When people ask me what supplements to add to food they are really asking me:
- Is the meal balanced and if not, what do I need to add to it?
- What can I add to make it better?
The Vitamins and Minerals You Need To Add Depend on What Is Missing
It’s not possible to answer which vitamins and minerals to add without looking at the whole meal in its entirety.
Supplementation has to be done with a lot of attention to detail. You want to supplement with purpose.
I’ve listed the supplements that raw feeders and those that cook their dog’s meals often need to add.
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If you are feeding raw meaty bones then you won’t need calcium. But some dogs can’t eat bones.
So what do you do?
Kal Bone Meal (for puppies)
Animal Essentials Seaweek Calcium
Feed Better Bones from Four Leaf Rover. (for tiny dogs)
Make eggshell powder at home or buy eggshell powder on Amazon. Note that any dogs with Kidney Disease should only use eggshell as a calcium source due to a lower level of phosphorus.
Only needed when your dog’s test results show they are low on Vitamin D and you should be talking to your vet to have levels checked regularly.
You should ALWAYS consult with your vet prior to feeding Vitamin D. Plan on bringing your dog to the vet to have their Vitamin D levels checked every one to three months.
Health supplements are those utilized to boost your dog’s meals.
Dogs must be fed omega-3 because it cannot be synthesized in your dog’s body. It does not withstand heat well and so it’s almost non-existent in kibble.
Why feed it?
It helps to keep inflammation down. Inflammation is the root of almost all ailments. It is also beneficial for heart health, eye health, brain, and cognitive development, and skin and coat health.
If you are feeding a small amount of fish every day then your omega-3 is covered. However, if your dog suffers from allergies, you may want to feed a higher amount of fish or omega 3 so that you are in the omega 3 ratios of 2:1 or 1:1.
I would never advocate for any fish oil as it oxidizes and goes rancid very quickly.
Instead, I prefer omega-3 in powder form. I have had clients request the iFAT test to get their levels check and the number improved by adding this supplement to the diet.
Another option is a phytoplankton supplement to meet your omega-3 requirements.
PAWSOMELY HEALTHY OMEGA 3 – Freeze dried great for dogs that want to watch oil content. This is great for dogs with pancreatitis because the product is freeze dried. I have had a client who is also a nutritionist and breeder report that her dog’s Omega levels improved by only adding this supplement. The test you can run through your vet is the iFAT test.
Our dogs produce digestive enzymes in their body.
- Dogs fed a kibble diet can benefit from digestive enzymes, so to decrease the load placed on your dog’s pancreas to create the enzymes it needs to digest dry food. If you add vegetables to your dog’s meals daily, this should provide all the enzymes they need.
- If you are going to feed a supplement, look for digestive enzymes made from plant ingredients.
- Dogs fed a fresh food diet that includes vegetables most likely will not need any additional supplements.
Why feed it?
To decrease the work your dog’s pancreas has to do when digesting kibble.
Dr. Mercola Digestive Enzymes for Pets – Dietary Supplement for Cats & Dogs – Contains 5 Enzymes
HERBSMITH ENZYMES (WITH PROBIOTIC)
ANIMAL ESSENTIALS PLANT ENZYME (WITH PROBIOTIC)
Pan-Tenex – concentrated – great for IBD dogs
Probiotics feed your dog’s microbiome. They are great supplements for the short term but dog that is fed a nutritionally complete fresh food diet will not need probiotics in a supplement form.
Probiotics typically offer three to thirty-five different bacterial species while the microbiome contains twenty to thirty thousand different species of organisms. Feeding probiotics over a long-term period will throw the microbiome out of balance.
If you are hiking outdoors and feeding a raw feed diet you will not need to feed probiotics.
If your dog is prescribed an antibiotic or in dysbiosis then you can feed a soil-based probiotic for two weeks. Just like with fresh food, rotate among different brands.
ANIMAL ESSENTIALS ENZYME AND PROBIOTIC
Saccharomyces Boulardii – use when dog has watery diarrhea (1/3 capsule for 20lb dog)
Milk thistle helps to keep your dog’s liver healthy. It also helps to detoxify your dog.
Why feed it?
To detox your dog after flea medication dosages, vaccines, and antibiotics.
Feed it for three weeks but then take a break for a week or two before starting it again.
- Has milk thistle, dandelion root and greater chelendine.
Mushroom complex – good for all dogs
Lion’s Mane – good for old dogs
Quercetin is known as “Nature’s Benedryl” and can help to reduce the “itch”
Why feed it?
As a natural alternative to Benedryl
Read more about Quercetin here.
- Quercetin Powder (dihydrate) on Amazon
- Red Rover Organic Berry Blend by Four Leaf Rover
- Instead of pure quercetin this supplement is made from whole foods that contain quercetin and is a powerful blend of certified organic raspberries, blueberries, apples and cranberries. It also has organic apple skins for quercetin and blueberries for anthocyanin, which help support the brain and nervous system.
- Buy it Direct on Four Leaf Rover’s site.
- Host Defense would be my preferred brand if you cannot source fresh online. In order of which mushrooms to feed, are as follows:
- Turkey Tail
- Lion’s Mane
- Blend of 7 – If your dog is young and has no health issues, then this would be the one I would add to their meals.
Rotate and Rest Your Supplements
Just like we rotate our food ingredients, be sure to rotate your supplements. Have two to four different brands that you switch between.
Skip the big bottle, buy the small one to ensure freshness is retained better than the larger bottles and also force you to switch and rotate to a different brand.