You probably know turmeric as a common cooking spice used in curries. The herbaceous plant, also known as Curcuma longa, has many uses that go far beyond your kitchen!
Numerous clinical trials in dogs have shown the potential health benefits of turmeric. It has shown to be a potent anti-inflammatory agent and is also a very good pain reliever! It has even been shown to have a positive effect on cancer cells. If your pet has any inflammatory disease (including atopic dermatitis), arthritis, cognitive dysfunction, or cancer you may want to give turmeric a try.
The active component in turmeric is called curcumin. Taken alone only a small amount of curcumin actually gets absorbed into the bloodstream when taken orally (limited bioavailability). But by simply combining curcumin with piperine (a compound in black pepper) the bioavailability increases dramatically.
So how can you use turmeric for your dog’s health and make sure that it is available for the body to use? Golden Paste! This whole food recipe, created by Dr. Doug English, an Australian veterinarian, is a wonderful way to safely incorporate turmeric into your furry friend’s holistic healthcare plan.
The Golden Paste will keep for 2 weeks if refrigerated and you can also freeze a portion if you think you have too much to use within two weeks. A good starting dose is 1/4 teaspoon two to three times daily. Just add to your dog’s food!
PLEASE NOTE: Commercial turmeric capsules/pills that have high levels of curcumin are not recommended for use with animals. That’s why we prefer the whole food recipe above.
Side effects are very uncommon with turmeric but there are a few circumstances where it would not be recommended for your pet. Curcumin causes contraction of the gallbladder so it is contraindicated if your pet has gallbladder stones or bile duct obstruction. Also use with caution in diabetic patients because it can lower blood sugar a bit. Stomach ulcers and bleeding disorders are two other situations where turmeric is not recommended. It can occasionally cause stomach upset and might slow blood clotting. These effects are all very mild but if your pet has any of these conditions then turmeric would not be the best choice for them.
As always if you have further questions you can contact Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice at 757-474-5968 or be email at firstname.lastname@example.org.