Manuka Honey for Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide to Health Benefits and Uses
Manuka honey, a monofloral honey produced in Australia and New Zealand from the nectar of the Manuka tree (Leptospermum scoparium), has garnered significant attention in recent years for its numerous health benefits. Rich in unique properties such as Methylglyoxal (MGO), Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), and Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA), Manuka honey is a popular choice for maintaining and improving overall well-being in humans. But what about our canine companions? Can dogs enjoy the benefits of this natural powerhouse as well?
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about Manuka honey for dogs, including its benefits, how to choose the right product, and how to safely incorporate it into your dog’s diet.
Is Honey Good for Dogs?
Honey, in general, is safe and can be beneficial for dogs when given in moderation. It is a natural source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can contribute to a dog’s overall health. However, it is essential to remember that honey is high in sugar, so it should be given in small amounts and not offered to diabetic dogs or dogs with weight issues. Also, raw honey should not be given to puppies under one-year-old due to the risk of botulism.
When it comes to choosing the best honey for your dog, Manuka honey stands out for its unique properties and potential health benefits. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the advantages of using Manuka honey for your canine companion and how to ensure you are selecting the right product for their needs.
What’s The Best Honey For Dogs?
Understanding Manuka Honey’s Unique Properties
Manuka honey is considered the best honey for dogs due to its unique properties that set it apart from traditional honey. These properties are responsible for the various health benefits that Manuka honey can offer your canine companion.
MGO is a naturally occurring compound found in Manuka honey that gives it its strong antibacterial properties. The higher the MGO concentration, the more potent the antibacterial effect. Manuka honey with high MGO levels can help fight against bacteria and promote healing in dogs, making it an excellent choice for treating wounds, infections, and other health issues.
Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)
UMF is a grading system that measures the quality and purity of Manuka honey. The UMF rating takes into account the concentrations of MGO, Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), and Leptosperin, which are unique markers found in genuine Manuka honey. A UMF rating of 10+ or higher indicates that the honey has strong antibacterial properties and is of high quality. When selecting Manuka honey for your dog, look for a product with a UMF rating of at least 10+ to ensure that it is potent and effective.
Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA)
NPA refers to the stable, non-peroxide antibacterial properties present in Manuka honey. Unlike the hydrogen peroxide activity found in most honey varieties, NPA is not affected by heat, light, or the presence of catalase (an enzyme found in body tissues). This makes Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties more stable and effective in comparison to other types of honey.
Benefits of Raw Manuka Honey for Dogs
Health Benefits Overview
Raw Manuka honey offers a range of health benefits for dogs due to its unique properties and natural compounds. Some of the key benefits include:
- Boosting immunity and protecting against viruses and bacteria
- Promoting gut health and aiding digestion
- Supporting skin health and fighting skin diseases
- Maintaining good oral health
Boost Immunity, Protect Against Viruses, and Look After the Gut
Manuka honey’s potent antibacterial properties can help support your dog’s immune system and protect against harmful viruses and bacteria. The MGO in Manuka honey is effective against a wide range of bacteria, which can help keep your dog healthy and prevent infections.
Additionally, Manuka honey has prebiotic properties that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your dog’s gut, aiding digestion and maintaining gut health.
Keep Skin Healthy and Fight Skin Disease
Manuka honey’s natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties can help soothe irritated skin and support the healing process in dogs suffering from skin conditions like dermatitis, hot spots, or allergies. Its wound-healing properties can also accelerate the recovery of minor cuts, scrapes, or burns when applied topically.
Maintain Good Oral Health
Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties can contribute to good oral health in dogs by fighting against bacteria that cause plaque buildup and bad breath. However, due to its high sugar content, it should be used sparingly and as part of a comprehensive dental care routine.
What do Vets Say about Manuka for Dogs?
Veterinarians and experts in the field of canine health often recommend Manuka honey for dogs due to its numerous health benefits. However, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian before introducing Manuka honey into your dog’s diet or using it as a treatment for specific health conditions, as each dog’s needs and health status may vary.
Manuka Honey for Specific Canine Conditions
Manuka Honey for Dog Wounds
Manuka honey has long been recognized for its wound-healing properties, making it an excellent choice for treating cuts, abrasions, and burns on your dog’s skin.
How to Apply Manuka Honey to Your Dog’s Wound
Before applying Manuka honey to your dog’s wound, ensure the wound is clean and free of dirt or debris. You can clean the wound with a saline solution or consult your veterinarian for a suitable cleaning agent. Once the wound is clean, follow these steps:
a. Apply a thin layer of Manuka honey to the wound, covering the entire affected area. b. Cover the wound with a non-stick dressing or gauze pad to protect it and prevent your dog from licking off the honey. c. Secure the dressing with a bandage or adhesive tape, taking care not to wrap it too tightly. d. Check the wound and change the dressing daily or as advised by your veterinarian. Reapply Manuka honey as needed.
Always consult your veterinarian before using Manuka honey on your dog’s wounds, especially in case of deep or severe injuries.
Manuka Honey for Kennel Cough
Kennel cough, an infectious respiratory disease in dogs, can cause symptoms such as dry cough, nasal discharge, and fever. Manuka honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe your dog’s throat and reduce coughing.
So is Manuka Honey Good for Dogs with Kennel Cough?
Yes, Manuka honey can be beneficial for dogs with kennel cough. It can help soothe the irritation in the throat and provide relief from the symptoms. However, it should not replace veterinary care and prescribed medications for treating kennel cough. Consult your veterinarian before using Manuka honey to manage kennel cough symptoms.
How to Give Your Dog Manuka Honey for Kennel Cough
You can give your dog Manuka honey orally to help soothe their throat and reduce coughing. Start with a small amount (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for small dogs and 1 to 2 teaspoons for larger dogs) once or twice a day, depending on your dog’s size and the severity of their symptoms. Adjust the dosage as needed, and always consult your veterinarian for guidance.
Manuka Honey for Dogs Ear Infections (Otitis Externa)
Manuka honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate the symptoms of ear infections in dogs. However, using honey for ear infections should be done with caution and under the guidance of a veterinarian, as improper use may exacerbate the condition.
Can Manuka Honey Help Dog Allergies?
Manuka honey may help alleviate allergy symptoms in dogs due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce inflammation and itching. However, it is essential to address the root cause of the allergy and consult your veterinarian for appropriate treatment and management.
How Much Manuka Honey Can I Give My Dog?
Which Strength of Manuka Honey Should I Buy for My Dog?
When selecting Manuka honey for your dog, choose a product with a UMF rating of at least 10+ to ensure that it has strong antibacterial properties and is of high quality. For general health benefits, a UMF rating of 10+ to 15+ is sufficient, while for treating specific health conditions or wounds, a higher UMF rating (e.g., 15+ to 20+) may be more beneficial.
Proper Dosage and Application
Determining the appropriate dosage of Manuka honey for your dog depends on their size, health condition, and the purpose of use. Always consult your veterinarian for guidance on the right dosage for your dog.
For general health benefits or to soothe kennel cough symptoms, use the following guidelines:
a. Small dogs (under 20 lbs): 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per day b. Medium dogs (20-50 lbs): 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per day c. Large dogs (over 50 lbs): 1 to 2 teaspoons per day
Adjust the dosage as needed, and monitor your dog for any adverse reactions.
When using Manuka honey topically on your dog’s skin or wounds, apply a thin layer to the affected area and cover it with a non-stick dressing or gauze pad. Change the dressing daily or as advised by your veterinarian, and reapply Manuka honey as needed. Always consult your veterinarian before using Manuka honey topically, especially for deep or severe wounds.
Precautions and Side Effects
Manuka honey is generally safe for dogs when used correctly and in moderation. However, there are some precautions to consider:
a. Do not give honey to puppies under one-year-old due to the risk of botulism. b. Avoid giving honey to diabetic dogs or dogs with weight issues, as it is high in sugar. c. Monitor your dog for any allergic reactions or side effects, such as vomiting or diarrhoea. If any adverse reactions occur, discontinue use and consult your veterinarian. d. Always consult your veterinarian before introducing Manuka honey into your dog’s diet or using it to treat specific health conditions.
How Should I Give My Dog Manuka Honey?
When giving Manuka honey to your dog orally for general health benefits or to soothe specific symptoms, you can:
- Mix the honey with your dog’s food: Add the appropriate dosage of Manuka honey to your dog’s regular food, ensuring that it is mixed well so that your dog consumes the entire dose.
- Offer the honey on a spoon or your finger: Some dogs may enjoy licking Manuka honey directly off a spoon or your finger. Ensure that you provide the correct dosage and monitor your dog closely to prevent them from consuming too much honey at once.
- Use a treat or toy: You can also spread a small amount of Manuka honey onto a treat or toy that your dog can lick, ensuring they receive the proper dosage.
To apply Manuka honey topically on your dog’s skin or wounds:
- Clean the affected area thoroughly with a saline solution or as advised by your veterinarian.
- Apply a thin layer of Manuka honey to the wound or affected area, covering it completely.
- Cover the area with a non-stick dressing or gauze pad to protect the wound and prevent your dog from licking off the honey.
- Secure the dressing with a bandage or adhesive tape, taking care not to wrap it too tightly.
- Check the wound and change the dressing daily or as advised by your veterinarian. Reapply Manuka honey as needed.
Always consult your veterinarian before using Manuka honey topically, especially for deep or severe wounds, and follow their guidance on proper application and care.
Where Can I Buy Manuka Honey For Dogs?
Trusted Sources for Manuka Honey
When purchasing Manuka honey for your dog, it is crucial to choose a reputable source to ensure that you are getting a high-quality, authentic product. Some places to buy Manuka honey for dogs include:
- Online retailers: Many online retailers, such as Amazon, Chewy, and other pet supply websites, offer a wide range of Manuka honey products from different brands. Be sure to read reviews and check the UMF rating before purchasing.
- Local health food stores or specialty shops: Health food stores or specialty shops that focus on natural and organic products often carry Manuka honey. Talk to the store staff to inquire about the available brands and UMF ratings.
- Veterinary clinics: Some veterinary clinics may carry Manuka honey products or recommend specific brands that are suitable for dogs. Consult with your veterinarian about which Manuka honey product is best for your dog’s needs.
Tips for Choosing the Right Manuka Honey
When selecting Manuka honey for your dog, keep the following tips in mind:
- Look for the UMF rating: Choose a product with a UMF rating of at least 10+ to ensure that it has strong antibacterial properties and is of high quality. Higher UMF ratings (e.g., 15+ to 20+) may be more beneficial for treating specific health conditions or wounds.
- Check for product authenticity: Authentic Manuka honey should have a UMF trademark, a New Zealand UMF license number, and a UMF Honey Association label. These ensure that the honey has been tested and meets the standards for genuine Manuka honey.
- Read reviews: Read customer reviews and testimonials to gain insight into the quality and effectiveness of the Manuka honey product you are considering for your dog.
- Consult your veterinarian: Always consult your veterinarian before introducing Manuka honey into your dog’s diet or using it as a treatment for specific health conditions, as each dog’s needs and health status may vary.
FAQs about Manuka Honey for Dogs
Can I give Manuka honey to my diabetic dog?
It is not recommended to give Manuka honey to diabetic dogs, as it is high in sugar and can negatively affect their blood sugar levels. Always consult your veterinarian before giving any new supplements or foods to your diabetic dog.
Can puppies have honey?
Puppies under one year of age should not be given honey due to the risk of botulism, a rare but serious illness caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium can sometimes be found in honey and can produce harmful toxins in a puppy’s immature digestive system.
Which dogs shouldn’t have honey?
Dogs with diabetes, weight issues, or a known allergy to honey should not be given honey. Puppies under one year of age should also avoid honey due to the risk of botulism.
Is Manuka honey helpful for other pets too?
Manuka honey may have potential health benefits for other pets, such as cats or rabbits, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, it is essential to consult a veterinarian experienced in treating the specific species before using Manuka honey as a treatment or supplement, as each animal’s needs and health status may differ.
Cara Hayes is an experienced natural health practitioner with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics from the University of Sydney. She has been writing for New Zealand Honey since 2020 and loves manuka in her morning tea.