At our house, we spend a lot of money on honey!
I’m a big fan of anything sweet, honey included. In our town, we have an awesome farmer’s market that is frequented by an apiarist (beekeeper) who sells local, raw honey. It costs more than supermarket honey, but, in my opinion, tastes a lot better. Normally, we have to be careful to keep our sweet treats away from the dogs. But honey is a sweet snack you can feel good about sharing with Fido!
**Just a quick warning: Honey is high in sugar and calories. For these reasons, it’s not advised for overweight pets or animals suffering from diabetes. Because raw honey can become contaminated with botulism spores, it should not be offered to young animals (including humans) who do not yet have fully developed immune systems.**
Do Dogs Like Honey?
Mine do! Kitsune and Fenrir will happily lick up plain honey. It’s sweet, and most dogs do seem to enjoy the flavor. If you don’t want to offer honey plain, try using a small amount as a food topper, or make some sweet homemade treats.
Does the Type of Honey Matter?
The honey you can typically buy at the grocery store is pasteurized and filtered. Pasteurized honey won’t hurt your dog, but many of the potential health benefits are compromised when honey is heated (pasteurized). I prefer to buy locally sourced honey because it is thought to help combat against allergies.
Have you ever heard of Manuka honey? Its honey sourced from New Zealand, created by bees who collect nectar from Manuka bushes. Manuka honey has been shown to be an effective natural antibacterial and is sometimes used as an alternative treatment for infections and wounds.
Health Benefits of Honey
One of the reasons I really like offering Kitsune honey is because he, like me, suffers from seasonal allergies. Locally sourced raw honey contains pollen from local plants. By eating these pollen spores, you are potentially exposing yourself to the same types of spores that cause you to feel so miserable during allergy season. Eating local honey works much the same way as allergy shots – exposing yourself to small amounts of allergens to desensitize your immune system to the cause of your allergies.
Raw honey also contains enzymes that can help improve your dog’s digestion! It’s also a great energy source if your dog is feeling sluggish and could use an extra boost of energy. Honey is not only high in energy boosting sugars, it also contains minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium, plus B, C, A, E, D, and K vitamins.
Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory, making it beneficial not only for wound healing, but also for reducing inflammation in the digestive tract. In addition to helping to reduce inflammation, honey has antibacterial properties that can help to reduce the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the digestive tract.
Lots of Potential Benefits!
But remember not to give raw honey to puppies, and only give it to adult dogs in moderation. Kitsune’s vet recommended we offer a half of a teaspoon of raw honey to Kit a day to combat his seasonal allergies. Too much honey can cause GI upset. It’s also very calorie dense, so care should be taken when feeding it to a pet who needs to lose weight. If your pet has any health issues, talk to your vet before introducing any new foods.
Do you like honey? Does your dog? Call me crazy, but I like having at least one sweet treat that I can share with my dogs. My normal “go to” sweet is chocolate, which, of course, I have to keep away from Kit and Fen. But I like that I can share a bit of honey with them – and I know they like it too!
Looking for more ideas for healthy “human” foods you can share with your dog? Check out my other blogging from A to Z challenge posts!