Honey contains mainly glucose and fructose. These are simple sugars (monosaccharides) and are more readily absorbed than disaccharides and polysaccharides such as those found in table sugar, starchy veggies, and so on.
Raw honey is rich in vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E, and K. It also contains various minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, and more.
In addition, honey contains flavonoids, which are health-enhancing antioxidants.
Depending on the flowers, honey can be light or dark in color. The darker the color, the deeper the flavor. Darker honeys, such as buckwheat, sage, and tupelo, contain the most antioxidants.
Manuka honey from New Zealand is probably the "kingpin" of all honeys. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
When getting Manuka honey, remember to consider the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating.
UMF is a phytochemically derived antibacterial property found in certain strains of Manuka honey. If you want to benefit from the healing qualities of Manuka, you need to get one with a UMF rating of 15 or above.
With so many goodies in honey, you may wonder if you can give your dogs honey as well. The short answer is YES!
Both raw honey and Manuka honey are generally safe for dogs to consume.
But if your dog has diabetes, you should consult your holistic veterinarian first.
Although tests have shown that some types of honey may cause a lower rise in blood sugar and thus may be safe for dogs with diabetes, data on the types of honey safe for diabetic dogs are not available.
How about giving honey to puppies?
According to the Whole Dog Journal, it is not a good idea to give raw honey to puppies less than one year old because "raw honey can contain very small numbers of Clostridium botulinum spores, which can be found in dirt and dust."
For adult dogs and people, there is no problem because the digestive systems are strong enough to deal with such spores. However, due to their still developing digestive systems, puppies may not be able to handle the spores and could get sick as a result.
Let's take a look at some amazing honey benefits to our dogs.
Honey's acidity or pH is low enough to hinder or even prevent the growth of many types of bacteria.
Also, an enzyme in honey produces hydrogen peroxide which is an antibacterial agent. It has been shown that honey reduces inflammation and soothes the pain of wounds and burns.
Because of these properties, liquid or soft honey can be used topically to heal minor wounds and burns. (You can also use herbal honey if you have it. See below for information on how to make herbal honey.)
The good thing about dressings made with honey is that they don't stick to the wound, so newly formed tissue is not so easily compromised.
In both of the above cases, you need to stop your dog from licking the honey from the wound! If necessary, use a "cone of shame" (E-collar) or something similar.
Taken internally, honey benefits dogs in different ways:
The minute amount of local pollen in the honey desensitizes the dog's body so that the immune system will not over-react to the pollen when exposed to larger amounts in spring and summer.
For added potency, some dog parents suggest using equal parts of coconut oil and Manuka honey for bacterial infections such as kennel cough.
Many herbs are beneficial for dogs. But we all know that some herbs are not exactly tasty. Even chow hounds may have their "limits" - they may turn their nose up when it comes to certain herbs!
One way to coax your dog to eat herbs is to put a bit of honey in the herbal tea to make it more palatable.
You may also want to try making herbal honey. Here's how (from the Whole Dog Journal):
You can also give a teaspoon to a tablespoon (depending on your dog's size) orally to your dog to prevent bacterial or viral infections and generally boost his immune system when he is not feeling well.
When added to food, this herbal honey helps reduce gas and other symptoms typical of indigestion.
Here is a recipe that is not only yummy, but also nutrient-packed! (From The Animal Wellness Magazine):