Manuka Honey For Dogs: 6 Reasons To Reach For It

Dog facing forward surrounded by bees

There’s a lot of buzz around Manuka honey and its natural healing properties.

And if you haven’t heard the buzz yet …  read on and I’ll share it with you …

And I’ll tell you why you should keep a jar of Manuka honey in your cupboard … so you’re ready the next time your dog gets a cut, open wound or infection.

But before I do … let’s talk about honey in general.

The Healing Properties Of Honey

Healers have known the medicinal powers of honey for thousands of years.

And recently scientists have dug deeper into how honey heals as they look for a solution to antibiotic-resistant superbugs

Raw, unpasteurized honey is …

  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • antiviral

One reason honey does all these things is that it naturally contains hydrogen peroxide

… and hydrogen peroxide is a strong antiseptic.

But not all raw honey is equal...

Manuka honey packs the most punch … and I’ll explain why in a little bit.

The beauty of honey is its ability to heal both internally and externally.

In 2015 the FDA acknowledged honey’s powers … and approved wound dressings infused with Manuka honey.

This brought the wound healing power of honey into conventional medicine …

… and more studies are being run each year to learn more. 

Manuka honey has even helped with medical challenges like MRSA. (MRSA stands for MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an antibiotic resistant bacteria). MRSA can be very tough to resolve … but Manuka honey can help where conventional drugs fail!

The Magic Of Manuka Honey

So what makes Manuka so special?

You can thank the bees in New Zealand and Australia for this golden cure.

They pollinate the small white flowers of the Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium), commonly known as the tea tree.

(Don’t confuse this with the Australian tree that tea tree oil comes from … that’s Melaleuca alternifolia.)

Ancient settlers used the bark and leaves of these trees for herbal teas. Manuka oil is known for relieving stress and other psychological issues in humans …

… so it’s no surprise that Manuka honey is known as healing honey.

It offers more protection against infection and disease because of its powerful chemical components:

  • Methylglyoxal (MGO): a naturally occurring chemical compound in Manuka honey that can vary between different Manuka honey … remember this player for later in the post.
  • Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): found in the nectar of Manuka flowers … and converts into MGO during the honey production process.
  • Leptosperin: a naturally occurring chemical found in the nectar of Manuka plants.

These components give Manuka honey longer-lasting antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal effects … 

That’s because they’re not used up as quickly in the healing process compared to other types of honey … which have only hydrogen peroxide available as their main chemical defense.

Lab tests have found that it can successfully treat approximately 60 species of bacteria!

This is huge in a world battling infections that are resistant to conventional drugs.

Some of the more common infections Manuka honey can treat include:

  • Escherichia coli
  • Proteus mirabilis
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Salmonella typhimurium
  • Serratia marcescens
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Candida albicans

And this is why Manuka is the honey you need to have on hand.

So let’s talk about 6 reasons to reach for Manuka honey for your dog.

How To Use Manuka Honey To Heal Your Dog

1. First Aid Wound Care

As much as you try to keep your dog out of trouble … he will still find ways to get bumps and cuts. …

… the good news is it’s easy to keep honey on hand.

Use your judgment here. Minor wounds can be cleaned and cared for at home. 

If you’re unsure how bad the wound really is or if it’s a deep cut, check with your holistic vet first.

Check out Dr Jane Laura Doyle’s recommendations for wound-cleaning.

Once the wound is clean … you can apply pure Manuka honey directly on top of the wound and cover it with a clean bandage.

If the cut is small and not very deep you may not need to use a bandage. 

But if you don’t use a bandage, you’ll need to distract your dog for while … as the honey won’t have time to work its magic if he licks it off.

To take the healing powers up a notch … you can mix equal parts Manuka honey cream with colostrum to make a wound paste.

This mixture will be less sticky and colostrum contains growth factors that stimulate wound healing …

… giving you two powerful natural healers in one DIY paste!

RELATED: Top 5 Reasons To Give Your Dog Colostrum

2. Fight Skin Disease

Skin disease is a common problem in many dogs … whether from allergies or immune-mediated issues.

And many conventional treatments come with a long list of negative side effects … 

… without fixing the root issue.

I don’t have time to cover the reasons for skin allergy symptoms in detail in this post …

 … but Manuka honey can provide itch relief while you sort out the cause of your dog’s allergies.

RELATED: Canine Allergies: A New Look

Manuka honey is great at controlling inflammation.

Skin disease is often a battle of bacteria or yeast overgrowth that leads to red, inflamed skin.  

Now I’m not suggesting that you dip your whole dog in Manuka … 

… can you imagine the sticky mess!?

But you can use it topically as a spot treatment with a ready-made cream or even the Manuka honey and colostrum combination I mentioned earlier.

Spread a small amount on the area the skin that’s irritated … plus a small area of happy skin around it.

Doing this a few times each day will help soothe skin issues like hot spots for your dog.

And you can also give it to him orally. Given internally, Manuka honey supports the body’s natural ability to restore healthy skin cells.

I’ll talk later about the type and amount of Manuka honey to give.

3. Prebiotic Support For Gut Health

Gut health is essential to overall health. About 80% of the immune system starts in the gut. So you want to do everything you can to make sure your dog’s digestive system has a good balance of bacteria.

Manuka honey is a natural prebiotic that can play a role in maintaining the right bacterial balance. 

Probiotics are the good bacteria your dog needs. And prebiotics fuel the probiotics and help them thrive.

So not only does Manuka honey act as an antibiotic to clear out any bad bacteria … 

… and it will also boost the number of good bacteria in the gut.

This means your dog will have the resources to rev up his natural immune response … and heal faster.

So if you’re treating your dog with Manuka honey for a wound or skin issue … don’t forget to sneak some into his meals too.

RELATED: 6 Natural Prebiotics For Dogs: Why Probiotics Aren’t Enough!

4. Provide Added Immune Support Against Viruses

By boosting the good bacteria in your dog’s gut with Manuka honey you can strengthen his immune system.

Manuka honey also has anti-viral properties for added immune protection.

If your dog is happy and healthy he’s at less risk of getting sick from a virus.

But there are things in life that can lower his natural protection …

… and a big one is stress.

Stress weakens the immune system … putting him at higher risk of becoming ill from a virus or bacterial infection. 

Two common illnesses found in stressed dogs are dog flu and kennel cough.

Boarding is stressful for dogs. That’s how kennel cough got its name … as it’s common in dogs in kennel environments.

But sometimes stress can’t be avoided.

If your dog travels for competitions … or is lucky enough to be your number one travel companion, he’s at a higher risk.

The good news is you can use Manuka honey orally to boost his anti-viral immune health.

Try offering it orally as a preventive step before dogs shows, traveling or if he will be meeting new dogs.

5. Protect With Antioxidants

You need to support your dog with antioxidants to keep disease and cancer at bay.

Antioxidants slow the aging process and boost your dog’s immune system.

They repair and restore the body’s cells to fight free radical damage

…which is a tough job in a world with many environmental toxins and it’s hard to avoid things like …

  • air pollution
  • pesticides and fertilizers used in park spaces
  • microwaves from our technology devices

… but you can feed antioxidants to combat this damage.

One study in Saudi Arabia looked at the flavonoids and phenolic acids found in Manuka honey … and they had a big antioxidant impact.

Vitamin C is one of the top antioxidants at fighting cell damage and preventing cancer … and this honey offers you a sweet way to give your dog vitamin C.

And it also has a good supply of B vitamins … and these good guys also help the body fight off infections and support good gut health.

You can see now why adding Manuka honey into your rotation of antioxidant supplements will support your dog in many ways.

6. Support Great Oral Health

Who doesn’t love doggy kisses?!

Well … you may not if your dog has stinky breath!

Your dog’s smelly kisses can be due to many things … but no surprise here … they’re all connected.

If your dog has an imbalance in his gut you can see many health changes like …

  • Allergy symptoms
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Joint disease
  • Dental disease

… and the list goes on … but I want to focus on how Manuka honey can prevent gum disease.

It makes sense if you think about its ability to fight bacteria and control inflammation.

And bacteria below the gum line leads to inflammation (gingivitis).

Gingivitis is the first stage of dental disease. 

Preventing gingivitis means fresher breath for those kisses. 

And you can lower his risk of developing heart disease by controlling infections in his mouth.

A study looked at Manuka honey’s ability to fight oral bacteria … and it found that it was effective …

… but the grade of Manuka honey played a factor is how effective it was … and more research is to follow as they dig deeper.

So let’s move on to talk about the grades of Manuka honey … and how much to feed your dog to keep him healthy.

RELATED: 10 Tips To Help Prevent And Treat Dental Disease In Dogs

Choosing The Right Manuka Honey For Dogs

Earlier I mentioned that all honey can help heal … but that Manuka wins as the top healer.

However, when it comes to Manuka honey … you need to choose the right grade.

In 2009 a study looked at various Manuka honey products. The researchers found that honey with more Methylglyoxal (MGO) has stronger therapeutic benefits …

… and remember that this chemical player is what gives Manuka honey its longer-lasting healing power.

And this is why there is a UMF grading system for Manuka honey …

UMF is short for Unique Manuka Factor … and honey with more MGO has a higher value. 

The grading system helps you to choose the one that fits your dog’s needs best.

When using Manuka honey for healing, you want to buy at least UMF1O+.

You need an even higher UMF grade product if your dog is battling a superbug or virus.

You can buy Manuka honey that ranges from UMF5+ up to UMF28+.

A table showing the amount of MGO associated with each UMG grade

The dental study mentioned earlier found that a UMF16+ was needed to control oral bacteria.

And if you’re trying to support your dog through kennel cough …

… you’ll want to reach for a UMF20+ or more … and your holistic vet can help you with any dosing adjustments for his unique case.

How Much Manuka Honey To Feed Your Dog

If you’re using Manuka honey internally start your dog off slow and use half of the dose below, increasing gradually:

  • 1/2 tsp twice a day for a small dog – under 20 lbs
  • 1 tsp twice a day for a medium dog – 20-60 lbs
  • 2 tsp twice a day for a large dog – 60 lbs+

Once your dog has had time to adjust you can slowly increase to the full amounts recommended …

… and you can tailor this dose as his needs change.

Caution- The high sugar content of Manuka honey means you shouldn’t give it to diabetic dogs.

Don’t give it to dogs under a year old either. The bacteria in Manuka honey may be too much for your puppy’s developing immune system.

Most adult dogs have no problems taking Manuka honey orally … but you can always check with your holistic vet to confirm internal use is OK for your dog.

We all know how much we need to protect the bees on our planet …

 … and without them, we wouldn’t have access to the wonderful healing power Manuka honey can bring.

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