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What turmeric might do for animal health

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Is turmeric good for pets?

Many people that own animals, from dogs to horses to cats, give turmeric supplements, paste or powder to their furry friends to help promote optimal health. A simple online search yields much information about the potential benefits of the spice as an anti-infective, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory agent and more. But is turmeric good for animals? What do studies show?


The spice turmeric contains curcumin which is the active ingredient that has been studied to promote health. Curcumin is in the roots and balls of the turmeric plant that is popular in Ayurvedic medicine.

Turmeric uses in animals

Curcumin has the ability to help keep animals healthy, based on studies showing it has anti-cancer activities and so much more, highlighted by Dr. Karen Becker in the video below.

In fact, one study discussed by Dr. Becker states turmeric has more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds to help block an enzyme that cause inflammation associated with arthritis, which many of our animal friends suffer from with aging.

Other uses for turmeric for your animal friend include prevention. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that might help:

  • Stave off cancer
  • Promote liver function
  • Keep the digestive tract healthy
  • Help control blood sugar levels
  • Keep skin and eyes healthy
  • More - the list is almost endless

There is also potential for turmeric to treat sarcoma in cats and slow the progression of autoimmune diseases and studies are ongoing. The Indian spice can also help your animal friends better cope with stress.

One of the best ways to give turmeric to your pet is to add it to food. If you want to give a supplement, look for one with a high absorption rate. If you have a holistic veterinarian you'll want to discuss how much to give your pet.

Turmeric paste

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You can also buy ground turmeric and make a paste using a high grade oil, such as coconut oil. Adding pepper increases the absorption of turmeric. You can add the spice to your animal's food. Again, dosing should be discussed with your Veterinarian. If you read pet food labels, many commercial products already contain some turmeric.

Horse owners will be happy to learn you might be able cure horse hoof abscesses with turmeric, based on the video below, which is not intended to replace Veterinary care. Owners also use the spice for arthritis and other skin disorders that affect horses.

It should be noted that there are still questions about how curcuminoids are absorbed in the body, making it important to look for high grade turmeric or curcumin supplements. Piperine, the active ingredient in pepper is one such ingredient that aids turmeric absorption.You can also add pepper to your pet's food.

Dr. Michael Greger discusses ways to increase turmeric's absorption to get maximum health benefits.

From all indications turmeric's ingredient curcumin is healthy for animals and can be used topically or internally. Like any supplement, food or spice it is important not to give too much. Some evidence suggests turmeric could cause bleeding or gastric upset. High doses can also lead to as yet unknown negative health effects.


"Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: the Golden Pigment from Golden Spice"
Cancer Res Treat. Jan 2014; 46(1): 2–18.
Published online Jan 15, 2014. doi: 10.4143/crt.2014.46.1.2


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I give my dog homemade turmeric biscuits everyday, and all of them are in good health. I can't really attest to their health benefits, since there are no notable signs of health improvement (since they're all in tip-top shape), but I do know that dogs love them! Anyway, it's always best to visit a pet hospital like and see if your pets are in good condition!
Oh yes Anthony - My pets always go to their wellness visits. No herb or other home remedy should replace regular visits to the veterinarian, so thanks for highlighting that. I have a dog with arthritis, from age. I use turmeric in her food. It does seem to help her.
I have been told NOT to adf the pepper to my homemade turmeric and coconut oil mixture, but you don't state its harmful. Whrn I gave it for a few days it seemed to help, I know it aids curcumin absorption but then was told not to use the pepper. Can yoi please advise re safety?
I have the same question, Janet. A friend and I would both like to give turmeric to our cats (I already give it to my dogs, mixed with coconut oil and freshly ground black pepper), but am concerned about the possible harmful effects of pepper on cats. Is it worth giving to cats without the black pepper, Kathleen?
Penny, it is my understanding that there is still benefit without the pepper. The absorption may not be as good, but many cat owners use it for their felines and they claim they see benefits. The best way for a cat is to purchase a high quality turmeric supplement. BioCurcumin is a good choice. To my knowledge, small amounts of black pepper will not harm your cat, but it could upset the stomach. Facebook, for those who use, has a wonderful closed group - Turmeric User Group (TUG). I have learned so much from joining. Dr. Doug English has a wonderful website also that is filled with valuable information for treating animals with turmeric: The site that explains how to give turmeric to a cat (and yes, the recipe includes a small amount of pepper), is here - you can copy and paste: http://www.turmericlife.com.au/turmeric-for-cats-how-to-syringe-feed-golden-paste-to-a-cat/ I hope that helps some. Dr. English is an Australian veterinarian, so I do trust the information. He has been using turmeric for animals for many years and has had good results. I have many cats and follow this closely. I lost one of my cats to cancer recently. I did give turmeric and it did give my kitty some extra time and comfort. Thank you for your questions!
I have tried giving turmeric to my cats in their food and they won't eat it obviously they don't like the taste, I only put in a quarter of a teaspoon in half a tin of their food, my question is can you get it in tablet form and if so what kind of dose can I give them.
Yes you can. My cats don't seem to shun it all, which is interesting. Also, you can see turmeric is added to some pet foods, which is aso interesting. I'm not sure about the dosing, but have read 50-100 mg daily. You might try heating some coconut oil and mixing the turmeric; then pour it on their food also. Thanks for your question.
Can I give the coconut oil and curcumin paste to my rabbit and how much
I was excited to read about tumeric for cats! But gave a tiny amount to my 18yr old cat ( about 8th of a tsp) in water by dropper and had a violent reaction! She started frothing at the mouth and vomiting!!! Have you heard of this reaction before?
I am so sorry Gabriella. I have not heard of that in the past and looking at the internet, I found nothing so far.
My cat had a violent frothing reaction to a medicine once and it scared me so bad, I called the vet. Cats do like anything bitter and bitterness causes them to salivate excessively and they also work their tongues and mouths to expel the nasty taste, causing the frothing. I started keeping extra syringes of water to give right after the meds to dilute the bitternessin the mouth and the frothing stopped.
Hi Gabrielle, LOL when I read your comments on how your cat reacted, as it reminded me of my lovely cat Brandy and how she would react with anything you put in her mouth against her will. It wouldn't matter what it was, she would end up salivating excessively to the point where her chest was very wet or a large pool of froth was at her paws. She was such a character and it seem like an act of defiance. She would just sit and froth, like a chemical reaction was going on in her mouth, or like the suds escaping from the washing machine. Anyhow, once the frothing subsided she never had any ill effect. If I managed to put her medication, supplements etc at the very back of her throat, there was very little or no frothing at all. You could try this. It could be that your cat is trying to get rid of the taste off it's tongue. Best of luck.
Yes! Mine have done the same. I was going to suggest if the cat found it "yucky" they do indeed have those reactions.
If you ever tasted Tumeric, it IS bitter, so why put your cat through that, when you can just mix it into her/his wet food..I wouldn't make them take it orally because of the taste itself..some say we can mix it with coconut oil, but, I'd stay with the wet food instead..If you absolutely have to give it orally, at least buffer it with some coconut oil for kitty...It's hard to get that bitterness off their tongue or out of their mouths..**OR..give a nice treat afterward to absorb the residue of bitterness..
Hi Gabrielle, your poor kitty! We shouldn't give it orally, if you taste it, you will see why your cat threw it up... I know tumeric doesn't taste very good so your kitty obviously didn't like it at all..I would simply mix the powder into her wet food each day. Our cats don't notice the taste this way. You could start with smaller amounts and work up to whatever is recommended. It needs to be hidden and mixed into wet food, if you try sprinkling on dry (which I have stopped feeding to our cats a few years ago) they will smell it and no way will eat it..
Is the turmeric, pepper and oil mixture safe for guinea pigs? I have been searching all over to no avail. If anyone has any knowledge or experience on this please let me know! My little piggy is losing her hair from hormone problems (already took her to the vet and there are no treatment options other than spaying which is too risky for her imo) and I want to try out the turmeric but I'm concerned on if it's safe for them or if it's too strong for their little bellies.
My cat lizzy has a tumor in her throat and mouth my vet suggested tumeric 50/100 mg a day im seeing results
Oh Deborah! That is awesome! My cat recently became anemic and lethargic. She was dehydrated and seems to be developing kidney issues from her lab work, but without a lot of extra testing and invasion, they would not rule out some sort of bone marrow cancer. I syringe fed her coconut oil, a tiny bit of pepper, pate food with water - and turmeric for a week and a half. The Vet gave her some IV fluids. She is so much better; has her appetite back, skipping down the hall and happy. I don't have any new lab work yet, but I couldn't be happier. The Vet basically acted like this was the "end". :(