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Can Dogs Eat Honey? Everything You Need to Know

Yes, dogs can eat honey in moderation. Due to its incredible health benefits, you can safely feed it to your dogs. However, they are also not suitable for all dogs because of their high sugar content.  

What is honey? 

Honeybees collect the sweet nectar from flowers with their tongues. They store the collected nectar in their stomach, where their enzymes act on it to give a good shelf life. The collected nectar is then deposited in their honeycomb. The worker bees fan the nectar in the honeycomb to make a thick, syrupy liquid called honey.  

Honey comprises 80% sugar, 17% water, 3% minerals, micronutrients, and bioactive compounds.

SUGAR80%
WATER17%
MINERALS3%

Additionally, honey is also a good source of vitamins and minerals like:

  • Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K 
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Copper

Raw, unprocessed honey has antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties, along with some powerful antioxidants. However, not all honeybees access the same plant; hence they produce different honey. As a result, there is a variety of honey available; some of the popular types with the most antioxidants include:

  • Manuka Honey  
  • Dandelion Honey 
  • Heather Honey 
  • Honeydew honey 
  • Jarrah honey 
  • Tupelo honeys

The earliest evidence of honey being used as a sweetener date back to 5500 BCE. But its use goes further back as its intact remains have been found alongside mummies from ancient Egypt.

Is honey safe for dogs?

Honey is safe for dogs to consume in smaller amounts. Since they contain natural sugar, vitamins, and minerals, they can be used as a sweetener. Further, raw honey in its purest form is the best choice for your canines. However, it shouldn’t be served to puppies and dogs who are obese, diabetic, allergic to bees, and have compromised immune systems.

Why is honey good for dogs?

Honey is considered to be a superfood as it contains a variety of nutrients. These nutrients aid your canine overcome certain health conditions, some of which are listed below:

HELPS IMPROVE ENERGY LEVELS

Symptoms of Lethargy in dogs:

Uninterested in often enjoyed

  • Playing
  • Walking or
  • Participating in activities
  • Raw honey contains natural sugars, which break down easily thanks to the enzymes added by the bees for storage which eases digestion. As a result, they:
  • Improve your pup’s energy level.
  • Promote vitality and endurance for athletic dogs.
  • It helps senior dogs gain back their momentum.
  • Its potent anti-inflammatory properties soothe arthritic joints in senior pets and aids in moving around quickly.
REDUCES SEASONAL ALLERGIES AND HAY FEVER

Symptoms of seasonal allergies in dogs:
  • Sneezing
  • Drippy nose
  • Irritated eyes
  • Itchy skin

Symptoms of hay fever in dogs:
  • Itchy or irritated watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Irritated throat
  • Itchy Skin or frequent rubbing of face on the floor or furniture
  • Bald patches of skin due to Excessive itching
  • Rashes on the face or paws

REMEDIES:
Serve a teaspoon of honey before the hay fever season.
  • Raw honey contains flower pollen which is rich in Quercetin. As Quercetin is a naturally occurring polyphenol, it is rich in antihistamines that help relieve symptoms of allergies.
  • When raw honey is slowly introduced to your canine’s immune system, antibodies are created against the pollens preventing adverse reactions to environmental allergens.
HELPS SKIN INFECTIONS AND WOUND HEALING 


  • Minor Wounds
  • Cuts
  • Scrapes
  • Scratches
  • Burns
  • Eczema
  • Hot Spots
  • Insect Bites

REMEDIES:
Apply a thin layer of honey on the affected area and then cover it with a dressing
  • Honey contains inhibin, or antimicrobial substances, and various flavonoids and phenolic acids that help fight skin infections.
  • Its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties enhance the process of healing.
  • Its low moisture content arrests bacterial growth.
  • Honey produces low levels of hydrogen peroxide, which acts as a potent antiseptic—this content aids in sanitizing the wounds without damaging the healing tissues.
  • It reduces pain and inflammation.
  • The enzymes in honey help stimulate the growth of healthy skin.
  • It has good moisturization properties hence can improve your dog’s coat and skin.
CURES KENNEL COUGH AND SORE THROAT

Symptoms of Kennel Cough in Dogs: 
  • A strong cough, with a “honking” sound
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low fever
  • Kennel cough is a contagious respiratory infection often caused by a bacterium. Since honey is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, it aids in combatting disease and soothes the throat.
COMBATS GASTROINTESTINAL UPSET
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Minor Stomach Ulcers
  • Colitis
  • Gastritis
  • Bacterial Overgrowth,
  • Irritable Bowel Disease.
  • Helps destroy bacteria that causes ulcer.
  • It contains both prebiotics and probiotics to promote healthy digestion.

MAINTAINS A HEALTHY WEIGHT 
  • Since honey contains simple sugars, it can be easily digested and enter the bloodstream directly from the intestinal walls. As a result, only lesser insulin is required to transport the sugar to the cells to provide energy. A reduced insulin secretion means a reduced building of fat which aids in maintaining an ideal body weight for dogs.

Apart from treating the canine for above mentioned conditions, honey also contains the below nutrients, which improves your dog’s health in the following ways:

Vitamin C
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Maintains bones, cartilage, and teeth.
  • Repair and supports the growth of body tissue.
Vitamin B
  • Supports cell growth and health.
  • Aids in cell metabolism.
  • Helps prevent infections.
  • Supports brain function.
  • Boosts energy levels.
Vitamin E
  • Protect the cells from harmful free radicals.
Vitamin D
  • Helps regulate phosphate and calcium in the body
  • Supports bone health.
Vitamin K
  • Helps wounds to heal and
  • Essential for blood clotting.
Antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acid
  • Protect the body from oxidative stress
  • An excellent supplement for pregnant dogs.Reduces inflammation
  • Boosts your dog’s immune system.
Minerals like zinc, phosphate, iron, manganese, sodium, copper, potassium, and magnesium
  • Aids in red blood cells and collagen production.
  • Promote muscle development and bone density
  • Supports the growth of ligaments and tendons.

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How to feed honey to your dog? 

Honey can be directly fed to dogs from the jar with a spoon or a dish. However, opt for raw honey that is not heated, processed, or pasteurized. This way, you can ensure your canine gets the maximum health benefits from it. In addition, due to an abundance of sugar, honey may get crystallized often. To decrystallize, place the honey jar in warm water until it is back to its original consistency. However, ensure not to boil it as high temperatures can spoil the honey. 

Further, there are different ways to incorporate honey in your dog’s diet, some of which include: 

  • Garnish a slice of dog-safe fruits with honey or blend the ingredients, freeze the mixture, and serve. 
  • Blend honey with some plain yogurt, peanut butter, or pumpkin puree, and serve. 
  • Infuse some herbs with honey and serve your herbal honey. 
  • Smear some honey on their treat before serving. 

You can also plan a birthday cake for your canine using honey; the recipe below.

Doggy Birthday Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup whole wheat or white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F while you grease the molds.
  • Mix egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey together in a large bowl.
  • Add carrots.
  • Sieve the flour and baking soda.
  • Fold everything into the carrot mixture.
  • Bake the batter for 40 minutes.
  • Allow to cool and serve. 

Why is honey bad for dogs? 

Honey may have harmful effects on dogs that have certain pre-existing conditions. If your dog suffers from one of the below listed conditions, it is better not to feed him honey.

  • Dogs allergic to bee stings:

Dogs who faced adverse reactions due to bee stings may react to honey consumption. For this reason, they should not be fed honey. However, if you want your pet to get accustomed to honey, you may start feeding them a drop a day. The quantity of feeding honey can be increased by watching for signs of allergic reactions.

Symptoms of allergic reactions in dogs:

  • Facial swelling, 
  • Severe itching, 
  • Hives, 
  • Vomiting, 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Collapse after a sting

Severe symptoms include

  • Vomiting, 
  • Diarrhea, 
  • Staggering, 
  • Pale gums, 
  • Swelling of the larynx leading to 
  • Difficulty breathing, and 
  • Sudden collapse.
  • Obese Dogs:

A teaspoon of honey comprises 17 grams of sugar and 70 calories. Obese dogs don’t require many calories as it could lead to weight gain. Moreover, Obesity negatively impacts a dog’s health, puts them at risk of developing diseases such as:

Consequences of obesity in dogs:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • A faster degeneration of affected joints
  • Urinary bladder stones
  • Anesthetic complications as they are less heat tolerant
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Cushing’s disease

  • Diabetic Dogs:

Honey has a high glycemic index profile, which makes it unsuitable for a diabetic dog’s consumption. When a diabetic dog consumes honey, the amount of sugar in the blood increases rapidly, spiking sugar levels in the blood leading to adverse effects such as:

Consequences of diabetes in dogs:

  • Cataracts
  • Enlarged liver
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Seizures
  • Kidney failure
  • Puppies and Senior or immune-compromised dogs: 

Puppies have low immunity levels; this makes them vulnerable to pathogenic diseases. For this reason, they should not be fed raw honey because it can harbor botulism spores. Although botulism is a rare condition, it can paralyze a dog.

 Symptoms of botulism include:

  • Progressive motor paralysis 
  • Disturbed vision
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Progressive weakness
  • Death

  • Tooth Decay:

As honey contains a high amount of sugar, it can cause tooth decay if not followed with a round of brushing. If tooth decay is left untreated, it may advance and cause the following symptoms.

  • Red or bleeding gums.
  • Blood on a chew toy.
  • Vocalizing when they yawn or eat.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Bad breath.
  • Lumps or bumps in the mouth.
  • Bloody saliva.
  • Head shyness (your pet not wanting you to touch their head)

How much of honey to feed your dogs?

Honey is rich in natural sugars and contains more calories than table sugar. As a result, it has to be fed in smaller quantities directly or as a sweetener to ensure your canine reaps the maximum health benefits.

Generally, a teaspoon of honey per day is enough for your dog. However, the daily requirement depends on the breed and their weight, as charted below:

BREEDSWEIGHTQUANTITY TO FEED PER DAY
Small dogs >10 lbs¼ teaspoon per day
Medium dogs10 to 20 lbs½ teaspoon per day
Larger dogs 20-50 lbsone teaspoon per day
Large-breed dogs < 50 lbs2 teaspoons per day

What if my dog ate honey? 

Although honey can be enjoyed as an occasional treat, some dogs may accidentally consume it in higher quantities; this may spike their blood sugar.

Symptom of increased blood sugar:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

Reach out to your vet immediately if you notice the above symptoms. 

Frequently asked questions

Can dogs eat manuka honey?

Yes, healthy dogs can eat manuka honey moderately. It has excellent antibacterial properties, which makes it the best choice for dogs. However, it has to be avoided for dogs with specific conditions such as diabetes and immune deficiency or is still a puppy.

Final Thoughts: 

Honey offers excellent health benefits for dogs. However, they should be fed sparingly, considering their high sugar content, and be limited for dogs with certain pre-existing conditions. 

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