Turmeric, then is much more than a disinfectant and a tonic. As an aid to our dogs’ heart health and liver function–as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, it’s the golden ticket for optimum health.

Turmeric is a deep golden-coloured spice that is equally rich in minerals and vitamins. A member of the ginger family, turmeric has been valued in its native Asia for thousands of years. It’s thought to detoxify the body, purify the blood, disinfect wounds and act as a tonic for digestion. So, what can it do for our pets?

Turmeric’s active compound curcumin (not to be confused with cumin) is an antioxidant credited with a range of abilities including antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits. A 2006 University of Arizona study found that turmeric reduced symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis–its antioxidants neutralizing the free radicals that caused inflammation and damage to joints affected by arthritis.

A member of the ginger family, turmeric is heralded as a pain reliever, so it’s a natural food additive for pets experiencing pain-causing ailments, especially if their discomfort is caused by inflammation. “Turmeric is one of the most potent, natural anti-inflammatories available,” according to Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

This is a significant finding for older dogs who may be suffering from pain connected with osteoarthritis and general aging. Another consideration for senior pets is heart health; like humans, animals are susceptible to blood clots and excess cholesterol. It’s good news that turmeric has been found to lower (bad) LDL levels. This bodes well for both heart and liver health.

The liver affects the body’s ability to clot blood, to breakdown harmful toxins, and to remove waste and store energy. The liver plays a vital role in our pet’s digestion, storing vitamins and producing the bile necessary to break down fat. Turmeric’s curcumin is believed to stimulate the production of bile necessary for such digestion. And, as active dogs need at least 20% of fat in their diet, bile production is critical for good health.

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