Turmeric has been mainly used as a cooking spice in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian diets for thousands of years. You may have recognized it’s orange color in curry dishes and other Thai, Indian, and Persian cuisines. Turmeric is also used as a medicinal herb or coloring dye.
Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines have long known the benefits of turmeric for the body, inside and out.
An ancient Ayurvedic proverb reads: “When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need.” Ayurvedic medicine is the traditional medicine of India, originating over 5000 years ago.
How does this relate to our society? This practice does not react with treatment, it focuses on prevention and using elements like nutrition, exercise and lifestyle factors to re-establish balance in the body.
Spice Up Your Dog’s Life
Turmeric has been used in the Eastern world for centuries, but why is this herb beneficial for our dogs?
The active ingredient in turmeric is “curcumin” that is responsible for its bright orange color as well as a host of health benefits, including pain reduction. History has shown that curcumin is a great food additive for dogs that suffer from ailments and illnesses that cause pain.
Maintaining Canine Health
Traditional Asian medicine used turmeric for its ability to detoxify the body, purify the blood, stimulate bile production in the liver, disinfect wounds, and as a stomach tonic. Also, Thais used it to treat diarrhea and other stomach ailments, as well as to eradicate ringworm, a fungal infection. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, turmeric is applied to wounds to cleanse and stimulate recovery, keeping harmful bacteria away.
“Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” says Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Clinical studies have shown that the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that cause the painful inflammation and damage to joints affected by arthritis.
This revelation is significant for our senior K9 friends that may be suffering from the aches and pains associated with arthritis and aging in general.
Like humans, dogs are susceptible to blood clots and excess cholesterol. You may have heard of LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). Well, turmeric has been found to lower LDL levels that support both heart and liver health.
Also, turmeric helps to thin the blood, reducing the risk of deadly clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks. It’s important not to thin your dog’s blood too much, but the right amount can be helpful. If your dog is on medication, especially those that thin the blood, check with your vet for the appropriate dosage.
Anti-Cancer Benefits of Turmeric
In a study at UCLA, doctors found that curcumin seemed to block the cancer-promoting enzyme that stimulates the growth of head and neck cancer. The Department of Small Animal Clinical Scientists has conducted studies that show that curcumin can inhibit tumor growth and may even shrink existing tumors. This has to do with the spice’s amazing ability to shut down blood vessels that feed tumors.
Other Benefits of Turmeric:
Aids in the treatment of epilepsy
Help relieve allergies
Help in preventing the formation of cataracts
Used in treating depression (Dogs can get depressed too)
Heals stomach ailments, aids in digestive disorders, and reduces gas and bloating
Acts as a binding agent and, therefore, great for treating diarrhea
Aids in fat metabolism and weight management
High in fiber and rich in vitamins and mineral
How To Give Your Dog Turmeric?
The suggested dosage is approximately 15 to 20 mg per pound of body weight in dogs. A simpler way of looking at it is a 1/8 to a 1/4 teaspoon per day, for every 10lbs of dog weight. Make sure your dog has lots of water to avoid constipation.
You can feed the powder, which is most commonly available, or crushed or fresh root. Sprinkle it right on top of your pet’s food and mix. Quality varies, and if you are buying turmeric in a local supermarket, it may be grown using harmful pesticides and herbicides. Tainted quality lowers the potency. Also, be sure to store it in a tightly sealed container kept in a cool, dark and dry place.
If your pet does have a pre-existing condition, is currently on medication, has a planned surgery, or is pregnant, it’s advisable to talk to your vet before feeding your dog turmeric.