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Can Dogs Have Honey?

A black and brown small dog standing in grass

Manuka honey contains an exceptionally high level of antibacterial properties compared to other varieties of honey.

Reduce Inflammation Associated with Joint Pain:Honey reduces inflammation, as well as inhibiting the inflammatory process. As an anti-inflammatory, it works on joints, GI issues like Colitis, and more.  

In dogs who have arthritis or other chronic pain associated with swelling, using a daily dose of honey can reduce as well as avoid inflammation altogether. Looking for an all-natural, safe way to help boost your dog’s immune system? Honey might be the answer. Honey, packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all work together to keep your dog healthy.

When choosing honey to reap its health benefits, its best to steer clear of the grocery store, and instead hit your local farmer’s market. There are three reasons why it’s best to buy local, besides supporting your community:

  • Local honey can aid dogs who suffer from environmental allergies
  • Most local honey is raw whereas mass-produced honey has been treated with heat killing off much of the beneficial properties

Dogs cannot only eat honey, but they benefit from it too, unfortunately, like with all things, there are a few minor risks to keep in mind.

Dogs and Honey

Dogs can have honey, and many love eating this sweet treat.  However, moderation is key when adding honey to your dog’s diet, since too much sugar can cause similar health issues in dogs as it does in humans.

Benefits of Giving Honey to Dogs

There is a multitude of benefits of giving your dog honey. Honey can help treat a variety of ailments or be given as a supplement to boost your dog's health.

Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties: According to the NCBI1 (National Center for Biotechnology Information), honey has broad-spectrum of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Scientists have even found that in some situations, honey showed more effective than some single antibiotics.

Honey aids in healing wounds because honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties making it the ideal treatment. Also, the viscosity of the honey provides a physical barrier protecting the wound. And on top of all of that, honey promotes the regrowth of new tissue. When you consider all these benefits it’s easy to see why honey is ideal for treating wounds.

Before putting a thin layer of honey on a wound, be sure to rinse and clean it first to remove any debris.

Reduces Symptoms Associated with Environmental Allergies: When using honey for allergies, you must buy local honey. Honey acts much like an allergy shot, exposing your dog’s system to minute amounts of local pollen in the area. Over time the body adjusts to these allergens, avoiding future flare-ups.

You will want to start with a tiny dose of honey and build up gradually to the full treatment amount appropriate to your dog’s weight.

Coughing, Sneezing, and Minor Upper Respiratory Issues:Honey helps soothe a sore throat by coating the throat, but also with its anti-inflammatory nature. Additionally, dogs suffering from kennel cough or other upper respiratory infections greatly benefit from the antibacterial properties in honey.

You will want to give a daily dose of honey at the first signs of a minor upper respiratory infection.

Many upper respiratory issues are allowed to resolve on their own in healthy dogs, by giving your dog honey, you can aid speed up recovery.

Stomach Upset and Diarrhea: Using honey to soothe an upset stomach works on humans and dogs. Also, honey has even been known to aid in healing ulcers. Because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities, honey has helped resolve minor GI issues quickly.  

However, it is essential to note that if stomach upset worsens, continues, or is severe, it is vital you seek veterinary care for your dog.

Try offering honey directly from a spoon instead of with food or on a treat.

General Supplement: Giving honey on a daily basis can help boost your dog’s immune system. Honey is rich in vitamins like a variety of vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin K, niacin, and riboflavin. Honey is also abundant in minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, potassium, and zinc. And honey contains polyphenols, a potent antioxidant associated with reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.

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How Much Honey Should I Feed My Dog?

Like with all supplements, the dose for honey depends on your dog’s size. However, if you have any concerns or would like to increase your dog’s intake, it is best to first consult your vet.

  • Large dogs – 1 Tbsp
  • Medium dogs – 2 tsp
  • Small dogs – 1 tsp

The doses listed above are per day. Remember, if you plan on using it for allergies to ease up to the full daily dose. 

Also, if your dog doesn’t like the taste, smearing it on a favorite treat often helps.

Dangers of Giving Honey to Dogs?

There are a few dangers to take into account when giving your dog honey. And for some dogs honey may be more of a threat than a benefit, especially for dogs who suffer from:

  • Obesity – The high sugar content will not aid your dog in weight loss, so the dangers outweigh the benefits.
  • Diabetes – Honey is an extremely concentrated sugar, which is horrible for diabetic dogs, and it could even cause them to have seizures.
  • Puppies – Puppies under the age of one should avoid consuming honey. Puppy's internal systems are not fully developed, and the natural bacteria in honey could pose a significant risk to their GI health.
  • Allergies to Bees – Dogs allergic to bee stings should avoid eating honey, as they may experience an allergic reaction.
  • Poor Dental Health – Sugar affects a dog's teeth just like ours, meaning dental decay can worsen due to excess sugar consumption.

Giving Honey to Dogs

Many dogs love the taste of honey, making administering this sticky treat all the easier. It is easy to incorporate honey into your dog's diet:

  • Homemade frozen treats in the summer are a favorite on warm days; you can add a little PB to make it even tastier
  • As a food topper - Honey can also help get a picky eater interested in their food
  • By the spoon - The ideal method for pups not feeling well
  • Smear some on a treat
  • Honey can be baked into homemade treats
  • Making ginger honey cookies are perfect for dogs who have sensitive stomachs

Honey is one of the best all-natural home remedies to keep on hand in the event your dog suffers a minor wound, upset stomach, or even upper respiratory infection. Also, since honey is chock full of antioxidants, it helps to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Provided your dog doesn’t have any of the health issues listed above or is younger than a year old, honey is a safe, natural, and beneficial remedy and supplement to give your dog.

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Meet The Author 

Jessica Mabie author of Dog Paw Pad Injuries for dogs: What you need to know

Jessica Mabie

Canine Specialist & Writer

Jessica Mabie is a Freelance Writer residing in the Twin Cities. She specializes in writing about pets, travel, and food. Jessica graduated with a BA in English Literature from the University of Minnesota, TC.

Jessica has always loved dogs, and, at the age of 14, she started volunteering at a neighborhood vet clinic. While at the U of M, she continued her work with dogs as an obedience trainer and vet tech. Although she no longer works with dogs professionally, she does use her experience as a volunteer with American Brittany Rescue as well as aiding in her writing.

When not working, Jessica and her family spend a lot of time camping and hiking from spring to fall. So, if you happen to see her out and about with her family don’t hesitate to say “Hi!”, (You’ll know it’s her since few are so daring as to have 4 Britts).

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