- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
People love honey as a sweetener, a fragrant flavoring agent, and a health tonic. When I was a kid, for every sore throat, my mom handed me a teaspoon dipped in honey, and it helped lift my spirits and soothe my achy throat. In many places around the world, honey is used as an ointment on skin wounds, as well as a treatment for hay fever.
With these benefits, and the simple fact that honey is delicious, is it ok to share this sweet syrup with your pup?
A little bit, yes. Depending on your dog’s size, she should be limited to between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of honey per day. Honey is purported to have a number of health benefits, which I’ll describe below.
However, honey is made up of the same components as table sugar: glucose and fructose. These sugars are not essential components of your dog’s diet, so honey should be used sparingly.
The sugars in honey can cause tooth decay, weight gain, and increased blood sugar that heightens your dog’s risk for disease. If your dog is young, ill, or has a weak immune system, you should not give them raw honey.
If your dog enjoys honey, you can offer it as an occasional treat. If they eat more than a tablespoon, watch for these symptoms of increased blood sugar:
- Loss of appetite
If your dog has these symptoms, call your vet for advice.
Honey may help treat seasonal allergies
According to VetInfo, a small weekly dose of raw, local honey may help your dog manage pollen allergies. The idea is that by giving your dog a small dose of local honey, which contains a variety of types of pollen, her immune system can learn to tolerate the pollen over time.
Why raw honey? When honey is heated and filtered, it becomes more clear and pourable. Raw honey, which tends to be more cloudy and sometimes quite a bit thicker, has not had the pollen filtered out. The presence of pollen in the honey is essential to receive the anti-allergy benefit.
This gradual exposure may help to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies, like sneezing, drippy nose, irritated eyes, and itchy skin. For the same reasons, WebMD reports that honey is also used by people to treat hay fever.
Honey can help wounds heal
Honey has been used throughout history as a dressing for skin injuries. Essential factors that contribute to honey’s healing properties are inhibins, or antimicrobial substances, including hydrogen peroxide and a variety of flavonoids and phenolic acids. In other words, honey fights skin infections in multiple ways.
If your dog has a skin wound or a hot spot, you can apply a thin smear of raw honey with a cotton swab and cover it with a thin layer of tissue. The dog may lick off the honey, but it won’t do him any harm if it’s just a small amount.
Honey contains micronutrients
Honey is about 80% sugar and 17% water, and the remaining 3% is a wide variety of trace minerals, micronutrients, and bioactive compounds, such as iron, manganese, calcium, potassium, copper and phosphorus. It also contains a wealth of vitamins, including A, B-complex, C, D, E and K.
Small dogs can enjoy up to a teaspoon of honey per day, but that dose is more appropriate on a weekly basis to support your dog’s health without loading on excess sugar and calories. For large dogs, that spoonful can be up to one tablespoon.
Honey has been used as a health tonic by people throughout history, and with gentle use, it may help support your dog’s health, too.
We offer a collection of articles on foods that are safe, dangerous or even toxic for dogs to eat, including vegetables, dairy, bread, and junk food.