Who Can Have Honey?

We’re biased, but we think honey is lovely. However, it tends to bring up alot of “Can (blank) eat honey?” sorts of questions. Tens of thousands of people Google these questions every year. That’s no joke: at the time of writing this, “Can Dogs Have Honey?” gets 23,000 searches… a month!

Our goal with this post is to inform dogs, cats, and keto-dieters whether or not they can eat honey. Let’s jump right in.

Is Honey Gluten Free?

Honey is a pure and unprocessed sweetener, making it gluten-free by nature. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, and honey does not contain any of these grains or their derivatives.

In addition to being gluten-free, honey has numerous health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a natural remedy for coughs and sore throats. Honey also has antibacterial properties and has been used for centuries to treat wounds and skin infections.

However, it is important to note that honey is high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation. While it is a healthier alternative to refined sugar, excessive consumption of honey can still lead to health problems such as obesity and tooth decay. Therefore, it is recommended to limit your intake of honey and use it as a substitute for sugar in moderation.

Can Cats Eat Honey?

Cats are meat-eaters, so they don't really need honey in their diet, but it's okay if they have a little bit as a treat once in a while. Honey isn't dangerous for cats, and it has some natural sugars, vitamins, and antioxidants that could be good for them. 

Just don't give them too much, because that could make them sick or overweight. Also, some cats might be allergic to honey or have other health problems that make it not safe for them to eat. It's always a good idea to check with a vet before giving your cat anything new to eat, including honey.

A cat outside at a picnic.

Is Honey Keto Friendly?

Honey is not considered to be keto-friendly as it is high in carbohydrates and sugar. The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that requires limiting carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day. Since honey is primarily composed of carbohydrates and contains sugar, it is not an ideal food choice for people following a ketogenic diet.

One tablespoon of honey contains approximately 17 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of sugar, which is more than the daily limit of carbohydrates allowed on a ketogenic diet. Consuming honey in large amounts can quickly push a person's carbohydrate intake over the limit and potentially kick them out of ketosis, which is a metabolic state that occurs when the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.

While honey is not considered to be keto-friendly, there are other natural sweeteners that are more suitable for a ketogenic diet, such as stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit sweetener. These sweeteners are low in carbohydrates and do not contain sugar, making them a good alternative to honey and other high-carbohydrate sweeteners.

Do Bears Eat Honey?

Yes, bears do eat honey, and they are known for their love of it. In fact, bears are one of the primary predators of honey bees and their hives. 

Bears are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. Their diet can vary depending on the time of year and the availability of food. In the spring and summer, bears may eat a lot of vegetation, including grasses, roots, and berries. They may also eat insects, such as ants and termites, which are an excellent source of protein.

Bear walking through the forest

As fall approaches and the weather turns colder, bears begin to focus on finding food that will help them fatten up for the winter months. This is when they become especially interested in high-calorie foods like nuts and fruits. Honey, with its high sugar content, is also a valuable food source for bears as they prepare for hibernation.

Bears are attracted to the sweet smell of honey and can detect it from miles away. They will use their powerful sense of smell to locate beehives and then use their strength and sharp claws to break into the hive and extract the honeycomb. In some cases, bears will climb trees to reach beehives that are high off the ground.

Bears are not deterred by the stings of the bees and will eat the honey and the bees themselves. They have thick fur and tough skin that protects them from the stings, and their thick fur also helps to insulate them from the heat of the bees.

While honey is a favorite food for many bears, it is just one part of their diet. Bears are opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever food is available to them. In addition to the foods already mentioned, bears may also eat fish, small mammals, and carrion. In fact, some bears, such as the polar bear, are almost entirely carnivorous and rely on seals and other marine mammals for their food.

In conclusion, while bears are known for their love of honey, they are not solely dependent on it for their survival. Honey is just one part of their diet, and they will eat a wide variety of foods depending on what is available in their environment.

Can Dogs Have Honey?

No, honey is not safe for dogs, and it is not recommended to give honey to your furry friend. While honey is generally safe for human consumption, it can cause adverse reactions in dogs and other pets, especially if given in large amounts or to animals with specific health conditions.

Dogs and a human looking at a valley.

One of the main reasons honey is bad for dogs is the risk of botulism. Botulism is a type of food poisoning caused by a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can be found in honey. While the levels of the toxin in honey are usually not harmful to humans, dogs are more susceptible to botulism, and even small amounts of honey can potentially cause botulism in dogs. Botulism can cause serious health issues and even be life-threatening to dogs.

Another concern with giving honey to dogs is the high sugar content. Honey is a natural sweetener and is high in sugar, which can lead to obesity, dental problems, and other health issues in dogs if consumed in excess. It is important to note that dogs have a different digestive system than humans, and consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to serious health issues for them.

Additionally, some dogs may be allergic to honey or have a sensitivity to it, which can cause symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling. If your dog shows any signs of an allergic reaction or has a known allergy to honey, it is best to avoid giving them honey.

If you suspect that your dog has consumed honey or is showing any signs of an allergic reaction or other health issues, it is important to contact a veterinarian for advice and treatment.

When Can Babies Have Honey?

Babies should not have honey until they are at least 12 months old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The reason for this is that honey can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can cause infant botulism, a rare but serious illness that affects the nervous system.

A smiling baby sitting on her father's lap.


Infant botulism occurs when the spores of the bacteria grow and produce toxins in the baby's intestine, which can cause muscle weakness, constipation, and difficulty breathing. Infants are at a higher risk of developing botulism because their immune systems are not fully developed and their digestive system is not mature enough to handle the bacteria.

It's important to note that cooking or heating honey does not make it safe for babies. The botulism spores can survive high temperatures and remain in the honey, so it's best to avoid giving honey to babies under 12 months of age.

Once babies are over 12 months old, their digestive system is more mature, and their risk of developing botulism is much lower. However, honey should still be given in moderation, as it is high in sugar and can contribute to tooth decay and other health issues if consumed in excess.

Your Turn!

We hope this was a helpful read. Also, we want your two cents... comment below one thing you learned from this blog post. Can't wait to hear from you!

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