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Simple and sweet, honey contains natural sugars that is reported to have a wide variety of medicinal properties for humans. It also, occasionally, finds its way into the mouths of our dogs. But is honey is safe for dogs and does it have health benefits for canines?

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. It is also used as a sweetener in many foods and beverages.

That sweetness comes at a price, however. The high sugar content of honey can lead to obesity in dogs if owners feed them too much honey and do not provide adequate exercise and 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 them 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.

Are There Benefits to Feeding Dogs Honey?

For people and 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 allegations are anecdotal.

One of the most common claims made about honey is that it can cure seasonal allergies. 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 likely won’t harm them, even if it is not guaranteed or even likely to help with allergies.

Hungry Labrador Retriever waiting for the bowl to be put down
Chalabala / Getty Images Plus

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 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 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.

Related article: ​8 Ways to Help Your Overweight Dog
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