Can Dogs Eat Honey? 5 Surprising Benefits

Beekeeper extracting honey for dogs

Vanessa Truswell

You might have wondered ... can dogs eat honey?

The answer is yes, but with some considerations to ensure it’s safe and beneficial for your pup.

Honey is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can support your dog's overall well-being.

But you need to know how to properly incorporate honey into your dog's diet to avoid any potential health issues. Here's why honey is good for dogs, and how to give it safely.

Is Honey Good For Dogs?

Honey is a nutrient-dense natural sweetener that offers several health benefits for dogs when given in moderation. It contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium, which are vital for maintaining your dog's health.

Plus, honey's natural antioxidants can help support your dog’s immune system and overall wellness.

But the key thing to remember is, like many thing, honey is only healthy in moderation. This is because honey is high in natural sugars. While these sugars provide a quick source of energy, excessive consumption can lead to weight gain and other health issues.

So it's best to offer honey as an occasional treat rather than a regular part of your dog’s diet.

With that in mind, here are the top five reasons why you might consider giving your dog honey:

1. Raw Honey May Help With Seasonal Allergies

If your dog gets seasonal allergies, local raw honey might provide some relief. Raw honey contains trace amounts of flower pollen. When you feed your dog local honey, it gradually introduces these pollen particles into their system, which can help build up a tolerance.

To get the most benefit, ensure the honey is raw and sourced locally. The local pollen in the honey will be more relevant to your dog's environment and more effective in helping them build up immunity to local allergens. Start with a small amount, like a teaspoon for small dogs or a tablespoon for larger dogs, and observe any changes in their allergy symptoms.

2. Honey for Skin Health

Honey can also be beneficial for your dog's skin health. It can be used topically to support the skin and help soothe minor irritations. For dogs with minor skin issues like dry patches or small cuts, a thin layer of honey can help maintain moisture and support the natural healing process.

To use honey topically, first ensure the area is clean. Apply a small amount of raw honey directly to the affected area and cover it with a bandage to prevent your dog from licking it off. This can be particularly useful for skin folds, paws, and other areas prone to dryness or minor abrasions.

3. Honey for Digestive Health

Including honey in your dog's diet can support their digestive health. Honey contains natural prebiotics that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These good bacteria are essential for healthy digestion and nutrient absorption, which can lead to better overall health for your dog.

Add a small amount of honey to your dog’s food—about half a teaspoon for small dogs and up to a teaspoon for larger dogs. This can help maintain a healthy balance of gut flora and support digestive processes. However, always monitor your dog’s response to ensure she tolerates it well.

4. Honey for Weight Management

While honey is a natural sugar, it metabolizes differently than refined sugars, making it a healthier option for weight management. The slow absorption of honey helps to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels, providing a steady source of energy.

Incorporate honey into your dog's diet in moderation. A small amount, like a quarter teaspoon for small dogs or half a teaspoon for larger dogs, can be mixed into her food. This can help provide a natural energy boost and support a balanced metabolism without contributing to excessive weight gain.

5. Honey For General Wellness

Finally, the natural antioxidants found in honey can help support your dog's overall wellness. These powerful antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals in the body, which are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage. By combating these free radicals, antioxidants help promote general health and vitality, contributing to your dog’s long-term well-being.

Regular consumption of honey may also help maintain a healthy balance of antioxidants in your dog's system. This can support various bodily functions, including the immune system, cardiovascular health, and cognitive function.

The antioxidants in honey can also aid in reducing oxidative stress, which is a common contributor to aging and various health issues.

Other Benefits of Honey for Dogs

There's more to bees than honey. In fact, other bee products such as bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly, and beeswax also offer a range of benefits for your dog’s health.

Here's a quick overview:

Bee Pollen: Bee pollen is a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that support your dog's overall health. One of the significant benefits of bee pollen is its ability to fight free radicals in the body.

Free radicals are damaged molecules that can lead to cellular damage and contribute to aging and various health issues. By scavenging these free radicals, bee pollen helps protect your dog's cells, promoting longevity and vitality.

Additionally, bee pollen can support a healthy immune system and may help with seasonal allergy symptoms due to its natural antihistamine properties.

Propolis: Propolis, a resinous substance collected by bees from tree buds and sap flows, is renowned for its natural antibiotic properties. It's been used for centuries to manage infections and support wound healing.

For dogs, propolis can be particularly beneficial for treating minor cuts, scrapes, and skin irritations. Its antibacterial properties help keep wounds clean, while its ability to promote skin regeneration aids in faster healing.

Applying propolis topically can provide a protective barrier, reducing the risk of infection and supporting overall skin health.

Royal Jelly: Royal jelly, a nutrient-rich secretion produced by worker bees, is known for its ability to enhance endurance and stamina. This superfood can be especially beneficial for active dogs or those participating in sports and agility training.

Royal jelly contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can help support your dog's energy levels, support muscle function, and promote overall vitality. Additionally, it may help manage stress and anxiety, providing a calming effect for dogs in high-pressure situations.

Beeswax: Beeswax, a natural wax produced by honeybees, can be used to create healthy salves for your dog's skin. It's particularly useful for treating dry, cracked paws and elbow calluses.

By melting down beeswax and mixing it with herb-infused oils like calendula or plantain, you can create a soothing balm that provides moisture and protection. This homemade salve can help heal and soften rough skin, offering relief and preventing further damage.

Regular application of beeswax-based salves can keep your dog's paws and elbows healthy and comfortable.

Honey Risks For Dogs

While honey offers many benefits, it's still importantto exercise caution when introducing it to your dog's diet, especially for diabetic dogs and puppies under one year of age.

Diabetic dogs need careful monitoring because honey can impact blood sugar levels.

Puppies under one year should avoid honey due to the potential presence of Clostridium botulinum spores, which their immature immune systems may not handle well.

For all dogs, when introducing honey, start gradually to ensure they tolerate it well. There's always a small risk of adverse or allergic reactions with any new food. So begin with a small amount, such as a drop or two mixed into their regular food, and observe for any adverse reactions. Gradually increase the amount over time, monitoring for any signs of digestive upset or changes in behavior.

Consulting with your holistic vet can provide additional guidance tailored to your dog's specific health needs.

How Much Honey Is Too Much Honey For Dogs?

Given the high sugar content, figuring out the right amount of honey for your dog is crucial to avoid overconsumption.

The following guidelines provide a safe starting point for adult dogs based on your dog's weight:

  • Up to 10lbs: ¼ teaspoon daily
  • 10-20lbs: ½ teaspoon daily
  • 20-50lbs: 1 teaspoon daily
  • 50lbs+: Up to 2 teaspoons daily

Adjust the dosage accordingly ... and ensure that honey remains an occasional treat rather than a regular part of the diet (to avoid potential health issues related to high sugar intake).

What Kind Of Honey Can I Give My Dog?

It's important to choose pure, raw, unfiltered, and organic honey to get the most out of the potential health benefits.

Raw honey retains more nutrients and beneficial properties compared to processed honey, which often lacks the pollen, propolis, and enzymes that make honey a valuable supplement.

Look for honey from local beekeepers, as it is more likely to contain pollen from your area, which can be beneficial for dogs with seasonal allergies. High-quality honey is typically darker in color and may crystallize when stored in cooler temperatures.

Avoid honey that appears overly clear or runny, as it may have been processed and filtered, removing many of its beneficial components.

Protect The Bees

Did you know bees play a vital role in our ecosystem, contributing to the pollination of 75% of the world’s crops, which in turn supports global food security?

Unfortunately, bee populations are declining due to the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides, habitat loss, and other environmental pressures.

To support bee populations, avoid using pesticides in your yard, especially neonicotinoids like acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, and imidacloprid.

Instead, create a bee-friendly environment by planting a variety of flowers that provide nectar and pollen throughout the growing season.

Allow dandelions and other wildflowers to grow, and consider setting up a small bee sanctuary in your garden.

Final Thoughts

Honey offers many benefits, from supporting immune function and aiding in seasonal allergy relief to promoting healthy digestion and skin health. However, moderation is key to avoid potential health issues related to high sugar intake from this sweet treat.

When you feed honey, always select high-quality, raw, and organic honey to ensure your dog reaps the full benefits without the risks associated with processed varieties.

Beyond honey, other bee products like pollen, propolis, and royal jelly also offer unique health benefits for dogs. By integrating these natural remedies into your dog's diet, you can support their health while also protecting bee populations.


How much honey can a dog have? You can give your dog honey in moderation, with dosage guidelines typically being up to 1 teaspoon daily for dogs weighing 20-50 pounds. It's essential to start with small amounts and monitor for any adverse reactions, ensuring the honey is pure and unpasteurized for the best benefits.

Is honey toxic for dogs? Honey is not toxic for dogs when given in moderation and can offer various health benefits. However, pet parents should avoid giving honey to puppies under one year old and always opt for unpasteurized honey to ensure it’s free from harmful contaminants.

What are the benefits of honey for dogs? Honey provides numerous benefits for dogs, including soothing sore throats and supporting digestion. Unpasteurized honey, particularly manuka honey, can also be incorporated into homemade dog treats to enhance overall wellness and support immune function.

Does honey help dogs with itching? Yes, honey may help alleviate itching in dogs due to its natural soothing properties. Manuka honey, in particular, is effective in managing minor skin irritations and can be used in homemade dog treats to provide relief for pets with itchy skin or kennel cough.