Turmeric is a spice commonly used in curry dishes. It has a “warm,” savory taste. Some people take turmeric capsules because the bioactive component of the spice, curcumin, is associated with anti-inflammatory properties that may help defend against chronic diseases like cancer. Because of turmeric’s potent health benefits, you can also find it in some holistic canine supplements and food powder products. Is it time to add turmeric to your dog’s healthy routine?
In order to understand the benefits of an anti-inflammatory supplement, it’s helpful to take a closer look at the inflammatory process. Acute inflammation is actually not a bad thing. It’s the multifaceted biological response that happens when a dog’s body encounters something harmful, such as pathogens, damage to cells or tissues, or irritants. Molecular mediators, immune cells, and other special cells and processes work together to create the inflammatory response. For example, if a dog injures his paw, the inflammatory response increases blood flow to the area to support healing, which also causes the paw to become inflamed. However, chronic inflammation is as harmful as acute inflammation is helpful. Systemic chronic inflammation may increase the risk of a range of diseases, including the following:
- Kidney disease.
- Digestive diseases.
- Dental disease.
It’s thought that the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric can help fight against the chronic inflammation that contributes to many health ailments.
The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are the primary reason why it is so popular as a supplement. However, dogs can also benefit from turmeric’s antioxidant properties. Antioxidants fight against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause damage to the DNA in healthy cells. It’s even possible for free radicals to turn normal, healthy cells into more free radicals, which compounds the damage. Antioxidants work by stabilizing these molecules and preventing them from inflicting cellular damage. In dogs, antioxidants are thought to slow down the rate of cellular damage, and in doing so, support longer, healthier lives. Introducing antioxidants to your dog’s diet may help improve:
- Joint health.
- Digestive wellness.
- Immune strength.
- Skin health.
Another benefit of turmeric supplements for dogs is their detoxification properties. Your dog’s liver is like the body’s janitor. Along with playing an important role in healthy digestion and blood-clotting, the liver acts like a waste processing center to remove harmful toxins from the body, such as toxins present in pollution and insecticides. Turmeric is helpful because it supports the overall health of the liver, enabling it to continue doing its job efficiently. It’s also thought that the bioactive compounds in turmeric support the production of bile, which is essential for the digestion of fats. Note that if your dog already has liver disease or cancer, giving her a turmeric supplement may cause more harm than good. Talk to your vet first.
Feeding your dog a healthy, nutritious diet complete with specially formulated supplements is one way to show your love for your furry friend. Pet parents are encouraged to chat with their veterinarians if they have any questions about their dog’s health.