Is honey safe for dogs?

Can dogs have honey? Yes, dogs can eat honey in moderation. However, be aware that honey has a high sugar concentration, so if a large amount is eaten or honey is continually offered to your dog, then they may be at risk of certain diseases.

Let’s have a look at honey for dogs and explore the different benefits it may have as well as potential risks if too much is eaten.

Table of Contents

What is honey?

Honey is a thick, golden substance with a similar consistency to syrup, that is produced by bees, most commonly honey bees. 

Honey is made by bees by gathering the natural sugars produced by flowers. The honey is then stored in the hive and is used to help nourish the colony.

Honey is used across the globe in a variety of cuisines and is often used in both sweet and savory meals.

Is honey good for dogs?

Yes, honey is good for dogs in small amounts. Honey has a variety of benefits for dogs and contains plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that contribute to good health.

Due to the high levels of goodness found within honey, it is considered a superfood!

Suggested reading: Superfoods for dogs

Honey can help to relieve certain ailments as well as reducing the symptoms of certain diseases. Benefits include:

Honey has anti-inflammatory properties which can help with swelling in a dog’s body. Conditions, such as arthritis, can cause pain and swelling within and around joints. 

Honey may help to relieve the effects associated with arthritis.

Unfortunately, many dogs can suffer from allergies. Dogs can be allergic to a variety of different things, including certain foods, parasites, and even dust! 

Dogs can also have allergies that are associated with the environment, similar to hay fever in humans.

As honey is produced by bees, it is said that small amounts of pollen from different flowers within the local environment can be found in raw locally produced honey.

Symptoms of environmental allergies may be relieved by offering small quantities of local raw honey to your dog, as it provides their bodies with small amounts of exposure to the pollen which may be triggering their allergy. 

This may then increase resistance to different types of pollen found in your local area.

If you think your dog has environmental allergies, always consult your veterinary surgeon. It is unlikely that allergies will be controlled by honey alone and should be used in conjunction with prescription medication

Honey contains high levels of both pre and probiotics. These help to maintain healthy gut bacteria as well as helping to avoid a gastro-intestinal upset. A small amount of honey may be beneficial if your dog is experiencing episodes of vomiting and diarrhea.

If your dog is suffering from vomiting and diarrhea, it is important to consult your veterinary surgeon before deciding to give honey as a natural remedy.

Honey contains high levels of antioxidants and these are fantastic in protecting the cells in a dog’s body from harm. 

Antioxidants help to protect the cells from becoming damaged or abnormal. Honey may help to reduce the risk of illnesses, such as cancer.

Is honey bad for dogs? Is honey safe for dogs?

Honey is not necessarily bad for dogs, but it can unfortunately have detrimental effects on our dog’s bodies if they consume a large quantity of of it. 

Honey contains high levels of sugar which can cause different diseases.

Obesity is a common problem in dogs and this risk can increase if they regularly eat honey or any other high-sugar foods. Obesity can put a strain on our dog’s organs, such as the heart, making them work considerably harder.

Obesity can also cause secondary problems such as arthritis, hypertension (increased blood pressure), and heart disease.

If you think that your dog is obese, speak with your veterinary practice. Many veterinary practices offer a weight clinic with a veterinary nurse to help get your dog’s weight under control.

An increased ingestion of high-sugar foods can cause a condition called diabetes. This is where the body does not produce adequate amounts of a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps to break down sugars within the blood.

Diabetic patients usually have to receive injections twice daily which supply their bodies with the insulin that they are deficient in. Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Polyuria (increased urination)
  • Polydipsia (increased thirst)
  • Weight loss
  • Increased hunger

If you are worried that your dog is showing signs of diabetes, arrange a consultation with your veterinary surgeon.

If large volumes of high-sugar foods are ingested, they may cause a condition called pancreatitis. The word pancreatitis can be split into two words; “pancrea” which refers to the pancreas and “itis” which means inflammation of.

The pancreas is an organ that produces digestive enzymes as well as the hormone insulin. If large quantities of sugar are ingested, this can overwork the pancreas, resulting in inflammation. Symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Inappetance
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Continuous stretching the the ‘prayer position’

If you are worried that your dog has pancreatitis, speak with your veterinary surgeon as soon as possible.

Just like in humans, dental disease can occur as a result of too much sugar within the diet. Whilst sugar may not contribute to the formation of plaque on dogs teeth, it may cause the surface of the tooth to weaken and become rotten.

Imagine eating large amounts of sugar everyday but then never cleaning your teeth – it’s a bit of a recipe for disaster with a dog’s oral health.

If you are worried about the condition of your dog’s teeth, book an appointment with your veterinary surgeon for a dental check.

How much honey can dogs have?

There is no magic number as to how much honey dogs can have. However, due to its high levels of sugar, ingestion should be kept to a minimum. 

There is no reason why dogs should be given honey on a daily or even weekly basis. Honey should be given as an occasional treat or mixed into homemade dog biscuits.

Although honey contains beneficial components for dogs, well-balanced and nutritious dog food should supply your dog with all the goodness that they need in order to function correctly. 

If you are unsure on what food to feed your dog, speak with your veterinary practice for their recommendations.

As a general rule, dogs should not exceed more than a teaspoon of honey in a day. This amount can change depending on the size of the dog. A large breed dog will likely tolerate more honey than a smaller breed dog if they were both to be given the same amount.

Always introduce new foods slowly and ensure to monitor them for any adverse reactions.

Suggested reading: How many treats can my dog have a day?

Can puppies have honey?

No, you should not give your puppy honey. Whilst giving honey to your puppy may not cause that much harm, they are still growing and developing their body systems and organs. 

Not only that, it’s probably not the best idea to give your hyper puppy sugar, as it is likely to make them even more hyper!

A puppy’s immune system is still developing whilst they are young. Do not give your puppy raw honey. Raw honey means that it hasn’t been filtered or processed in any way. In other words, it is fresh from the beehive and has remained unchanged.

Raw honey can contain potentially dangerous spores called Clostridium botulinum. The spores can cause a condition called Botulism and whilst it is rare, it can be fatal to dogs. Symptoms include:

  • Dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
  • Total paralysis which can slowly spread through the limbs
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersalivation (excessive drooling)

Call your veterinary surgery immediately if you are worried about your dog after eating raw honey.

Can you put honey on dog wounds?

Yes, you can put honey on your dog’s wounds. Manuka honey is specifically used to help treat wounds in both dogs and humans. However, if your dog has sustained a wound that needs medical attention, speak with your veterinary surgeon before deciding to use manuka honey.

Manuka honey helps to form a barrier over a wound which can help to prevent bacterial infection. Manuka also helps to remove dead and damaged cells which can speed up the healing process.

Manuka honey is often used in veterinary treatment for wounds. Your veterinary surgeon may prescribe manuka honey for you to continue to apply at home after your dog has sustained an injury.

Can dogs have honey - final thoughts

Honey is a great treat for your dog that they will no doubt enjoy. Its thick, golden consistency and sweet flavor is sure to keep them coming back for more. 

It is important that honey is only offered in small amounts to your dog, as large amounts of honey can cause health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Honey can actually help with ailments such as arthritis, as well as providing the body with a natural antioxidant. Always remember that natural foods, such as honey, should not replace prescription medication.

If you are wanting to add honey to your dog’s diet, or you are worried about your dog after they have consumed honey, speak to your veterinary practice for further advice.

You may also like:

Leave a Comment