April 29, 2022 6 min read

Turmeric is well-known for its fantastic healing properties, but you may have wondered whether its benefits also extend to dogs. So, is turmeric good for dogs?

Curcumin, which is the main curcuminoid (active ingredient) in turmeric, provides a wealth of advantages to dogs. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, antioxidant, and much more.

If you're thinking of adding this golden herb to your dog's diet, here's everything you need to know about turmeric for dogs, including benefits, side effects, and recommended dose.


What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a plant from the ginger family that is native to Southeast Asia. Although the powder taken from the plant is often used in cooking, it is also commonly found in commercial human and pet foods to add flavour and colour.



What Is Curcumin?

Turmeric contains a variety of plant substances, including curcumin. The latter occurs naturally inside the plant's roots, giving it its trademark golden yellow colour. Curcumin is a carotenoid compound and boasts powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.



Benefits of Turmeric for Dogs

While turmeric is mainly used in foods to enhance flavour and colour, the plant has a number of health benefits, both for dogs and humans. However, in pre-packaged foods, the quantity of turmeric used is likely too low to see any real advantages. 

When dosed correctly, the curcumin found in turmeric has antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticancer, and healing properties. 


Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Curcumin is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It effectively reduces redness, swelling, stiffness, and pain in animals and humans. So if your dog is suffering from joint issues like arthritis, adding turmeric to their diet can greatly improve their quality of life.

There have been countless research into curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects on dogs, including a 2008 study that found it regulates the immune response in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis while acting as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. 

Another study found that curcumin could serve as an alternative anti-inflammatory for dogs with osteoarthritis. 

NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and Metacam are commonly used to treat dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. While effective at controlling pain and inflammation, NSAIDs come with many unpleasant side effects.

These include vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and black tarry stools. NSAIDs can also cause kidney and liver issues in dogs with pre-existing renal disease and increase the deterioration of joint cartilage.

Curcumin can be a good alternative to NSAIDs as it's completely natural and less taxing on your dog's body. Make sure you speak to your vet for advice if your dog suffers from chronic joint issues to see what they suggest.

Digestion Improvement

Curcumin can improve your dog's digestion as it assists with bile production in the liver, allowing your pup to break down food easier. Additionally, it helps soothe the digestive tract in dogs suffering from digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome.

Anticancer Effects

Curcumin has been found to slow down the growth and spread of mammary cancer cells, prevent and assist with brain tumours, and cause cancer cell death by managing inflammation. In addition, it can help protect the skin, stomach, and stomach from cancer.

Cardiovascular Health

Turmeric can improve your dog's cardiovascular health as the curcumin found in it is an antioxidant (known as polyphenol). As a result, it can protect your dog from blood clots and fatty build-ups in the arteries, as well as reduce their risk of heart disease. 



Is Turmeric Safe for Dogs?

Turmeric is safe for dogs in small quantities, so you must dose this herb correctly. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, around 15mg to 20mg of turmeric per pound of body weight is the ideal dosage for dogs.

Small dogs should begin with ¼ teaspoon of turmeric per day, medium dogs should begin with ½ per day, large dogs should start with ¾ teaspoon per day, and giant dogs should start with one teaspoon per day.

Make sure you speak to your veterinarian before you start giving your dog turmeric, especially if they are currently being treated for a health condition. Turmeric can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and diabetes treatments.



How to Choose the Right Turmeric for Dogs

Turmeric is available in many forms for dogs, including drops, treats, and capsules. You can also feed it to your dog directly or prepare it as a paste using water, ground black pepper, and coconut oil. The golden paste can then be added to your dog's meals.

Feeding your pooch turmeric in tablet, liquid, or treat form is by far the most convenient method as you don't need to fuss around with preparation - you can simply feed the product directly or add it to their meals.

For instance, our MERIC EXTRA is a capsule-based turmeric extract for dogs, so it's easy to feed to your pooch. In addition, it contains a 95% standardised amount of curcuminoids, which makes it one of the most potent formulas commercially available.

As mentioned earlier, curcumin found in turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant for dogs. In addition, it effectively reduces pain, supports digestive health, assists with healthy joints, and promotes good liver and heart health.

Alongside turmeric extract, MERIC includes black pepper extract, which helps your dog absorb more turmeric. This enhances the benefits your pooch gains from it!

Like all our products, MERIC contains only natural ingredients and is manufactured in the UK to the GMP code of practice to ensure its safety and quality.



Should I Give Turmeric to a Healthy Dog?

Turmeric can be given to healthy dogs with no existing medical conditions or diseases. In fact, it can be a great preventative measure to reduce the chances of your dog developing joint issues, heart disease, cancer, and liver problems. 

Adding turmeric to your canine's diet can also assist with a healthy immune system, which strengthens their immunity to certain illnesses. 

As you can see, turmeric is just as beneficial to healthy dogs as to those who need a little extra TLC!



Side Effects of Turmeric 

While turmeric is advantageous to dogs in small amounts, like with any supplement, there is a risk that your dog will experience some side effects. Symptoms are most likely to occur when you first start feeding your four-legged friend turmeric or give them too much at once.

Turmeric's most common side effects are diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, and stomach upset. If you notice your dog suffering from tummy distress after eating turmeric, offer them a lower dose next time and gradually build them up to the recommended amount.

It's best to feed turmeric below the suggested dose at first to help your pooch develop a tolerance to it. Additionally, offer your turmeric to your dog during or after meals to decrease the likelihood of stomach issues.

Turmeric can contribute to kidney stones as it increases urinary oxalate levels. If your dog frequently suffers from kidney stones, speak to your vet before adding turmeric to your pup's diet.



What's the Difference Between Cooking Turmeric and Turmeric Supplements?

Turmeric powder designed for cooking usually contains just the root/rhizome of the plant. Therefore, only around 3% of the powder is curcumin and curcuminoid components, which play a significant role in turmeric's effects and benefits.

Turmeric supplements for humans and dogs typically contain turmeric extract, like our MERIC EXTRA. The concentration of the components mentioned above can be as high as 95%, allowing for better results and stronger advantages.

In fact, a capsule of turmeric extract containing just half a gram of the substance can offer 400mg of curcuminoids. A half gram of turmeric powder, on the other hand, often only provides up to 15 mg.



Final Thoughts

Not only is turmeric extremely advantageous to humans, but it's also incredibly beneficial to dogs. Adding this golden herb to your pup's diet can assist with existing health conditions like arthritis and cancer, as well as prevent the development of problems like heart disease and cancer.

Turmeric extract, used in most high-quality turmeric supplements (like MERIC EXTRA!), is preferable as it contains a higher amount of curcumin and curcuminoids. However, don't feed your dog more turmeric than the recommended dose, as too much can lead to unpleasant side effects.

Additionally, it's good to talk to your vet before you offer your four-legged friend turmeric, especially if they have kidney issues or are on medication.

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