Tag Archives: dog nutrition

Dog food supplements that help

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.

Flax

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. 

Milled flax is a good dog food supplement

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.

Calcium

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. 

Probiotics

Because we want to avoid any more tummy explosions if we can. And, again, it can’t hurt. 

Greens/spirulina

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.

Your choice

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.

Dog food debate – Part 3 – What’s the best dog food?

We know we’ve reached the “crazy dog ladies” stage. Not everyone can or should make their dog’s food themselves.

What everyone can do is read. Read the ingredient lists. Read the country of origin. Read where the ingredients come from (where they’re “sourced”) as well as where the food is processed.

If it’s good dog food – the manufacturer should announce all these things loudly and proudly on the packaging.

Never buy any dog food or treats made in China. Just don’t.

We actually saw this on a major retailer’s site:

Important Made in USA Origin Disclaimer: For certain items sold by W****** on W*******.com, the displayed country of origin information may not be accurate or consistent with manufacturer information. For updated, accurate country of origin data, it is recommended that you rely on product packaging or manufacturer information.

So even though you’ve done some research online – when you pick up that package of dog food, you still have to read it.

Actual ingredient list from a huge retailer's store brand dog food.

Actual ingredient list from a huge retailer’s store branded dog food.

And, once you’ve zeroed in on a particular dog food, you still can’t relax. You have to read the ingredients every time you buy a new bag – manufacturers are under no obligation to let you know if their formulas or recipes have changed. We have a friend who keeps seven different kinds of dog food in jars in her kitchen. To insure some consistency, she feeds her dogs from a different jar each night of the week. If her dogs react to a new recipe, they still have a few others to rely on. She’s a crazy dog lady, too.

The internet is both a blessing and a curse for research. You can support for any opinion, regardless of facts. One resource we think is pretty reliable is http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/  This website reviews all kinds of commercially available dog foods and gives a star rating to each. You can also sign up for email notifications about dog food recalls.

You don’t have to buy the most expensive dog food. But don’t buy the cheapest, either. With a little research you can find the right combination of nutrition and price that’s right for your family. Please do. Your dog depends on you.

Fruits and veggies aren’t that great for dogs!

Fruits and veggies aren’t all that great for dogs

If we’re having a snack – chances are the dogs are getting one, too! It’s almost a habit to take a bite of whatever we’re eating and “share” with the pup. Apparently it’s not always a great idea. This article lists 10 fruits and vegetables we shouldn’t share. Teddy’s pretty happy to hear that carrots and apples aren’t on the list! Read more here.