Honey in a human diet is often touted for its health benefits, so you may find yourself wondering if this sticky, sweet treat and all its purported perks can be shared with your dog. The short answer is, yes, honey is safe for most dogs in small quantities. We’ll go over everything you need to know about whether or not honey is safe for your individual pup and how they can enjoy eating it.
How Much Honey is Too Much?
Generally speaking, small amounts of honey are safe for dogs. We say “small amounts” because honey is high in calories and very high in sugar content, and this can be a problem for dogs. According to Pets Web MD, too much sugar in your pup’s diet can lead to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and tooth and gum problems like cavities and decay.
Limiting the amount of honey you offer your dog is important to help prevent these possible issues. Experts at The Honeybee Conservancy recommend no more than one teaspoon of honey per day for your four-legged friend.
If your pooch already struggles with their weight, has diabetes, or has a history of dental issues, avoid giving your pup honey in any form and stick with some lower-calorie snacks that have less sugar. Alternatives include fresh fruit like blueberries, apple, cantaloupe, or vegetables including cucumbers, carrots, and green beans. These are all safe for your dog in moderation.
Is Raw Honey Safe for Dogs?
When it comes to our diets, raw honey is often supported and recommended more than regular honey is by health enthusiasts, so you may wonder if honey is safe for your pup in raw form.
Raw honey can be perfectly safe for your dog, but the American Kennel Club warns that unrefined and unprocessed honey can contain botulism spores because it’s not heated to kill off bacteria.
If your dog is fully grown and healthy, raw honey shouldn’t cause any problems. However, you shouldn’t offer raw honey to puppies, immunocompromised dogs, or any dog who has recently undergone surgery.
Can Honey Help with Your Dog’s Health Problems?
Many people believe that honey — and raw honey in particular — can help cure or limit health issues like allergies, burns, digestive discomfort, and other ailments in humans and dogs alike. And it’s no wonder this is a commonly held belief, as honey is packed with tons of beneficial nutrients including:
However, it’s not as simple as offering up a spoonful of honey each day to your pooch to cure all his ailments. Before you start treating this stuff as alternative medicine, note that the AKC maintains that the health benefits of honey and raw honey for dogs are purely anecdotal and haven’t been proven. Therefore, you may want to weigh the benefits and possible resulting issues of offering your pooch honey before doing so.
How Can I Feed My Dog Honey?
If you do decide to give your pup honey as a sweet treat, you can offer it to them in very small quantities by itself on a spoon or in their bowl. Honey is extremely sticky, and if your dog eats too much too quickly they can easily choke on it.
Offer honey to your pup like you might offer peanut butter — in small quantities, and with plenty of fresh water nearby in case they do run into an issue swallowing it.
You can also use honey as a sweetener in baked dog treats. There are many recipes for homemade dog biscuits online that use honey. But be careful not to overfeed your dog treats that include honey, as caloric density can be high given the sugar content.
Depending on your dog’s age and overall health, honey and raw honey are perfectly healthy in small quantities. You should avoid giving your pup too much though, given the high amount of sugar and its ability to cause choking. Make sure you only offer it to fully grown, healthy dogs who don’t have issues with weight maintenance, diabetes, or dental hygiene.