There’s a spice that you may already have in your cupboard that could help improve your dog’s health … and even increase his lifespan.
Sounds like a hoax, doesn’t it? But it isn’t …
The spice I’m referring to is turmeric … and it can do some pretty incredible things.
But before I get into the ways turmeric can help your dog, you need to understand inflammation …
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation can be a good thing … it’s your dog’s body responding to injury, irritation or infection.
When your dog’s hurt or exposed to viruses and bacteria ... inflammation is an immune response that helps your dog heal and repair faster.
Blood vessels expand. Blood flow increases. White blood cells that protect against illness and disease swarm the area. And healing chemicals, hormones and nutrients make their way to the injury or invader.
That’s what causes the redness, swelling and heat. Your dog’s system expands the roadways so that the good stuff can move in.
That’s acute inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is another story.
Chronic inflammation is low-grade, systemic inflammation that lasts for long periods of time … weeks, months, even years.
And it can be linked to most diseases ...
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Dental disease
- Digestive issues
- Heart disease
That’s why keeping inflammation in check is so important.
Turmeric And Inflammation
Turmeric is a yellow/orange spice that you can find in most kitchen cabinets. (It’s the spice that gives curry its yellow color.)
Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin. And curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
A 2004 study compared curcumin to anti-inflammatory drugs in humans. Researchers found that turmeric worked just as well as over the counter-the-counter meds.
“overall their results indicate that aspirin and ibuprofen are least potent, while resveratrol, curcumin … are the most potent anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative agents of those we studied”
And it isn't just anti-inflammatory meds that turmeric can replace. Research shows turmeric can go up against expensive drugs including:
- Arthritis drugs
- Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
In fact, there are more than 6,000 studies that have looked at turmeric's many health benefits.
Let's take a better look at some of those benefits ...
4 Ways Turmeric Helps Your Dog
Now that you understand the role of inflammation in your dog and disease … let’s talk about the different situations where turmeric can help your dog.
1. Joint Health
Your dog’s joints experience a lot of wear and tear over their lifetime so … it makes sense that an older active dog may experience joint problems.
But what about dogs who are too young or inactive to have already done that much damage? Or the fit middle-aged ones who should be in the prime of their life?
Turmeric can reduce pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
In 2014 another study compared curcumin to ibuprofen. This time they looked at the effect on knee osteoarthritis.
Curcumin worked just as well as the ibuprofen to reduce pain. And it did it without the gastrointestinal side effect of ibuprofen.
IMPORTANT: This study was done on humans. You should never give your dog ibuprofen … it is toxic to dogs.
Unfortunately, 50% of adult dogs will develop cancer. But curcumin can be an effective treatment and preventative.
I mentioned earlier that cancer is one of the many diseases that can stem from chronic inflammation.
So it shouldn't surprise you that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties prevent cancer. Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) can also …
- Boost the immune system
- Decrease cell growth
- Decrease metastasis
- Induce cancer cell Apoptosis
- Inhibit cancer cell division and growth
- Inhibit enzymes that aid in the spread of cancer
- Scavenge free radicals
And there are studies to back this up. In fact, more than a third of the studies done on turmeric and curcumin have looked at its effect on cancer.
Here’s what one of the many studies found …
“… our review shows that curcumin can kill a wide variety of tumor cell types through diverse mechanisms … it is possible that cells may not develop resistance to curcumin-induced cell death.”
3. Gastrointestinal Health
It turns out that turmeric not only reduces gastrointestinal side effects … it can help treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other gut issues.
Studies have shown that it can help manage gut inflammation and permeability … as well as control IBD.
It can also …
- Cleanse the colon of parasites
- Reduce flatulence
- Increase liver enzyme production to remove toxins
- Soothe intestinal muscles
- Stimulate bile secretions from the gallbladder
And in small amounts, it can help reduce general digestive upset.
4. Steroid Replacement
Steroids are often prescribed to dogs for allergies and joint pain.
They work by suppressing the disease symptoms. But they also have dangerous side effects …
- Immune system suppression
- Softening of bones
- Weak muscles
- Liver disease
- Vitamin D deficiency
Studies have shown that curcumin can reduce side effects when used with steroids.
Even more exciting … studies show that curcumin can be as effective as steroids … but without the side effects.
“The lack of side effects with curcumin is its greatest advantage compared with corticosteroids.” - B Lal et al
How To Give Your Dog Turmeric
It’s easy to see why turmeric is such a great addition to your dog’s diet … but what is the best way to give it to your dog?
You can buy powdered turmeric or fresh turmeric root.
If you are buying powder, don't buy grocery store turmeric powder ... even if it's organic. Grocery store turmeric is intended for cooking, not as a health supplement. Health food stores are usually your best option.
Try to find one that contains added black pepper or piperine. This helps make turmeric more absorbable by your dog’s body.
If you go with fresh turmeric root, you can buy it from a health food store or the grocery store. Buy organic whenever you can. When you get it home, crush it and add a bit of black pepper.
If you want to add turmeric to your dog's diet you can also use turmeric golden paste. Fat also helps with turmeric absorption so it’s always a good thing to add (along with black pepper).
½ cup organic turmeric powder
1 to 1 ½ cups filtered water
1 ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup MCT oil or ghee (preferably from pastured cows)
- Mix the turmeric with 1 cup of water in a pan.
- Stir on medium/low heat for 7 to 10 minutes until it forms a thick paste. Add more water or turmeric if needed.
- Add pepper and oil and stir well.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Place in a jar and store in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.
How Much Turmeric Should You Give Your Dog
Whether you choose powdered turmeric, fresh turmeric or turmeric golden paste … take your time and work up to ⅛ to ¼ tsp per 10 pounds of body weight daily.
You can add the powder to your dog’s water. Or add any of the options to his food.
Small dogs should start with about ¼ teaspoon per day
Medium dogs can start with ½ teaspoon per day
Large dogs can start with ¾ teaspoon per day
Giant dogs can start with 1 teaspoon per day
Work up to ⅛ to ¼ tsp per 10 lbs of body weight.
Cautions With Turmeric
Turmeric is safe for dogs, but like us, some dogs won’t tolerate certain foods as well as others.
If you have a “hot” dog who feels warm all the time and seeks out cool places to lie, don’t feed him turmeric. In warm dogs, turmeric may increase inflammation - the opposite of what you want!
Turmeric can also interact with some drugs like NSAIDs, blood thinners or certain cancer drugs. Before you add any natural remedies to your dog’s diet, you should check in with your holistic vet about any medications he’s on.
Pregnant dogs should not have turmeric. It can cause premature uterine contractions which can lead to miscarriage.
Turmeric For Dogs
Turmeric can be a great way to help manage your dog’s joint health, cancer and digestive health. It’s also an effective replacement for dangerous drugs like NSAIDs and steroids.
If you decide to give turmeric to your dog, be aware of the cautions and introduce it slowly.
Turmeric may be the perfect solution to your dog’s health issues. Why not give it a try?