You have probably heard of turmeric, or more specifically curcumin if you keep up with health and wellness trends.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a delicious yellow-orange spice that is often found in curry dishes. It has a very deep and earthy flavor most commonly associated with Thai and Indian cuisines. It is a member of the ginger family, and its roots are native to the middle east and southeast Asia.
Turmeric's Latin name is Curcuma longa. Its therapeutic properties have been widely attributed to its 'curcuminoids' compounds. Curcumin is thought to be the 'active' part of the plant; however, taking the whole herb means you get the curcuminoid and all the other compounds that make up turmeric. This is called synergy, and qualified herbalists will prescribe the whole herb rather than compounds extracted from it.
Turmeric has been shown to prevent and treat several severe and chronic diseases in humans, including cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and more. Turmeric is safe for most dogs and will boost immunities and alleviate symptoms of many canine conditions. Because of this, veterinarian scientists recommend dog owners give turmeric supplements to their pets or administer turmeric in their dogs' food for maximum health benefits.
Benefits Of Turmeric
The key to turmeric's health benefits lies in the curcumin, a bright yellow chemical that makes up 2-6 percent of turmeric. The spice has many anti-inflammatory and special healing effects.
Inflammation is our body's natural response to trauma, toxin, and infection. For example, if your dog is exposed to a disease or injury, the body will react by dilating the blood vessels to promote blood flow to fight off the intruder. When blood flow is increased, it causes tissue swelling and pain. This is a widespread issue in dogs with arthritis. Joints become inflamed, leading to significant stiffness and pain. Suffering long-term inflammation can be very dangerous for your dog's health.
Chronic inflammation can lead to inflammatory bowel disease, which causes horrible symptoms like bloody diarrhea, bloating, fever, nausea, vomiting, and much more. Fortunately, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can help promote a healthy gastrointestinal system for your dog.
Turmeric can stop inflammation by
- releasing white blood cells to body tissues.
- reducing blood vessel dilation,
- decreasing swelling, decreasing redness, and reducing cytokine release.
Anti-inflammatory benefits help dogs with a joint disease (hip dysplasia, disk disease, arthritis, etc.), as well as cancer, allergies, dental disease, digestive disease, and more. Turmeric can reduce low-grade, acute inflammation.
Chronic inflammation affects how cells replicate and repair themselves, leading to mutations within the cell, which can lead to the formation of cancer. Fortunately, curcumin can help stop the precancerous stage in your dog's body to act as a preventative therapy.
According to the American Cancer Society, curcumin interferes with the tumor's ability to grow, replicate, and metastasize in the body. It can also kill cancer cells by reducing their size. Since dogs are susceptible to cancer as they grow older, turmeric is a strategic and preventative way to stop the disease.
Research has shown that turmeric is as effective as ibuprofen in fighting off arthritis pain and stiffness. An important benefit of using turmeric for arthritis is that it does not cause gastrointestinal erosions that ibuprofen would cause. It can be painful to see your dog suffering from arthritis, but with the help of turmeric, s/he will be back on his feet in no time.
U.K. study determined that curcumin stopped precancerous lesions from developing into cancer. It can also shrink the size of tumors and kill cancer cells by shutting down blood vessels that feed tumors.
The spice has been used in treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and hindering the development of cataracts. Using turmeric instead of steroids and other drugs can provide relief without harmful side effects.
Free radicals can destroy the cells in a dog's body, resulting in aging and degeneration. Free radicals can come from unhealthy dog foods, chemicals, pesticides, radiation, toxins, and pollution. Turmeric has antioxidant properties to fight off those nasty free radicals preventing irreversible cell damage.
Improves heart health
If your dog suffers from a heart condition, the turmeric's curcumin is an excellent addition to his diet. Turmeric can help lower LDL cholesterol to decrease blood clots in the heart. It's as effective as anticoagulant medication without the side effects.
Supports liver health
The liver plays a vital role in removing toxins, absorbing nutrients, and regulating blood content. Turmeric helps by breaking down fats and removing waste to help promote a healthy liver. If your dog has a pre-existing liver dysfunction or has a weak liver, turmeric can play a huge role in supporting your dog's health.
How to Give Turmeric to Your Dog
Check that the turmeric is of medicinal quality, that it is sustainable and grown using responsible practices.
The best way to give turmeric to your dog is to make a paste and add it to your dog's food. It is poorly absorbed into the body unless taken with healthy oil, like coconut or olive oil.
Many doctors recommend giving the spice with some black pepper, or peperine, which significantly boosts the effects. One study found that taking peperine along with curcumin increases its bioavailability by 2000%!
Recipe for Turmeric Paste for Dogs
- ½ cup turmeric powder
- 2 cups of water
- ¼ cup olive or coconut oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
Heat the turmeric powder, water, and olive or coconut oil in a pan on your stove. Set at low heat, and stir until you have a thick, pasty mix – about seven minutes. Add the pepper and use a little extra water if the paste becomes too thick. Allow the paste to cool and store it in a glass or sealed plastic container in your refrigerator. Turmeric paste keeps for about a month.
Start dogs on a small dose, about a ¼ teaspoon added to each meal. This may be the actual dose for small dogs and puppies, but for larger dogs, increase the amount each week (another ¼ teaspoon or so) until you see results. Mix in your dog's food once per day and consult your veterinarian with any questions.
You can try turmeric gravy. Put one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup. Add boiling water to the cup until 1/3 full. Mix in black pepper and olive oil to the mixture and drizzle over dry dog food or wet for a tasty treat.
Turmeric oil is a lighter mixture with less intensity. Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder to coconut oil. After that, add 6-8 grains of black pepper into the mixture. Mix this and add it on top of your dog food.
Remember adding oil and pepper will increase the bioavailability of the spice to ensure that your dog gets all the fantastic health benefits that turmeric has to offer.
Turmeric is a natural blood thinner, so take precautions when using the product. Dogs on blood-thinning medications may not be candidates for using turmeric. As with all supplements, consult your veterinarian before adding turmeric to your dog's diet, especially if he or she suffers from a chronic illness.
If your dog is dehydrated, turmeric can cause constipation. Other side effects include gallbladder contraction, decreased blood sugar, increased bruising, and decreased iron absorption, all of which can be detrimental for your dog's health. If you see any abnormal symptoms, consult your vet to determine the cause.
Turmeric - The New Spice Of Life
In conclusion, you want your dog to be healthy, not suffering from joint pain, cancer, or infection. Fortunately, turmeric can act as a preventative therapy to help promote good health, fight off illness, and alleviate pain. This is a highly recommended natural ingredient to spice up your dog's health.