Many pet parents are seeking holistic approaches to support their dogs’ wellness. They’re making the switch to higher-quality, natural dog foods, using more supplements in their dogs’ routine, and even purchasing sustainable dog toys.
Turmeric is a popular holistic wellness supplement for humans, but does it boast the same potential benefits for dogs? Here’s what pet parents need to know about the potential benefits of turmeric and how to incorporate it into their dogs’ daily routines.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a root similar to ginger. It has a distinctive vivid yellow-gold hue. But the benefits come from turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin.
The root is harvested, dried, and ground into a powder as a seasoning or ingredient. The turmeric plant is native to East Asia and is commonly used in meals, cosmetics, natural dyes, and herbal preparations.
Why Is Turmeric Popular?
Turmeric has been used for centuries as a seasoning, a natural wellness aid, and as a natural colorant to dye fabrics and cosmetics.
Turmeric’s use as a wellness preparation is new to the Western world. There are many purported benefits of turmeric. Turmeric’s antioxidant properties and claims that it may help to support joint health generate the most buzz.
What Does Curcumin Do for Dogs?
Curcumin, a natural compound found in turmeric, offers several potential benefits for dogs. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-modulating properties.
Here are some ways curcumin can potentially benefit dogs:
- Anti-inflammatory Effects: Curcumin has shown promise in reducing inflammation, which can be beneficial for dogs with conditions such as arthritis, joint pain, or inflammatory bowel disease. It may help alleviate discomfort and improve mobility.
- Antioxidant Protection: Curcumin acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals and protect cells from oxidative damage. This antioxidant effect may contribute to overall health and support the immune system.
- Digestive Health: Curcumin has been studied for its potential to support gastrointestinal health. It may help regulate digestion, improve nutrient absorption, and reduce symptoms of digestive disorders in dogs.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness and optimal dosage of curcumin for dogs can vary. Consultation with a veterinarian is recommended to determine if curcumin supplementation is appropriate for your dog and establish the correct dosage based on their specific health needs.
What Is an Antioxidant?
When free radicals (like environmental pollutants circulating in the air) are about to die, they attempt to repair themselves. They’re in a volatile state because they’re missing an electron, and they’ll attempt to steal an electron to repair themselves. They’ll take an electron from a perfectly healthy cell, destroying it in the process.
Antioxidants are essentially martyrs for healthy cells. They’ll eagerly give up an electron to free radicals and destroy themselves, which spares healthy cells from damage. The damage or death of an antioxidant cell won’t have any negative impact on overall human or animal health.
Antioxidants naturally occur in all plant-based foods. They’re most abundant in fruits and vegetables that are naturally vivid in color. The pigments that make blueberries blue, beets magenta, and turmeric gold are all antioxidants. The brighter the color, the more antioxidants a plant contains.
Does Turmeric Support Joint Health?
Turmeric has become popular as a natural joint health supplement. There are tons of anecdotal reports of people claiming that they experienced a meaningful improvement in their joint health with continued use of turmeric. People even give turmeric to their senior dogs to help support their joints’ health.
These claims stem from curcumin’s ability to help the body naturally manage its inflammatory response. However, turmeric can contain an insignificant amount of curcumin. Using a highly bioavailable form of pure curcumin would be more effective if you’re interested in potential joint support benefits.
Is Turmeric Safe for Dogs?
Turmeric is safe for dogs in small amounts. It’s used as a natural colorant for dog kibble. Even though turmeric is generally recognized as safe for dogs, you should still be cautious about introducing any new food or supplement into your dog’s diet.
Keep a watchful eye for changes in your dog’s eating behaviors or bathroom habits when you add turmeric into their routine.
How Much Turmeric Should I Give My Dog?
Your dog is probably already getting turmeric in their normal diet. Check the ingredients of your wet and dry dog food. Turmeric will be closer to the end of the list of ingredients because a little goes a very long way. If there’s already turmeric in your dog’s food, they may not need more.
If you choose to give your dog turmeric, start with a small amount. Turmeric is packed with antioxidants, so you won’t need a lot to get the job done. Try sprinkling ⅛ teaspoon (slightly smaller than a dime-sized amount) over your dog’s food.
What Other Antioxidant-Rich Foods Can My Dog Have?
Healthy treats make incorporating more antioxidants into your dog’s diet easy. Your dog will likely find that a small wedge of plain roasted sweet potato or a spoonful of unseasoned pumpkin puree is a lot more enjoyable than a sprinkle of turmeric on their food.
- Sweet Potatoes
When feeding your dog fruits and vegetables, remember to adhere to the 90/10 rule. About 90 percent of your dog’s total calories should come from high-quality, well-balanced dog food. That dog food may contain some of the vegetables on the list.
The other 10 percent is your dog’s caloric treat budget, and you can fill that with dog treats or fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s very hard to go overboard with fruits and vegetables that don’t contain much sugar or starch.
A serving of 30 blueberries, a sliced large carrot, and ¼ cup of boiled sweet potato each contain about 30 calories. They’re generous portion sizes for a dog treat, and they pack a significant amount of antioxidants into a small amount of food.
How Can I Support My Dog’s Joint Health?
Senior dogs often need some extra joint support. It’s normal for a dog’s joint cushioning to slightly wear away with age, which can lead to discomfort and a decreased range of motion.
Turmeric is unlikely to be the holistic joint support solution you were looking for, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. There are plenty of effective holistic things you can do to help support your dog’s overall joint mobility.
Keep Your Dog at a Healthy Weight
Each of your dog’s joints is responsible for bearing your dog’s weight. If your dog is overweight, their joints will work much harder. It’s important to feed your dog appropriate serving sizes of wholesome dog food and avoid treats if your dog is overweight.
Encourage Your Dog To Exercise
If your dog is experiencing joint discomfort, encouraging exercise may seem counterintuitive. It’s exactly what your dog needs.
Exercise works to build and strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding your dog’s joints, and it may naturally improve circulation. Gentle exercise, like several short, slow walks, can help to increase your dog’s tolerance for exercise while fortifying their muscles.
Give Your Dog a Soft Bed
Joint discomfort can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Your dog’s body needs sleep to heal and recover. Switching to a heavily padded dog bed that’s large in size will provide cushion to your dog’s achy joints while providing them with plenty of room to move around.
Incorporate CBD Oil Into Your Dog’s Routine
ElleVet Sciences CBD + CBDA for dogs has been clinically proven to support dogs experiencing joint discomfort through a clinical trial at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Hemp-derived CBD is completely safe for dogs and works to support your dog’s natural ability to regulate their response to discomfort. Your dog may experience a better range of motion and joint mobility when their joint discomfort is reduced.
In Conclusion: Curcumin and Then Some
Turmeric’s main component, curcumin, can provide antioxidant support to your dog, but it is unlikely to have a significant impact on joint discomfort alone. Clinically proven CBD is a great option to introduce..
You can use turmeric to increase the antioxidant content of your dog’s food, but you may find that your dog enjoys eating whole fruits or vegetables as an antioxidant-rich treat.
For more information about pet health and wellness, check out the ElleVet blog. We offer resources and tools for all pet parents looking to support their pets’ health and wellness.