Today, let's talk about one of nature's most delicious gifts: honey! I think I can safely say that we have all had honey in our lifetimes. Whether it was from being given honey when we were sick to soothe our throats, or adding it to our tea for flavour - we have all at some time or another had some honey. And likely, we have known about some of the health benefits that come from honey. But did you know these benefits can be applied to our dogs? No? Don't worry, I just learned this.
Last week I had the amazing @BerenedoodleDash come over for a sleepover. His mom left me with all his staples: toys, treats, food, and honey. Wait. Honey? Yes, honey. I was a little confused, I thought maybe she was giving me a little sweet treat, because what dog eats honey? She was great enough to share with me that Dash gets about a teaspoon of honey in his food to help with his allergies. His allergies affect his eyes (this was validated by a vet) and leads to eye infections. Since having honey each morning, his eye infections left! Um, amazing.
Since this amazing nugget of knowledge entered my life I have become obsessed with researching it, and have the following tips for those of you who are looking to supplement a dog who has seasonal allergies with honey.
1. Go Local
Buying local honey ensures that the honey contains trace amounts of the local allergens (the pesky little contributors that give us allergies). If you buy honey from outside your local area, you won't be building a tolerance to local allergens. What's the point (other than deliciousness, I admit).
2. Unpasteurized or bust!
The honey you are likely to find in your local grocery store has been processed, and often filled with extra sugars (think high fructose corn syrup) that pretty much make the benefits of the honey useless. You need to make sure the honey states unpasteurized. Even better, if you can find somewhere that supplies wild flower honey -- grab it! It is more likely to contain the pollens and other allergens that contribute to our allergies.
3. Recommended for adult dogs
Just like in humans, you want to be careful when giving honey to puppies. Raw honey can contain some spores that puppies bodies might not be strong enough to fight. Even though the amount in honey is tiny, a baby immune system is not strong. Even with adult dogs, moderation is key.
4. Like I just said, Moderation.
Try adding 1/2-1 teaspoon to your dogs food. You don't want to overload them with the calories, and even though it is healthy sugar - it is still sugar. Supplementing with honey is not recommended for diabetic dogs.
5. As always, if you aren't sure - talk to your vet.
Here are links to a couple of Local Toronto Honey Suppliers, if you are interested in giving your dogs top quality honey
Are you already supplementing your dogs with honey? If so, let us know your experience in the comments.
It's a Dog's World.. We're just living in it!
Photo credit: http://smartdogowners.com/honey/