Simple and sweet, honey contains natural sugars that is reported to have a wide variety of medicinal properties. It also, occasionally, finds its way into the mouths of our dogs.
If your dog has found her way into the honey pot, or if you are contemplating giving honey to your dog for medicinal reasons, you probably want to know if honey is safe for dogs and if there are really any health benefits associated with it.
Is honey safe for dogs?
Honey is safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. It contains natural sugars and small amounts of vitamins and minerals, and is used as a sweetener in many foods and beverages.
That sweetness comes at a price. The high sugar content of honey can lead to obesity in dogs if owners feed too much honey and do not provide adequate exercise balanced nutrition. Sugars can also cause tooth decay, so it might be a good idea to brush your dog's teeth if you do feed him honey.
Raw honey should not be fed to puppies or dogs with compromised immune systems, as it may contain the presence of botulism spores. Honey should not be given to diabetic or obese dogs.
Benefits of feeding honey to dogs
A simple Google search reveals thousands of sites promoting honey as a health supplement for people and pets, including dogs. Honey is purported to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, reduce inflammation, sooth stomach ulcers and sore throats, and cure allergies.
However, there have not been many conclusive scientific studies validating these claims. Many of these claims are anecdotal, but since honey is relatively safe, they are often enough for owners looking for an additional treatment for their dogs that is affordable and safe.
One of the most common claims made about honey is that it can cure seasonal allergies in humans and dogs. While the scientific evidence is lacking, there is some reason to believe that raw honey could help reduce allergic reactions to flower pollen—assuming, of course, that your dog is allergic to one of the pollens in the honey, and not another environmental allergen.
Regardless of the lack of conclusive research, feeding your dog a small amount of honey to help with allergens won’t harm him, even if it is not guaranteed or even likely to help.
Humans also use honey to soothe raw throats and stomachs. If your dog has a sore throat, and you have already seen your veterinarian to determine the cause and followed her treatment instructions, then feeding a little honey could help soothe any lingering inflammation. At the very least, it will give your dog a tasty distraction.
How much honey can you feed your dog?
If you want to feed your dog honey, talk to your veterinarian about how much is okay to feed your dog. In general, less is usually more when it comes to dog treats, especially for smaller breeds. If your dog has a health condition, such as diabetes, talk to your veterinarian about whether or not honey is safe to feed your dog, and consider offering a treat lower in sugar, like cucumbers, instead.
Explore more common fruits and vegetables that dogs can and can't eat.
For further answers about what you can and can't feed your dog, and about home remedies for ailments, consult your veterinarian.