Honey has been used to help fight infections in wounds, to improve digestive issues, remedy skin disorders, provide relief from allergens, decrease joint pain and improve the general wellbeing of people for centuries.
Fortunately, dogs can receive the same benefits that humans receive from raw honey.
The Various Types of Raw Honey
There are several types of beneficial raw honey for people.
- Local, Raw Honey is the best option for pets and people, assuming the hives are located at least five miles away from anyone using pesticides, insectacides and other pollutants. This is why it's important to know your local beekeeper and understand their methods of keeping their bees healthy.
- Manuka Honey is naturally produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate their native manuka bush. Manuka honey has been used for years and is the most expensive, and most difficult to obtain. There are many medical and health claims associated with this type of honey.
- Medical Honey is speciality honey that has been created in a sterile environment and is only available to the medical community. It's often used to provide wound care, improve healing time from severe burns, and as a last resort against antibiotic-resistant infections.
- K9 Honey is the the first honey varietal created just for dogs. As a consumer, you can rely on our honey for its safety and extraordinary quality. We test every batch of honey for pollutants and contaminants. But what really makes K9 Honey unique is how we blend in raw pollen from nine geographic regions in the US to provide the best allergen protection for your dogs.
A Brief History of Honey for Dogs
Honey has a long history that spans continents and many centuries of use. Petroglyphs that are over 8,000 years old have been discovered that show figures gathering honey from beehives, implying that bees may very have been the very first “pets”, and beekeeping one of the first occupations in history.
The Egyptians made sure that their dead journeyed to the next world with ceramic jars filled with raw honey. Archaeologists have found many of these jars in ancient tombs that still contain safe, usable crystallized raw honey!
The healing qualities of honey have been known for years. In fact, the Indian medicine system known as Ayurveda, describes honey as the “nectar of life”.
Historically, raw honey has been used to build hemoglobin in the body thanks to the iron, copper and manganese that occurs naturally in sticky substance; and ancient texts state it is also helpful in treating anemia.
We also know that Hippocrates, the father of medicine, often used honey to administer medication to people and pets.
Wildlife has long enjoyed this sweet treat and we can assume that dogs have enjoyed it as they became domesticated and began to enjoy life as a member of the family.
Wildlife That Enjoys Raw Honey
There are many types of wildlife that actively seek out raw honey (and entire hives) for its natural benefits as well as a food source.
Like humans, wild dogs (including wolves, jackals, coyotes and others) are omnivores. This means they often scavenge for their meals, eating things like fruit, vegetables, raw meat, and even the undigested stomach remains of their prey. While most of their meals are opportunistic, they do seek out items with specific nutritional values. This often means finding and locating honey sources, which occasionally means they must work with other animals who may be slightly more agile.
Jackals have been known to devour hives, and will often work with badgers to get their raw honey fix.
Coyotes are also fond of the sticky substance and will devour honeycomb, as well as honey. They have also been known to work with badgers (and even skunks) to get their honey fix.
As tough as honey badgers are, they have many hunting partners they work with to obtain their honey!
Honey badgers earned their name for their love of honey. These members of the weasel family are even thought to work with a bird called the Greater Honeyguide. It's believed that the birds guide their honey badger friends to beehives. The badgers then break the hive and eat what they please, leaving scraps for the birds.
Cartoon bears made honey famous, and while most bears enjoy honey (eating the entire hive, all the way to the larvae that resides deep within), other bears do not seem to approach active hives. Perhaps this is due to a bad experience or it could be a regional or individual preference. We're still learning about bears and their love of honey.
There's plenty of documentation that skunks prefer honey bees to honey! They must know that there are plenty of benefits in accessing the source as they have been known to feast on bees, then finish up with a raw honey dessert.
Toads are known for sitting near beehives and filling up on a big meal as bees return from a long day of work. Below, a toad makes an easy meal of swarming bees as the beekeeper does his wellness check.
Lizards are also known to sit near a beehive for an easy meal during the long, hot days of summer.
There are many species of birds that prey upon bees and their larvae, while drinking in a bit of that sweet honey nectar for dessert. These birds primarily include hummingbirds, common grackles, great crested flycatchers and of course our honey badger's friend, the Greater Honeyguide.
Health Benefits of Honey for Dogs
Wildlife and humans aren’t the only animal that enjoys honey. While the study of dogs, and keeping dogs as pets, has happened for centuries - we don't truly know how long people have been feeding honey to their dogs. It's a safe bet that dogs helped themselves to a fair amount, particularly as they were becoming domesticated and had easier access to hives and harvested raw honey.
These days, dogs enjoy remarkable benefits from eating honey on a regular basis. There have been many studies done that demonstrate the healing efficiency of honey in:
- wound care
- digestive issues
- skin disorders
- blood disorders
- allergy relief
- joint health
- general wellbeing
Raw honey for dogs is just another way to improve their lifestyle. K9 Honey may help improve digestive health, provide relief from allergens, decrease joint issues and arthritis, and provide a healthier, happier dog.
Raw Honey for a Dog's Skin and Coat
Honey has also been used to improve skin and coat, and in humans, is still used that way today. You can hardly browse for raw honey without seeing a thousands of recipes for honey-based skincare. These same benefits can apply to dogs; particularly when it comes to decreasing the time required to recover from an injury and to help prevent or control infections.
This is especially true for antibiotic-resistant infections, including:
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
- Multi-drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
- Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) gut bacteria.
Scientists are continuing to study the remarkable effects of honey on antiobitic-resistant infections.
An overgrowth of yeast can result in many skin and coat problems for dogs. Some believe that since honey is a sugar, and yeast feeds on sugars, that feeding honey is not as beneficial. However, nothing could be further from the truth. There are many types of yeast that feed on sugars (and ultiamtely on carbohydrates, which become sugars). But, the skin conditions referred to do not
Raw Honey for Digestive Disorders in Dogs
Raw honey naturally contains live enzymes and amylase, which help aid digestive disorders in animals.
Dogs that have gastrointestinal issues (such as gastritis, colitis, IBD and other issues that thrive in an environment of bacteria) can benefit greatly from the addition of raw honey to their diet. Since these conditions rely on an overgrowth of bacteria, and raw honey is naturally antibacterial, it can help tonify the body and decrease the amount of bacterial growth in your dogs’ intestines.
Raw honey is also rich in Amylase (a natural enzyme that helps the body digest carbohydrates). You may have seen amylase readings on your dog’s blood tests or urine tests. Under normal circumstances, amylase is made in the pancreas and the glands that make saliva. If the pancreas becomes inflamed, amylase is released into the bloodstream.
Amylase is naturally produced in your dog's pancreas and too much or too little of this enzyme can indicate a life-threatening problem. The majority of amylase enzymes pass through your pet’s intestine via pancreatic ducts to aid in the digestion of complex carbohydrates (e.g., starches). However, when the pancreas of your dog is inflamed, his body releases more amylase into the blood stream. This can be an indicator of acute pancreatitis, liver failure or other digestive issues.
A test can be done to measure the level of this enzyme in your blood. Amylase may also be measured with an amylase urine test. Raw honey can help offset digestive issues by providing a natural source of amylase that the body doesn't need to produce.
Raw Honey for Dogs with Allergies
Honey has long been used to treat allergy symptoms in people. Studies show that dogs also benefit from this syrupy goodness. But there is a caveat, the honey must be raw and from a regional source. This means the honey must be unpasteurized, unheated and pure.
K9 Honey fits the bill for dogs. Our honey is gently blended with pollen from nine geographical regions around North America.
Raw honey is an incredibly effective alternative remedy to allergy sensitivities and help relieve common allergy symptoms. These include skin disorders like atopic dermatitis (atopy), which is an inflammatory skin condition that can result in excessive scratching, itching, inflamed skin, and missing fur. Your dog may exhibit mouth sensitivities or obsessive licking of affected areas. It can also result in chronic ear infections, red and rust-colored paw pads, and a generally unhappy dog.
So how does raw pollen help alleviate allergies in dogs? It’s simple, really. By exposing your dog to low levels of a specific allergen, your dog’s body becomes immune to that allergen over time. Just as humans may go in for allergy shots every week, raw honey can help your dog become more resistant to grass and plant allergies by improving immunity.
K9 Honey is very unique in that we have taken pure, unfiltered, raw honey and gently blended it with raw pollen from nine geographic regions. Each region has specific pollens that affect them each season - our honey accounts for each of these pollens from areas around the country.
This unique addition to our raw honey provides incredible benefits to your dog, particularly if they often travel.
This is one reason people tout the effectiveness of local, raw honey. But with K9 Honey, we have made local honey a national sensation. You’ll likely notice the differences in your dog within a few days, but it may take up to a month for your dog to reap the full benefits of K9 Honey.
Raw Honey for Wound Care in Dogs
Glucose oxidase (which produces hydrogen peroxide) and gluconic acid (which gives honey an acidic pH of 3.2 to 4.5, are also contributing factors to honey’s healing powers.
Raw honey has been used a way to accelerate the healing of burns, ulcers and even infected wounds. It can be used to store skin grafts, facilitate the healing of surgical wounds, and even decrease pain levels thanks to its natural soothing qualities.
Raw honey is increasingly being used to treat patients recovering from deep wounds and severe burns as MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus), MSSA (methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus), VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci) and other antibiotic-resistant infections begin to increasingly plague our hospitals. Clinical trials have found raw honey can prevent (and cure) more than 250 clinical strains of bacteria.
Results show that patients (both humans and animals) have faster wound healing and decreased hospital stays. Since raw honey is nontoxic and hypoallergenic, as well as relatively inexpensive, it is a superb way to help dogs that are dealing with burn injuries, open wounds or infections. Raw honey has been shown to sterilize wounds and promote early granulation, which results in faster recovery and healing.
The unique healing ability of raw honey is largely due to an enzyme known as glucose oxidase. Bees create this by secreting a chemical into nectar, which in turn raises the caloric density and adds enzymes to the material. After evaporation, the substance becomes honey and that is what gives raw honey its antibacterial powers. The worker bees excrete this chemical into the nectar, which creates a chemical reaction and released a form of hydrogen peroxide.
Heating the honey destroys this natural enzyme, which is why you must only use grade A raw honey. Never apply processed honey (which is what most large stores carry) on or give to your dog.
Skin conditions can also be safely treated with raw honey. For instance, hot spots and bites may result in open wounds on your pet. You can apply raw honey directly to the wound to help improve healing (although you’ll want to make sure your dog doesn’t chew or bite the area, which can make it worse).
To treat wounds:
- Clip fur around the burned area.
- Wash thoroughly with soap and water.
- Apply honey liberally to the area.
- Cover area with a lightweight dressing (gauze is ideal).
- Replace dressing twice per day.
Treating Kennel Cough (Bordetella) in Dogs:
If you’ve ever met with a dog with kennel cough, you’ll immediately recognize the dry, unproductive cough that is so representative of the tracheobronchitis virus. Kennel cough describes the symptoms rather than the cause of this illness, as this type of cough can be caused by adenovirus, bordetella, reovirus, parainfluenza, and canine herpes virus.
Kennel cough (and it’s associated illness) is highly infectious and can spread through a kennel or home like wildlife. After you take your dog into the veterinarian, there is not much you can do for your dog beyond treating the symptoms.
Raw honey will coat your dog’s throat and give them some relief from the symptoms of Kennel Cough. Follow our feeding guide and break each serving into four separate “treats”. One tablespoon of honey twice a day should help your dog feel better.
Honey is Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Raw honey is rich in vitamins (especially vitamins B6, B12, C, D, E and K) and minerals (particularly calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese and copper). In fact, it’s believed that raw honey contains nearly 200 different antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
Several European studies show that bee products contain nearly every nutrient required to sustain life!
Best of all, raw honey naturally contains a very low pH, which is not conducive to the growth of bacteria. All of this together makes raw honey a very efficient and powerful protective agent in wounds. It’s little wonder we would discover that animals, particularly dogs, can receive the same benefits as humans.
There are many factors that contribute to the efficiency of raw honey’s power to heal. These include viscosity, water content, sugars (glucose and fructose), antioxidants, a high content of vitamins and minerals, and a low pH.
Raw Honey As A Treat or Food Topper For Dogs
Dogs love the amazing taste and texture of raw K9 Honey, so we would be remiss should we not mention the many benefits of providing your dog raw K9 Honey for dogs as a special treat.
Of course, it’s important to provide your dog proper dental hygiene. Veterinarians recommend brushing your dog's teeth once per week, but if that's not possible, consider giving your dog dental chews or hard chew toys helps increase the saliva in your pets mouth, resulting in cleaner teeth.
It’s also important to take your pet in for regular dental exams. This will help reduce tartar buildup and verify that there are no problems with your pets.
As with all things in life, moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle. The same applies to raw honey as a treat, food topper or remedy for pets. Make sure to stay within recommended guidelines (which can be found in our feeding guide).
But, what about all that sugar in honey?
If you’re worried about the sugar content of honey, you needn’t be. Raw honey is comprised of simple sugars (like glucose and sucrose) which are easily and slowly digested. As a result, honey can help increase healthy levels of energy, particularly in senior dogs and dogs that compete in sports.
This is very different from complex sugars, also known as polysaccharides that are found in carbohydrates and starches. Complex sugars, which are found in processed sugar and starches, are formed by longer saccharide chains, which means they take longer to break down and harder on the body.
While both simple and complex carbohydrates are eventually turned to glucose (blood sugar) and used as energy, simple sugars are much more easy on the body to digest and utilize. Our dogs health is important to us and raw honey is an excellent way to improve energy levels and digestive function.
In both healthy individuals and diabetics, it’s been discovered that honey does spike blood sugar levels immediately after consumption, however levels dropped considerably faster after 60 minutes than they did after consuming regular sugar. ‘
While it’s important to always talk with your veterinarian prior to starting any new treatment, it’s widely believed that raw honey is safe to use in small quantities for diabetic dogs.
Since K9 Honey is unprocessed, it shouldn’t be given to puppies under the age of six months or dogs with severely compromised immune systems as it could contain the presence of botulism spores and puppies have not yet acquired the digestive system needed to cope with this issue.
As you can see, there are many ways to use K9 Honey for dogs. Remember that honey is not a substitute for your veterinarian, it’s merely a remedy that can help your dog feel better sooner rather than later and perhaps even help them avoid becoming sick in the first place.