What It Is
Turmeric, an herb known for its bright orange color, has long been used in its native Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries as a staple for not only cooking and clothing dye, but also as medicine. For thousands of years, Chinese medicine, for example, has incorporated herbal remedies as part of its holistic approach to health. Elements like nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle play large roles in this type of treatment, and it’s not just for people! Our dogs can benefit from herbal medicine just as we do.
The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin, which gives turmeric its signature orange hue and is also responsible for a multitude of health benefits. Perhaps the most significant benefit of curcumin as it relates to dogs with cruciate injuries is that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and natural painkiller. It is also a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, which can be useful for disinfecting and treating wounds. So if your dog is recovering from surgery and is a bit swollen or in pain, turmeric might just do the trick.
Other benefits include:
- Contains powerful antioxidants
- Detoxifies the body
- Purifies and thins blood
- Supports heart health
- Stimulates bile production in the liver (metabolizes fat and removes waste from the body)
- Aids in stomach ailments, digestive disorders, bloating, and gas
- Helps relieve allergies
- Treats diarrhea
- Aids in the treatment of epilepsy
- Can help prevent and even treat cancer
- High in fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals
How to Administer
You can feed turmeric powder or fresh turmeric root directly to your dog by sprinkling it on top of or mixing it in with his/her food. But you might also try whipping up a batch of turmeric golden paste, which you can also add directly too his/her food, but includes ingredients that help absorption of nutrients in the body. It’s important to get high quality, organic turmeric because it is much more potent than non-organic. Golden paste recipes vary slightly, but here is a basic one for you to try:
-1/2 cup of organic turmeric powder
-1-2 cups of water
-1/3 cup of cold-pressed olive or coconut oil
-2 teaspoons of black pepper
Stir turmeric powder and 1 cup of water in a pot over gentle heat for about 7-10 minutes until you have a thick paste. You may need to add more water if it gets too thick. Add the oil and pepper (especially important for absorption so don’t omit!) at the END of cooking and stir well until all oil is incorporated. Allow to cool. Store in a clean glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also freeze a portion of the paste if you don’t think you will use it all in two weeks.
The amount of paste you give your dog depends on his/her size. A good starting point is around 1/8-1/4 teaspoon per day for every 10 lbs of dog weight (so 1/2-1 teaspoon for a 40-lb dog). It’s a good idea to start on the low side and see if you notice any changes in your dog over a period of time. Turmeric does pass quickly through the body so make sure your dog has lots of fresh water available to avoid constipation.
If you are using turmeric topically, you can mix the powder with a little honey and apply it directly to your dog’s skin. Keep an eye out, though, because he/she might try to lick it off!
One last thing: we mentioned earlier that turmeric thins blood. This can be good for preventing blood clots, but we don’t want blood to be too thin. If your dog is on medication, especially those that thin the blood, check with your vet for the appropriate dosage.
Where To Buy Ingredients
Turmeric – Kevala Organic Turmeric Root Powder
Coconut Oil – Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil