Blog A Little About Supplements for Your Dog’s Food

A Little About Supplements for Your Dog’s Food

(Courtesy of Bravo! Raw Foods website)

Many people question the need for supplements since a natural, raw diet is supposed to be providing all the nutrients that is lost in the processing of commercial foods. While this is true, Very Important Paws (V.I.P) also accounts for the following:

1.We are only able to approximate a wild diet, so supplements fill in the typical “gaps”.

 

2.Vegetables and grain today are often grown in soils that are largely depleted of nutrients. So the vegetables we feed, and the grains that are fed to the poultry, beef and lamb we feed to our animals in the form of meat, are also lacking in these nutrients, because they cannot be absorbed from the soils.

 

3.Important nutrients such as omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) are concentrated in organs like the eyes and brain, parts of the animal that are not typically available for us to feed. Fish body oil or flaxseed oil supplementation provides the omega-3s needed for healthy skin, coats and proper brain, joint and cellular function

 

4.Vitamin E: Adequate levels of Vitamin E help insure that the omega-3s are completely metabolized.

 

Required Supplements:

 

1.Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) – begin using after the diet transition is complete and continue using on a daily basis. Flaxseed Oil or Fish Body Oil (not cod liver oil) provides the necessary EFAs. Flaxseed Oil and Fish Body Oil should be kept refrigerated at home.

 

Which to use:

 

While either is fine, we recommend Fish Body Oil instead of Flaxseed Oil because there are some reports of dogs becoming “itchy” from flaxseed oil. If you elect to use flaxseed oil, and your dog shows signs of itchiness when you add it to the diet, you can always switch to fish body oil. However, if your dog has severe skin conditions and allergies of any kind, fish body oil is the preferred source of EFAs, and may help alleviate some of the associated symptoms.

 

Dosage:

 

  1. Fish Body Oil (NOT cod liver oil) capsules –500 mg to 1000 mg per 10 lbs. of pet; OR Liquid Salmon Oil — 1/2 teaspoon per 10 lbs. of pet; OR Flaxseed Oil — 1 tablespoon per 25 lbs. of pet

(Note: If your dog is scheduled for surgery, eliminate the essential fatty acid supplements (flaxseed oil or fish body oil) at least 10 days before the surgery. The omega-3 EFAs in these oils do reduce blood coagulation, and thus increase bleeding.)

 

  1. A high quality vitamin/mineral supplement: Begin using after the first week of the transition and continue using on a daily basis. Be sure the product has trace minerals, not just vitamins. Use at 1.5 times the labeled dose.

 

Recommended Supplements:

 

1.Digestive enzymes are good to use daily for the first 4 to 6 weeks on a raw diet, but can be continued permanently if needed. Digestive enzymes are important because the dog’s system needs time to begin producing the enzymes required for digesting raw foods. Some brands are made specifically for animals and these are best to use. However, any human mixture that contains at least amylase, protease, lipase and cellulose is fine. If you are using an animal-specific formula, feed according to the directions on the container. If using a human formula, use one capsule a day.

 

2.Probiotics are to be used daily for at least 4 – 6 weeks, but good to use on a permanent daily basis. Probiotics are essentially “good bacteria” that balance and neutralize “bad bacteria”. By doing so, they promote effective digestion and a healthy digestive tract. Even in kibble-fed dogs, the regular use of probiotics can help reduce/eliminate coat and skin problems, gas and bloating, and bad breath. There are several animal-specific probiotics, but you can also use human acidophilus *Plus* mixtures — any mix containing all or some of the following: L. Acidophilus, L. Bulgaricus, B. Bifidum and B. Longum. The best brands are in the cooler section. Store in your refrigerator at home. If using an animal-specific formula, feed according to the directions on the container. If using a human formula, use one capsule once a day. (Twist capsule open and pour/mix into food.)

 

3.Vitamin E (any mixed tocopherol blend) — 200 iu per 50 lbs. of dog. Begin using 2 weeks after the diet transition is complete and use on a permanent basis, 2 or 3 times a week. Vitamin E insures that the Omega-3 EFAs are completely metabolized. Since we are supplementing with EFAs, we should also use with Vitamin E.

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