How to Use Turmeric for Dogs with Achy Joints
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Turmeric is no stranger to the shelves of health food stores. It’s been a long-standing staple in alternative medicine and holistic health circles for decades, and its uses for well-being date back nearly 4,000 years!
Nowadays, turmeric isn’t the obscure health food supplement it once was, and humans–and their animals–are looking to this orange ingredient for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. But how safe is turmeric for dogs, and can it imbue the same benefits as it does for humans? Let’s explore!
What is turmeric?
Benefits of turmeric for dogs’ joint health
Turmeric is a popular natural anti-inflammatory supplement for people struggling with pain and achy joints. Thousands of studies suggest that some of those uses may also translate to our furry friends when we feed them supplements with turmeric for dogs!
Numerous studies–like those published in Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology in 2012 and the Italian Journal of Animal Science in 2009–suggest that using turmeric for dogs can help with joint pain and stiffness.
Chronic inflammation is one of the leading causes of joint pain in dogs. Inflammation is a byproduct of the immune system, acting as a defensive response to harmful stimuli; allergies, injury, and illness can all trigger an inflammatory response in a dog’s body. Polyarthritis is defined by pain and inflammation in one or more joints, but inflammation can still exist in the joints without being classified as arthritis.
Causes of inflammation in the joints can include:
- Age-related wear-and-tear on the joints and connective tissues
- Mechanical injury, like a ligament rupture or tear
- Infectious (septic) arthritis – caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus
- Immune-mediated polyarthritis – an immune system disorder that attacks the joints
- Thinning of cartilage within the joint, also called osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (abbreviated as OA and DJD, respectively)
Pain & stiffness
By targeting inflammation and swelling, using turmeric for dogs may also help to support pain management related to arthritis, injury, or infection in the joints. By helping with pain and stiffness, some dogs could potentially see improved mobility with a multimodal approach (e.g., a mix of diet, exercise, and other treatments) that includes turmeric supplements.
Is turmeric good for dogs?
Is turmeric safe for dogs?
When weighing the options of adding turmeric supplements to your dog’s diet, always follow the recommended dosing on the product you’re considering. Dosage charts use a dog’s weight to calculate an amount safe for that animal to eat––meaning if you give a dog more than is recommended for their weight, the risk of adverse reactions could increase.
While turmeric is considered a natural alternative to conventional medicines like NSAIDs, every dog is different. If your dog shows any adverse reaction to taking turmeric or a supplement with turmeric, discontinue use and talk to your veterinarian about other options for joint health and pain management.
Although adverse responses are uncommon with weight-appropriate turmeric dosing, keep an eye out for bowel movement abnormalities, reduced appetite, and vomiting. These might point to a sign that your pet is having an adverse reaction to turmeric or another ingredient.
How to use turmeric for dogs
PSA to pet parents: turmeric’s flavor can be off-putting on its own! Try it in a high-quality supplement before venturing into raw or powder turmeric.
Q: Can dogs have turmeric on a daily basis?
A: Yes! Just ensure you’re giving an appropriate amount based on your dog’s weight and age (dogs older than 12 weeks).
The recommended dose of turmeric for dogs is 15 mg–20 mg per pound of body weight per day, or simply put, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per day for every 10 pounds of body weight. This is a rough starting point, but you can increase the amount from there––up to about a tablespoon for larger dogs.
Q: Can dogs eat turmeric in their regular food?
A: Yes, though it might challenge their taste buds! You can sprinkle turmeric powder into wet food, or add it to kibble with warm water. No matter how you serve it, ensure the powder is completely dissolved before feeding it to your dog.
When feeding turmeric powder to your dog, start small and adjust based on how well they tolerate the dose. If you’re sourcing yours from capsules, the recommended amount of turmeric for dogs is 15-20 mg per pound of body weight, per day. To make measuring a little easier, you can start at ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight, per day, and scale up from there. Large dogs can be given up to 1 tablespoon per day, but should start at a smaller amount for the first dose and build up based on how they tolerate it.
Commercial turmeric supplements for dogs can contain anywhere from 10-25 mg or more per chew, and will give an exact recommendation on how much to feed your dog per day, based on weight. This can take the guesswork out of feeding your dog “people” turmeric!
- "Transcriptome modification of white blood cells after dietary administration of curcumin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug in osteoarthritic affected dogs." Colitti a et al. - Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology (2012)
- “Dog Food Production Using Curcumin as Antioxidant: Effects of Intake on Animal Growth, Health and Feed Conservation.” Campigotto G; Alba DF; Sulzbach MM; Dos Santos DS; Souza CF; Baldissera MD; Gundel S; Ourique AF - Zimmer F; Petrolli TG; Paiano D; Da Silva AS; Archives of Animal Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine (2020)
- "Dietary administration of Curcumin modifies transcriptional profile of genes involved in inflammatory cascade in horse leukocytes." Maura Farinacci, Brigitta Gaspardo, Monica Colitti & Bruno Stefanon - Italian Journal of Animal Science (2009)
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