I have updated this recipe to include Black Pepper.
Turmeric is all the rage when it comes to keeping your dog, and yourself, healthy and for good reason! Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicines in India have used it for health and wellness for thousands of years calling it the “Spice of Life”. Click HERE to read the many benefits of Turmeric.
Probably the most popular method is Turmeric Paste. This recipe has been circling the dog world for months. The problem I had with it was that I couldn't find any reliable source that said black pepper which contains Piperine, a compound known to increase the bioavailability of turmeric up to 2000%, was safe for dogs to consume. However, there was a lot of research on the benefits of turmeric without using black pepper so that's what I chose for safety reasons. After spending quite a bit of time on the Turmeric Life website by veterinarian Doug English and the TUG Facebook Page where there are thousands of testimonials, I have concluded that black pepper is in fact safe for dogs to ingest.
Turmeric is oil soluble which means oil is needed to dissolve the turmeric in the stomach and allow the body to absorb the turmeric powder.
Studies have shown that simmering it in liquid for 7-10 minutes increases its solubility 12 fold. The verdict is still unknown on how much it impacts the absorption.
You can add Turmeric Paste directly to your dog’s meals by mixing it with some water, broth, or even kefir. Start with about ¼ to ½ teaspoon depending on the size of your dog. You can increase the amount up to one tablespoon for larger dogs. You can store the Turmeric Paste in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 to 5 weeks.
The Kirbster Did Not Like It
Kirby simply couldn’t get past the bitter taste of the turmeric. I ruined several meals by mixing in even the tiniest amount. He would take a taste, then bark and bark at me until I finally replaced that bowl with a fresh bowl of his food. It didn’t matter whether the meal contained chicken or beef. It didn’t matter how soupy the meal was. He could taste the bitter turmeric and didn’t like it at all. So I continued with just a small sprinkle of ground turmeric since that's still one of the best ways to consume and absorb turmeric.
Then we discovered Golden Milk
Golden Milk is an ancient drink and a delicious way to get the benefits of Turmeric daily. This can be made with any milk or even with plain water. I've found it's creamier with a fuller mouth taste when I use canned coconut milk. I also think the canned coconut milk has more of the coconut taste than the coconut milk in the carton which has a much thinner consistency. Adding an equal amount of ginger hides the bitterness of the turmeric plus simmering at a low boil also reduces the bitterness.
Honestly I can't taste the bitterness at all and apparently Kirby can't either since he scarfs it right down.
The beneficial ingredients in Golden Milk
This is a great way to incorporate turmeric into your pup's life daily but if you are using it to relive inflammation, don't add the honey because sugar contradicts the turmeric effect. You could try vanilla as long as it's a non alcohol brand.
Ways To enjoy Golden Milk
When I make a fresh batch, I always pour a warm cup for me and a warm bowl for Kirby. The rest gets frozen into small 1 inch sizes to serve as a treat or add to his meals (I just pop a frozen one into his bowl) and into larger ice cube sizes for me. When I want to whip up a frothy ice cold shake in my blender, I grab a few frozen ice cubes, add a small amount of liquid (almond or coconut milk), and yum! Of course if the ingredients are dog friendly Kirby gets some too which is almost all the time. The Golden Milk ice cubes need a small amount of liquid added to give the blender the capability to make ice cream or a little more to become a smoothie or shake.
Warnings To Consider
Turmeric is a binding agent so make sure your dog has plenty of water to reduce the likelihood of constipation. Yogurt can also be administered to balance out the digestive flora. Dogs that are prone to kidney stones should not be given turmeric since it increases urinary oxalate levels. Some dogs can be sensitive to turmeric and develop a stomach upset. Most importantly, if your dog has a pre-existing condition, is currently on medication, has a planned surgery, or is pregnant, it’s advisable to talk to your veterinarian before feeding.
Frozen Golden Milk Treats
Cook Time: 5 - 7 minutes
Freeze Time: 2-4 hours
Nutrition facts: 31 Calories each, 27 Calories from fat each Total fat: 3g or 5% (2.7g saturated fat, 0.0g trans fat)
- 2 (13.66 oz) cans coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Carefully open the cans of coconut milk and remove the clear liquid from the top. Discard.
- Pour the coconut milk into a small sauce pan and whisk in the seasonings.
- Simmer at a low boil for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the honey.
- Let cool slightly, pour into small silicone molds and freeze.
- Once frozen, you can store them in glass mason jars in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Make sure to use freshly ground black peppercorns since black pepper has lost most of the piperine! You can buy black pepper in a self grinder or use a coffee grinder that has NOT been used to grind coffee beans which are toxic for dogs.
Note: these melt very quickly so avoid touching them with your hands. Pop them out of the molds onto paper or plastic wrap and then use that to pour them into the jar. Use a spoon to scoop out of the jar.