Honey has many benefits, and it tastes really good, too. You can use it as a healthier option to sweeten desserts, coffee, and tea. Whether you like it drizzled over warm crumb cake or straight from the bottle, the unique taste of honey can’t be beaten by artificial sweeteners. If your dog has a taste for sweet things, honey can be beneficial to them if you give it in small amounts.
Is Honey Safe for Dogs?
Yes, honey is safe for dogs as long as you take some precautions. Human babies shouldn’t have honey before they turn a year old because their underdeveloped immune systems are susceptible to a bacterial infection called botulism. The same can be true for puppies if you give them raw honey. When honey is raw, it hasn’t been heated or pasteurized, so there is no way for the botulinum bacteria to die. Older dogs have a fully developed immune system, so they can effectively battle the bacterial spores that could be lingering in the raw honey. Pasteurized honey is treated for botulism, but you should err on the side of caution and still keep honey in any form away from your precious puppy.As for the health benefits, honey contains something called flavonoids. These are antioxidants that have been linked to a reduction in diseases like cancer and heart disease. Other research has shown that honey can help reduce ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis because of its antibacterial quality. During the creation of honey, the bees add an enzyme that creates hydrogen peroxide so it helps battle very minor bacterial infections.
Honey has also been associated with the treatment of minor coughs. That’s partly due to the antibacterial quality but it’s mostly because it coats the throat and soothes the irritation causing the cough. Of course, when your dog has a cough, they should be seen by their veterinarian. Coughing could be nothing more than minor tracheal irritation, but it could be kennel cough, the flu, a foreign body in the airway, or a variety of other things. It’s always best to rule out more serious problems before medicating them.
Honey is also good for digestive health! The enzymes found in raw honey help the digestive system work more efficiently at absorbing nutrients and moving out waste. If your dog is in need of an energy boost, honey can accomplish that, too. Natural sugars in the honey are easily broken down by the dog’s body, so if you’re out for a long hike or run and your dog seems to be lagging in energy, a small dose of honey can perk them right up.
Honey for Dog Allergies
Various studies have shown that eating local honey has a direct effect on the severity of your allergies. Luckily, the same can be said for your dog! Dogs suffer from seasonal allergies, too, including runny noses and itchy skin. If you’re sure your dog doesn’t have any food allergies, honey could be a good option for them. Of course, honey won’t treat severe allergy symptoms like hot spots, hives, or facial swelling. If the symptoms are simple like itchy feet or sneezing, honey might do the trick. The traces of pollen found in the honey can help reduce the dog’s response to allergens they’re exposed to.
Always remember that your dog’s nutrition is taken care of with a balanced dog food. Unless your dog is showing signs of a nutritional deficiency, chances are there’s nothing you need to add to their diet. While honey won’t harm an adult dog, it’s not something they absolutely need. Talk to your vet about honey before you start administering it.