Have you ever considered manuka honey for dogs?
Honey has been recognized throughout history for its ability to heal wounds. There are records of it being used as far back as 2000 BC.
Lately, you may have heard a bit about Manuka honey and it’s amazing healing properties.
How much merit is there to these claims? Is Manuka honey good for dogs? Can you use Manuka honey on dog wounds? Can dogs eat Manuka honey?
What is Manuka Honey?
Honey can be classified according to how and where the bees obtain the ingredients to make the honey.
Manuka honey is known as a ‘monofloral honey’, which means the honey comes from just one type of plant.
In the case of Manuka honey, it is derived from the nectar of Leptospermum scoparium, a tea tree found in New Zealand and the eastern part of Australia.
How Does Manuka Honey Work?
Honey in all its forms is known to have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
As well as properties that could even aid in the treatment of cancer, among other things.
Studies have suggested that types of honey that are darker in color, such as Manuka honey, have more antioxidant properties.
Honey is also thought to act as a vehicle to impart the healing properties of the plant it is derived from.
Extracts from the Manuka tree have long been used for their antioxidant and wound healing properties.
Due to its unique healing properties, Manuka honey has gained attention within the medical and scientific community.
Honey can be taken internally or applied topically, depending on the condition it’s being used to treat.
More research still needs to be done to determine the best ways to use honey and just how effective it is in treating illness and injury.
But there does appear to be some merit to the claims that honey—in particular, Manuka honey—can be used effectively to treat a variety of conditions.
Let’s have a look at how we can use Manuka honey for dogs and address the question: Is manuka honey safe for dogs?
Can I Give My Dog Manuka Honey?
In small quantities, it’s safe to give your dog honey.
However, large quantities of honey can lead to the same problems that eating too many sweets can cause in humans including rotten teeth and weight gain.
The amount of honey you can safely feed your dog will depend on their size and health.
If you’re unsure, it’s best to talk to your dog’s vet to determine just how much is the right amount of honey for your dog.
Dogs with diabetes also should not be given honey unless you’ve talked with your dog’s vet beforehand.
Interestingly, extra caution is required when giving raw honey to puppies or dogs with weak immune systems since it’s known to harbor botulism spores.
Manuka Honey for Dogs – Wounds
Perhaps the most common application of Manuka honey for dogs is for the treatment of wounds.
The benefits of honey to treat wounds and skin conditions are well documented. To the point where the use of honey has found a place in mainstream treatments.
But this doesn’t mean you should reach for your jar of honey and slather your dog’s wound with it. Like any medical treatment, care and professional guidance are required.
For instance, whereas Manuka honey is the preferred type of honey for wound care, it needs to be unpasteurized and medical grade.
The usual method of application involves soaking the wound dressing that will be contacting the skin in honey and then applying the bandage to the wound.
Then apply another bandage on top to keep everything in place. Dressings need to be changed daily or as directed by your dog’s vet.
Manuka Honey for Dogs – Ear Infections
According to one study, the use of a medical grade honey gel was effective in curing 70% of otitis externa cases (external ear infection) within 7-14 days.
Similarly, another study conducted in 2018 found that honey-based gels were effective in killing the bacteria responsible for skin and ear infections in dogs.
Both of these studies received funding from the pharmaceutical company producing the gels but concluded that although results are positive, more research is warranted.
It’s also important to note that this study involved the use of a medical grade honey gel.
Moreover, when treating conditions such as an ear infection, a visit to your dog’s vet is still required to properly diagnose your dog’s condition.
Manuka Honey Dog Shampoo and Manuka Honey Cream for Dogs
As demonstrated by many studies, Manuka honey can have some benefits for your dog’s skin, especially if your dog is experiencing skin irritation.
There are plenty of Manuka honey dog shampoos on the market. Although there aren’t any studies out there to confirm that Manuka honey dog shampoo will clear up skin conditions.
Even so, such formulations are not going to cause any harm to your dog and may even improve the general health and appearance of your dog’s coat
Similarly, topical Manuka honey creams are available for the treatment of minor abrasions of the skin.
There is evidence to suggest that the use of honey on minor cuts and abrasions may aid healing, but the use of these creams is really up to the discretion of the consumer.
Is Manuka Honey for Dogs a Miracle Cure?
Some evidence suggests the antioxidants in honey may assist in the treatment of diabetes.
Initial research in this area has been promising, however, it does not suggest that honey could be a replacement for conventional diabetes medication, but rather an adjunct.
Even then, you should not feed your diabetic dog honey until you’ve talked to your dog’s vet.
Or until more conclusive studies have been performed on this topic and an appropriate treatment has been developed.
Similarly, there is evidence to suggest that certain properties in honey could help treat cancer.
Again, until further research is done and treatments are developed, Manuka honey or any other type of honey should not be given to your dog with the hope of curing cancer.
Other Manuka Honey Benefits for Dogs
Claims have been made that local honey can cure allergies due to the small amount of pollen in honey, which is said to help dogs build up a resistance to the allergen.
This may sound great in theory, but there is no solid evidence to back the claim.
Honey is also said to help relieve the symptoms of a kennel cough and tummy upset in dogs, but these claims are largely anecdotal.
In both these cases, it’s vital to take your dog to the vet first to make sure that the symptoms are not being caused by a more serious condition.
Feeding your senior pooch some honey has been said to give them a little pep in their step. With the sweet taste and high sugar content of honey, this may well be the case.
But again, there is no scientific evidence to back these claims.
There clearly is a place for the use of Manuka honey for dogs. It’s antimicrobial properties and antioxidants make it useful in the treatment of cuts, burns, and other skin irritations.
There is also some exciting ongoing research into other uses for honey that could have far-reaching benefits for the health of both dogs and humans.
As long as your dog is fully grown and doesn’t have any health conditions such as diabetes, feeding your dog a small quantity of honey is not going to do them any harm.
And if nothing else, your pooch will likely enjoy the sweet treat.
Do you have any experience with Manuka honey for dogs? Or do you have any additional questions that haven’t been answered in this article? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.
References and Further Reading
Alvarez-Suarez JM et al. 2014. The Composition and Biological Activity of Honey: A Focus on Manuka Honey. Foods.
Samarghandian S, Farkhondeh T, and Samini F. 2017. Honey and Health: A Review of Recent Clinical Research. Pharmacognosy Research.
Maruhashi E et al. 2016. Efficacy of medical grade honey in the management of canine otitis externa – a pilot study. Veterinary Dermatology.
Oliviera AMP, Devesa JSP, and Hill B. 2018. In vitro efficacy of a honey‐based gel against canine clinical isolates of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius and Malassezia pachydermatis. Veterinary Dermatology.
Carter DA et al. 2016. Therapeutic Manuka Honey: No Longer So. Alternative Frontiers in Microbiology.
Jull AB, Rodgers A, Walker N. 2009. Honey as a topical treatment for wounds (Review). The Cochrane Collaboration.
Rajan T et al. 2002. Effect of ingestion of honey on symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.