Can You Use Honey to Treat Allergies in Dogs?

Among the many ways to treat allergies in your dog, giving him a small amount of raw honey each day may be one of the easiest to help him feel better if he has an atopic allergy that's triggered by pollen.

What Kind of Honey Works

Raw local honey is the type of honey that can help treat your dog's allergies. Because it is from local hives, it will have small amounts of local pollens, which is what can help relieve some of your pet's allergies. Don't be alarmed if the raw honey has a cloudy appearance; the cloudiness is caused by the pollens that are still present in the honey.

Processed honey from another part of the country will not be effective as an allergy treatment. Processed honey has been heat treated to clear its appearance, and the heat treatment destroys the effectiveness of the pollen in the honey.

You can find raw local honey at farmers' markets, health food stores and in the health food sections of some larger grocery stores. You may also be able to find local honey sources by conducting an online search using "raw honey [city, state]" as your keywords.

How Honey May Help Treat Allergies

Proponents of giving allergic dogs raw local honey believe that the combination of pollen and honey is what helps the dog achieve a level of allergy relief. It works like this: Bees visit flowers to collect nectar that they use to make honey. In addition to collecting the nectar, they also collect small amounts of pollens that become part of the honey. If you offer your dog a small amount of local raw honey each week, you will be giving him minute amounts of local pollens to which his system can develop an immunity over time. Once he's developed the immunity, he should no longer show clinical signs of his allergy.

Although most dogs do not achieve a complete cure by consuming raw honey alone, a weekly dose of honey should help reduce the clinical signs and help your pet feel a little better during allergy season.

How Much Honey to Give

The amount of honey you'll give your dog depends on his size. Smaller dogs should receive a teaspoon weekly, while larger dogs can consume a tablespoon each week. The effects are cumulative, so plan to treat your dog for three or four weeks before allergy season begins in your area.

Many dog owners also find relief from their seasonal allergy symptoms by taking regular doses of raw honey themselves. You may want to start with a teaspoon a week and adjust according to your weight and the severity of your allergy symptoms.

Do not give raw honey to children under 1 year of age, because the risk of the child contracting botulism is too great.

Other Potential Health Benefits of Honey

Some dog owners have found additional health benefits to feeding raw local honey to their dogs, including improved mobility in arthritic dogs, higher energy levels, stress reduction and improved digestion in any dog that consumes the raw honey.

Honey provides a dog with trace minerals such as iron, manganese, calcium, potassium, copper and phosphorus. It also contains a wealth of vitamins, including A, B-complex, C, D, E and K.