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Turmeric for Cats and Dogs


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is part of the ginger family. The rhizomes or creeping roots of the plant have been used as a spice, perfume, in cosmetics and as a dye for thousands of years in parts of Asia. It's also been widely used in Ayurveda and Chinese traditional medicine for donkey years.

There are known to be around 45 species of turmeric in India and around 40 in Thailand, not including those species known in other Asian countries. The rhizomes or sprawling roots, are used either fresh or boiled, then dried to be ground into a powder. 

Like ginger, turmeric is an antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral spice that has many healing properties and is known to primarily help as an anti-inflammatory or antioxidant. It has a lot of traditional uses such as being made into a paste to heal wounds and being used in cooking. Sold as a grounded powder, it makes it easier to use with your pets, just be cautious about the quality of the turmeric you're buying and using. 

You want to use a pure medicinal turmeric powder that hasn't been mixed with anything else and is in its powdered state, not in a pill form etc. Try to avoid the turmeric found in supermarkets as this tends to be a cooking grade only. If you want your pet to benefit from the turmeric healing properties, then buy the best quality powder you can. 

What Are the Health Benefits of Turmeric? 

Turmeric has around 300 components and each crop will have variants in levels depending on the growth conditions, local environment etc. but curcumin is the main active property in turmeric and in traditional medicine practices turmeric has been used to help with inflammation and chronic pain such as arthritis, for years.

Turmeric or curcumin is also getting recognition for helping with diabetes, the liver to cope with toxins, protection against cancers such as pancreatic and prostate cancer, supporting immune health and it can help with things such as digestion to prevent inflammation of the gut and irritable bowel syndrome.(1)

Turmeric has also been linked to improving heart disease by reducing inflammation of the thin layer of tissue lining organs and helps with brain function by keeping the level of growth hormones associated with neurons multiplying and increasing in the brain elevated. (BDNF - Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor). Consequences of low hormone levels in the brain have been connected with diseases such as alzheimer's, age degeneration brain disorders and depression, (2) 

Like ginger two of the biggest benefits of turmeric are...

1) Its ability to act as a digestive aid as this helps keep the digestive enzymes healthy in the intestines 

2) It's ability to act as a natural anti-inflammatory. It's well known scientifically that prolonged inflammation is the root to chronic diseases.  

Turmeric/Curcumin for Cat and Dogs 

Studies are showing that turmeric is as effective if not better than over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs and it has outperformed both aspirin and ibuprofen. It's also considered a good alternative to the use of steroids. (4)

It's been known to help with the following ailments. 

  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • Acts as a natural pain relief
  • Help with heart disease
  • Cognitive health
  • Help as a preventive to cancer and to help treat cancer
  • Reduce the size of tumors
  • Help with IBS issues
  • Help with allergies
  • Immune booster
  • Helps with autoimmune diseases
  • Can help prevent worms
  • Natural alternative to help treat diarrhea
  • Helps change the energy for those dogs that feel the cold as it's a warming herb
  • Helps with the prevention of toxins building up in the liver and pancreas

Turmeric Toxicity & Side Effects in Cats and Dogs 

  • In its powdered form, it's often sold on weight and there have been hundreds of recalls over the years, as it's been known for the powder to be contaminated or adulterated with "red lead" or "mentil yellow" (acid yellow 36) giving it a more orange or yellow colour.(3) These are highly toxic heavy metals for both you and your pet. It's natural colour is gold or deep yellow but it's hard to ensure the quality of the powder from colour alone so always know the true source of your turmeric powder for all parts of its production. As it's been found that most of the contamination, even to organically grown turmeric, comes from the processes and storage.

  • Turmeric is a natural blood thinner so you should avoid giving this to your cat or dog if they are already prescribed blood thinning medication or has a blood disorder.

  • If your dog or cat has a serious illness or is under vet care for an ailment, treatment, operation etc. please ensure you speak with your vet before incorporating turmeric into your dog's diet so it doesn't react with any prescribed medicine.

  • Although rare another possible side effect is constipation, especially for those cats or dogs that normally suffer from constipation. Be aware if your pet begins to struggle more once you start feeding turmeric. You can always cut back the daily recommended amount to where their bowel movement is more normal so they can still benefit from the healing properties without any negative impact on their bowel movement. 

  • Some cats or dogs that have health issues with digestion, absorption, kidney or liver problems can't tolerate the coconut oil and black pepper found in the recipe below. Knowing your pet, you may want to look to substitute those ingredients with other quality ingredients they can tolerate or switch out the coconut oil for a good quality omega 3 oil your cat or dog can take.

Everything starts with plants. Plants are incredibly powerful and have many healing properties especially given that they are forever changing and adapting to the environment around them. Animals being more naturally attuned to the earth work with the healing properties of plants and flowers more so than humans so always go for small amounts when using healing herbs with your cat or dog.

It helps to rotate healing herbs or spices so there are no adverse effects. Turmeric, cardamom and ginger are from the same family and have many of the same healing properties. Learn to switch these in and out of your pet's diet rather than relying solely on one herb all the time and feed your pet inline with the seasons for optimal health.

Also bare in mind it make take days for you to see the outside results. Trust that natural healing is working in tune with the body and organs and not against them. The healing effects of herbs such as turmeric will be working internally to help heal before you'll be able to visibly see the outside results with your pet. The more severe the case, the more time you'll need but for the long term well-being of your pet please be patient whilst the herbs and your pet's body do it's thing.

Homemade Turmeric Recipe for Your Cat and Dog 

This is such as good recipe from Dr Doug English and loved by pets that it's not worth re-inventing. We've added a little tweak for super fussy pets but it's one of the best we've found and works with both your cat and dog. Just ensure you start small with the amounts and work up to the proper feeding guide.

For the healing properties of curcumin to be bioavailable to your pet's body it will need to be combined with both a good quality oil and black pepper. These ingredients combined create the perfect natural chemical reaction that releases the curcumin in turmeric and enables it to easily cross cells to give it time to work within the body. Giving curcumin on it's own will mean it will pass through the digestive system way too quickly to be effective. 

Use this paste as it's super effective and has worked with hundred of pets to help them heal.

Courtesy of Dr Doug English


  • 1/2 cup (60g) turmeric powder
  • 1 cup water (250 ml) plus extra water in reserve, if needed
  • 1/3 cup (70 ml) coconut oil (use raw, unrefined, cold-pressed) Or olive oil (use virgin / extra virgin)
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

* use black peppercorns that you can grind at the time of cooking or the natural chemical reaction between the oil, curcumin and pepper won't work.


  • Place the water and turmeric in a pan and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer until you have a thick paste. This should take about 10 minutes. If you're using raw tumeric, make sure you grate it and cook it for longer, around 30 minutes. You're looking for this to become a paste, like the consistency of hummus, so you may need to add a little extra water to get the final paste.
  • When the paste is no longer hot but still warm add in the freshly ground black pepper and organic coconut or virgin cold pressed olive oil or omega 3 oil if you're substituting.
  • Mix it all together to make sure the oil and pepper sink deep into the paste.
  • You can pop the paste into ice cube trays and freeze or place it in a glass jar, pop it in the fridge and it will stay fresh for use for about 7 to 10 days.

* For super fussy cats or dogs we've found that if you separately cook a really small amount of liver and then grate this cooked liver into the mix, once both the liver and paste are cool, it makes it super attractive to your pet. 

Another alternative is to use a smidgen of the water from the cooked liver to replace any additional water needed to make the paste, if you're having to add a little more water.

Feeding guide 

Keep it simple and start small. Obviously the smaller the pet the less they'll need and the feeding guide will also depend on the ailment you are treating, but ensure you're working with your vet to get the dosages right for their condition. 

As a guide you're looking at:

  • ¼  teaspoon for cats or small breeds, daily
  • ½ teaspoon daily for 10 - 20 kg dogs
  • ¾ teaspoon daily for 20 - 30 kg dogs
  • 1 teaspoon daily for 40kg+ dogs

The easiest way to give this to your pet is to mix the paste it into their food. If you've added the liver for your super fussy pet, then you can give it as though a mini treat, upto the recommended amount. When first adding this to your pet's diet start by halving the recommended amount and build up to the daily amount.

Turmeric is pet friendly so there shouldn't really be any adverse reactions but just in case, keep an eye out when you first start, for any different reaction than normal in your pet such as vomiting or constipation etc. 

How to Grow Turmeric Indoors 

One of the easiest ways to ensure good quality turmeric is grow your own. It's great indoor or outdoor plant and works well in pots too. 

  • Choose a good wide and deep pot so the root can spread and the plant itself can rise happily and flower.
  • Select a root or rhizome that has tiny sprouts or shoots popping out and split it into a few small sections, ensuring each section has a few shoots.
  • Fill you pot with some awesome soil and pop in your small section with the shoots pointing upwards. You want to plant it just a few inches under the soil.
  • Make sure your soil is moist and well-drained and make sure you keep your plant well watered as turmeric likes it moist but not overly wet.
  • Turmeric likes a warm humid client so this is great as an indoor plant if you live in colder climates as it doesn't do well below temperatures of 15 degrees celsius.
  • Place you plant in a sunny place but not full sun as it won't thrive in direct sunlight, it prefers more filtered sunlight.
  • Use organic fertilizer to help it grow if you like, but remember this is for you and your pets so avoid growing your food sources with all kinds of chemicals added to your soil.
  • When the roots are ready for use the leaves on the plant will turn yellow and begin to dry up. This can normally happen around 10 months depending on the growing conditions.
  • Dig up your root, cut the amount you need and replant the root you're not using. Add in more fresh soil to replace any nutrients used by the plant prior.

Making your raw turmeric rhizome into a powder 

With the harvested part of your root...

  • boil it for about 30 minutes
  • peel it
  • pop it on a tray and place it directly in the sun to naturally dry. If not, then allow it to dry naturally in a warm indoor environment with as much exposure to the sun as possible. 
  • Once dried grind it down into a fine powder and voila! - you have your own high quality turmeric powder.
  • Store it in an airtight container/jar.
The root has a natural colour so it'll turn your hands the same yellow as the root, use gloves when peeling and grinding or alternatively if you like doing everything with your bare hands, wash your hands with coconut/olive oil first to break up the powder on your hands and then wash them normally, this should hopefully remove any staining. 

NOW, we'd love to hear your feedback so LEAVE A COMMENT and feel free to share this with people you think will love it.

Natural lifestyle, naturally health, naturally thriving!!


Encyclopaedia Britannica
(1, 2) medicalnewstoday
(3) wikipedia.org/wiki/Turmeric
(3) healthline
(4) Pubmed Central
Cognitive dysfunction in Dogs (CCD)
Autoimmune Diseases in Dogs

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Guest - Jennifer on Tuesday, May 04 2021 18:31

Thanks for Turmeric post. It helped resolve my cat's pain.

Thanks for Turmeric post. It helped resolve my cat's pain.
Guest - Mona5c945 on Saturday, November 12 2022 03:27

Very informative. There are many non believers when it comes to herbs & hopefully sharing it will help. Thanks

Very informative. There are many non believers when it comes to herbs & hopefully sharing it will help. Thanks
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Thursday, November 30 2023

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