Turmeric For Dogs: 5 Surprising Health Benefits

5 Top Health Benefits of Turmeric- Two dogs running at the beach

What if I told you a little spice could make a huge difference in your dog’s health and even his lifespan? A spice that’s probably sitting in your kitchen cupboard right now …

I know it sounds crazy, but research shows it’s true … turmeric (the spice used in curries and mustards) has over 6,000 studies to its credit.

Research shows turmeric can trump a lot of expensive drugs including:

These are a whole lot of reasons to give your dog turmeric! So let’s take a closer look at this handy little spice. And I’ll show you how much to give and which dogs shouldn’t get turmeric in a bit.

Turmeric For Dogs

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin – which is essentially its active ingredient.

Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, wound healing and anticancer activities. It can help fight diseases like arthritis, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, gastrointestinal issues and more.

One study even called it “Cure-cumin” because of its long list of promising therapeutic and clinical uses.

So let’s look at the Top 5 Ways turmeric can help your dog … and how it compares to conventional drugs:

#1 – Turmeric Is Anti-Inflammatory

You may be thinking inflammation is only a problem for dogs with joint disease … but chronic, hidden inflammation is a silent killer. It’s the root of nearly all disease.

Cancer, arthritis, allergies, kidney disease, dental disease, digestive disease … are all caused by inflammation. Not all inflammation in the body is a bad thing.

If your dog is exposed to viruses or bacteria, acute inflammation will release white blood cells to the body tissues and start the healing process.

But chronic inflammation … the kind of low-grade inflammation that stays for weeks, months and even years … is the true cause of most degenerative and inflammatory health issues in your dog.

Researchers recently found that heart disease can be linked to dental disease. Chronic bladder infections can lead to bladder cancer. 

And they’re finding that chronic low-grade inflammation is a major driver of arthritis and joint degeneration. A 2014 study found that the curcumin found in turmeric (its active ingredient) outperformed ibuprofen in people with arthritis.

But turmeric doesn’t just control the inflammation in joint disease. Another 2004 study in Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) worked just as well as anti-inflammatory drugs. And turmeric worked better than both aspirin and ibuprofen.

Inflammation is the key driver of most diseases in the body … And turmeric is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories either nature or medicine has to offer.

Keep this in mind as we look at the next few reasons to give your dog turmeric …

#2 – Turmeric For Dogs With Cancer

So we know that chronic inflammation can lead to cancer … and we know turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. 

A UK study showed that curcumin could stop the precancerous changes from becoming cancer. So turmeric can help prevent cancer … And turmeric can also treat cancer naturally

Nearly 1/3 of the studies done on turmeric are cancer research … and the results are very promising. Turmeric has been shown to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing.

The American Cancer Society claims, “Curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread. Recently, curcumin has received a great deal of focus because of it’s ability to reduce tumor size and kill cancer cells.

Half of adult dogs today will get cancer … so turmeric could be a great way to protect your dog from cancer and the inflammation that causes it.

#3 – Turmeric Can Relieve Arthritis Pain

We know that arthritis is the result of inflammation … and turmeric can decrease inflammation in the body.

Turmeric can also relieve the pain and stiffness in arthritis … better than conventional conventional pain medications.

In 2014 a group of researchers in Thailand published a study comparing the effects of curcumin vs ibuprofen treatment in patients with knee osteoarthritis.  They found that curcumin worked just as well as ibuprofen to reduce pain

But without the gastrointestinal side effects experienced by the patients who took ibuprofen.

Which brings us to the next benefit …

RELATED: The problem with NSAIDs for dogs …

#4 – Turmeric Can Treat Gastrointestinal Disorders

Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects can be helpful in treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) as well as other gastrointestinal disorders. 

It’s been shown in several preclinical studies and uncontrolled clinical trials as having positive effects on gut inflammation and gut permeability.

Researchers at Hamamatsu South Hospital in Japan commented that curcumin’s “inhibitory effects on major inflammatory mechanisms  […] and its unrivaled safety profile suggest it has bright prospects in the treatment of IBD.”

#5 – Turmeric Can Replace Steroids

Many dogs are on steroids for allergies and joint pain – but some studies show curcumin is just as effective as steroids. The authors note: “The lack of side effects with curcumin is its greatest advantage compared with corticosteroids.”

Another study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology shows that combining curcumin with a steroid reduced the side effects of this dangerous medication.

And that’s the main benefit of turmeric … not only can it work just as well as many prescription and over-the-counter drugs, it doesn’t carry the same nasty, unwanted side effects.

How To Make Turmeric Golden Paste

So if you’re ready to give your dog turmeric, there are a few things you need to know.

The curcumin in turmeric is hard for your dog to absorb if it’s given by itself. So it’s important to combine turmeric with a healthy oil like MCT oil. This can increase the absorption significantly.

Dr Michael Greger MD also found that a phytochemical in black pepper called peperine that can increase the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%. So you can’t give turmeric by itself and expect good results.

Here’s a simple recipe you can make that will bring out the medicinal properties of turmeric:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic turmeric powder 
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups filtered or spring water
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup organic MCT oil or ghee*

Directions

  1. Mix the turmeric with 1 cup of water in a pan. Save the remaining water in case you need it to thin your paste a bit. 
  2. Stir the liquid on low/medium heat for about 7 to 10 minutes. It should form a thick paste in this time. 
  3. If the paste gets too thick, add a little more water.
  4. If the paste looks watery, add a little more turmeric and heat it for another couple of minutes. 
  5. Once your paste has thickened, add the pepper and oil and stir thoroughly. 
  6. Allow the mixture to cool. 
  7. Place it in a jar with a lid and store in the fridge. It’ll keep for up to 2 weeks. 

*Most Golden Paste recipes use coconut oil. But coconut oil isn’t the best choice for your dog’s gut health. So, for an even healthier Golden Paste, I recommend using organic MCT oil or organic ghee (clarified butter) instead. If you use MCT oil, make sure it doesn’t have lauric acid.

How Much Turmeric For Dogs?

You can add the Golden Paste directly to your dog’s meals by mixing it with some water or kefir. Most dogs don’t mind the taste at all!

Here’s how much turmeric golden paste to give your dog:

  • Small dogs should start with about 1/4 teaspoon per day
  • Medium dogs can start with 1/2 teaspoon per day
  • Large dogs can start with 3/4 teaspoon per day
  • Giant dogs can start with 1 teaspoon per day

This is a rough starting point, but you can increase the amount from there, up to about a Tbsp for larger dogs. But you’ll want to give turmeric in smaller amounts a few times a day because curcumin leaves the body quickly.

And you’ll want to be careful when you’re working with turmeric … Its bright yellow color can stain your hands, countertops and your dog!

So mix your turmeric paste with some kefir or mix it well into his food or he’ll be sporting a yellow mustache!

Turmeric is also binding and can cause constipation, so add some water or kefir to his meals when you add turmeric.

Potential Turmeric Side Effects

The best thing about turmeric is that it works and it’s safe. But not all dogs should get turmeric. 

Turmeric is a “warming” spice, so if your dog is always hot and seeking out cool floors to lie on, turmeric may not be for him.

Turmeric can interact with some medications, including anti-inflammatory and diabetes drugs. And it may interfere with some chemotherapy treatments. So if your dog is on any medications, check with your holistic vet before adding turmeric to his diet.

Chances are, it will only help but it’s always best to check. Turmeric is also contraindicated for patients with bile tract obstruction or gallstones.

Bonus: Turmeric Is A Powerful Antioxidant

So there are a whole lot of reasons to start giving your dog turmeric. But I haven’t mentioned the best one yet …

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and antioxidants can slow down aging, degeneration and even increase lifespan. Oxidative stress builds up in your dog over time, just like rust. It causes damage to the cells, proteins and DNA in your dog’s body. 

A 2015 study discussed how oxidative stress activates inflammatory pathways and leads to chronic diseases, including cancer. The research suggests that “curcumin can play a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammation diseases.

So there are 6 very compelling reasons to add turmeric to your dog’s diet. Move over variety … turmeric is the new spice of life!

References

Goel A, Kunnumakkara A, Aggarwal B. Curcumin as “Curecumin”: from kitchen to clinicPubMed.gov. 15, February 2008.

Kuptniratsaikul V, Dajpratham P, Taechaarpornkul W, Buntragulpoontawee M, Lukkanapichonchut P, Chootip C, Saengsuwan J, Tantayakom K, Laongpech S. Efficacy and safety of curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter studyNational Center For Biotechnology Information. 20, March 2014.

Takada Y, Bhardwaj A, Potdar P, Aggarwal B. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents differ in their ability to suppress NF-kappaB activation, inhibition of expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and cyclin D1, and abrogation of tumor cell proliferationNational Center For Biotechnology Information. 9, December 2004.

Turmeric. Cancer Research UK. 24, October 2018.

Ravindran J, Prasad S, Aggarwal B. Curcumin and cancer cells: How many ways can curry kill tumor cells selectively? American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Journal. 11, September 2009.

Daily J, Yang M, Park S. Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical TrialsJournal of Medicinal Food. 1, August 2016.

Hanai H, Sugimoto K. Curcumin has bright prospects for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseaseNational Center For Biotechnology Information. 2009

Lal B, Kapoor AK, Asthana OP, Agrawal PK, Prasad R, Kumar P, Srimal RC. Efficacy of curcumin in the management of chronic anterior uveitisNational Center For Biotechnology Information. 13, June 1999.

Kuncha M, Naidu V, Sahu B, Gadepalli S, Sistla R. Curcumin potentiates the anti‐arthritic effect of prednisolone in Freund’s complete adjuvant‐induced arthritic ratsJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 21, October 2013.

He Y, Yue Y, Zheng X, Zhang K, Chen S, Du Z. Curcumin, inflammation, and chronic diseases: how are they linked? National Center For Biotechnology Information. 20, May 2015.

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