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I am not a veterinarian or animal nutritionist. If you have concerns about your dog's health, please contact your veterinarian. You may find a holistic vet by searching the AHVMA website.
Last year, I heard several times about the benefits of turmeric for dogs: allergy relief, digestion support, stops diarrhea, contains antioxidants, weight management, detox, anti-inflammatory, pain relief, and more.
Then it all kind of fell apart for me, because…
1) When buying turmeric from a supplements store, we have to make sure that there is enough turmeric in the product for it to be beneficial – not all supplements are created equal.
2) Then it became difficult for me to understand if I should give our dogs turmeric in powder form (mixed into their meals) or if I had to create a paste for our dogs. Some say yes, others say the paste is for topical use.
3) And then I learned about the side effects of turmeric for humans; the below list was taken from WebMD.com.
Side Effects of Turmeric for Humans
Stomach upset, dizziness and nausea to start; turmeric can also lead to…
- worsening gallbladder problems
- increased occurrence of bruising
- decreased blood sugar
- iron deficiency
In the research I did, I found that these side effects aren't common if you take the recommended dosage and turmeric should be taken over an extended stretch of time (I gather we're supposed to take a break). I couldn't find any data on side effects in dogs, but I wonder if the above side effects that were reported in humans can be attributed to dogs as well if they're over-supplemented.
Don't Over Supplement Our Dogs
This is a lesson I learned in 2014. There was a time when we had a cabinet full of supplements for our dogs; I learned that some supplements conflict with each other, like raw goat milk and coconut oil, because coconut oil is an antibacterial, raw goats milk is filled with probiotics – someone explained that coconut oil will cancel out the benefits of the probiotics. Today, I only give our dogs what they need to avoid over supplementation and avoid any adverse side effects.
Rodrigo and Sydney still get turmeric in their food (I mix in the powder form, sometimes a paste) a few days a week in their morning meal. Many dog owners are different when it comes to managing their dog's health and nutrition; my method is just one of many.
The below video by Dr. Karen Becker is very informative and at about the 3:15 point, she discusses adding the supplement to our dogs' food.
Buying Turmeric for Our Dogs
I buy turmeric from a local vitamin and supplement store. I'm looking for a supplement that is high quality (turmeric is the main or only ingredient) and organic. I also pay close attention to the milligrams, because I don't want to risk overdose.
When I searched for the proper dosage of turmeric for our dogs, I found that Dr. Karen Becker recommends that we “consider giving cats about 100 milligrams twice a day. Small to medium-sized dogs can be given 250 milligrams twice a day, and large to giant breeds should get 500 milligrams two to three times a day.”
I tend to be conservative with dosage and start small and work my way up to where I'm comfortable, and our dogs are gaining the benefits.
Update: I now purchase our turmeric powder through our local raw food co-op.
Recipe for Turmeric Paste for Dogs
The following is what I do for my dogs; I make my golden paste in large batches, storing the excess in the freezer. It is good in the fridge for 2 weeks.
- 3 cups of turmeric powder (sourced through our co-op)
- 6 cups of water
- 2 cups of organic coconut oil (or 1 cup of coconut oil and 1 cup of bone broth)
- 3 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of Ceylon cinnamon
Step 1: I slowly warm the water on the lowest heat while I ground the pepper I need.
Step 2: I mix the turmeric powder in with the water and stir until it begins to get thick.
Step 3: I mix in the coconut oil and bone broth, and, finally, the pepper. I turn off the heat and continue to stir.
Step 4: I allow the turmeric paste to cool and transfer into Rubbermaid containers to freeze.
Dosage of Turmeric Paste for Dogs
I've read different dosages on several sites. Many people advise to start with small amounts and build up because it can cause loose stool if you feed too much to your dog. Turmeric paste leaves a dog's system quickly, so it should be fed with each meal (more than once a day). I started my dogs off with 1/4 teaspoon in each meal and worked up from there to gauge their tolerance. Ultimately, you want to do 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight.
- Start by adding 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of golden paste to each meal
- Every 5-7 days, increase the dosage a small amount
- Once you notice pain relief, increased mobility, or a decrease in tumor size (yeah, I read this could happen and I'm blown away) – you've found your maintenance dosage
- For our healthy dogs, I stick with the lower dosage of 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon per meal, because more gives them diarrhea
My Dog Smells After Eating Turmeric
Whenever I add turmeric to our dogs' food, after two or three days, they start to smell like cat pee around the head and face. When I began to add the Ceylon cinnamon to the turmeric mixture (along with pepper) as the recipe states, the smell vanished.
You can learn more about the benefits and uses of turmeric in the Turmeric User Group on Facebook.