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Pet Pantry: Turmeric

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Welcome to Pet Pantry, our new feature exploring the health benefits of certain “human” foods for our pets. Introducing diverse, nutrient-dense ingredients into your pet’s diet brings variety to their meals and has a big impact on their overall health. In this edition, we dive into the many benefits of turmeric.

What it is

Turmeric (scientific name, curcuma longa) is one of the oldest medicinal plants. Its active ingredient is curcumin, found in the roots and bulbs of the plant. Native to Southern India, it is a perennial plant in the ginger family. You can find it in the powdered form in the spice section of most grocery stores.

Health benefits

• Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects
• Reduces plaque buildup and gingivitis
• Good for heart and liver health
• Aids in the prevention of diabetes
• Inhibits gastric and duodenal ulcers
• Natural anti-cancer agent
• Protects DNA from radiation damage
• Decreases arthritis and joint pain
• Promotes digestive health
• Acts as a natural blood thinner, reducing blood clots
• Acts as an antioxidant
• Allergy relief
• Helps prevent cataracts
• Aids in the treatment of epilepsy
• Offers natural pain relief
• Aids in treatment of diarrhea

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How to feed it

For turmeric in supplement form:
Cats: approximately 100 milligrams 2x/day
Small-Medium sized dogs: 250 milligrams 2x/day
Large-Giant sized dogs: 500 milligrams 2-3x/day

For turmeric in powder form:
5-10lbs: Small pinch – 1/16 tsp
11-20lbs: 1/16 -1/8 tsp
21-40lbs: 1/8 – 1/4 tsp
41-80lbs: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp
81-160lbs: 1/2 – 1 tsp

Convenience option: Give directly as a supplement or sprinkle the powder on top of your pet’s normal food.

Ideal option: It has been noted that humans and animals receive the greatest health benefits of turmeric when fat and black pepper are present. See the recipe below to make turmeric paste.

Additional option: Look for treats with added turmeric. While it is believed that the heat used to bake treats may diminish the curcumin, there is still a benefit to your pet.

Recipe

Turmeric Paste

1/2 cup turmeric powder
2 cups water (+1/2 cup, as needed)
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup cold pressed olive or coconut oil

Place turmeric and water in a pot over low heat. Stir often for 7-10 minutes, until a thick paste forms. Add additional water as need to obtain desired consistency. Add pepper and oil, stirring vigorously, and allow to cool. Store in sealed container (glass recommended) and refrigerate. Use within 2-4 weeks.

Notes

• It is not recommended to use commercial turmeric capsules/ pills that contain a high level of curcumin (95% or higher)

• If your dog is on medication that thins his/her blood, speak with your veterinarian before you add turmeric to your dog’s diet.

• If your pet has loose stools reduce the dose to 1/8 teaspoon. Remain at this dose for 7-10 days, slowly increasing by tiny amounts, observing your pet and watching for any signs of distress.

*As with any supplement or medication, always check with your veterinarian before administering it to your pet.

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