There seems to be such a buzz about Supplements in the pet industry these days. Some are touted to relieve achy joints while some promise to make your pooch’s coat shinier. Unfortunately, supplements cannot be standardised. The key before adding anything to your pet’s diet is to see what is already present in the diet and then supplement accordingly.
Store-bought commercial pet food often requires no supplementation as it contains a synthetic vitamin and mineral mix. However, adding some species appropriate fresh foods to your pet’s bowl like steamed meat and fish, eggs, steamed veggie and fruits can up the nutritional quotient of your pet’s food.
If you have chosen to feed freshly cooked meals to your pet, we recommend that you work with a certified pet nutritionist or a vet to ensure the meals are balanced and in the right proportion for your pet.
For a healthy dog, we have listed the following natural essential supplements*:
1. Bone Meal and Egg Shell Powder are a natural source of calcium. Calcium is the most abundant mineral found in animals and dogs that are deficient in calcium can develop weak bones. Supplementing a home cooked diet with calcium is absolutely necessary. For an adult dog we suggest that you rotate between Bone Meal and Egg Shell Powder. For a puppy, only Bone Meal Powder should be incorporated. The recommend dosage is 1 tsp per 500 grams of food fed.
2. Kelp and Seaweed, both found in supplements like Plaque Off by ProDen and Green Glory by Magic Paws, are excellent sources of Iodine. Iodine supports your dog's metabolism and helps them produce thyroid hormones. When iodine levels are too low, weight, energy, and mood imbalances are common. Unless one feeds the thyroid glands of prey to their dogs, feeding fresh may fall short of iodine. Please note that excess consumption of iodine can suppress the thyroid gland and cause complications, always ensure supplementation is happening in the correct dose. Ideal iodine requirements, as per NRC guidelines, are 220 mcg for a dog eating 1000 Kcal a day.
3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are essential fatty acids known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Sources of Omega 3 can be plant based, such as Hemp Hearts by Happy Puppy Organics or Hemp Seed Oil. Marine Animal-based supplements, such as the Anchovy Topper by Nutriwoof, Fish Ferky by Doggie Dabbas, or Fish Oil, are also an incredible source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. EPA & DHA found in Omega-3 fatty acid, have been found to aid in the proper brain and eye development of puppies and also improve cognitive function in older dogs dealing with canine cognitive dysfunction. Adding some source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids into your pet’s bowl can do wonders!
4. Cold Pressed Coconut Oil is an excellent source of Medium Chain Tryglicerides. This supplement is not only great for the skin and coat, but also has shown to be beneficial with cognitive recognition in both young and senior dogs and has helped reduce the incidence of seizures in epileptic dogs. We recommend 1 tsp of coconut oil per 5 kgs of body weight. You can start with ¼ of this amount and work up to the recommended dosage. If your dog gets loose motions from coconut oil, just cut back the dose.
5. The Superfood Supplement and Oil Supplement by Nutriwoof are both sources of Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant. Adding them to your pet’s meals is an easy way of supplementing your pet’s diet with small doses of Vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin helps boost immunity, fight against free radical damage and helps prevent ageing and cancer. Natural sources of vitamin E include cold pressed vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, eggs, most fish and meats like beef, turkey leg and chicken breast.
6. Nutriwoof’s Superfood Supplement is also a great source of zinc. Zinc is important for immunity, wound healing and skin and coat health. While oysters are a great source of zinc, other sources include beef, beef liver, lamb, turkey thigh, and chicken thigh. Zinc can also be supplemented through pumpkin and sunflower seeds. These are generally needed in very small amounts daily.
7. Goat Milk Powder by Magic Paws and Green Tripe by Nutriwoof contain Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes. Supplementing your dog’s diet with probiotics help build the good gut bacteria, reduce the incidence of digestive upset and allergies. A healthy gut translates into good immunity for humans and their dogs alike. Other sources of the same include curd and kefir. We recommend that you start slow when introducing these ingredients for the first time to ensure these are tolerated well by your pet.
* Disclaimer: Our recommendations are based on general supplementation required through whole food sources for dogs on a home cooked diet. Every dog is an individual and recipes may differ. If in doubt do consult a certified pet nutritionist or veterinarian to ensure you are dosing everything correctly and to avoid over supplementation which in some cases can have detrimental effects on your pet.