The role of supplements in a dog’s diet is highly debated in the pet community. Some people argue that additional supplements are not necessary or useful in a balanced diet, but depending on what you feed your dog, the term ‘balanced,’ is open to different interpretations. Others assert that the right use of supplements in the right dosage can actually benefit your dog’s health.
I am a believer of the latter. As a raw feeder, I find that balancing a species-appropriate, raw diet can be tricky, especially if one is preparing homemade raw food for their dog. But like their wild ancestor the wolf, a dog’s diet does not have to be balanced at every meal. Rather balance in a species-appropriate diet can be gradual and over time. While I strive for an overall balance of muscle meat, bone, and organs in Alaska’s meals to make sure she is getting adequate nutrition and the appropriate vitamins and minerals, I often have a stash of nutritional supplements that I add to her diet on rotation. Because Alaska is a healthy dog, I do not use supplements as medicine. To me, they serve as superfoods that boost her general health.
- healthy saturated fats Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are anti-bacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal
- make sure your fish oil is pharmaceutical human-grade and sustainably sourced to reduce amount of toxins and pollutants such as mercury and heavy metals
- loaded with omega-3 and 6 fatty acids that aid in healthy skin and coat, inflammation, joint pain, and low energy
- natural food source
- rich in omega fatty acids and minerals
- great source of glucosamine and chondroitin to improve mobility and joints
- lowers cholesterol, detoxifies liver, and metabolizes fat
- touted for inhibiting tumor growth
- garlic in appropriate doses is a natural antibiotic, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitic
- boosts immune system and makes dogs less attractive to fleas
Apple Cider Vinegar
- raw, unfiltered, organic ACV boosts immunity, detoxifies kidneys, relieves itchy skin, and wards off parasites
- probiotic rich in friendly bacteria that control and eliminate toxic, pathogenic yeasts in the body
- promotes healthy gut and normal functioning of liver and heart
- effective after use of antibiotics to restore balance to pet’s digestive system
- rich in glycosaminoglycans (glucosamine) and chondroitin that protects joints and improves mobility
- detox liver and stimulate collagen in joints, tendons, ligaments, and arteries
- high omega-3 fat content; contains DHA and APA
- reduces inflammation, alleviates skin allergies, promotes healthy joints and shinny coat
- fresh, whole fish or canned fish in water with no salt are best to feed
- presence of digestive enzymes purify blood, remove toxins, parasites and fungus
- improve metabolism, hormonal function, and boost immune system
- perfect ratio of calcium to phosphorus- 1:1
- low-calorie- good for overweight dogs
- rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, and zinc
Because variety is essential to a complete and balanced raw diet, I feed these supplements to my dog rotationally and in small dosages. Dosage amount will, of course, vary according to your dog’s size and individual needs.
If you’d like an easier way to incorporate these superfoods into your dog’s diet without the hassle of buying each separately, consider investing in a multivitamin for your dog. They come in various forms, but I recommend powder form which you mix into your dog’s food- making it harder for him to reject it. One multivitamin that I’ve tried with my dog and one that I highly praise is Dr. Harvey’s Multi-Vitamin & Mineral Herbal Dog Supplement. The ingredients consist of: Spirulina, lecithin, nutritional yeast, garlic, flax seed meal, alfalfa leaf, kelp, bilberry leaf, chamomile flowers, oat straw, ginkgo biloba leaf, dandelion root, burdock root, thyme leaf, papaya leaf, rosemary leaf, peppermint leaf, fennel seed, suma, red clover blossoms, milk thistle, rose hips, yellow dock root, licorice root, ginger root, fo-ti root.
But isn’t kibble naturally balanced?
If you feed your dog dry dog food, you may argue that it is formulated to be complete and balanced according to FDA standards. But dry dog food is not species-appropriate and is actually harder to digest and absorb all the essential nutrients.
After all, variety is the spice of life, so whatever you feed your dog supplements can be of benefit in optimizing their health and nutrition. BUT do not make the mistake of buying a supplement just because you hear good things about it. Do you research, consider your dog’s individual needs, and consult with a holistic veterinarian. If your dog’s health is compromised in any way, do not treat supplements as a cure. Naturally, too much of anything may be harmful to your dog.