By Koru K9 Dog Training and Rehabilitation
A few days ago, we posted an introduction to feeding your dog a species appropriate diet. Now I would like to talk a bit about supplementation. Just like with humans, there is a lot of back and forth on what supplements, if any to take. My stance is this…if your diet is eating a well balanced, species appropriate diet, then supplements are really few and far between. Technically speaking, there is no real need for multivitamins, flax seed oil, kelp-alfalfa powder, or algae and spirulina, etc.
There are a few supplements, however, that I find extremely beneficial and do recommend people include in their’s dogs’ diet. This is the first part of a multi-part series on supplementing your dog’s (raw) diet.
First off, let me set the record straight, when I talk about Omega fatty acids for dogs, I am referring to oils such as salmon oil, NOT flax seed oil or borage seed oil. It is well know that fish oil helps to promote healthy cognitive function as well as growth and development in puppies and young dogs. Fish oil also helps keep the skin oils balanced and keeps dogs’ skin and coat soft and supple. Essential Fatty Acids also help to regulate the body’s inflammatory responses.
Aside from the above points, why should you supplement your dog’s diet with Fish Oil when feeding a raw diet? If you feed your dog factory farmed meats vs. grass-fed. This will help to supplement Omega-3 fatty acids lacking in grain-fed, domestic meats. Grass-fed meats have an appropriate Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio. I do NOT recommend Cod Liver Oil, because of the high in vitamins A and D content.
My favorite brand of Fish Oil is Grizzly Salmon Oil. It comes in an easy to administer pump and the dogs love it! The absolute best way to “supplement” your dog’s diet with Fish Oil is to feed them fish! Frozen sardines are perfect. If you do feed your dogs Pacific salmonids, a word of caution. These types of fish carry a toxic parasite that can make dogs very sick. To ensure the parasite is killed, freeze fresh raw salmon, steelhead and trout for at least 24 hours before feeding to your dog.
It should go without saying that if you are feeding your dog commercially prepared diets, then you should absolutely supplement with fish oil. Essentially Fatty Acids are destroyed by heat, oxygen and light and do not survive during the processing of commercially prepared foods.