Is Honey Safe For Dogs? The Benefits and Risks Explained

Raw honey is an all-natural treat. It’s harvested directly from beehives and not heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit for any reason. It contains pollen and if it’s not strained, you may even see bits of beeswax remaining. Some vendors or local beekeepers may even sell their raw honey with pieces of honeycomb inside.

There are many uses for honey for humans including sweetening a cup of tea, soothing a sore throat or cough and helping to lessen the symptoms of seasonal allergies. But can you share it with your dog? Or more importantly, should you?

The short answer is that yes, in small quantities raw honey has many of the same health benefits for dogs as it does for humans.

Benefits of honey for dogs

Benefits of feeding honey to your dog

Boost their energy

Honey like any other simple carbohydrates can give your pet an energy boost. As the sugars in the honey are broken down your pet may get a burst of energy. This is a great boost for athletic dogs before a run or agility competitors before a training session or competition.

Help dogs who suffer from allergies

Raw honey can help dogs who suffer from allergies. In order for this to be effective not only does the honey need to be raw, it also needs to be locally-sourced. This is because local honey will contain the same pollens that are found in the dog’s environment and will therefore lessen their sensitivity over time. As a note, honey will only help with environmental allergies like pollen and not food allergies. If you suspect your pet has food allergies, adding honey will not help lessen the effect of those allergies. You’ll still want to be sure to eliminate dietary allergens and consult your veterinarian.

Help soothe a kennel cough

Honey may also benefit pups suffering from kennel cough. For this particular situation Manuka honey from Australia might be your best bet. Manuka honey has the highest antibacterial properties of any honey in the world. One caution, it also comes at a significantly higher price tag!

Help with gastrointestinal issues

For pets with digestive issues honey can also be soothing for an upset belly. Honey is helpful for minor stomach upset like after eating too much fresh grass or a treat that didn’t agree with your dog. If your pet’s upset stomach persists seek medical treatment and do not continue to feed honey.

Speed healing of wounds, cuts and scrapes

Another use for honey is to help heal wounds. If you are dealing with a deep wound or puncture wound be sure your pet sees a veterinarian to close and treat the wound properly. For minor burns, scrapes or even hot spots a thin layer of honey can speed healing due to its antibiotic properties. Once you spread the honey on the affected area you want to cover with a dressing, so your pet doesn’t lick the honey off or leave a sticky mess all over your home.

Benefits of honey for dogs

When you should you avoid feeding raw honey to your dog?

Like any other addition to your pet’s diet, honey is not appropriate for all dogs. There are some important factors to consider before giving your pet this sweet snack.

If your dog is overweight:

Since honey is a natural form of sugar it is high in calories and should be used sparingly. Too much honey (or sugar of any kind) can lead to weight gain. You also may wish to brush your dog’s teeth after feeding honey — just like in humans, sugar can lead to tooth decay in canines as well.

If your dog is diabetic:

Diabetic dogs should not consume honey as it is high on the glycemic index and can raise their blood sugar to unhealthy levels. In this case the risks outweigh the benefits of sharing honey with your dog. If you need to raise your dog’s blood sugar however, honey could be a safe and effective method. You’ll want to check with your dog’s vet before ever providing this sweet treat to your diabetic pet.

If your dog is elderly, a young puppy or has a compromised immune system:

Another time you may want to avoid raw honey is in puppies, elderly dogs or dogs with compromised immune systems.This is because honey contains bacterial spores. The bacteria can be beneficial for healthy dogs, but can make dogs with immature or compromised immune systems ill. Just like babies under a year old cannot eat raw honey, the same rules apply to our dogs. Check with your vet before giving your young dog honey, he or she can help you determine the best time to start incorporating honey into your dog’s diet.

If your dog is allergic to bees:

Dogs who are allergic to bees should also avoid eating honey as it can also cause an allergic reaction.

If you have any questions or concerns about feeding your dog raw honey, check with your veterinarian for recommendations for your specific pet. He or she will have an understanding of your pet’s health history and be better able to help you decide if it is right for your dog.

How much honey should your dog eat?

A teaspoon of raw honey contains about 70 calories and 17 grams of sugar. This is a significant amount of sugar for you pet. You’ll want to limit honey to a teaspoon or less per day.

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For smaller dogs a teaspoon may still be too much, be sure to ask your vet for a recommended serving size specific to your dog. If your small dog occasionally consumed a full teaspoon of honey it should not be harmful, you just don’t want to give them too many calories or too much sugar in one serving.

Benefits of honey for dogs

How to feed honey to your dog

Once you’ve determined how much honey your pet can safely eat, you have to decide how you will feed honey to your dog. While you could just allow them to lick it off a spoon or from their dish, there are some other creative ways to add raw honey to your dog’s diet.

  • Spread a thin layer of honey on their favorite treat. This will make it even more special. Be careful not to let them eat it on their bed or your couch. You don’t want to be cleaning up a sticky mess if your dog drops it.
  • Put some honey on a slice of apple, banana, or other pet-safe fruit Mix with some pumpkin puree, cream cheese, plain yogurt, or peanut butter. You can even layer some of these ingredients into a little parfait for a fun and fancy treat. Try to layer a teaspoon of plain yogurt, a teaspoon of pumpkin and a drizzle of honey in a small dish. You can garnish with a biscuit or crush up a treat for a crunchy ‘topping’ if you’re feeling especially decadent.
  • Let your dog lick it off a spoon or spatula. Coat the back of a large wooden spoon or a spatula with a thin layer of honey. This could also be a fun activity to use if your dog is nervous about a bath or nail clipping. A tasty treat might be the perfect distraction to help your pup relax!
  • Create an herbal honey for your dog. This article in Whole Dog Journal offers instructions for mixing honey with lemon balm for added health benefits.

Raw honey has a long shelf life and should be stored in a sealed, air-tight container. You want to keep your raw honey in a cool, dry place. Raw honey sometimes crystallizes, due to the overabundance of sugar. This is a perfectly natural occurrence and does not mean your honey has gone bad or you shouldn’t give it to your pet. You can simply soak the jar in some warm water to bring it back to its syrupy consistency. You don’t want to boil the honey as the high heat can spoil it.

Note that if you bake with honey you may lose some of the health benefits of raw honey. This is because heating it will kill the good bacteria that provide honey with its health benefits. Something you’ll want to take into consideration if you are feeding your pet honey to combat allergies or for the antibiotic properties of the honey.

Next time you go to make yourself a cup of tea or peanut butter and honey sandwich, you just might be tempted to share with your pup friend — and that might be a great decision for their health too!

Sharing a favorite food with some potential health benefits could be a great bonding experience for you and your dog. Having a great relationship with your pet can make both of you happier and healthier.

The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out

— Update: 06-01-2023 — found an additional article Can Dogs Eat Honey? Here's Everything You Need to Know from the website for the keyword benefits of honey for dogs.

Let’s look at all of the ways honey can help your furry companion and explain why you should be especially careful if your pup is diabetic or allergic to bee stings.

  • Is honey good for dogs?
  • Benefits of honey for dogs
  • When to avoid feeding honey to dogs
  • Additional natural remedies
  • How much honey should you give your dog?
  • How to feed honey to your dog
  • Key Takeaways

Pro tip: Honey is high on the glycemic index and can raise your dog’s blood sugar to unhealthy levels. Pet insurance covers the diagnostics and treatment for diabetes as long as it’s not deemed a pre-existing condition.

Is honey good for dogs?

When given in moderate amounts, honey can do wonders for your dog’s health. This superfood is chock-full of nutrients crucial for healthy body functions and is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Vitamin C is essential for strengthening the immune system, maintaining bones, cartilage, and teeth, helping repair and grow body tissue, etc.
  • Vitamin B supports cell growth and health, helps with cell metabolism, and helps prevent infections. It also supports brain function and boosts energy levels.
  • Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and helps protect the cells from harmful free radicals.
  • Vitamin D helps regulate phosphate and calcium in the body. Vitamin D insufficiency can result in bone issues.
  • Vitamin K helps wounds to heal and is essential for blood clotting.
  • Antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acid help protect the body from oxidative stress and are an excellent supplement for pregnant dogs.

Honey also contains sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals like zinc, phosphate, iron, manganese, sodium, copper, potassium, and magnesium. All these minerals are beneficial for different body functions, like red blood cells and collagen production.

Benefits of honey for dogs

Honey is safe for dogs and in many cases, can be actually very good for them to eat. Here are some of the top holistic benefits your pup could enjoy.

Benefits of honey for dogs

Allergy relief

If your four-legged friend suffers from seasonal allergies, they might benefit from honey. Honey contains trace amounts of flower pollen that you can slowly introduce to your dog’s immune system to help them create antibodies that prevent an autoimmune response to airborne pollen. Also, pollen contains Quercetin, a naturally occurring polyphenol that’s rich in antihistamines and can help with itchy, watery eyes.

For best results, use raw, unfiltered honey that will also boost the pet’s immunity. Also, you should opt for local honey because it contains the local pollen that will affect your dog.

Wounds and skin irritation

Honey can also be used for minor wounds, cuts, scrapes, scratches, and burns. It can also help with eczema, hot spots, and insect bites. Unpasteurized honey has antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties that help speed up healing.

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Apply a thin layer of honey on the affected area and then cover it with a dressing to prevent your canine companion from licking it off or making a mess in your house.

If you’re dealing with deeper, more serious wounds, make sure to take your pet to the vet so that the damage can be closed and treated correctly.

Kennel cough

If your dog has kennel cough or other breathing issues, honey is an excellent way to provide relief. You can use local honey or Manuka honey, which is recognized for its unusually abundant content of antibacterial compounds.

Gastrointestinal upset

Minor bouts of diarrhea or stomach upset resulting from something simple, like your pup eating grass, can be soothed with some honey. It might also help combat several gastrointestinal (GI) diseases like colitis, gastritis, bacterial overgrowth, and irritable bowel disease.

Some vets recommend honey to help with minor stomach ulcers in dogs, as honey’s natural antibacterial properties can help destroy bacteria that might be causing the ulcer. In this case, it is best to consult with a vet to be sure of what you are dealing with and the best course of action.

Energy boost

Honey contains sugar, and sugar provides an instant energy boost. The natural sugars in honey break down more slowly than processed sugars and can increase energy levels in a healthy way. Pet parents give it to athlete dogs to promote vitality and endurance and senior dogs who need to regain some of their spunk. The anti-inflammatory properties of honey can also help senior pets to move around more easily by soothing arthritic joints.

Benefits of honey for dogs

When to avoid feeding honey to dogs

Like any other human food, honey is not appropriate for all canines. And it can be dangerous if given in large quantities. There are some factors to take into considerations before feeding your pet this sweet treat.

Diabetic dogs

Honey is high on the glycemic index and could cause a spike in blood sugar levels. If your pet has diabetes, consult your vet about whether honey is safe, and consider offering treats that are lower in sugar, such as cucumbers, instead.

Overweight dogs

Honey contains sugar, so it’s high in calories. Too much honey can result in weight gain, but it can also lead to tooth decay, so be sure to brush your pup’s teeth after feeding.

Dogs allergic to bees

Dogs can develop an allergy to bee stings, and those that are hypersensitive might have an allergic reaction from eating honey.

Puppies and senior dogs

Puppies, seniors, and dogs with weakened immune systems should also avoid honey because it contains bacteria that can be beneficial for healthy canines, but negatively impact those with compromised or immature immune systems ill. Speak to your vet to determine the best time to start including honey in your dog’s diet.

Pro tip: The pet insurance cost you pay each month helps ensure you can find the right treatment for your dog’s condition without fear of affordability.

Additional natural remedies

As you can see, honey offers several health benefits for dogs, but it isn’t the only bee product that may help them feel better. Although there is no scientific evidence that proves these claims, many people find that propolis, bee pollen, beeswax, and royal jelly all offer holistic health solutions for dogs.

Benefits of honey for dogs (Image source: Pexels)


Propolis is said to be a natural antibiotic that is used to fight infections with has cancer-inhibiting properties. Similar to honey, propolis can be applied topically to help heal cuts and wounds.

Bee pollen

Pollen acts as a natural antioxidant, protecting the body from harmful free radicals. Free radicals can cause damage to the cells, proteins, and DNA in your pet’s body, resulting in premature aging, cancer, and other diseases.


Beeswax is perfect for healing dry, cracked paws or elbow calluses. Melt the wax and combine it with a few drops of herb-infused oil (such as plantain or calendula) and then apply to the affected area.

Royal jelly

Royal jelly can be an excellent way to give your canine companion more stamina and endurance. It might even help with anxiety and depression.

How much honey should you give your dog?

If you want to introduce honey into your pup’s diet, talk to your vet about the appropriate amount. When it comes to dog treats, less is usually more, especially for small breed dogs. One teaspoon of honey contains 17 grams of sugar and about 70 calories, which is why you might want to limit the honey to a teaspoon a day. For small breed dogs, even a teaspoon might be too much.

Here are some general guidelines pet owners should follow in order to make sure their canine friends don’t get too much honey:

  • Dogs under 10 lbs: 0.25 tsp/day
  • 10 – 20 lbs: 0.50 tsp/day
  • 20 – 50 lbs: 1 tsp/day
  • Over 50 lbs: 2 tsp/day

As with all new foods, it’s best to start small and watch for any adverse reaction. Begin by adding just a drop of honey into your dog’s food until they get used to the taste and smell. When giving pollen, begin with a few granules for several days and if everything is okay, increase the amount to 0.5 tsp of pollen granules per 25 lbs of weight.

If a small pup occasionally eats a teaspoon of honey, it shouldn’t do any harm. However, if they consistently consume more than a full tablespoon, watch for increased blood sugar symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. If your pet has these symptoms, get in touch with your veterinarian for advice.

Benefits of honey for dogs (Image source: Pexels)

How to feed honey to your dog

You could always just let your pup lick honey off a spoon or from a dish, but why not get more creative? Here are some fun ways to incorporate honey into your pup’s diet.

  • Smear some honey on a slice of banana, apple, or another fruit safe for dogs. Alternatively, you can add everything to a food processor, blend the ingredients, and then freeze and serve as a refreshing treat during summer days.
  • Spread a thin layer of honey on your pup’s favorite treat to make it even more special.
  • Combine honey with some plain yogurt, peanut butter, or pumpkin puree and garnish with a biscuit.
  • Mix herbal honey. Use dried herbs with antiviral, antibacterial, and/or antifungal properties, such as lavender, oregano, lemon balm, thyme, etc. Put these herbs in a jar until it’s half-filled, fill the jar with honey, and cover the herbs. Leave the sealed jar in a warm place for at least two weeks. Filter the herbal honey through a cheesecloth or a strainer to remove the herbs before use. Store in the fridge or at room temperature.

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_NOTE: _It’s critical to check all herbs with your veterinarian as some can be toxic to dogs.

If you make baked goods for your dog using honey, you should bear in mind that it might lose some of the health benefits because high temperatures will kill the good bacteria.

When choosing honey to offer your pet, opt for raw honey, as it will be in its purest form and hasn’t been heated, processed, or pasteurized. Honey that’s highly pasteurized usually looks more clear in color and watery and has decreased health benefits.

Store the liquid in a sealed, air-tight container, stashed in a cool and dry place. The overabundance of sugar makes honey unstable, so it often crystallizes. This is perfectly normal and doesn’t mean the honey has gone bad or that you should not give it to your dog. All you need to do is place the jar in warm water in order to bring the honey back to its original consistency. However, be careful not to boil it as high heat can spoil the honey.

— Update: 07-01-2023 — found an additional article The Many Benefits of Raw Honey for Dogs from the website for the keyword benefits of honey for dogs.

We’ve all heard of the benefits of eating raw honey, but did you know that your dogs can also benefit from this delicious treat? 

The benefits of raw honey have been known for centuries. Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” even prescribed honey as a medication. Petroglyphs over 7,000 years old depict people collecting honey from hives.

Benefits of honey for dogs

The Many Benefits of Honey for Dogs

Benefits of honey for dogs

Raw honey is used for many conditions in people and pets. It’s been shown to reduce healing time of skin conditions, relieve seasonal allergies, improve digestive health and even provide your dog a natural source of energy.

Vitamins, Minerals: Raw honey is naturally rich in minerals (like calcium, potassium, manganese, copper and many others) as well as vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E, and K.

Antioxidants: Honey is also filled with flavonoids, which are natural antioxidants. These help slow the aging process, prevent illness by, and preserve food. They serve an important role in pet health.

Simple Sugars: Raw honey contains simple sugars, like glucose and fructose. These are known as monosaccharides which are more easily absorbed than complex sugars (like the disaccharides and polysaccharides often found in processed sugar, starchy veggies, and other sources).

Kennel Cough: Just as raw honey provides relief to humans suffering from a cough or cold, it may also help your dog find relief from the dry, unproductive cough caused by bordetella or “kennel cough”. Honey helps coat the throat and helps to relieve coughing .

Allergy Relief: Raw honey is perhaps most well known for it’s ability to relieve allergy symptoms. Honey works in much the same way as getting an allergy shot – minute exposure helps make you immune to specific allergies. K9 Honey contains raw pollen from 9 geographic regions to make it effective for your pet no matter where you’re located in North America!

Improved Digestion: Raw honey doesn’t ferment in your dog’s belly, which helps to calm and coat their stomach lining.

Wound Care: There are many studies exploring the benefits of raw honey, Manuka honey and medical honeys for their roles in healing. Thus far, honey has proven to play a significant role in wound care by decreasing the time it takes to heal while preventing infection. Some scientists are even exploring the role of raw honey in treating antibiotic-resistant infections like MRSA, VRE, MDR-TB, and CRE.

Senior Pets: Many reports are emerging that show feeding dogs raw honey may improve mobility in arthritic dogs.

With the incredible benefits of raw honey for dogs in mind, K9 Honey created the first honey for dogs! Blended with pollen from nine geographic regions, the honey helps alleviate allergy symptoms in dogs (no matter where they live or travel).

Benefits of honey for dogs

How much honey can you give your dogs?

Benefits of honey for dogs

Just like any other treat or pet food, the key to feeding honey is in moderation. Too much honey can result in obesity or dental problems. But, when you stay within recommended guidelines, most veterinarians and nutritionists agree that it can be very beneficial.

The recommended serving sizes are as follows:

1-10 lb dog ½ tsp per day
11-30 lb dog 1 tsp per day
31-50 lb dog 2 tsp per day
50+ lb dog 1 tbsp per day

Are There Dogs Who Shouldn’t Have Honey?

You should always discuss new supplements, treats, or foods, with your veterinarian before giving anything new to your pets.  While honey is largely regarded as one of the safest foods out there, you should at least be aware of the following:

Young Puppies: It’s generally recommended that young puppies skip this delicious treat until they are about 3 months old. This is due to raw honey possibly containing spores from an anaerobic bacteria and some believe that it could transmit botulism to young pets who don’t have a fully developed digestive system.

Diabetic Dogs: The jury is still out on whether diabetic dogs can have raw honey. While some believe that it slowly increases the insulin levels, and is therefore fine to give in small amounts, others believe that it’s not safe. Talk to your veterinarian about the best options for your pets.

Dogs Allergic to Bees: If your dog is allergic to bee stings, then you should be aware that there is a (very remote) possibility that raw honey may result in skin lesions or oral ulcers. Again, you should discuss this with your veterinarian.

To learn more or to purchase K9 Honey, click here. Or purchase from


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