Can Turmeric Shrink Tumors On Dogs?

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant. It has been used for thousands of years in cooking and medicinal remedies, especially in India. The active compound in turmeric that gives it its vibrant yellow color and medicinal properties is called curcumin. Turmeric has been touted as having powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Recently, there has been interest in whether turmeric may also have anti-cancer abilities, especially inregard to curcumin’s effects on reducing tumors. This has led to the question of whether turmeric may be an effective complementary treatment to shrink tumors in dogs with cancer.

Turmeric’s Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The bright yellow spice turmeric contains a compound called curcumin which has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown that curcumin can inhibit the activity and synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), lipoxygenase and other inflammatory enzymes (1). By regulating inflammatory pathways, curcumin can help alleviate pain and swelling in conditions like arthritis, injuries and even cancer.

Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated curcumin’s efficacy in reducing markers of inflammation. A study in 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients found that curcumin was as effective as a prescription anti-inflammatory drug in alleviating symptoms like joint swelling and morning stiffness (2).

Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects may also inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells. Inflammation plays a key role in tumor progression, and curcumin can block pro-inflammatory cytokines that promote malignancy (1). This anti-cancer potential will be explored more in the following sections.



Turmeric’s Antioxidant Abilities

The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, and has been linked to chronic inflammation and the development of cancer (Giordano, 2019).

Curcumin has been shown to scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative damage to cells (NCI, 2023). One way it does this is by stimulating the body’s own antioxidant defenses, like catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase (Giordano, 2019).

By fighting oxidative stress and free radical damage, curcumin may be able to limit the growth and spread of cancer. Antioxidants like curcumin can protect healthy cells from damage that can lead to mutations and tumor formation (NCI, 2023). More research is still needed, but curcumin shows promise as a dietary antioxidant for reducing cancer risk.

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. Curcumin has been extensively studied for its potential benefits in cancer.

Studies on Curcumin and Cancer

Studies show curcumin can impact tumors and cancer cells in multiple ways:

– Curcumin may inhibit tumor growth by reducing angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors) and metastatic activity, according to a review in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology.

– Research suggests curcumin induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in various types of cancer cells including breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancers (PMC).

– Curcumin has been found to sensitize tumors to chemotherapy and radiotherapy while mitigating toxicity in normal cells, enhancing the efficacy of standard cancer treatments (NCI).

However, most research has been preclinical at this stage. Clinical trials are limited, usually studying curcumin alongside conventional treatment. More research is needed to establish optimal dosing, safety, and efficacy in humans (Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology).

Evidence on Turmeric and Canine Cancer

Research specifically looking at turmeric for canine cancer is limited, but some initial studies show promising results. One 2018 study published in BMC Veterinary Research tested a curcumin formulation called LipocurcTM on canine cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. They found Lipocurc inhibited cancer cell proliferation and migration and reduced tumor volume in dogs with naturally occurring tumors (

Another 2017 study in BMC Veterinary Research looked at a combination turmeric root and rosemary leaf extract on canine cancer cells. The turmeric extract showed anti-proliferative effects on canine lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and mammary carcinoma cells (

While research is still emerging, many pet owners report using turmeric to help treat their dogs’ cancer. Some owners add turmeric to their dog’s diet or give turmeric supplements and notice reductions in tumor size and cancer symptoms. However, these reports are anecdotal and more research is still needed (

Possible Risks and Side Effects

While turmeric has many potential health benefits for dogs, there are some possible risks and side effects to be aware of. According to, some potential side effects of turmeric for dogs include upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, bruising, iron deficiency, and gallbladder issues. also notes that the most severe side effects can include an upset stomach, bruising, clotting issues and gallbladder problems. Since turmeric has natural blood-thinning properties, it’s important to be cautious using turmeric if your dog is on other medications, as turmeric may increase the risk of bruising or bleeding when combined with other blood thinners or NSAIDs.

In addition, mentions that when given in excess amounts, turmeric can cause side effects like vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Always follow dosage recommendations when giving turmeric to dogs, and monitor your dog for any signs of digestive upset.

It’s recommended to consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog turmeric, especially if they have underlying health conditions or are taking any medications. This allows your vet to ensure turmeric is safe for your individual dog and won’t interact with any other treatments.

Recommended Dosage and Administration

When giving turmeric to dogs, it’s important to find the right dosage based on your dog’s size. According to, the general dosage guidelines are:

  • Small dogs: 1⁄4 teaspoon per day
  • Medium dogs: 1⁄2 teaspoon per day
  • Large dogs: 3⁄4 teaspoon per day
  • Giant dogs: 1 teaspoon per day

The best form to administer turmeric is often as a powder mixed into your dog’s food. Make sure to start with small amounts and gradually increase to the recommended dosage. You can also make a paste by mixing turmeric powder with water or broth. Some pet owners use turmeric capsules designed for humans, but it’s best to consult your vet first.

When giving turmeric powder, mix it thoroughly into your dog’s meals. For the paste form, you can add it on top of kibble or mix it into homemade food. It’s important to ensure your dog consumes all of the turmeric rather than selectively eating around it.

For dogs that won’t eat turmeric-laced food, you can try hiding the powder or paste inside pill pockets or other treats. Just make sure to evenly distribute the dosage amount throughout the treats. Proper administration ensures your dog gets the desired anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits from turmeric.

Lifestyle and Diet Recommendations

In addition to adjusting your dog’s diet during cancer treatment, there are some other lifestyle changes you can make that may help support your dog’s health.

Try to increase the amount of exercise your dog gets, within their limits. Going on short, gentle walks can help boost circulation and provide mental stimulation. However, don’t overdo it if your dog is easily fatigued from treatment.

Make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Staying hydrated is important.

Consider integrative therapies like acupuncture, massage therapy, or Chinese herbs. Some owners find these complementary treatments help with pain, nausea, and other side effects of cancer treatment. Discuss options with your vet first.

Reduce stress for your dog as much as possible. Create a calm environment, stick to comfortable routines, and use pheromone diffusers if needed. Stress takes a toll on the immune system.

Give your dog plenty of love and quality time together. The emotional bond you share can be healing.

Get good quality sleep. Both you and your dog need proper rest to stay strong.

Keep up with regular veterinary checkups to monitor your dog’s health status. Early detection of any new issues is key.

Always talk to your vet before making any major diet or lifestyle changes for your dog with cancer. An integrative approach works best.


Research on the potential cancer-fighting abilities of turmeric shows promising results, especially related to curcumin, the active compound in turmeric. Some studies indicate curcumin may have antitumor effects and shrink tumors. However, most of the research has been conducted on cells in lab dishes and animal models, not specifically on dogs with cancer. More high quality clinical trials are needed to determine if turmeric and curcumin can effectively shrink canine tumors and treat cancer in dogs. At this time, turmeric should be considered a complementary treatment to discuss with your vet, not an alternative to conventional cancer therapies. While the current research on turmeric’s effects on canine cancer is limited, the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor properties of turmeric suggest it may be a beneficial addition to a dog’s diet and treatment plan when combined with veterinarian supervision and traditional medicines or therapies. But owners should not rely on turmeric alone to shrink tumors in dogs without consulting a vet.

The Takeaway

While turmeric may potentially have some beneficial effects on canine cancer due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, keep in mind that it should not replace standard veterinary cancer treatment. Consult with your veterinarian before giving turmeric supplements to your dog, especially if they have other health conditions or are on medication. Your vet can help determine an appropriate dosage and form of turmeric for your pup. They can also monitor your dog’s health closely during treatment to watch for any side effects or complications. Remember that turmeric is not a cure for cancer in dogs. Standard treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation recommended by your vet are crucial for fighting cancer. However, turmeric may be a helpful complementary therapy when used under veterinary supervision. Do not rely on it as a stand-alone treatment. By working with your vet, turmeric could be one part of a comprehensive plan to support your dog’s health during their cancer journey.

Scroll to Top