Can Dogs Eat That

Can Dogs Eat Honey? A Sweet Treat or Potential Danger? 

honey on plate and spoon

As a dog owner, you may be wondering if it’s safe to share a spoonful of that golden honey with your furry friend. After all, if honey is a healthy, natural sweetener for humans, can dogs eat honey, too? The short answer is yes. 

In small amounts, honey is generally considered safe for dogs. However, there are some important things to know before drizzling honey on your pup’s food bowl. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and risks of feeding honey to dogs.

Let’s dive in!

What Kind of Honey Is Safe for Dogs?

Not all honey is of equal quality when it comes to feeding your four-legged companion. Here are the two main types of honey and which is best for dogs:

Raw Honey: This unprocessed, unpasteurized honey straight from the hive is packed with beneficial nutrients and medicinal properties. Raw honey is typically the best choice for adult dogs. However, avoid giving raw honey to puppies or dogs with weakened immune systems, as it can contain bacteria their bodies may not be able to handle.

delicious honeycomb filled with honey

Pasteurized Honey: The high heat used in the pasteurization process improves shelf life and appearance while killing potentially harmful bacteria. However, it also destroys many of the beneficial compounds. Pasteurized honey offers dogs little more than empty sugar calories but can still be used in moderation as a sweetener in homemade dog treats.

still life with a jar of honey and herbs

How Much Honey Can Dogs Safely Consume?

As with any treat, moderation is key. Honey and other extras should account for no more than 10% of your dog’s daily diet, with the remaining 90% consisting of complete and balanced dog food. One teaspoon of honey contains about 20 calories and 6 grams of sugar. Here are general guidelines based on your dog’s size:

– Tiny dogs (under 20 lbs): 1/4 teaspoon or less per day 

– Small dogs (21-30 lbs): 1/2 teaspoon or less per day

– Medium dogs (31-50 lbs): 1 teaspoon or less per day 

– Large dogs (51-90 lbs): 1 1/2 teaspoons or less per day

– Giant dogs (over 90 lbs): 2 teaspoons or less per day

black and white short coated dogs

7 Creative Ways to Feed Your Dog Honey

Want to give your good boy a taste of the sweet stuff? Here are some fun and easy ways to incorporate honey into your dog’s diet:

1. Spoonful of Honey

The simplest method is to let your dog lick a small amount of raw honey right off the spoon. This is especially soothing for mild coughs.

shallow focus photography of a golden retriever

2. Honey-Stuffed Puzzle Toys and Lick Mats

Combine a dollop of honey with other dog-friendly foods like mashed banana, unsweetened yogurt, or peanut butter and stuff the mixture into a puzzle toy or spread it onto a lick mat. Puzzle feeders and lick mats are excellent enrichment tools that encourage your dog to use their natural scenting and problem-solving skills to access the sweet reward.

For an extra challenge, freeze the honey-stuffed toy or mat overnight to create a longer-lasting treat that’s perfect for hot summer days or when you need to keep your dog occupied for a bit. Just don’t forget to account for the calories in the honey and other ingredients when planning your pup’s daily meal intake to avoid overfeeding.

ice cream cone on wood

3. Honey Drizzle

Jazz up your pup’s regular kibble by drizzling a bit of raw honey on top. It adds flavor and nutritional benefits to their meal.

4. Frozen Honey Cubes

Mix 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 cup of water and freeze into cubes for a refreshing summer treat. Crush the cubes before serving to avoid choking hazards. 

5. Homemade Honey Dog Treats

Whip up a batch of dog-friendly biscuits or no-bake treats using honey as a natural sweetener. You can even make some that are safe for you and your pup to share!

white shih tzu puppy on fabric sofa chair

6. Honey-Coated Chew Toys

Smear a small amount of honey on your dog’s favorite chew toy to make it even more enticing and extend play time. Just be sure to wash the toy afterward to prevent sticky buildup.

7. Post-Workout Honey Boost

For active dogs, a little honey mixed into their water after exercise can help replenish energy and support muscle recovery, similar to how human athletes use honey.

person holding white ceramic plate and a wooden spoon with honey

The Sweet Health Benefits of Honey

When fed appropriately, honey may provide some impressive health perks for your pooch:

Nutritional Boost: Raw honey contains a wealth of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that bolster a strong immune system and overall well-being. 

Anti-Inflammatory Effects: The anti-inflammatory properties in raw honey may help soothe internal and external inflammation, aiding minor injuries or joint pain.

dog wearing eyeglasses

Cough Suppression: Honey’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities make it a popular home remedy for mild cases of kennel cough, helping to soothe sore throats and quiet coughing. Use 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon mixed with warm water, depending on your dog’s size. Always check with your vet first.

Wound Care: Manuka honey, in particular, has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties that can effectively help heal minor cuts, hot spots, and burns when applied topically. Clean the wound, apply a small amount of honey, and cover with a light bandage to keep your dog from licking it off. For serious injuries, see your vet immediately. 

ethnic owner with smartphone putting sunglasses on puppy 1

Allergy Aid: Some sources suggest that locally-sourced raw honey may help alleviate seasonal allergies in dogs by gradually exposing them to small amounts of pollen. However, this is not a reliable treatment, as it’s difficult to ensure the honey contains the specific pollen your dog is allergic to in the proper doses. Consult your vet for proven allergy solutions instead.

short coated tan dog

The Risks of Feeding Dogs Honey

As much as we love spoiling our furry friends, it’s important to recognize the potential dangers of honey:

Tooth Decay: Honey is still a form of sugar, and too much can contribute to dental issues like cavities and tooth decay, especially in dogs who already have dental problems.

Diabetes Danger: The high sugar content may negatively impact blood glucose levels, so diabetic dogs should avoid honey altogether. Overweight and sedentary dogs are also at higher risk for developing diabetes from sugary treats.

medium short coated white dog on white

Botulism in Babies: Raw honey can harbor botulism spores that, while harmless to adult dogs, can cause a rare but serious illness in puppies with underdeveloped immune systems. 

Calorie Overload: Honey is a sweet treat, but go easy! It’s packed with calories, so too much can lead to weight gain. Since doggy obesity can cause health problems, keep honey as a special sometimes snack.

black and tan long coat dog

Allergic Reactions: While uncommon, some dogs may experience an allergic reaction to honey, particularly if they are also sensitive to bee stings. This is because the pollen content in honey can trigger an immune system in certain dogs. Signs of an allergic response normally include itching, swelling (especially around the face and throat), hives, difficulty breathing, vomiting, or diarrhea.

kokoni dog looking up

If your dog has a history of allergies or reacts poorly to bee stings, it’s best to exercise caution when introducing honey. Begin with just a single drop and closely monitor your dog for any adverse effects over the next few hours. If no reaction occurs, you can gradually increase the amount while staying within the recommended serving sizes for your dog’s weight.

crop faceless person feeding purebred border collie in nature

However, it’s important to note that using honey to treat or prevent allergies in dogs is not a reliable approach. The type and amount of pollen in honey can vary widely, making it difficult to control the allergen exposure. Additionally, many dogs are allergic to multiple substances beyond just pollen. If you suspect your dog has allergies, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian for proper testing and treatment options rather than relying on honey as a remedy.

beagle running while fetching stick


  1. Can honey help with gastrointestinal issues in dogs?

While honey is sometimes touted as a probiotic for humans, there is currently limited scientific evidence on its effects on the canine digestive system. Some anecdotal reports suggest that honey may help soothe mild stomach upset or diarrhea in dogs, possibly due to its antibacterial properties. However, if your dog is experiencing persistent digestive issues, it’s best to consult with your vet to determine the underlying cause and the right treatment plan. They can also recommend specific probiotic products formulated for dogs if necessary.

2. Is honey a good cough remedy for dogs with kennel cough?

Kennel cough is a common and contagious respiratory infection in dogs that causes a persistent, dry cough. Just like in humans, honey may help coat and soothe the irritated throat, providing some relief from coughing. However, the effects are typically mild and short-lived.

If your pup has been diagnosed with kennel cough, follow your veterinarian’s recommended treatment plan, which may include rest, hydration, and specific medications to address the underlying viral or bacterial infection. You can offer your dog a small amount of honey, such as 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (depending on their size), mixed with warm water a few times a day to help manage coughing fits. However, do not rely on honey as the sole treatment for kennel cough or any other respiratory condition in dogs.

Final Words

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide on safely feeding honey to dogs. We hope you found the information helpful and feel more confident about whether to share a sweet spoonful with your own canine companion. Remember, every dog is unique, so always listen to your gut and your vet when it comes to your pup’s individual needs.

smiling female with dog near fence and plants

If you find this blog post valuable, please consider sharing it with other dog lovers in your life who might be wondering about the benefits and risks of honey for their own four-legged family members. And if you have any personal experience or tips on incorporating honey into your dog’s diet, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below! Your story might just help another pet parent make a more informed choice for their own furry friend.


About Judith D. Swan

With a passion for pooch health and nutrition, I've dedicated myself to exploring every "Can dogs eat...?" scenario you can imagine. With a background in veterinary science and years of experience in the pet care industry, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. From the common to the curious, I've researched it all to ensure that your canine companion gets the best possible care. But hey, I'm not just about facts and figures. As a proud dog parent myself, I understand the bond between humans and their four-legged pals. That's why I'm committed to providing trustworthy, practical advice that keeps both tails wagging.