Manuka honey is a special kind of honey from New Zealand. It is gaining widespread popularity as a medicinal honey. But its natural benefits are not restricted to humans.
The healing and nutritive benefits of this honey can make a difference for your dogs as well! Read on to learn how this unique honey can be of benefit to your pooch.
Manuka Honey For Dogs!
Natural honey has decent anti-bacterial and anti-microbial effects. In many cultures, raw honey is used to treat wounds, cuts, and burns. Even animals, including dogs, can benefit from these treatments.
But modern mass-produced honey is usually pasteurized. That process removes the healing effects. So what then is the best alternative to processed honey, with the assured healing effect?
That option would be Manuka honey. Manuka is a medical grade honey. It is not something you would buy just as a breakfast food. It has a stronger antibacterial effect than both processed and raw honey.
If you want something natural with a potent healing effect for your dog, Manuka is what you need.
So What’s So Special About Manuka?
Manuka is a flowering plant found only in New Zealand and parts of Australia. When honeybees collect nectar exclusively from the white flowers of this plant, you get Manuka honey. The nectar from the Manuka flower is unique, high in special compounds called methylglyoxal or MGO.
They can kill bacteria and other microorganisms very efficiently. Ordinary honey gets its antibacterial powers from a compound called peroxide. Manuka honey contains both peroxides as well as methylglyoxal. This is what makes Manuka honey so special.
How Does A Consumer Know What To Buy?
Buying authentic Manuka honey can be tricky. Manuka honey cannot be mass produced. And yet, there is a lot of hype and demand for this product.
Naturally, there are a lot of brands selling expensive honey labeled as Manuka. But the Manuka honey producers in New Zealand have their association and grading system to help consumers identify authentic Manuka honey.
There are two major factors to look for in any product claiming to be Manuka honey. UMF, or “Unique Manuka Factor” is a registered trademark that is restricted to licensed producers in New Zealand. UMF is a rating system, between 5+ and 28+.
This system calculates the antibacterial activity of every batch of Manuka honey. Another less common rating system is MGO. It rates a honey based on its minimum content of methylglyoxal. MGO rating has four grades, from 100 to 550, with different levels of therapeutic effect.
How Can We Use Manuka Honey For Dogs?
There are two ways in which Manuka honey can help your furry friends. Dogs tend to get a lot of cuts and wounds if they are the playful and an active kind.
Manuka honey will reduce the healing time of all wounds. You can use it as a topical ointment. You can get the antibiotic effects of this honey by eating it, like a medicine.
In this form, it will help heal a lot of doggie diseases like Kennel Cough. It is also beneficial for allergies, ulcers and other stomach issues.
The Quality Of The Honey Matters
This is very important when it comes to Manuka honey. The medicinal value of the honey is tied to the number of active ingredients in the honey. These include MGO and peroxides. Honey collection is a natural process carried out by bees.
And pure Manuka honey undergoes no further processing to maintain its therapeutic benefits. So there can be considerable variation in MGO levels and healing effect of different batches of honey.
You should always use the rating system to pick a high-grade honey. They are more expensive but have a maximum healing effect. Look for higher MGO or UMF+ numbers when choosing a medical grade Manuka honey.
Reasons To Feed Your Dog Manuka Honey
The medical benefits of Manuka honey are backed up by a lot of scientific research. And more studies are happening as we speak. Let’s now see how this honey can benefit your dog:
Local Raw Honey Relieves Dogs' Skin Allergies
Like humans, many dogs are also sensitive to pollen from flowers. Honey is rich in pollen since it is collected from flowers. And Manuka honey is no exception. When a human or dog ingests honey, they also get a good dose of this pollen.
In people and dogs with allergies, eating this pollen will help the body adjust to pollen. This will reduce the risk of severe allergy attacks.
Raw Honey Helps Dogs With Kennel Cough
Honey has a strong healing effect on inflamed throat and airways. And Manuka honey is stronger than regular honey in this aspect. It can also kill a lot of bacteria and germs.
So if your dog is suffering from this illness, manuka honey for dogs will relieve the symptoms and help kill the germs inside as well.
Raw Honey Heals Minor Topical Wounds
Manuka honey is an excellent natural wound dressing. The FDA has approved for its use in burns. If you don't have access to Manuka honey, any raw honey will help.
But remember that pure Manuka honey has strong antibacterial action. It will speed up the healing process significantly.
Raw Honey Reduces Gastrointestinal Upset In Dogs
There are lots of ways in which dogs can get an upset stomach. The less severe events are often the result of eating stuff like grass or getting a minor bacterial infection. Honey has a very soothing effect on the gut.
Some vets prescribe honey for less severe ulcers and bacterial attacks. But you should always consult a vet before treating your dog with honey for stomach illnesses.
Honey Can Give Dogs More Energy
Manuka honey is also rich in easily digested sugars, much like regular honey. So it can give your dog an energy boost.
This can be beneficial for older, more lethargic dogs. But moderation is vital, as excess sugar can lead to diabetes and other complications.
Honey Benefits For Dogs
Let us now try to understand the chemistry and biology behind honey and its benefits for dogs. All honey, including Manuka, is mainly a combination of glucose and fructose.
These are easily digestible sugars. But the health effects of honey stem from other components like Vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, and K), calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and antioxidants.
In addition to these, Manuka honey also contains the unique MGO compound. This is the magic dust that makes Manuka honey the most potent medicinal honey in the world.
So with Manuka honey, a canine body is getting a food rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and antibacterials. The combination helps improve the immune system and also kills germs.
Honey has a low pH which inhibits bacterial growth. Along with it, raw honey contains peroxide which actively kills germs.
On top of that, Manuka honey contains MGO, which further reduces inflammation and fights bacterial infections. As a result, Manuka honey is a great topical agent for wound and burns dressings.
Clear the affected area of all debris and hairs. Wash the burned surface with vinegar to prep it, and then apply Manuka honey liberally.
Repeat the application every ten minutes or so. When your dog shows signs of reduced pain, put a light dressing on the area.
Minor cuts and wounds are much easier to deal with. You do not need any bandages. Just apply the honey liberally over the wound or cut. Try to keep it there for at least 20 minutes for maximum benefits.
Since honey is rich in nutrients, eating it gives your dog the following benefits:
The pollen in the honey desensitizes the immune system of the dog’s body. This ensures that when pollen season comes around, there is reduced allergy attacks and reactions. The same principle is also applicable to the human body.
The GI benefits from honey are mainly due to its antibacterial powers. This makes Manuka honey a much better choice if your dog is suffering from ailments like gastritis, IBD, and colitis.
The health benefits of raw honey are well known. But many dog owners are not aware of the positive impact that raw honey can have on their pets. And an even lesser minority know about the existence of Manuka honey.
Authentic Manuka honey from New Zealand is one of nature’s most powerful antibiotic agents. It may not come cheap, but its health benefits for human and canine alike are well worth the premium price.