If you google the word "turmeric" you'll be flooded with pages about supplements, health blogs, and holistic care websites. But why is this ancient spice highly trending in the pet community now?
Preliminary studies have shown that the curcumin in turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties and aids in digestion, among many other health benefits for humans. However, as more research is being done, we are finding out that our pets can also benefit from this natural superfood in similar ways as humans.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family. The rhizome (underground stem) is commonly used as a spice in cooking or in different medicinal recipes. (5) One of the main components in Turmeric is Curcumin which gives Turmeric its vibrant yellow color and has powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticoagulant properties. Though the benefits of Curcumin are powerful, Recent research has identified numerous chemical entities from turmeric other than curcumin and Studies over the past decade have indicated that curcumin‐free turmeric (CFT) components possess numerous biological activities including anti‐inflammatory, anticancer, and antidiabetic activities. (5)This tells us that the Curcumin is an important component in Turmeric, but definitely not the ONLY important one.
What are the benefits?
Turmeric has been shown to have numerous health benefits for both humans and pets.
Help manage Inflammation associated with joint pain and osteoarthritis.
- Inflammation occurs when the body tries to protect itself from injury or invading organisms. While the inflammatory response is a natural, protective one, if the body is in a chronic state of inflammation it can lead to diseases such as arthritis, lupus and hepatitis. The curcumin in turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits to help the body fight chronic inflammation. A report from researchers at the Cytokine Research Laboratory at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center explains that curcumin interacts with the body's cells, where it inhibits inflammation from taking place. (7)
- In regards to managing inflammation in dogs, a controlled trial done by the Department of Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, (12) states “The results would suggest that curcumin offers a complementary anti-inflammatory support for OA (osteo-arthritis) treatment in dogs.”
Contains antioxidant properties.
- In a human study done on the Curcumin compound within Turmeric, they found that it was effective against many ailments and neurological diseases due to the Antioxidant activity (14) A separate study done in 2004 states “ the two major preparations of turmeric, corresponding to its use in cooking and medicine, showed signiﬁcant antioxidant abilities.” (15)
- A 2020 study published by Comparative Clinical Pathology Concluded that Turmeric included in dog treats and supplements could stimulate Antioxidant systems and reduce oxidation to benefit the overall health of the animal. (3)
In humans, Turmeric plays an important role in cancer prevention and treatment. The curcumin in turmeric is able to fight off cellular damage from chemotherapy and radiation, regulate the growth of tumor cell growth, andcan interact with most of the targets that are modulated by FDA-approved drugs for cancer therapy. (9)
- There have been several studies on Humans and Lab animals studying the effects of Turmeric on cancer, (such as this 2012 study about the effects of Turmeric on bladder cancer in rates) , and Curcumin is listed as a potential natural treatment for cancer by the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (16). However, even with all of this information there have not been any studies conducted in the efficacy of Turmeric in cancer treatment and prevention in dogs specifically.
How do I give my dog Turmeric?
There are many forms of Turmeric. From a powder, paste, oil, and it can also be found in supplements and soft chews like these WoofWell™ Supplements for French Bulldogs and Yorkshire Terriers. This form is generally preferred by dog owners due to the ease of use. It is a lot easier to get your dog to eat a bacon flavored soft chew than it is to mix a bitter tasting powder or paste into their food and hope for the best.
When looking for aTurmeric supplement for dogs it’s important to pay attention to the dosing instructions to ensure you don’t give them too much. Over supplementation can be dangerous and lead to adverse reactions in your dog.
If you’re concerned with inflammation in your pet, Turmeric is a great place to start. We all want our furry family in Tip-Top shape for as long as possible, and Turmeric can have a very impactful effect on the inflammation issues that many breeds struggle with.