Can You Use Honey for Allergies in Dogs?

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Honey has been used to treat various health conditions in humans for centuries. But can you use honey for allergies in dogs? While there have been studies suggesting that honey can help with allergies, the jury is still out when it comes to our furry friends. If your dog has allergy symptoms, honey may be worth a try.

Honey for allergies in dogs

How to tell if your dog has allergies

Dog allergies are fairly common, and the symptoms can vary depending on the dog and the source of the allergic reaction. For example, some dogs are allergic to fleabites, making an infestation even more unbearable. Bee stings, food allergies, and even pollen in the air can also cause your dog’s skin to itch.

While all dogs scratch themselves from time to time, if your dog is scratching incessantly, whining while scratching, or has signs of redness and irritation on their skin, it could be an allergy. Other symptoms may include:

  • Obsessive licking
  • Facial swelling
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Ear infections
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • General discomfort

If your dog displays any allergy symptoms, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet and get checked out. The vet can help determine the source of the allergies and how to treat them. More importantly, the vet can check if the symptoms are caused by any illnesses that are more serious than allergies.

Does honey help dogs with allergies?

If your dog is allergic to pollen, then honey might be able to help relieve their symptoms. Scientists are undecided, but there is some evidence to suggest that honey helps treat seasonal allergies, as long as the honey contains the pollen your dog is allergic to.

The idea is that the honey works as a kind of vaccine and gets your dog’s immune system used to small amounts of the allergen.

What type of honey is best for dogs with allergies?

Local honey: The best honey for dogs with allergies is local, raw, organic honey. It must be local to contain the right kinds of pollens to help your dog, and it must be raw because raw honey is unpasteurized. This means it hasn’t been heated and filtered to kill bacteria, which also destroys some of its effectiveness.

Organic means that the pollen used to make the honey is from organically grown plants. The plants aren’t treated with pesticides, and the bees aren’t treated with miticides. This is better for your dog’s overall health.

You can find local honey at your farmer’s market, health food stores, and even in some local grocery stores. If you know of a local beekeeper, you can also ask if they offer honey from their hives. In case you can’t find any locally, many websites offer a wide variety of raw honey from all over the world.

Keep in mind that pure raw honey tends to be darker in color than commercial honey, and it may have a slight grainy texture. That’s okay. It just means the honey hasn’t been processed.

Manuka honey: You may have heard about the alleged health benefits of manuka honey. Manuka honey is said to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, making it an ideal treatment for wounds and other skin ailments. However, manuka honey would only be effective if your dog’s allergies are caused by manuka bush pollen.

Also, keep in mind that manuka honey is from Australia and New Zealand, so unless you live there, it probably won’t help your dog’s allergies. You could still use it for other things, though.

Clover honey: Clover honey is made by bees that have gathered most of their pollen from clover. So, like manuka honey, it would only help your dog’s allergies if they are specifically allergic to clover, or if you have a lot of clover in your area.

This doesn’t mean that manuka or clover honey is ineffective. It just means that instead of falling for popular labels like manuka and clover honey, it’s more important that you focus on procuring local honey.

Bee pollen: Honey isn’t the only thing that can help with seasonal allergies. Bee pollen, which is the powdery substance that collects on a bee’s legs as they move from flower to flower, can also be effective in reducing allergy symptoms.

Like local honey, local bee pollen is also believed to be more effective for allergies since it contains a variety of allergens that are specific to the area. Bee pollen is also said to be better because of its high nutritional value.

How much honey can I give my dog?

Even though it may be medicinal, honey is still a high-sugar and high-calorie food. Consider honey a treat, and only feed it to your dog in very small quantities. A large dog may have one teaspoon per day, a medium dog 1/2 teaspoon per day, and a small dog just 1/4 teaspoon per day.

Honey poured out of a teaspoon on a gray background

You can give honey to your dog directly, or mix it with a small amount of water and add it to your dog’s food. For a special treat, combine raw honey with peanut butter or coconut oil and stuff the mixture into your dog’s Kong.

How long does it take for honey to work?

If possible, feed your dog honey 3-4 weeks before allergy season starts to give it enough time to build up in their system. Optimally, it would be better if you could feed honey year-round to boost your dog’s natural immunity to allergies. Just make sure to talk to your vet to get the green light.

Can honey make a dog sick?

Because of the high sugar and calorie content, too much honey can cause an upset stomach in dogs. Dogs with weight issues or diabetes should also avoid eating honey. In addition, the sugar in honey is bad for your dog’s teeth, so make sure not to give them any more than the recommended dose per day.

The greater health risk is that raw honey may contain botulism spores. Adult dogs’ digestive systems can pass the spores through their bodies without harm, but puppies or dogs with compromised immune systems can get very sick if they ingest the spores. These dogs should only have pasteurized honey, but then they lose some of the health benefits.

What can I use instead of honey for allergies in dogs?

If you don’t have local, raw honey on hand, there are a few other things you can try to alleviate your dog’s allergy symptoms. Most dogs can safely take Benadryl for allergies, but the dosage for humans and dogs is different. Talk to your vet about how much Benadryl you can safely give to your dog.

Coconut oil and Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil and sardines) may also relieve skin conditions caused by allergies.

If your dog’s allergies cause itchy skin, try giving them a soothing oatmeal bath, then treat their itchy spots with a bit of coconut oil, or add it to their food.

Are there other health benefits of honey for dogs?

Sore throat: If your dog suffers from a sore throat or kennel cough, honey can help coat his throat and fight the infection. In this case, use manuka honey, which has the highest antibacterial properties. If the throat discomfort is caused by an allergy, use local honey.

Wounds and burns: Honey can be used topically on your dog’s skin to disinfect and heal cuts, scrapes, and burns. The antiseptic properties help keep the wound clean, while the texture soothes and keeps it hydrated. A thin layer of honey is all you need.

Of course, your dog will be tempted to lick a wound covered in honey, so you should cover the area with a bandage after treating it. This will prevent your dog from licking and opening the wound and keep them from spreading honey all over your house.

Chronic inflammation: Honey is anti-inflammatory, which means it may help dogs with issues like arthritis and a lack of mobility. Raw honey also contains digestive enzymes which can help with gastrointestinal conditions, such as poor digestion. In addition, the consistency and antimicrobial properties of honey can help soothe and heal stomach ulcers in dogs.

Low energy: Honey contains natural sugars and small amounts of vitamins and minerals, so it can be a good way to help boost your dog’s energy. In fact, honey is often used to treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in dogs since it contains glucose which can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Conclusion

If your dog’s allergies are caused by pollen, feeding them a small amount of local, raw honey may be one of the easiest ways to manage their symptoms. Puppies or dogs with low immunity, however, shouldn’t consume raw honey.

There are also many other health benefits of honey for dogs, and it can even be used topically as a wound treatment. As always, it is best to take your dog to the vet to determine the cause of the allergy and to rule out any other illnesses.

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