What if I told you a little spice (that’s probably sitting in your kitchen cupboard right now) could make a huge difference in your dog’s health and even his lifespan?
I know it sounds crazy, but research shows it’s true … turmeric (the spice used in curries and mustards) with over 6,000 studies to its credit, is found to trump a lot of fancy, expensive drugs.
These are a whole lot of reasons to give your dog turmeric! So let’s take a closer look at this handy little spice (we’ll show you how much to give and which dogs shouldn’t get turmeric in a bit).
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin – which is essentially its active ingredient. Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, wound healing and anticancer activities. It can help fight diseases like arthritis, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, gastrointestinal issues, Alzheimers and more.
One study at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, called it “Cure-cumin” because of its long list of amazing therapeutic and clinical uses.
So let’s look at the Top 5 Ways turmeric can help your dog (and how it compares to conventional drugs):
#1 – Turmeric Is Anti-Inflammatory
You may be thinking inflammation is only a problem for dogs with joint disease … but chronic, hidden inflammation is a silent killer. It’s the root of nearly all disease.
Cancer, arthritis, allergies, kidney disease, dental disease, digestive disease … it’s all caused by inflammation.
Not all inflammation in the body is a bad thing. If your dog is exposed to viruses or bacteria, acute inflammation will release white blood cells to the body tissues and start the healing process. But chronic inflammation – the kind of low-grade inflammation that stays for weeks, months and even years – is the real culprit behind most degenerative and inflammatory health issues in your dog.
Researchers are finding that heart disease can be linked to dental disease. Chronic bladder infections can lead to bladder cancer. And they’re finding that chronic low-grade inflammation is a major driver of joint degeneration.
A 2014 study found that the curcumin found in turmeric (its active ingredient) outperformed ibuprofen in people with arthritis. But turmeric doesn’t just control the inflammation in joint disease …
Another 2004 study in Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) worked just as well as anti-inflammatory drugs … and worked better than both aspirin and ibuprofen.
Inflammation is the key driver of most disease in the body … and turmeric is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories either nature or medicine has to offer. Keep this in mind as we look at the next few reasons to give your dog turmeric.
#2 – Turmeric For Dogs With Cancer
So we know that chronic inflammation can lead to cancer and turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. And a UK study showed that curcumin could stop the precancerous changes from becoming cancer. So turmeric can help prevent cancer.
But turmeric can also treat cancer naturally. Nearly 1/3 of the studies done on turmeric are cancer research … and the results are very promising. It’s been shown to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing.
The American Cancer Society claims “Curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread. Recently, curcumin has received a great deal of focus because of it’s ability to reduce tumor size and kill cancer cells.
Half of adult dogs today will get cancer, so turmeric could be a great way to protect your dog from inflammation and cancer.
#3 – Turmeric Can Relieve Arthritis Pain
We know that arthritis is the result of inflammation and turmeric can decrease inflammation in the body. But it can also relieve the pain and stiffness in arthritis … better than conventional pain medications.
In 2014 a group of researchers in Thailand published a study comparing the effects of curcumin vs ibuprofen treatment in patients with knee osteoarthritis. They found that curcumin worked just as well as ibuprofen to reduce pain … but without the gastrointestinal side effects experienced by the patients who took ibuprofen. Which brings us to the next benefit …
#4 – Turmeric Can Treat Gastrointestinal Disorders
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects can be helpful in treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) as well as other gastrointestinal disorders. It’s been shown in several preclinical studies and uncontrolled clinical trials as having positive effects on gut inflammation and gut permeability.
Researchers at Hamamatsu South Hospital in Japan commented that curcumin’s “inhibitory effects on major inflammatory mechanisms […] and its unrivaled safety profile suggest it has bright prospects in the treatment of IBD.”
#5 – Turmeric Can Replace Steroids
Many dogs are on steroids for allergies and joint pain – but some studies show curcumin is just as effective as steroids. And the authors note: “The lack of side effects with curcumin is its greatest advantage compared with corticosteroids.”
And a study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology shows that combing curcumin with a steroid reduced the side effects of this dangerous medication.
And that’s the main benefit of turmeric – not only can it work just as well as many prescription and over-the-counter drugs, it doesn’t carry the same nasty, unwanted side effects.
How To Make Turmeric Paste
So if you’re ready to give your dog turmeric, there are a few things you need to know. The curcumin in turmeric is hard for your dog to absorb if it’s given by itself. So it’s important to combine turmeric with a healthy oil like coconut oil. This can increase the absorption significantly.
Dr Michael Greger MD also found that a phytochemical in black pepper called peperine that can increase the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%. So you can’t give turmeric by itself and expect good results. But here’s a simple recipe you can make at home:
You can add the Golden Paste directly to your dog’s meals by mixing it with some water or kefir. Most dogs don’t mind the taste at all!
This is a rough starting point, but you can increase the amount from there, up to about a Tbsp for larger dogs. But you’ll want to give turmeric in smaller amounts a few times a day because curcumin leaves the body quickly.
And you’ll want to be careful when you’re working with turmeric … its bright yellow color can stain your hands, counter tops and your dog! So mix your turmeric paste with some kefir or mix it well into his food or he’ll be sporting a yellow mustache!
And turmeric is binding and can cause constipation, so add some water or kefir to his meals when you add turmeric.
Potential Turmeric Side Effects
The best thing about turmeric is that it works and it’s safe. But not all dogs should get turmeric. Turmeric is a “warming” spice so if your dog is always hot and seeking out cool floors to lie on, turmeric may not be for him.
Turmeric can also interact with some medications, including anti-inflammatory and diabetes drugs, and it may interfere with some chemotherapy treatments … so if your dog’s on any medications, check with your holistic vet before adding turmeric to his diet. Chances are, it will only help but it’s always best to check. Turmeric is also contraindicated for patients with bile tract obstruction or gallstones.
Bonus – Turmeric Is A Powerful Antioxidant
So there are a whole lot of reasons to start giving your dog turmeric. But I haven’t mentioned the best one yet … turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and antioxidants can slow down aging, degeneration and even increase lifespan.
The main benefit of antioxidants is that they help fight free radical damage. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that can accumulate in cells. They’re the byproduct of metabolism, sometimes the immune system creates them to fight viruses and bacteria, and they’re also formed when your dog is exposed to chemicals, pesticides, processed foods, pollution, radiation and toxins.
Once free radicals form in cells, their single electron makes them very unstable and they react quickly with other compounds to capture a second electron to make them stable again. They usually just attack the closest stable molecule and steal its electron and the damaged molecule with the missing electron becomes another free radical and a chain reaction is set in motion.
This process is called oxidative stress and it causes damage to the cells, proteins and DNA in your dog’s body. A 2015 study at the Guangdong University of Technology discussed how oxidative stress activates inflammatory pathways leading to many chronic diseases, including cancer. Their research suggests that “curcumin can play a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammation diseases.”
So move over variety … turmeric is the new spice of life!
Say YES to turmeric for dogs …
Thank you Dana Scott at Dogs Naturally Magazine for this article!