Giving Honey to Dogs

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While selling honey from my beehives, I have often been asked “can you give honey to dogs”? Considering its benefits for humans, it is only natural that many dog owners wonder if honey can be safely given to their furry kids. Honey is a nutritious raw food. But, the dietary needs of dogs differ greatly from those of humans. In this article, I want to take a closer look at the relationship between honey and dogs.

Young dog looking up and honey drips from dipper - dogs & honey.

When we consider the many ways to use honey, it is important to remember that the uses go far behind us eating it. You will see that the same is true for our canine friends.

Is Honey Safe for Dogs?

In general, eating honey in small amounts is considered safe for dogs – even the American Kennel Club agrees.

The key issue when feeding honey is the amount or “in moderation”. Upon asking my local veterinarian if it was safe to give a bit of honey to my small Papillion – he said “sure -try it”. But, keep in mind that he only weighs 9 pounds.

Always, consult your veterinarian before feeding any human foods to your dog.

Chart that shows how much honey dogs can have per day for different sizes of dogs.

Health Benefits of Honey for Dogs

Other than giving them a sweet treat (which does make us smile – admit it), why would people want to give honey to their dog?

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Honey is rich in antioxidants when contributes to overall better health.
  • Energy Source: It is a natural energy source – the sugars in honey can give a working or hiking dog a boost of energy.
  • Digest Health: Honey has prebiotic properties that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This aids in digestion and promotes good gastrointestinal health.
  • Allergy Relief: Like us humans, dogs offer suffer from seasonal allergies. Can giving your pup a small amount of honey help? Perhaps – some people think so.

Potential Risks

  • Botulism Risk: Honey is a raw food that is not given to human infants under the age of 2. This is due to a risk of botulism – due to an infant’s immature immune system. The same can be said of most raw foods.
    Likewise, puppies are growing and developing their own immune systems. It is best to avoid raw foods like honey until they are older. Consult your vet to learn the correct age to add honey – for the breed of dog you have.
  • Obesity: In spite of the healthy components, honey is sugar. Calories may be a concern for some dogs who struggle to stay at a proper weight. Another reason to only offer honey to your dog in moderation.
  • Allergic Reactions: A dog can be allergic to anything – just like us. Did you know that some people are allergic to honey? It is not a common occurrence but it does happen. The same can be said for your dog. Only give small amounts at first.
Dog licking hot spot wound on body and another with a bandage on leg.

Alternative Uses of Honey for Dogs

Used for wound care in humans for thousands of years, honey can be applied to minor wounds on your dog too. You can even dab a bit of honey on the site for a bee sting – in case your dog tries to eat a bee.

And best of all, if the dog removes the bandage and licks it – I don’t have to worry about him ingesting nasty chemicals.

Seek Veterinarian Advice

It is extremely important to consult your veterinarian before feeding honey to your dog. Any underlying health conditions or dietary restrictions should be considered.

Your vet will also be able to offer suggestions on using honey as a supplement. This includes safe dosages, frequency and method of application.

Plastic Kong toy filled with peanut butter and honey and Lab dog with toy.

My pup loved honey mixed with a little peanut butter and then frozen inside one of those rubber Kong toys. On a hot day he play with that toy for hours to get the treat out. Works for big dogs too – just be sure to get a larger kong.

FAQs

How much honey can I give my dog?

The amount of honey that is safe to give your dog depends on the size of the dog and it’s particular health condition. Small dogs should only get a tiny amount of honey per day – around 1/4 tsp.

Can I give my dog local honey for allergies?

Yes, some pet owners believe that local honey helps their pets with seasonal allergies too.

Can dogs eat honey when sick?

Because honey is a raw food, it is best to avoid giving honey to puppies, frail elderly dogs or sick dogs unless directed by your veterinarian to do so.

Final Thoughts

We dog lovers want to do everything we can to make their life better. Giving your dog a taste of honey can be a sweet treat or a healthy boost. However, always do so in moderation and with the safe guidance of your veterinarian. Just because it is good for us – does not guarantee that it is safe for our pups.

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