Is honey safe for dogs?

Raw and unfiltered local honey has plenty of benefits for people: antioxidants, reduced sugar crashes – it even helps with coughs. But when feeding your furry friends, honey’s role is a little more complicated.

Domesticated dogs have gradually evolved into the (usually) obedient pets we know today. Their bodies create the various enzymes needed to digest starches, sugars, cooked foods and many raw foods, too. But, like people, dogs need a balanced diet with the right amounts of carbs, protein and fats.

Vets and nutritionists are fairly confident that dogs don’t need as many carbs in their diet as humans. There’s even a debate around whether dogs need any carbohydrates at all–which would include honey. So, it’s safe to say that your dog doesn’t urgently need honey to survive. But they’re definitely capable of digesting carbs, which is why many dog foods include some grain or starches mixed in.

In the wild, dogs are carnivores first, only occasionally munching on starches and grains. In studies where dogs were allowed to choose their own diet, they went for more than 90% fats and proteins. But, in a completely unsurprising twist, the study pups ate way too much and quickly put on extra weight. The healthiest options for your dog’s diet are probably not removing all carbs or letting the dog decide what all it eats. Instead, always make gradual adjustments and carefully note how your dog reacts.

As people become more conscious of where their food comes from, they’re also feeding their dogs more natural, unprocessed foods. Raw and unfiltered local honey could certainly be part of a raw diet: a reward for good behavior or to help a mild cough. If your dog likes a little honey now and then, that should be no problem. And if honey works as a sweet treat that your dog loves, let it be just that––a treat.