Honey’s a super sweet treat for humans and a common sweetener in baked goods and other treats. So you might be wondering: Can dogs eat honey? Is it even safe for your dog BFF to enjoy a taste of honey or some of the fun things you make with it?
There are actually some benefits of honey for dogs when fed in small amounts, but it’s important to know that not every dog can eat honey safely.
We spoke with some experts to find out if dogs can eat honey, how much they can eat and which dogs should avoid honey altogether.
Can dogs eat honey safely?
Honey can actually be super healthy for your dog when served in small amounts.
“Honey is often touted as a panacea, a medicinal food that can be used to cure a range of ailments,” Dr. Linda Simon, a veterinary surgeon and veterinary consultant for FiveBarks, told The Dodo.
However there’s not a ton of research-based evidence to support these claims when it comes to dogs.
What we do know is that honey is naturally a very nutritious food for both humans and dogs.
“Honey contains many vitamins and antioxidants that are great for your dog,” Dr. Sara Ochoa, a small- and exotic-animal veterinarian in Texas, and a veterinary consultant for DogLab, told The Dodo.
Since honey is packed with antioxidants, “it is great to help their immune system,” Dr. Ochoa said.
Honey can also be used if your dog has a bad cough or a sore throat, just like in humans.
“As honey is a thick liquid, it helps to coat the throat and minimize both inflammation and irritation locally,” Dr. Simon said. “Vets most often recommend that honey is given to those with coughs, such as when a dog develops the dry honking cough associated with kennel cough or a collapsing trachea.”
Vets might also use honey when treating dogs who are malnourished.
“It is also applied to gums when a quick sugar source is needed; such as in a poorly pup who is not eating well,” Dr. Simon said.
Honey might also be effective at treating a dog’s wounds (though, obviously if your dog has a serious wound, you should contact your vet before trying anything at home).
“Honey is regularly used topically on wounds and burns to prevent infection and speed up healing times,” Dr. Simon said.
Can honey be bad for dogs?
Since honey is high in sugar, feeding your dog too much can lead to obesity, and it can be dangerous for dogs who are already overweight or have diabetes.
“It contains lots of calories, so [it] needs to be restricted, especially in dogs who are overweight,” Dr. Simon said.
If your dog has diabetes, definitely skip the honey as a treat. “Any dog that is diabetic should not eat honey,” Dr. Ochoa said. “This can cause a spike in their insulin levels.”