Just do a search in Uncle Google or Cousin Bing, and you will find many articles about the effective nutritional properties of turmeric and curcumin for pet parents and pets alike 1. Unlike many other herbs, turmeric is also well studied, meaning you can also find many high-quality studies supporting how this herb has major benefits for your body and brain.
To name but a few benefits:
- Turmeric contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties – curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin 2 . Curcumin is a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound – inflammation is an important defensive mechanism from the immune system – and although acute, short-term inflammation can be beneficial, it can become a major problem when it becomes chronic and inappropriately attacks the body’s own tissue 3.
- Turmeric dramatically increase the antioxidant capacity of the body – oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind aging and diseases. It involves free radicals, highly reactive molecules – antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals 4.
- Curcumin boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factors in your body – neurons can form new connections, but in certain areas of the brain they can also multiply and increase in number. One of the main drivers of this process is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a type of growth hormone that functions in your brain, and current research indicate that curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF 5.
- It is postulated that turmeric can help prevent cancer – curcumin has been studied as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment and been found to affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. Studies have shown that it can contribute to the death of cancerous cells and reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastasis (spread of cancer) 6. Multiple studies indicate that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumors in test animals. Whether high-dose curcumin can help treat cancer in humans has yet to be studied properly. However, there is evidence that it may prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system like colorectal cancer 7.
- Arthritis patients respond very well to curcumin supplements – and arthritis is also common in pets. Several studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs 8.
But there is much more to this tasty herb. If we haven’t already convinced you about the health benefits of turmeric, here are a few more uses:
- Aids in the treatment of epilepsy;
- Helps relieve allergies;
- Helps in preventing the formation of cataracts;
- Used in treating depression (Yes, dogs can get depressed too);
- Kills parasites;
- Heals stomach ailments, aids in digestive disorders, and reduces gas and bloating;
- Acts as a binding agent and therefore great for treating diarrhea (Make sure you have lots of water available for your pet to drink!);
- Aids in fat metabolism and weight management;
- High in fiber and rich in vitamins and mineral;
It is not a far stretch to deduce from huuman studies that the same applies in dogs (and tests proves it absolutely does) as after all we test all our huuman products on dogs because they react in the same way to them. We use turmeric for dogs suffering inflammation in their joints as well as those dogs suffering recurring skin and gut conditions (which are the themselves a result of inflammation).
You can use turmeric as it is, dusting your dog’s food with it. Many do. However, there are better ways. Two of the more popular include Turmeric Milk and Turmeric Paste, commonly called Golden Paste, with the latter being almost certainly the most effective.
Simply warm some half a pint of goats milk (don’t give cows milk to dogs and cats), add in a teaspoon of turmeric and a table spoon of manuka honey. This is probably the most common way people consume turmeric, usually as a night time drink!
How to make Golden Turmeric Paste For Dogs
Add half a cup of turmeric to a full cup of water in a pan. Heat gently (heat to just before steam appears and certainly no boiling) and stir plenty until you get a nice, thick orangey paste. If you feel your paste is watery, add some more turmeric if you feel it has become too think, add some water. Once in paste form add a heaped teaspoon of ground black pepper (black pepper is vital as turmeric is absorbed poorly by the body, piperine present in black pepper helps in its absorption) and a couple of table spoons of extra virgin coconut oil. The coconut oil adds some good fats to the mix which increase the absorption of the turmeric by the body (as well as adding other cool bits that are badly needed by an inflamed body such as vitamin E). Keep it on the heat, continually stirring, giving the ingredients a chance to mesh.
Once your mix is ready pour it into a nice sterlised jar (rinse jar in boiling water), pop the top on and keep in the fridge.
Things to Watch Out for With Turmeric
- A common symptom when trying to feed to much turmeric / curcumin too quickly is nausea. Start slow and work up.
- It’s a binding agent, for one thing, which means that it can lead to constipation in some dogs. Because of this possibility, dogs should use plenty of water along with turmeric. A little yogurt can also be administered to balance out the digestive flora.
- Dogs that are prone to kidney stones should not be given turmeric since it increases urinary oxalate levels.
- Some dogs are sensitive to turmeric and develop stomach upset. If this happens, it’s possible that you’re giving too much or that your dog is simply sensitive to the herb when added directly to their food.
- Studies in huumans conclude that turmeric can have a negative effect if taking drugs for acid indigestion such as Tagamet, etc. Avoid feeding turmeric and acid reducers at the same time.
- Studies also indicate that it can influence those taking prescription drugs for diabetes or if taking aspirin. Avoid giving turmeric and diabetic drugs together, and if you’re giving your dog aspirin, rather not give the two together. Give one or the other.
Overall, most case studies have revealed many positive effects with dogs taking turmeric.
Articles and Videos
Anti-Inflammatory Spices, Ginger & Turmeric, Andrew Weil, M.D.
Dr. Karen Becker Discusses Turmeric
References and Research
- 1.Nagpal M, Sood S. Role of curcumin in systemic and oral health: An overview. J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2013;4(1):3-7. doi:10.4103/0976-9668.107253
- 2.Hewlings S, Kalman D. Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health. Foods. 2017;6(10). doi:10.3390/foods6100092
- 3.Jurenka J. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. 2009;14(2):141-153. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19594223.
- 4.Biswas S, McClure D, Jimenez L, Megson I, Rahman I. Curcumin induces glutathione biosynthesis and inhibits NF-kappaB activation and interleukin-8 release in alveolar epithelial cells: mechanism of free radical scavenging activity. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2005;7(1-2):32-41. doi:10.1089/ars.2005.7.32
- 5.Binder D, Scharfman H. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Growth Factors. 2004;22(3):123-131. doi:10.1080/08977190410001723308
- 6.Aggarwal B, Kumar A, Bharti A. Anticancer potential of curcumin: preclinical and clinical studies. Anticancer Res. 2003;23(1A):363-398. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12680238.
- 7.Carroll R, Benya R, Turgeon D, et al. Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011;4(3):354-364. doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-10-0098
- 8.Chandran B, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012;26(11):1719-1725. doi:10.1002/ptr.4639