Would dog food supplements benefit your dog? How do you choose? Which ones are beneficial? Are some unnecessary? How do you decide what’s best?
Lots of opinions
In the world of dog care, few topics are more controversial than dog food. Everyone has an opinion. If you’re on social media and belong to any dog groups, just take a look at the number of comments any post about dog food gets. Or if a new dog owner asks for dog food advice, the number of comments will be impressive.
Everyone who loves their dog wants to feed the best, most nutritious food they can. And we all have to balance that against what we can afford, and what our dogs will eat. We have two good friends whose dogs are incredibly picky. One Havanese we know keeps her “mom” in a constant state of anxiety over food. Her favorite on Tuesday may be an attempt at poisoning by Friday.
Make your best guess
After considering all the options, reading enough labels to go cross-eyed, and finding no perfect answer, we’ve cobbled together a regimen of food that works best for us and our dogs. It’s a combination of commercially- and home-prepared foods based on sources from canine nutritionists, to veterinarians, to holistic practitioners.
Our food choices probably won’t be anyone else’s, but we do have some good ideas for supplements that anyone can use to enhance their dogs’ diets.
All of our dogs get about a half teaspoonful of milled flax once a day. We just mix it into their regular meal, usually dinner. We started using a homemade flax gel a couple of years ago when we had a house-wide gastrointestinal upset episode. The gel did help and the gut-storm eventually passed.
Then our regular veterinarian suggested it to help with some dry skin issues that Booker was having. His dandruff was a wonder to behold. She also let us know that by making the gel, we’d compromised some of the benefit of the flax – it should be used raw. She also suggested using a mortar and pestle to grind it. We used a little food processor/grinder. And then we found commercially-available milled flax and never looked back.
All four of our dogs now have beautiful coats and we believe the flax may also help keep their tummies more balanced. It’s also a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for everyone. And the other major source (fish) smells way worse. And Torque hates fish.
The other thing everybody regularly gets is ground-up egg shells. It’s a source of calcium and, basically, can’t hurt. Again, ground up and added to the “Pup Loaf” that we make for the home-made portion of their meals.
Because we want to avoid any more tummy explosions if we can. And, again, it can’t hurt.
Because our dear friend, who’s a doctor of Chinese medicine, told us to. We probably should have a better rationale, but we trust her and she loves our dogs, too.
With so much information available on the internet, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the “best” thing to do. The best advice we can give is to use reputable sources for information and make the best choices for you and your dog.
Don’t be afraid to try something for a couple of weeks and see how it works. As an observant dog owner, you’ll know how it affects your dog. And of course, bring your veterinarian in on the decision, especially if your dog has a medical condition to consider.