I use ghee topically for my dogs when they have itching or dry skin. Living in Colorado, my eight-year-old German Shepherd, Malorie, will get dry elbow pads. I apply ghee twice a week to help moisturize that area – if needed. Because ghee is so moisturizing, you don’t need to apply it as frequently as other products.
To apply, I slightly warm up the ghee to a comfortable temperature. After doing so, I massage the ghee onto the irritated and/or dry area until it’s completely absorbed. Like I said, ghee is very moisturizing, so you more than likely will not have to do this often.
As you can see, ghee can help you and your pet in numerous ways. Remember to use ghee in moderation – too much of anything can cause harm. Again, if your dog has pancreatitis try to avoid the ingestion of ghee all together. I hope this information helped you discover another outlet to help you and your pet thrive.
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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.