We recently got a honey bee hive. We thought that getting bees would allow us to learn about this important aspect of our environment and enjoy the fruits of all their labor in the form of fresh unprocessed honey. It has been a fun experience but as we enjoy honey so much it also struck me whether our dogs would also benefit from the health benefits of sharing the liquid gold.
The answer – Absolutely! Dogs can eat honey and they will appreciate the flavor and health benefits as well but like everything else we give our dogs there are certain things we need to be aware of, including the fact that honey, although natural contains sugar which should only be given to dogs in moderation.
What Is In Honey?
As we will discover honey is full of health benefits so it is important to understand what it is made of. Our friends at Little Bee House nicely summarized the five main things that make up honey:
Honey Nectar itself is composed mainly of sucrose and water. Bees add enzymes that create additional chemical compounds, inverting the sucrose into fructose and glucose.
Honey is 80% natural sugar – mostly fructose and glucose.
Due to the high level of fructose, honey is sweeter than table sugar!
Honey is 18% water. Most beekeepers believe that the less water content the honey has, the better the quality of honey.
Minerals and Vitamins
Honey is a whopping 2% minerals, vitamins, pollen and protein.
Honey contains natural minerals and vitamins which help the metabolizing of undesirable cholesterol and fatty acid on the organs and tissues into the system, hence preventing obesity and promoting better health for us and our pets. The vitamins present in honey are B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and certain amino acids. The minerals found in honey include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Manuka honey has a higher than normal conductivity, a way of measuring the mineral content of a honey — about 4 times that of normal flower honeys. The higher the conductivity, the better the value of the honey.
One of the most encouraging honey nutrition facts – this natural sweetener is rich in phenolic acids and flavonoids, which are a source of natural antioxidants and is free of fat and cholesterol!
Is Honey Low Calorie?
We often think of honey as a low calorie sweetener but it may be helpful to know that one tablespoon of natural sweetener honey contains 64 calories as a comparison one teaspoon of organic cane sugar has 170 calories. So, yes, comparatively honey is a low calorie sweetener with natural sugars.
Making a sweet treat with honey the odd time is a great way of feeding honey to your dog.
The Glycemic Index of Honey
When we consider sweeteners we also need to consider the glycemic index. The Little Bee House also indicates that Honey has a healthy Glycemic Index (GI), meaning that its sugars can be gradually absorbed into the bloodstream to result in better digestion. As opposed to a giant sugar rush which causes a spike and associated release of insulin that is so damaging to all but especially to diabetic dogs.
In general, it is better for our health and the health of our pets to avoid eating excessive high-glycemic foods which would prompt an elevated insulin release in our body as a result of the pancreas being stimulated to metabolize the sudden surge of glucose into the blood, says the Little Bee House.
The Health Benefits of Giving Honey to Your Dog
Scientific articles abound with the support and research of the benefits of honey, from antibacterial support, allergy and cough control to antibacterial functions. In an article published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine Researchers provided an overview of the health benefits of honey in an article titled, Honey as a Complementary Medicine.
The researchers nicely detail the beneficial effects of honey on human health and recognize that those benefits have long been understood. This review briefly summarizes the best studied features of honey and highlights honey as an appealing alternative medicine. The paper identifies the health benefits of honey including:
A powerful natural antioxidant,
Immunomodulatory (support dog’s immune systems), and
Metabolic and cardiovascular benefits,
Pathogen control, and
Vitamin and minerals, like vitamins a
What Dog Ailments Can Be Helped With Honey
With so many powerful bodily benefits of honey our pets it is no wonder that it helps us with some serious health support for common ailments that our dogs or cats may experience.
Due to the antibacterial nature of honey is can help dogs with various types of issues when applied topically ranging from hot spots to wound care, a cough or more serious kennel cough, provide relief of bee stings or bites and a sore throat.
For most topical applications of honey you simply dilute a small amount of honey in a spray bottle and spray on the affected area.
With the other benefits of honey dog’s can also ingest it for many health benefits in small quantities. Manuka honey, a powerful honey from Australia and New Zealand was reported by WebMD to have been researched extensively for its benefits to people and researchers found that it may help prevent gingivitis and other periodontal disease by reducing the buildup of plaque.
Dog allergies are also supported with honey.
Another possible benefit of honey is that, unlike antibiotics, it doesn’t appear to lead to resistant bacteria. These so-called “superbugs” develop after repeated exposure to common antibiotics. Special antibiotics are needed to treat them.
Honey, especially, local honey which contains local pollen can support dogs with environmental allergies and seasonal allergies. The reason it is so useful when local honey is used is that the same antibodies in the honey support your pet against the antibodies that cause the allergies.
It is important to note that much of the research of the biological activity of honey is also mainly dependent on its floral or geographic origin. Local raw honey from a local source is the most beneficial.
How to Give Your Dog Honey
So yes dogs can eat honey! Feeding your dog honey is not only a good idea but easy and a teaspoon of honey is now enjoyed by our pets in their food on a regular basis.
I make a habit of spraying a little Relieve Plus Hemp Spray from CBD on the honey to put in our older dog’s food to enjoy and when our younger dogs need some calming relief I add some Calm Hemp Spray from CBD to a little honey for them. Our dogs love the new flavor and of course appreciates the pain-relieving and calming effect of our hemp sprays. Honey can also be mixed with peanut butter in
a Kong toy.
A little honey with some Relieve – Plus CBD from Hemp
In addition, if any of the mammals living at our house get injured whether it be, dogs, horses, cats or kids the wound gets packed with raw organic honey and I place a gauze and a wrap over the top.
We have cured some very serious wounds where no other remedy seemed to work with raw honey packed in the wound. Honey has power anti-bacterial, antifungal properties and inflammatory properties which makes wound care easy for your dog, cat or you and results in a fast recovery of minor wounds.
Although honey contains powerful benefits pet parents do need to be cautious about adding honey to your dog’s diet. Honey, even though natural and low glycemic still has a high sugar content. Obese dogs or diabetic dogs still need to be considered as honey will affect a dog’s blood sugar. Honey may also cause tooth decay due to its high sugar content but small amounts of honey are ok.
Add some honey to your pet wellness routine and let you pet enjoy some hemp honey today. A note of caution pets under one year likely should not be eating honey, similar to children.
Can my dog get the same health benefits from honey as bee pollen?
According to Beebite bee honey is a substance created by bees using nectar, but they also gather pollen as a source of proteins and mix it with bee honey. The resulting bee pollen has the same properties of honey, but with added nutritional benefits. Bee pollen may provide pet owners with a bit more bang for their buck vs raw unfiltered honey.
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey is grown in Australia and New Zealand and is thought to have a higher antibacterial rate due to the high amount of hydrogen peroxide naturally occurring in the honey. Hydrogen peroxide gives most honey its antibiotic quality. But Manuka honey, is thought to have a high content of hydrogen peroxide along with methylglyoxal.
MGO comes from the conversion of another compound in Manuka honey known as dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a high concentration of which is found in the nectar of Manuka flowers. The higher the concentration of MGO, the stronger the antibacterial effect.
How much honey should I give my dog?
Most dogs can consume up to a tablespoon daily of honey and the addition of the honey will nicely contribute to overall pet wellness. Small dogs can consume a teaspoon and achieve similar benefits. If you are using honey for targeted relief like to combat an allergic reaction you may want to increase the amount and definitely experiment and be consistent in your treatment to ensure you address your pets needs.
Is Honey Safe For My Dog?
Yes, honey is safe. However, you may have heard that it contains botulism spores . Honey, especially raw unfiltered honey may contain botulism spores. According to poison control, Botulism is a rare but dangerous type of poisoning that affects the nervous system. Honey can contain botulism spores; these spores release a toxin that can poison infants and possibly younger dogs.
Interesting the Canadian Veterinary Journal reported that food-borne botulism in humans can be fatal, and requires mechanical ventilatory support in over 60% of patients (1). But on the other hand carrion eaters and some carnivores, including dogs, are resistant to botulinum toxin (BoNT) (2), but a few clinical cases have been described in dogs and cats (2, 3)
The most dangerous effect of botulism is paralysis of the diaphragm, which means the infants cannot breathe on their own without a respirator until the disease is cured. Given this inconclusive data it is likely best that if you intend to add honey to your dog’s diet ensure that you do it after they are one year old.