Making your own dog food is rewarding for you and your dog, and supplements can be an easy and helpful way to make sure that your favorite canine is meeting his daily nutritional requirements. It is important to choose supplements that meet your dog’s dietary needs and compliment what you are feeding.
What supplements are best for your homemade dog food?
Your dog’s supplement needs will vary depending on what you are feeding and your dog’s specific health needs. If you are giving a meal that contains salmon, for instance, you probably do not need to add more omega fatty acids.
Supplements can be tricky and should be something you discuss with your veterinarian or canine nutritionist. Keep in mind that commercial foods often have supplements added to them so you are not adding something new. You are working to create the best-balanced food for your four-legged friends.
Essential Fatty Acids
Omega fatty acids such as EPA and DHA are important for your dog’s heart health and skin. Fish Oil is a great source of Omega 3’s which are an anti-inflammatory and can support arthritis and hip dysplasia. Fish Oil is also great for supporting a healthy coat and skin.
Fish oil can be purchased in liquid or capsules. Many people, myself included, like the convenience of a pump bottle but capsules do have a longer shelf life.
Fish oil can slow down blood clotting so it is best to stop using it a week before any planned surgical procedures. In addition, follow the recommended dosage as too much can stress the pancreas.
Extra Virgin Olive oil has shown in studies to reduce certain types of cancer in both humans and dogs. Nancy Scanlan, DVM, MS states that extra virgin olive oil extracts have anticancer activity related to anti-aging activity.
Our favorite EFA supplement is Pure Wild Alaska for Dogs and Cats by Zesty Paws, or Omega 3-Pet by Nordic Naturals
Calcium and Phosphorus
Calcium is considered a staple supplement to homemade dog foods. In the wild canines get calcium from chewing on raw bones. Unfortunately, the bones you buy at your local pet store have had some form of processing and have diminished levels of minerals.
Calcium is essential in your dog’s diet and is a must when making your homemade food. Dogs have higher calcium needs compared to many other mammals. Calcium and Phosphorus are often found together. The ideal ratio according to Dr. Pitcairn, author of Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, is 1.2 CA to 1.4 phosphorus. Human grade bone meal may also be used as a calcium supplement.
Your dog may need a good multivitamin. A multivitamin and mineral supplement can cover any missing bases. However, caution is needed not be giving your dog too much of a good thing. High levels of some vitamins and minerals can be toxic.
Joint problems, including Osteoarthritis, are common in aging dogs and may be more likely in certain breeds. If your dog suffers from mobility issues then a joint supplement may be helpful. Chondroitin and glucosamine are probably the two most popular joint supplements and are often found together. They work to restore joint mobility and reduce inflammation.
Turmeric has also received considerable recognition as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Keep in mind that turmeric is a warming herb and could cause overheating in hot weather.
Kelp is high in essential minerals and Vitamin K. Kelp is also high in iodine and can help if your dog suffers from hypothyroidism. Kelp supports the immune system and digestion. Some products have additional omega fats added to support skin health. The taste of kelp can be unappetizing to some dogs so start with small doses.