- Medication type: Herbal supplement
- Form: Powder, liquid, chews, capsules
- Availability: OTC
- FDA approved? No
- Life stage: All life stages
- Popular Brands: Zesty Paws, PetHonesty, Kangaroo Dogs
- Common names: Turmeric, curcumin
- Available dosages: 5 to 10 mg per pound of body weight per day
- Expiration range: Two to three years in powder form; see manufacturer details for chews and other supplements
👉 Always talk to your vet before introducing a new supplement into your dog’s diet
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice made from the stem of a turmeric plant, Curcuma longa, which is in the ginger family. Turmeric typically comes in the form of a bright yellow powder that is harvested by drying and grinding the turmeric root, which is called a rhizome. It is a major component in curry powder and grown primarily in India.
Turmeric powder has been used throughout history in India and East Asia to treat human upper respiratory conditions, joint inflammation, and digestive problems. In recent years, western cultures have adopted turmeric as a dietary supplement for a variety of health issues, including chronic inflammation, arthritis and joint pain, liver disease, digestive conditions, and allergies.
Some claim turmeric has similar healing properties for dogs, but there isn’t sufficient research to confirm this. Scientific studies suggest that curcumin, the one of the main compounds in turmeric, and its family of related compounds called curcuminoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, research has not yet conclusively pinned down whether the spice has health benefits for humans or dogs.
👉 Read the full guide to herbal supplements for dogs
Health benefits of turmeric for dogs
Because of a lack of conclusive research, turmeric remains only a “suspected” wonder-spice and natural anti-inflammatory for humans. For dog’s health, the research is even less conclusive. However, small amounts of turmeric are considered safe for dogs, and there are plenty of of turmeric products for dogs on the market. Many pet parents report improvements in their dog’s wellness after adding turmeric to their diet.
Many of the claimed health benefits of turmeric for dogs are the same as that of humans. One of the primary suspected benefits is inflammation relief. Like glucosamine, turmeric may help with arthritis, mobility, and other joint issues. This turmeric joint health supplement from PetHonesty has 751 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4.5 stars. The product contains BioPerine, a form of black pepper thought to increase absorption of turmeric.
Here are some of the claimed health benefits of turmeric for dogs when administered orally:
- Joint support
- Digestive function
- Metabolism booster
- Immune support
- Infection prevention
- Allergy relief
- Antioxidant properties
- Antibacterial properties
Some dog owners report increased energy and mobility in their dogs after administering turmeric. This liquid turmeric curcumin supplement from Kangaroo Dogs claims faster absorption than tablets or chewable supplements. One Amazon reviewer says their dogs “enjoy the taste and have gained some extra spring in their steps.”
Side effects and risks of turmeric
🚨Too much turmeric is bad for the digestive system. If you suspect your dog has ingested a large amount of the spice contact Animal Poison Control immediately: (888) 426-4435
Since turmeric can be toxic in large quantities, it’s best to store it somewhere your dog can’t get into. To avoid an overdose, follow a vet-recommended dosage and keep a close eye on your dog for any strange behavior.
If your dog is taking any medications, you should definitely check with your veterinarian before adding turmeric to their diet — active ingredients in turmeric products may interfere with medications.
Administering turmeric to your dog
Pet owners can buy regular, dog-friendly turmeric in the spice aisle at most grocery stores. Organic turmeric is best, and if you’re interested in an organic pre-made chew, these duck-flavored bites from Zesty Paws are designed to provide everyday joint and immune support. They also have no artificial flavors or preservatives.
After confirming safety with your veterinarian, you can try adding turmeric to your doggy’s diet in a few ways. Typically you’ll want to administer five to ten mg per pound of body weight per day.
DIY at-home turmeric paste
If you’re going the DIY route, you can make a paste with a few ingredients you probably have in your kitchen. Add one part turmeric to two parts water to a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the mixture becomes a thick, golden paste.
Once it’s become a thick paste, mix in a half part MCT oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee. Turmeric has low bioavailability, meaning it isn’t absorbed easily on its own, but adding one of these fats will help.
👉 MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil and ghee are all doggy-safe, but keep in mind that they are high in fat and may cause weight gain if used frequently.
You can store the mixture in your fridge for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to administer, you can mix the paste into your dog’s kibble at mealtime.
Small dogs — ¼ teaspoons per day
Medium dogs — ½ teaspoon per day
Large dogs — ¾ teaspoon per day