Can Dogs Have Honey

icon May 11, 2024

Dogs are cherished members of our families, and as pet owners, we often strive to provide them with the best nutrition possible. Amidst the plethora of dietary options, there arises the question: Can dogs have honey? Honey, with its natural sweetness and purported health benefits, has been a staple in human diets for centuries. However, when it comes to our canine companions, concerns regarding their digestive systems and overall health come to the forefront. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the intricacies of whether honey is safe for dogs, examining its potential benefits, risks, and considerations.

What Is Honey?

Honey, a viscous golden liquid produced by bees from the nectar of flowers, has long been esteemed for its nutritional and medicinal properties. Rich in antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, honey boasts an array of potential health benefits for humans. From soothing sore throats to promoting wound healing, its versatility in traditional medicine is well-documented. Furthermore, honey's natural sugars provide a quick energy boost, making it a popular natural sweetener.

Can Dogs Have Honey?

While honey may offer numerous advantages for humans, the question remains: Is honey safe for dogs? The answer, like many aspects of pet care, is nuanced. In moderation, honey can be safely incorporated into a dog's diet for some canines, but factors including age, and health, of the dogs must be considered before feeding them honey.

What Type of Honey Is Safe for Dogs?

Pasteurized honey is generally considered safe for dogs. Pasteurization involves heating the honey to a specific temperature to destroy harmful bacteria, including botulinum spores, reducing the risk of botulism. Additionally, opting for honey labeled as "raw" or "unfiltered" should be avoided, as it may contain these spores. Always ensure to choose high-quality, pasteurized honey from reputable sources when offering it to your canine companion.

How Much Honey Can I Give My Dog?

The appropriate amount of honey to give your dog varies based on their weight. As a general guideline, for dogs weighing:

Less than 10 pounds:

Limit honey to half a teaspoon to one teaspoon per day.

10 to 30 pounds:

Offer one to two teaspoons of honey daily.

30 to 50 pounds:

Provide two to three teaspoons of honey per day.

50 pounds or more:

Offer up to one tablespoon of honey daily.

Always start with smaller amounts and observe your dog for any adverse reactions before increasing the dosage. Remember, honey should be given as an occasional treat and not as a primary source of nutrition. Consult your veterinarian for personalized recommendations based on your dog's specific health needs and dietary requirements.

Benefits of Honey for Dogs

Here's a brief list of the benefits of honey for dogs when topically and orally used:

Topical Use:

1. Wound Healing:

Honey's natural antimicrobial properties can aid in preventing infection and promoting wound healing in minor cuts, scrapes, and abrasions on a dog's skin.

2. Skin Irritations:
Applying honey topically can help soothe and reduce inflammation associated with minor skin irritations, such as hot spots or insect bites.

3. Moisturizing:
Honey's humectant properties can help retain moisture in a dog's skin, potentially providing relief for dry or irritated skin.

4. Paw Pad Care:
Honey can be applied to cracked or rough paw pads to moisturize and soften them, especially useful in extreme weather conditions.

5. Hot Spots:
Honey's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate discomfort and speed up the healing process for hot spots on a dog's skin.

Oral Use:

1. Energy Boost:

Honey's natural sugars provide a quick source of energy for active dogs or those needing a dietary supplement during strenuous activities.

2. Cough Relief:
In some cases, honey may offer temporary relief for dogs with mild coughs due to its soothing properties. However, consult a veterinarian before administering honey for cough relief.

3. Allergy Management:
While scientific evidence is limited, some dog owners believe that locally sourced honey may help alleviate seasonal allergies in dogs when given in small amounts. However, consult with a veterinarian before using honey for allergy management.


It's essential to use honey in moderation and consult with a veterinarian before administering it to your dog, whether topically or orally. Additionally, always opt for high-quality, pasteurized honey and monitor your dog for any adverse reactions.

Can I Give My Dog Honey for A Cough?

While honey has natural soothing properties, it's not a substitute for veterinary care. Consult your veterinarian before giving honey to your dog for a cough. They can provide appropriate guidance based on the underlying cause of the cough and your dog's health status.

Does Honey Help Dogs with Allergies?

Honey's efficacy in alleviating allergies in dogs lacks substantial scientific evidence. While some anecdotal reports suggest benefits, consult your veterinarian for safe and effective allergy management tailored to your dog's specific needs.

Risks and Considerations:

Despite its potential benefits, honey may pose risks to certain dogs, and careful consideration is paramount.

1. Allergies:
Like any food, dogs can develop allergies to honey. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include itching, hives, gastrointestinal upset, or even anaphylaxis. Introduce honey cautiously, observing for any adverse reactions.

2. Weight Gain:
Honey is calorie-dense and high in natural sugars. Excessive consumption can lead to weight gain and other health issues such as diabetes and dental problems. Moderation is key, especially for overweight or diabetic dogs.

3. Botulism Risk:
Raw honey may contain spores of Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that can cause botulism in dogs. While adult dogs are generally more resistant to botulism than infants, puppies under one year old are particularly vulnerable. To mitigate this risk, opt for pasteurized honey, which has undergone heat treatment to destroy harmful bacteria.

How to Safely Feed Honey to Dogs:

If you've decided to incorporate honey into your dog's diet, follow these guidelines to ensure their safety and well-being:

1. Quality Matters:
Choose high-quality, raw or pasteurized honey from reputable sources to minimize the risk of contamination.

2. Moderation is Key:
Limit the amount of honey given to your dog, accounting for their size, weight, and overall health. Small breeds should consume smaller quantities compared to larger breeds.

3. Monitor for Reactions:
Introduce honey gradually and observe your dog for any signs of allergic reactions or digestive upset. Discontinue use if adverse symptoms occur and consult with your veterinarian.

4. Avoid Certain Forms:
Steer clear of honey-infused products like candies or baked goods, as they may contain additional ingredients such as chocolate or xylitol, which are toxic to dogs.

Consulting with a Veterinarian:

Before making any significant dietary changes or introducing new foods to your dog's diet, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide personalized guidance based on your dog's individual health needs, dietary requirements, and any existing medical conditions.


In conclusion, the question of whether dogs can have honey warrants careful consideration. While honey offers potential health benefits such as nutritional value and wound healing properties, it also carries risks, including allergies, weight gain, and botulism. By understanding these factors and following safety precautions, pet owners can make informed decisions regarding the inclusion of honey in their dog's diet. Remember, moderation and vigilance are key when it comes to the well-being of our beloved canine companions.

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