Homemade Dog Food May Be Trendy, but Its Best to Avoid Giving Your Dog This Sweetener

Honey can adversely impact overweight and diabetic dogs, and too much honey for otherwise healthy dogs can cause issues as well.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Mar. 5 2024, Published 2:25 p.m. ET

A brown dog licks its nose while a woman drinks a smoothie with honey in the foreground.
Source: iStock

The honey industry is destructive to the environment; humans are wrongly stealing the product of bees' work, and although honey is touted as a natural pantry staple with medicinal benefits, it's potentially harmful to humans and dogs alike.

The future of bees on earth may be in jeopardy due to the savage industry forcing bees to make honey, and the prospect of a world without bees is dire.

Article continues below advertisement

Although pet parents want to do the right thing for their canine companions and feed them as much natural food as possible, keep reading to learn why honey is an ingredient best left out of their bowls and away from their treats.

A pet parent in an orange shirt and jeans smiles upon her dog, who is eating from a metal bowl in a kitchen.
Source: iStock
Article continues below advertisement

Can dogs have honey?

In a strictly "will a dog survive if they eat honey?" sense, yes. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), honey can be safely given to dogs in small amounts.

PetMD confirms that honey is non-toxic to dogs and can be administered in small quantities.

Per Petco, honey should be considered only as a rare treat. Also, Petco recommends that the small amount of honey should then be followed by tooth brushing in order to prevent periodontal disease.

Article continues below advertisement
A brown dog receives an examination by a veterinarian with a stethoscope in red scrubs.
Source: iStock

What are the risks of giving dogs honey?

The AKC advises that the extremely high sugar content of honey means dogs can rapidly gain weight from consuming it. Issues may arise quickly, especially if the dog's diet isn't otherwise well-balanced and they have a more sedentary lifestyle.

Pet food brand Purina likewise advises against giving dogs honey due to its sugar content, which they explain can lead to weight gain. This could prove to be a crucially bad mistake, especially for diabetic dogs.

Article continues below advertisement

PetMD acknowledges that ingesting honey can cause stomach problems, which may lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and other symptoms. That's not all: per a Chewy blog post, too much honey can exacerbate dental issues in dogs with preexisting dental problems and can cause tooth decay otherwise.

Even if a dog parent were to overlook the concerning plight bees face, the issue remains of how easy it is to rapidly overfeed honey to dogs.

To wit: per PetMD, the recommended portion of honey for dogs 51-90 lbs. is just two teaspoons, while dogs 91 lbs. and above can safely consume just one tablespoon. It may be more difficult for well-intentioned pet parents of extra-small and medium-sized dogs to measure fractions of a teaspoon, thus unintentionally overfeeding their pup.

Additionally, per Fetch pet insurance, raw honey is an especially risky additive to your dog's dish, as it may contain harmful bacteria that could make your dog sick.

"If your dog has had allergic reactions to bee stings, then honey could cause issues such as skin lesions and oral ulcers," according to Dr. Lindsay Butzer, DVM, via Fetch.

More from Green Matters

Latest Pets News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.