Is Manuka Honey for Dogs a Miracle Cure?

manuka honey for dogs

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.

Manuka Honey for Dogs

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 dogsManuka 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

MSD Veterinary Manual

Alvarez-Suarez JM et al. 2014. The Composition and Biological Activity of Honey: A Focus on Manuka Honey. Foods.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson

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.

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website


  1. My dog came home from the kennels and started coughing the next morning.

    I bought Manuka honey and gave him a teaspoon three times a day and after only a couple of days the cough has gone. The honey or simply nature? I don’t know but I’ll keep giving him a bit of honey every day, who knows, it may help with his HNPK (hereditary nasal para keratosis)!

    BTW, if anyone has any info on how to keep HNKP under control, I’d love to hear from you! I’m currently using plain old Vaseline.

  2. I absolutely love Manuka honey! I never even heard of it until maybe a week ago. I took my dogs to the groomer, and a few days later they started coughing. I never dealt with that before, and wasn’t sure what was going on. I was checking for food recalls and everything. I was really worried because my older one is 14. Then I find out it’s kennel cough, and the #1 NATURAL medicine for kennel cough is Manuka honey. Ok, I went right out and got Manuka honey. I was very surprised that she ate it right off the spoon, but she did. She loves the taste, and even my extremely beyond ridiculous picky little Chi ate it off the spoon. This is a treat that she begs for now. Her cough is gone, but she fake coughs now to get honey. So funny. AND!!!! At 14 years old this honey has been amazing for her!! She’s playful, she’s going up and down the steps better, she’s getting up way easier than before, it’s amazing! This honey took her back 10 years! I’m amazed! Kennel cough may be gone, but she will get her honey treat daily, and I’m now taking it too! I hope I’m able to go up and down the steps as well as she is next week! Thank you Manuka honey!!!!!!

  3. My dog has severe skin issues. She literally pulls her fur out. I’ve tried apoquil, every shampoo on the market, fish oil, she lives on Benadryl, but nothing works. Does anyone have any experience with this manuka lotion that can advise me??

  4. Not about dogs, but this honey as a wound dsg has saved my horses life. He had a huge wound on one leg from the hoof to above the bulb, & into the back frog & wall. We dressed it one way until the hoof was grown mostly out then the vet ( specialist) suggested the Manuka Honey. We applied it to the heel & open wound & the unhealed area is skin tissue that is rapidly closing. It’s now the size of a dime. We do dsg changes every 3 days now & it’s like magic the amount of tissue growth. Email me if you would like photos. This occurred Jan 21.

  5. Manuka has been a miracle for my pugs skin staff. Incurable by antibiotic vet treatment for ten years. One week of manuka honey applied full strength in her wrinkles cured it.

    As far as pain management, I am a chronic pain sufferer. I have been using it in my tea for a month now. No noticeable difference. Otherwise, my skin looks great 👍 if it doesn’t help human pain, probably won’t not help your pooch. Turmeric and baby aspirin however, have been proven to reduce inflammation and pain in dogs. No studies to my knowledge on manuka for pain management.