Your instinct as a dog mother or father is no doubt second to none. You can sense when your dog is hungry, sleepy, or just in need of a cuddle.
But do you know how to check if your pup's health is in tip-top shape? This can be tricky—especially considering that your pooch can’t just tell you with words that something isn’t quite right! Fortunately, there are some tell-tale signs you can keep an eye on in order to ensure your dog is healthy. Here are six ways to tell:
Does your dog boast a shiny coat? It’s a good sign your dog’s nutrition is in top shape. A dull coat could be a sign of nutritional deficiencies. If your pup’s coat lacks any sort of sheen (and your dog isn’t a wire- or curly-haired breed) it may be a good idea to look into his diet. Are you feeding clean food without a lot of additives? Your dog may need a boost of Omega-3 fatty acids, such as in Omega Chews. According to the American Kennel Club, Omega-3 fatty acids help promote a shiny coat and can also help reduce inflammation.
Pain-free joints are one of the greatest signs your dog is in good health. Many dogs unfortunately suffer from osteoarthritis, particularly as they age. According to a study conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital, 16% of geriatric dogs are diagnosed with arthritis.
If your dog is experiencing joint pain of any kind, consult your veterinarian. Administering supplements like Hemp & Hips chews may help ease symptoms (and can help prevent aging-related pain), but check with your vet to ensure your pup isn’t experiencing an injury.
One of the best ways to keep your dog's joints healthy is through exercise! And it's even more important as your dog ages. Try to get your pup out for at least one good walk each day. It can help you stay in shape, too!
“Many dog parents aren’t aware of the state of their dog’s teeth and gums until they realize their dog is in physical pain,” says Angela Stringfellow from Pet Life Today. “But prevention is always better than a cure.”
Surprisingly, the American Veterinary Dental College says dogs can exhibit dental disease symptoms by the time they’re just three years old. Stringfellow suggests talking to your vet about how best to care for your dog’s teeth. She may suggest using a special dog toothbrush and toothpaste at home. (Note: While it’s OK to use a child-size toothbrush, do *not use human toothpaste on your pup’s teeth!)
“Regular teeth cleanings are also a must to prevent tooth decay,” Stringfellow adds. “If your dog is already exhibiting signs of dental disease (like bleeding gums, foul breath, or cracked or darkened teeth), don’t delay in seeking help.”
One of the best things about dogs is their boundless energy. If your four-legged pal is always up for a game of fetch or eagerly anticipating walks, this is certainly a comforting sign.
But what does it mean if your dog’s energy levels have dropped? There can be a number of causes of lethargy in dogs, including infection, metabolic disease, or even certain medications. It’s vital to not dismiss lethargy as a minor problem. Consult your veterinarian about noticeable behavior changes, and/or if the problem seems to be ongoing.
Does your dog clean his plate--and then some? Do his eyes light up when he hears the rattle of a can of dog food? These are key indicators Fido has a healthy appetite.
If your dog’s appetite has changed, this could be cause for concern. Hopefully, it could be something simple like he doesn’t like his current food. But it could be something more serious, such as a sign of a medical condition. If your dog is experiencing a loss of appetite, consult your vet.
One of the not-so-nice parts about being a dog parent is dealing with your pooch’s business. But there’s an upside to this task—dogs’ stools provide a good indicator of when they’re healthy… and when they’re not. According to Hill’s Pet, healthy poop (prepare yourself) should be a little firm with no coating, and ideally shaped like slightly cleaved logs.
If your dog’s poop doesn’t resemble this description in the slightest (or if it’s smelling foul), it may be time to take action. Hill’s Pet recommends looking at ‘the four Cs:’ content, coating, color, and consistency for signs that something isn’t quite right. If there’s cause for concern, consult your veterinarian.
If the above were a quiz and your dog scores six out of your six: You’re in good shape. And so is your pup! As with any veterinary health concern, it’s wise to consult with your dog’s veterinarian. Pet insurance may also be a good idea, as part of your dog’s overall health program. It can not only help ease the burden on your wallet, it could help make it easier for your dog to get the care she needs. Hopefully by watching the above six signs, you can help keep your dog in tip-top shape for life.
We all want the best for our pets.
When it comes to keeping them healthy and happy, few things are more important than the nutrition that we provide them with. But for most of us, our dog’s diet today is far removed from what it could be. Most conventional brands of dog food are formulated with key nutrients that dogs need to survive, but fall short when it comes to minerals and nutrition that can help them to thrive.
At Vet Naturals, we’re pet parents ourselves. We want our pets to be happy and live the best life possible. They are our beloved companions, and few things are more important to us than their health and happiness.
This guide is intended to serve as the definitive resource for ingredients found in nutritional supplements for dogs. From fish oil to more obscure ingredients like licorice root and nettle seed, this is your guide to dog supplements and ingredients, along with some additives and fillers that you’ll want to watch out for. Many of the ingredients in this guide have been vet-reviewed. And we’ve carefully sourced information from the experts on what supplements can benefit different conditions, along with dosage guidelines (when available).
Be sure to keep this list handy, and save it to refer to later.
Fish oil for dogs is arguably one of the best things you can give your pet. Not only does it support heart health, it helps to keep their coat shiny and silky and can even reduce skin problems such as itchy and flaky skin. It can also help to reduce shedding. Fish oil can also help to relieve joint pain and aid in inflammatory diseases.
As an added bonus, dogs love the taste and are usually willing to eat it. Even if your dog doesn’t have health or skin issues, it’s still a good idea to give them a dose of fish oil to help with general upkeep.
Why is fish oil so good for dogs? This is due to the omega-3 fatty acids that it contains. Omega-3’s help to balance out the omega-6 fatty acids commonly found in dog goods. Most dogs have an abundance of omega-6 in their diet, but not nearly enough omega-3’s.
“Vegetable oils including flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnut oil, and soybean oil can provide dogs with another omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a precursor to EPA and DHA,” explains Dr. Jennifer Coates in her article: Using Omega-3 Fatty Acids Effectively and Safely.
“However, dogs are not very good at transforming ALA into either EPA or DHA. Therefore, it is much more efficient to provide dogs with EPA and DHA directly. Good sources include cold water fish oils (e.g., salmon oil) and certain types of algal oil.”
Dr. Coates also recommends choosing a supplement made from a reputable manufacturer that provides the following information either on the product label or on their website:
It’s also important to consider your dog’s breed, size, and weight. You should also speak with your veterinarian to see what their recommendation is.
While salmon oil is often considered superior to fish oils for dogs, it’s also important to look at the quality of the fish oil. Look for oils that are 100 percent pure, as this will get you an oil that is as close to the natural state as possible without fillers or preservatives. Salmon oil can also be beneficial for dogs that have allergies to other fish.
What is the recommended dosage of fish oil for dogs? According to the Canine Arthritis Resources and Education (CARE), the recommended dosage of fish oil is 75-100 mg/ kg total EPA/DHA. As always, ask your veterinarian if you’re not sure.
Potential side effects:
Interaction with some medications. Check with your vet if your dog is on any medication.
Stomach upset or diarrhea. It’s best to start gradually introducing fish oil into your dog’s diet, and then work up to the recommended dose.
As your dog gets older, you may start to notice the signs: struggling to get in the car, limping, avoiding stairs, taking shorter walks, difficulty sitting or standing. While these may just be the signs of old age starting to show, there are joint supplements for dogs that can help to ease their pain and boost their recovery. Glucosamine and chondroitin for dogs is a joint supplement that can help support hip and joint health. It can be beneficial for dogs suffering from arthritis, hip dysplasia, spinal disc injury, and even help in the recovery process from joint surgery.
Glucosamine is a natural substance found in healthy cartilage. It’s used to produce glycosaminoglycan, which helps repair cartilage. As your dog matures, the production of glucosamine slows. As it slows, the repair process slows and eventually leads to arthritis, causing the symptoms you notice in your dog.
A glucosamine supplement can help alleviate symptoms by repairing the damage caused naturally by age. Dr. Jerry Klein, the American Kennel Club’s chief veterinary officer weighs in on what causes the pain. “Cartilage plays an important role, and when damaged, it won’t usually repair or duplicate itself on its own,” says Dr. Klein. “So the bones of the joint may rub against each other, causing pain and inflammation.”
A glucosamine supplement is one of the best joint supplements for dogs since it can help reduce the pain your dog experiences by rebuilding cartilage, allowing your dog to get back to a healthy exercise routine.
Potential side effects:
Fatigue, insomnia, and excessive thirst are the most common.
Glucosamine doesn’t work overnight, and it is recommended to watch for results up to three months.
You may have heard of humans taking collagen to help with aging, but you might be wondering “can a dog take collagen?” You wouldn’t be the first to wonder.
Collagen is one of the main proteins in the body. It can be found in muscles, tendons, skin, blood vessels, and in the digestive system. It’s responsible for strengthening your dog’s nails, teeth, and bones. It is essentially what holds the body together and is crucial to joint and tendon health.
Since natural collagen makes up 70-90 percent of a dog’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments, it’s important that it be present in their body. Unfortunately, as dogs age, the natural production of collagen is slowed, leading to bone and joint conditions and poor skin and coat health.
A collagen supplement for dogs can be beneficial in combating some of the issues that arise due to the lack of collagen. This supplement can help improve joint pain such as arthritis in dogs as well as help promote strong nails and a healthy coat.
“Approximately 25 percent of dogs are diagnosed with arthritis in their lifetime, and as many as 60 percent of dogs have radiographic evidence of it,” says Dr. Becky Lundgren.
Dr. Kristopher Chandroo, who runs The 100x Vet, a full-service mobile veterinary clinic in Ottawa, Ontario, sees a lot of joint disease in his practice.
A common misconception about joint problems is that only middle-aged and older dogs are affected by osteoarthritis. “We know it starts much earlier in their lives,” says Dr. Chandroo. “It starts from early development—elbow, hip, and knee issues can start during or just past puppyhood…. Much of it can start with developmental problems—the genetics and the way the joints and cartilage develop in youth.”
When choosing a collagen supplement for your dog, it’s important that you look for high-quality collagen. Supplements come from marine sources, chicken, or bovine and have a taste that most dogs can’t get enough of. High-quality supplements are made from high-quality ingredients and won’t have fillers. Some low-quality supplements can have negative side effects in dogs, especially for dogs with diabetes as it can increase health risks.
Collagen supplements can come in different formats—everything from bone broth to collagen powder for dogs that can be sprinkled on their food. The proper dosage of dog collagen depends greatly on your dog’s health and weight. Choosing a supplement and dosage should be done per recommendation of the supplement or by checking with your vet to get a recommendation for your dog’s specific needs.
Potential side effects:
Diarrhea, change in blood and glucose levels, decreased kidney function, and liver dysfunction.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
“Many commercial pet foods contain far more omega-6s than omega-3s,” advises Randy Kidd, DVM, PhD, Holistic Veterinarian, “but it has been shown that diets higher in omega-3s can provide significant health benefits. There are a number of reasons for this, but essentially it has to do with where the ingredients come from. Corn, for example, is high in omega-6 fatty acids, so the meat from animals fed on corn is also high in omega-6s. Meat, eggs, and milk that come from animals fed a diet containing flax seed have a higher proportion of omega-3s, as does the meat from grass fed or free-range animals.”
Omega-6 fatty acids promote healthy skin for dogs as well as boost the immune system. It’s important to keep in mind that a balance of both omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids is essential for maintaining health. The fatty acids metabolize into your pet’s body and cause inflammation. Too much omega-6 without enough omega-3 can lead to inflammation.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in most plant and animal fats and oils such as chicken fat and canola oil. Animal fats, such as those that are from fish, chicken, lamb, and salmon are the richest sources. Canola oil for dogs, as well as salmon oil are both rich sources of omega-6 fatty acids. Sunflower oil is also particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
A deficiency in omega-6 fatty acid in your dog could lead to an unhealthy coat, inflammation, increased allergies, and obesity. However, in many cases, dogs already get sufficient omega-6 in their diet. What they often lack is omega-3 fatty acids. To help balance out the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, you should feed more omega-3’s, not less omega-6 fatty acids. Consider salmon oil for your dog to enhance their omega-3’s and balance out the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
Potential side effects:
Too much omega-6 can cause inflammation.
When it comes to your dog’s health, there are important nutrients you need to consider to keep them healthy and happy. Three important nutrients include fatty acids: Omega-3, 6, and 9. These fatty acids are responsible for a lot of your dog’s body functions. Omega-9 for dogs is considered one of the ‘non-essential’ omegas, because it can be manufactured from other things your dog eats. However, omega-3 and 6 cannot be manufactured and must be retrieved from your dog’s diet.
“Omega-9 EFA’s are common components of animal fat and vegetable oils. This group of fatty acids is not essential because the body can create them,” explains Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM in his article: The Best Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Dogs.
Dr. Dobias recommends that calamari oil (squid oil) is the winner because it is nutritionally balanced, safe, and also the best and the most sustainable source for Omega-3. It’s high in EPA and DHA with extremely low toxin levels (very low mercury) and squid has seen a steady population rise for over the last fifty years.
If your dog is eating commercial dog food, they’re unlikely to be deficient in Omega-3 and 9. However, there’s a good chance that they could be deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids. Consider a high-quality calamari oil or fish oil for dogs that is rich in omega-3.
Omega fatty acids are an important part of your dog’s diet. They are responsible for providing your dog with energy, helping to maintain healthy skin and a healthy coat, and benefiting heart and brain health, among other important jobs. There are three types of omega fatty acids for dogs that are important to their health—omega-3, 6, and 9. While the body can turn other fats into omega-9’s, the other two must come from your pet’s diet. While most dog foods provide plenty of omega-6’s, there is often a lack of omega-3’s. It is important to maintain a good balance of omega-6 to omega-3 for proper health.
There are also three types of omega-3’s: EPA acid, ALA acid, and DHA for dogs. ALA acid comes from plant-based sources. A dog’s body can turn the ALA into EPA and DHA acids, however, it isn’t very good at converting other acids into ALA. This means that EPA and DHA omega acids are better for dogs. These types of omega-3 fatty acids often come from fish oil for dogs.
There are plenty of health benefits of omega-3 for dogs. One of the most boasted about, however, is the anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 for dogs also supports healthy skin and coats, as well as heart, brain, and joint health.
Incorporating more omega-3’s into your dog’s diet isn’t as hard as it might sound. Consider buying treats that are rich in omegas or consider a supplement for dogs that can help boost their omega intake. Cold-water fish and squid are also rich in omega-3 oils, which means that high-quality fish oil is a good supplement for your dog to increase their omega-3’s.
It’s important to remember that a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are needed for your dog’s complete health. To help combat the balance it is recommended to feed more omega-3 fatty acids instead of less omega-6’s. This is because most dog foods are already omega-6 rich, however, dogs are often lacking in omega-3.
Potential side effects:
Fish oil is one of the main sources of omega-3 for dogs. It may cause interaction with some medications. Check with your vet if your dog is on any medication.
Stomach upset or diarrhea. It’s best to start gradually introducing fish oil into your dog’s diet, and then work up to the recommended dose.
You may have heard of turmeric, but did you know dogs can have turmeric as well? Did you know there are many benefits of turmeric for dogs? Turmeric is a wonderful herb from South India. It’s often associated with curries and mustards. But there’s research that shows that turmeric is good for many different things—including your dog’s health! Of the many benefits, turmeric is being praised for its anti-inflammatory effects in dogs. It also reduces pain caused from dog arthritis, as well as having benefits for kidney, dental, and digestive system diseases—due to those same anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric is also a great antioxidant. It can slow down the aging process and help lower your dog’s stress levels.
Before you give your dog turmeric, however, it is important to consider just how much turmeric is safe for your dog. Turmeric contains a certain compound known as “Curcumin.” This compound can be difficult for dogs to digest on its own, so it is important that you create a safe turmeric paste for dogs, using a healthy oil, such as coconut oil, to aid in the absorption process.
The amount of turmeric paste you give your dog also depends on their size. Small dogs, for instance, should start with 1/4 teaspoon per day, while larger dogs can start with 3/4 teaspoon. You might also consider a turmeric supplement or tablets that are premixed and outline proper dosage amounts.
Todd Czarnecki, DVM and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist at Hanging Rock Animal Hospital in Roanoke, Virginia, says he recommends turmeric for a variety of situations, but especially for dogs who have inflammation and stiffness that worsens in cold weather. He also recommends it as an aid to circulation in general. Dr. Czarnecki says these dogs respond very well to the addition of powdered turmeric to their diet. He recommends mixing the turmeric powder into a home-cooked diet. If you use dry dog food, he suggests softening the kibble with water before mixing in the turmeric powder.
Potential side effects:
Can interact negatively with certain medications your dog might be on, such as anti-inflammatory or diabetes drugs. If your dog is on other medications it might be best to consider talking with your vet.
Turmeric is also considered to be a ‘warming’ spice, so if your dog is already naturally hot, you might not want to heat him up more with turmeric!
Turmeric curcumin is a naturally-occurring chemical that is found in the common spice, turmeric. A turmeric root contains anywhere from 2-5 percent curcumin. Curcumin is what gives turmeric its bright yellow color. It has been used as a compound since 1815. Turmeric curcumin for dogs is used to help reduce pain. Turmeric curcumin is also an anti-inflammatory for dogs and is beneficial for dogs with arthritis, as it can relieve the pain and stiffness caused from arthritis.
Turmeric curcumin also contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. The turmeric health benefits for dogs are numerous!
Turmeric is especially beneficial for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Not only are anti-inflammatories beneficial for arthritic dogs, it is also beneficial for dogs suffering from cancer, allergies, heart disease, kidney disease, dental disease, and digestive issues—all of which can be related to inflammatory issues. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to bacteria, trauma, and toxins, and not all inflammation is bad. However, when inflammation is persistent for weeks or months, it becomes known as chronic inflammation in dogs.
Turmeric curcumin for dogs can be given in capsule or pill form, paste, or tincture.
Potential side effects:
Turmeric curcumin can cause contractions of the gallbladder. It is recommended not to give to dogs who have gallbladder stones as it could worsen the condition. You should also be cautious giving Turmeric curcumin for dogs who have diabetes, stomach ulcers, or bleeding disorders. Turmeric curcumin could also cause an upset stomach and could slow blood clotting, so you should also be cautious not to give turmeric to dogs at least two weeks before surgery.
Hemp oil for dogs often leads to questions. Many people wonder if hemp oil or CBD oil is safe for dogs.
America Kennel Club’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein explains what CBD oil is. "CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. It is essential to note that in most cases, CBD does not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties."
Still, there is much confusion on hemp oil versus CBD oil for dogs. While both oils come from the same hemp plant they come from different parts of the plant and offer up a variety of different usages and health benefits. Hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. The oil itself is full of omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. Hemp oil for dog’s health is seen in a variety of areas such as healthy skin and coats as well as reducing joint pain caused by arthritis. Hemp oil can be beneficial to their immune system as well. The health benefits of hemp oil for dogs is mostly nutritional.
CBD oil comes from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the hemp plant. It too is free from the THC compounds. The CBD health benefits for dogs can include helping to reduce stress and anxiety as well as help reduce inflammation, chronic pain, and in some cases seizure activity.
When it comes to using CBD hemp oil for dogs, there are a few things you should look out for. Be sure to look for high-quality products, even if they are more expensive, to help ensure the product is as pure as possible. You should also ensure that the oil is free of additives, and if possible, opt for an organic oil.
Potential side effects:
Dry mouth or excessive thirst, lowered blood pressure.
While the calming effect of CBD oil for dogs is beneficial, a higher dosage can cause drowsiness. It might take some time to get the dosage right for your dog to help ensure that they are getting the benefits as well as the life quality they deserve.
As dogs age, canine arthritis becomes a real concern. Over time, the cartilage between the bones begins to wear and thin, causing bones to rub against each other. Glucosamine is often used in conjunction with chondroitin sulfate for dogs to help repair cartilage. While arthritis isn’t a condition that can be cured, there are treatments and supplements for dogs with arthritis that can relieve their pain and help repair cartilage.
Chondroitin sulfate for dogs is the major glycosaminoglycan found in cartilage. It helps keep the cartilage retain water and elasticity to act as a shock absorbent. When combined with other supplements, such as glucosamine for dogs, it can help reduce inflammation which can lead to joint destruction.
If you have noticed your dog showing a lack of interest in activities he once enjoyed, refraining from jumping or climbing, depression, aggressiveness, or difficulty getting up, your dog might have canine arthritis. The inflammation in the joints can be painful. Joint supplements for dogs such as glucosamine chondroitin can be effective in helping to relieve pain as well as help promote joint repair.
“Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are building blocks of normal articular cartilage,” says Laguna Woods Veterinarian Bernadine Cruz, DVM. “These two ingredients won’t reverse or stop arthritis, but they will keep other joints healthy.”
The dosage amount for your dog is dependent on your dog’s size and weight. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for dogs comes in flavored tablets, pills, powders, or liquids which are favored by dogs.
Results are not instant and may take a few weeks to notice. It is recommended that you give the joint supplements up to three months before you decide if they are working for your dog or not. A glucosamine chondroitin supplement may be worth trying to help relieve your dog’s pain as well as boost their energy.
Potential side effects:
Side effects are rare, but in some cases can include allergies, fatigue, insomnia, and excessive thirst.
Biotin is one of the complex B, water-soluble vitamins. It also goes by the names “Vitamin H” or “B7.” Biotin for dogs is responsible for breaking fat and carbs down into energy. It also contributes to the collagen and elastin products that are responsible for keeping skin and other tissues rigid. Biotin in dogs is also responsible for helping skin and coats stay healthy and is essential for digestion, growth, and muscle formation.
A lack of biotin can lead to skin conditions in dogs, brittle dog hair and even scaly dog skin. Other biotin deficiency symptoms can include lethargy, reduced growth rate, diarrhea, skin lesions, and even anorexia. A biotin deficiency is often caused by a general lack of biotin in your dog’s diet. Antibiotics can also lead to a biotin deficiency in dogs since they mess up the microbes in your dog’s gut, interfering with the levels of biotin.
One study confirmed a favorable effect of biotin for the treatment of fur and skin conditions in dogs.
According to the study, which took place with small-animal veterinary surgeons, dogs with fur and skin conditions were treated with biotin (approximately 5 mg biotin/10 kg body weight/day) for 3 to 5 weeks. In total, 119 cases were treated for symptoms such as dull coat, brittle hair, loss of hair, scaly skin, pruritus, or dermatitis.
In 60 percent of the cases all symptoms were reported to be cured, while in 31 percent an improvement was noted. In only 9 percent no effect was recorded.
Biotin for dogs can be found in rich whole foods that are safe for dogs. Foods such as beef kidneys, sardines, green leafy vegetables, and cauliflower are high in biotin. Other foods such as raw eggs are often thought to lead to a biotin deficiency in dogs since the whites in an egg contain an enzyme that interferes with biotin. However, the yolk of an egg actually contains a healthy amount of biotin, as long as you feed your dog the entire egg you should be fine. The enzyme in the white is so small, that you would have to feed your dog around 8 raw eggs a day in order to create a deficiency.
Biotin is also a water-soluble vitamin, which means it is eliminated through urine and doesn’t build up. Because of this, it’s hard to get too much biotin. However, since biotin isn’t stored in your dog’s fat, it is possible for your dog to be deficient. You might also consider adding a biotin supplement to your dog’s diet. Just ensure that the vitamin is not synthetic and follow the directions on the label for dosing.
Potential side effects:
Biotin is water-soluble, and there are no known adverse side effects.
Salmon oil is a great source of Omega-3 acids for dogs. The benefits of salmon oil for dogs are countless. Some include healthier skin and coats, reducing inflammation of the joints, preventing skin allergies, regulating the immune system, lowering blood pressure, fighting heart disease, and more.
A deficiency in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can lead to diseases such as gout, eczema, increased shedding, poor wound healing, poor immune systems, liver disorders, and allergies. Salmon oil is rich in these Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which help combat those disorders as well as aiding in the benefits previously mentioned.
Salmon oil is especially beneficial to young puppies, as it helps promote better brain development.
But not all salmon oil is created equal. When it comes to finding oil supplements for dogs, it is important that you use only the best salmon oil.
If you are looking for a fish oil supplement for dogs, many experts recommend wild-caught salmon oil because it’s high in essential fatty acids (EFAs) (including omega-3 fatty acids). “There have been some studies showing the efficacy of EFA for early stages of atopic dermatitis, among other types of skin conditions,” says Dr. Janet Roark, owner of Hill Country Mobile Veterinary Service in Austin, Texas.
A high-quality salmon oil is cold pressed at a low temperature that ensures the fatty acids will not decompose and lose their effects. Wild Alaskan salmon oil for dogs is considered some of the freshest and best oil there is, since Alaskan salmon have spent their entire life foraging for food in the Alaskan waters.
Most dogs love the taste of salmon oil and won’t complain about a salmon oil supplement or drizzle on their kibble. Be sure to keep an eye on the expiration date and follow the recommended dosage on the bottle.
Keep in mind that while salmon oil can be a healthy addition to your dog’s diet, like all supplements, it should not be treated as a solution for all skin conditions. This is because skin conditions can be caused by a number of different issues, as Dr. Katy Nelson explains.
“These include allergies, external parasites, endocrine diseases (such as hypothyroidism), poor nutrition, bacterial, yeast or fungal infections, or even cancer,” says Dr. Katy, who is a veterinarian at the BelleHaven Animal Medical Centre in Washington, DC, and host of “The Pet Show With Dr. Katy.”
If you’d like to use a natural oil or oil supplement for your dog’s skin condition, it’s best to consult a veterinarian first to identify the type of oil-based treatment that will work best for your dog’s particular issue.
Potential side effects:
Bad breath, stomach pain, weight gain, and loose stools.
Dog vitamins and minerals are an important part of a healthy diet. Vitamins are essential for supporting health and life. Most vitamins are found naturally in food and don’t need to be supplemented. However, there are some vitamins that dogs are often deficient in due to an unbalanced diet. Vitamin A for dogs is important for immune and cell function as well as for proper growth. It is also essential for healthy vision.
Vitamin A is naturally found in liver, fish liver oil, egg yolks, sweet potatoes, carrots, and kale. Fish liver oil for dogs is beneficial for dogs in more ways than just containing vitamin A. You can also add a healthy source of fat such as coconut oil, flax oil, or even hemp oil to help aid in the digestion process.
A vitamin A deficiency in dogs is often apparent with a weakened immune system, nighttime blindness, and unhealthy skin. How much vitamin A you give to your dog depends on a variety of different factors. If you choose to use a vitamin A supplement for dogs, it is important that you follow the directions of the packaging and not overdose your dog on vitamin A. While important for proper health, you should be careful not to give your dog too much vitamin A as it is a fat-soluble vitamin that can lead to toxicity if overdosed.
A vitamin A toxicity is generally caused from eating too much organ meat, especially liver, since liver contains high levels of vitamin A. It takes a long time for a vitamin A toxicity to become visible. Oftentimes it is discovered in the form of arthritis. In extreme cases a dog may be unable to move its neck and might have difficulty eating. It can also lead to lameness, paralysis, GI issues, and increased or decreased liver function. It can also cause sensitivity in joints due to arthritis.
Potential side effects:
Too much vitamin A can harm blood vessels, and cause dehydration and joint pain. So make sure you’re not giving your pet too much.
Dog vitamins are essential to life, but that doesn’t mean that every dog needs a vitamin supplement for every vitamin. In fact, many vitamins, such as vitamin E are supplied through your dog’s diet already and supplementing them could lead to overdosing.
Vitamin E for dogs is important for a strengthened immune system, healthier muscles, skin, and coat. A vitamin E deficiency in dogs can be difficult to diagnose but is often indicated with eye problems or unexplained weight loss. Itchy skin in dogs could also be an indication that there is a vitamin E deficiency. However, the most telling sign is a compromised immune system.
Human vitamins for dogs should be used cautiously, and in the case of vitamin E should be avoided completely. This is because the concentrations in vitamins for humans are often different than those for dogs. You should also avoid foods such as avocados and almonds for dogs despite being high in vitamin E. Foods such as eggs, peanuts, or spinach are also rich in vitamin E and actually safe for dog’s consumption.
If you do decide that your dog needs a vitamin E supplement you should ensure that it is one specifically made for dogs and that it has been approved by your veterinarian. Veterinary nutritionist Susan Wynn, DVM adds that, “Your vet may even recommend supplementing your dog’s diet with specific fruits and vegetables, instead of vitamin supplements.”
Vitamin E for dogs is an important part of their diet, and while supplements are sometimes needed, they are no rival for a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to support full health.
Potential side effects:
An overdose in vitamin E could lead to lethargy and vomiting. The most dangerous side effect, however, is that an overdose of vitamin E can affect blood clotting. This can cause simple cuts to become dangerous and even life-threatening if the bleeding is not controlled.
Devil's Claw Root Extract
Too much exercise, loss of cartilage, and ligament damage can all result in canine arthritis.
Dogs with canine arthritis can experience a variety of different painful symptoms. From stiffness to lameness to a decrease in exercise. While arthritis is a common occurrence in dogs as they get older, there may be something you can do to help ease the suffering of your four-legged friend.
You may have heard of the devil’s claw plant—an ominous-sounding name, but one that’s been used for centuries for its healing properties. This plant comes from the Kalahari Desert in Africa, and is often used today for rheumatic or muscular pain.
Devil’s claw root can offer many benefits, including the treatment of canine arthritis and in helping to alleviate arthritis pain in dogs. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re looking for a supplement that will provide your senior pet with some relief, you’ll want to consider devil’s claw extract, as it’s one of the more popular dog’s joint supplements.
Herbal remedies can be just as beneficial and safe for your dog as they can for you. However, it is important to work closely with your veterinarian. You should also choose devil’s claw root products that are made specifically for dogs and not humans as the dosage results could vary.
It’s usually recommended that you start with a low dosage and work your way up until finding a dosage that seems to have benefits for your dog. Of course, you should be careful not to give a dog too much of this devil’s claw herb as this can cause diarrhea. You should also avoid devil’s claw if your dog has an ulcer or is on other medications that could react negatively. Positive results can often be seen in as little as two weeks.
Potential side effects:
An overdose of devil’s claw root can cause diarrhea.
Spirulina is the ‘new’ super food for dogs. It is the blue-green algae supplement for dogs that is loaded with essential nutrients to help support their diet while improving their health.
Spirulina is a bacteria that grows in the shape of a spiral coil. It contains the most nutrients known in any food, plant, grain, or herb. It has high concentrations of important vitamins such as B 1, 2, and 3 as well as the rare essential fatty acids for dogs. Aside from all of that, the spirulina benefits for dogs are also numerous! It contains nutrients that enhance the immune system, reduce the risk of infections, fight allergies, and treat inflammation.
Spirulina is grown in ponds or other warm bodies of water. It is then collected, dried, and made into powders or tablets. Spirulina powder for dogs can be easily sprinkled over their food, giving them its numerous benefits without them even knowing.
However, it is important to be cautious about where you purchase the spirulina for dogs. Not all is created equal. Many companies grow spirulina in lakes or ocean waters where the amount of pollutants cannot be controlled. Other companies peddle other blue-green algae as spirulina. Unfortunately, this can lead to dangerous results. If imitation spirulina is given to your pet, they can have devastating health problems as a result. Ensure that the spirulina you purchase is pure and contaminant-free to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Feeding spirulina daily is generally okay, however it is nutrient rich which could lead to an upset digestive system. Herbalist
Herbalist, and author Greg Tilford says that while spirulina is safe to use every day, because it’s so nutrient dense, it can cause diarrhea and digestive upset if feeding too much. Tilford says that 1/4 teaspoon per pound of food daily is also a generally safe spirulina dosage amount for dogs.
Potential side effects:
Diarrhea and upset stomach.
Sodium hyaluronate for dogs, also known as hyaluronic acid or hyaluronate acid, is a natural occurring substance found in the body. Its highest concentrations are found in the skin, joints, and eyes where it provides important lubrication as well as aids in tissue hydration. Sodium hyaluronate levels decrease with age and, over time, these decreased levels can lead to ailments such as arthritis or joint problems in dogs.
Keeping your dog’s joints healthy and preventing joint disease in dogs is important, as well as treating conditions such as arthritis. Sodium hyaluronate for dogs can help maintain healthy cartilage and joint function in dogs. It can also help maintain good gum and eye health, as well as promote healthy skin and shiny coats.
Hyaluronic acid, while it has been used by equine veterinarians for over 30 years, is relatively new to smaller animals such as dogs. Hyaluronic acid for dogs is considered a natural supplement, and since it is naturally found in bodies the side effects are few and far between.
When hyaluronic acid was first being used, the injections were applied directly into the affected joint. This was the common delivery method for horses. The problem with this method was that additional damage was done to the joints or the cartilage due to the needles. Hyaluronic acid for dogs is now available in a liquid, powder, or pill option, making it safer and more convenient for you to use.
When choosing a powder, pill, or liquid option be sure to choose a safe, all-natural joint supplement that is designed especially for dogs and follow the dosage directions found on the container. You should also consider a high molecular weight that best mimics the body’s natural fluid and provides the best results.
Potential side effects:
According to one study published in the Journal of Veterinary Science, no adverse side effects were reported.
Methylsulfonylmethane for dogs, also known as MSM for dogs, is an organic form of sulfur for dogs that contains a compound known for its joint health benefits. It is also found in the body. MSM supplement for dogs can also be beneficial for muscle injuries, joint pain in dogs, and arthritis since it helps to strengthen connective tissues and reduces swelling. Methylsulfonylmethane in dogs also decreases the pressure inside cells, allowing water and nutrients to flow easier inside cells and provides the body with much-needed nutrients.
While small doses of MSM can be found in some fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, sprouts, and cabbage. It is also found in nuts, some meat, and cow’s milk. However, MSM supplements for dogs are the easiest way to ensure the body’s ability to absorb it. Methylsulfonylmethane for dogs is available as tablets, odorless powder, and liquid form. It can easily be mixed with kibble for dogs suffering from arthritic pain.
Lack of methylsulfonylmethane in dogs can often be seen in brittle nails, dull coat, slow healing, immune system issues, and joint pain.
Methylsulfonylmethane tablets for dogs often contain Dimethyl sulfoxide, which can be toxic to dogs. Because of this, it is important to use Methylsulfonylmethane for dogs under close supervision and observation. Routine liver and kidney function tests should be performed as well.
Potential side effects:
MSM side effects are few and far between since it is a naturally occurring substance. However, some rare side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea and headaches have been reported.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (or EPA) for dogs is one of the essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids for dogs are vital for supporting brain development, reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and improving skin and coat conditions. They also offer heart and kidney health benefits.
Fish oil for dogs is a great way to get your dog the Eicosapentaenoic Acid he needs. Most cold-water fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Together, these fatty acids can have a great impact on inflammation.
While vegetable oils such as flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnut oil, and soybean oil can provide dogs with a healthy dose of Alpha-linolenic acid, dogs are not very proficient at turning ALA into EPA or DHA. Beef and chicken fats are also high in omega-6 and low in omega-3, making them an inefficient source. However, fish oil is high in both EPA and DHA, making it a much more efficient option.
When purchasing an Eicosapentaenoic Acid for dogs, it is important that you check to see how much EPA and DHA the supplement contains. Not all products are created equal. You should also consider how the product was purified.
While fatty acids for dogs and Eicosapentaenoic Acid supplements such as fish oil for dogs are generally considered safe, if given in large doses it can lead to upset stomachs, blood clotting issues, and immune dysfunction. It is important to follow the dosage on the bottle and choose products specifically designed for dogs.
Fish oil for dogs can be used as a short-term nutritional boost or a long-term additive. Since most dogs don’t get enough omega-3’s in their diets, they are often deficient. An omega-3 deficiency is generally apparent in classic signs such as dry skin, dull coat, or hair loss.
There are three main omega-3 fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). All three are considered essential omega-3 fatty acids for dogs since the body doesn’t produce them naturally and isn’t efficient in converting enough. This means that omega 3 supplements for dogs are especially important.
Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA for dogs, is essential for the development of the brain and nervous system. The brain itself is made up of 50 percent fat and more than 90 percent of that fat is DHA. It plays a vital part in the proper development and functioning of the brain, memory and trainability. In addition, fish oil supplements for dogs help with joint and immune health as well as the added bonus of a shiny and healthy coat.
Cold-water fish such as sardines, anchovies, salmon, mackerel, trout, and herring all have high levels of these omega-3 fatty acids, thus making fish oil for dogs a great addition to their everyday diets. In addition, not all supplements contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for dogs, such as docosahexaenoic acid. Fish oil for dogs, however, contains the necessary omega-3’s.
It is also important to look for high-quality fish oils that have high levels of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid for dogs. Feed your dog the recommended dosage on the bottle and be sure to store your fish oil properly to prevent it from becoming rancid.
Potential side effects:
While the largest reported side effect of giving your dog fish oil is bad breath, other reports of diarrhea, weight gain, and heavy metal exposures have been noted.
Astragals is an ancient herb found typically in China and is a traditional Chinese medicine and is considered to be one of the fundamental herbs for strengthening the immune system. It has been said to be useful for everything from combatting the common cold to cancer. It also offers heart health benefits. Such an herbal medicine can be beneficial for dogs if used correctly and under the instruction of your vet.
Astragalus for dogs is most commonly used for the immunity boost it provides. The plant itself contains three main elements that give it the boost it boasts about. First, it has Saponins which are used to help lower cholesterol and improve the immune system. Seconds, it has Flavonoids which boast as antioxidants as well as being antiviral. And finally, it has Astragalu which is used to help boost poor immune systems.
The mature astragalus roots are used in infusions or tinctures and are available for dogs in tablet form.
The astragalus benefits for dogs are generally immunity boosting. It has also been known to increase energy levels. Astragalus can also reduce stress and help regulate the body’s levels. While astragalus is a natural herb, it is important to use with caution and stop use if any unusual side effects appear.
Potential side effects:
Health and wellness for our dogs is something that all pet owners strive for. From the best foods to veterinary care, every effort is taken to help provide them with a long and happy life.
Burdock offers a variety of nutrients for dogs that can help support these efforts.
The herb, native to northern Asia and Europe, has been used for centuries in holistic medicine. In Japan, burdock is available at supermarkets and is included in everyday meals. Aside from adding some unique flavor, the root is actually very beneficial for multiple health purposes.
Burdock root for dogs is rich in important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus and B vitamins. Burdock benefits for dogs include things such as:
Is licorice bad for dogs? While sharing the sugary sweet licorice candy with your dog might not be in their best interest, licorice root for dogs is perfectly fine and even beneficial!
Licorice is part of the legume and pea family. Licorice root has been used to treat a variety of different ailments for centuries. The medicinal properties come from the root of the plant and include glycosides, saponins, and flavonoids.
Licorice root can offer many different benefits including anti-inflammatory properties. Many conditions such as itching, stomach, and digestive issues, liver disease in dogs, and urinary tract infections can all be caused by inflammatory issues. Licorice can also provide skin health by tackling some of the common skin conditions in dogs such as flea-bite allergies, eczema, and psoriasis. It can even be applied topically and calm irritated or itchy skin.
Licorice can also have a positive impact on the immune system for dogs, as well as act as a liver detoxifier.
Licorice can be given to your dog in a tincture, tea, oil, or applied topically, and since it is safe to ingest, you don’t have to worry about your dog licking it off. Most dogs enjoy the naturally sweet tasted and will ingest it with ease, even considering it to be a treat, making it a versatile, easy-to-use herb with many natural benefits.
Potential side effects:
Licorice side effects for dogs are generally low, but those with high blood pressure, heart conditions, or kidney disorders should not take licorice root. Licorice for dogs should not be used as a long-term solution without first consulting a vet. Other side effects could occur if it is given in highly concentrated, large doses, including hypertension, water retention, sodium retention, and loss of potassium.
Red clover is a pink flower that most will be familiar with. It is a relatively sweet flower often enjoyed by horses. However, most might not know that there are numerous health benefits of red clover for dogs. Traditional Chinese herbalists use the red clover for colds and to purify the blood. Native Americans use this plant to create a salve for burns.
While most might consider the red clover a weed that covers the lawns of many in the early spring, they are used by farmers as a crop cover due in part to their high nutrient content.
The high nutrient content is what has it classed as a cleansing herb. The healing effect of red clover for dogs extends to the liver, heart, and lungs. It can help reduce blood pressure for dogs, boost the immune system, improve blood circulation, and even help detox the body from toxins that can lead to diseases. Due to its detoxifying effects, red clover is great for liver health in dogs. The herb is also used for its blood cleansing abilities, making it a great addition for dogs who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and even rashes.
Red clover capsules for dogs are just one way to give this healing herb to your four-legged friend. Other options include tinctures, teas, or dried. It can be applied topically to aid in burns or irritated skin.
Potential side effects:
While red clover is generally safe for dogs, it should not be used by those with bleeding disorders, as it has blood-thinning qualities that could be dangerous to these dogs.
Even though we don’t like to think about it, dogs are prone to many different health ailments. Providing your dog with a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals is important to help keep them healthy.
You might be surprised to learn that nettles have more to offer than a stinging bite when you brush them wrong. Nettles are rich in minerals and other nutrients that can be beneficial to your dog’s health.
Nettle leaves for dogs are loaded with protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, and beta-carotene, as well as vitamins A, C, D, and B-complex. Imagine all those nutrients in a nettle leaf!
This combination of vitamins in nettle leaf for dogs makes it easy to be absorbed with little stress on your dog’s digestive system, kidneys, or liver. Nettle leaf creates a great addition to your dog’s well-balanced diet.
Nettle leaf can make great dog allergy remedies, as it acts as a natural antihistamine. Other nettle leaf benefits for dogs include acting as an anti-inflammatory, thus helping with arthritis pain. Nettle leaf can also be beneficial for dogs with itchy skin. Nettle leaf can be used for your dog’s skin to give relief from flea bites or dry skin. Simply make a strong tea, allow it to cool, and then thoroughly soak their skin. The tea will provide instant relief.
Nettle leaf for dogs can be given in a capsule or extract. Dried nettle for dogs can be used to make extracts, tinctures, or teas, or you can buy them premade. You can also sprinkle dried nettle leaf on your dog’s food.
You can harvest your own nettles if they are in season, but be sure to wear gloves! Just because they offer many benefits doesn’t mean they don’t still sting!
Potential side effects:
In rare cases, a dog may be sensitive or allergic to nettle.
Cranberry supplement is perhaps the most well-known supplement when it comes to urinary tract health for dogs. The cranberry fruit is known for preventing and treating urinary tract infections in dogs. Cranberry is also beneficial in supporting urinary health in dogs.
A lesser-known fact of cranberry for dogs is the dental health benefits they can provide. Cranberries can be beneficial in helping to reduce plaque build-up and keeping your dog’s dental health in top shape. A buildup of plaque is a major cause of tooth decay and bad breath in dogs.
While cranberry is beneficial to dogs it is important to know that many human cranberry products can be dangerous for dogs. For instance, many dried cranberries are mixed with raisins, which are toxic to dogs. Prepared cranberry dishes and juices are also risky as many juices contain high amounts of sugar or are mixed with other juices—such as grape juice—which can be toxic to dogs.
It is important to take your pet’s urinary health seriously, and if they are suffering from a UTI you should seek veterinary advice. While cranberry can support urinary health, it is not always a cure for painful infections.
Many cranberry supplements include vitamin C. If used long-term, this could lead to kidney stones. This is because vitamin C is acidic and when broken down, increases the risk of stone formation.
Some cranberry supplements also contain oxalates, which can cause bladder or kidney stones and xylitol, which is considered extremely poisonous for dogs.
Organic Marshmallow Root Powder
Marshmallow root is an herb that is native to Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. It has been used for thousands of years to treat digestive issues, respiratory conditions, and even skin problems. The leaves, flowers, and roots can all be put to use solving a variety of ailments. The Greek name for marshmallow root is Althea, which translated means “to heal”—and heal it does! The most common use for marshmallow root powder for dogs is to heal the gut and soothe the bladder.
Some of the benefits of marshmallow root for dogs are aiding in the treatment of UTIs and digestive disorders. It is also considered to be an effective kennel cough herb for dogs, treating sore throats and swollen bronchial tubes. Marshmallow root extract for dogs can also be applied topically to help soothe wounds and keep infections at bay. Marshmallow root is also a digestive herb for dogs, and can help control both diarrhea and constipation as well as help relieve digestive inflammation. Organic marshmallow root powder for dogs can also support immune system health.
You can add marshmallow root powder directly to your dog’s kibble and buy it in a tincture or supplement form. You can also use marshmallow root powder topically by mixing it with water and applying it to wounds to speed up the healing process.
Potential side effects:
The most common side effect from organic marshmallow root powder for dogs is an increase in thirst, and it is important to ensure that your dog has access to plenty of clean water during this time. Marshmallow root can also lower blood sugar levels and should be used with caution on dogs with diabetes.
The kidney is responsible for removing excess fluid in the body as well as filtering the blood before returning it back to the body. They help prevent too much waste product or fluid from building up. However, kidneys are very delicate and can be damaged easily by either disease or medications. Herbal medicine for dogs such as nettle seeds have been shown to reduce the damage often caused to kidneys by extreme stress in the form of disease or trauma.
Most of us are familiar with the nettle and its stringing leaf. We have most likely all had a run-in or two with the stinging plant that seems to have no purpose. However, nettles offer a variety of medicinal benefits. Different parts of the nettle plant have different benefits. While the nettle leaf is loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for dogs, the nettle seed hosts its own benefits.
Nettle leaf for dogs and the high volume of nutrients it contains can also be beneficial to kidneys. However, the nettle seed has proven more effective for treating kidney failure in dogs.
Nettle seed can be given in a tincture form in water or seeds can be added directly to their food. It is important to note that nettle seeds are not the seeds that you purchase at the local garden shop.
The seed may be small, but it packs a powerful punch. One of the biggest benefits of the nettle seed for dogs is kidney health. Nettle seeds are used for dogs who are experiencing chronic kidney disease or while recovering from traumatic or stress-related injuries on kidneys.
While there aren’t many side effects to nettle seeds, you should always use herbal remedies with caution and follow your vet’s guidance.
Potential side effects:
In rare cases, a dog may be sensitive or allergic to nettle.
Chamomile Flower Powder
Chamomile flower powder has been used for centuries as an herbal medicine to soothe stomach aches, heal wounds, and reduce stress. Chamomile tea is often used for calming our nerves and preparing us for sleep. Chamomile tea for dogs also provides many of the same benefits.
Chamomile flower powder for dogs has many other benefits as well. It can help relieve skin inflammation in dogs, reduce itching, and aid in easing stomach issues. It can also help reduce anxiety in dogs. Many dogs have stress and anxiety, and chamomile has been effective in reducing these anxious tendencies since chamomile soothes muscles and decreases blood pressure.
Chamomile for dogs can be given in many different forms. Chamomile flower powder can also be sprinkled on their food or given as a capsule depending on your dog’s taste buds. Chamomile can even be applied topically to soothe irritation or itching skin. Simply use a pot of cooled chamomile tea as a rinse after a bath. You can also apply brewed tea bags on sore areas. Just ensure the tea bag has cooled first.
While chamomile flower powder for dogs is safe for both internal and external use, it is important to use caution when using herbal medicine for dogs. If this is your first-time using chamomile flower powder on your dog, you should take it slow to ensure your dog doesn’t have any allergic reactions. You should also watch your dog for unusual reactions such as vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, or difficulty breathing, as this could indicate an allergic reason. You should also watch for excessive itching, hives, or rash after use.
You should use chamomile to treat stomach issues with caution, and not as a long-term solution, as stomach issues may be the sign of a serious problem.
Potential side effects:
Chamomile is best used in moderation. Using too much for your dog, or over too long of a time period can cause chamomile poisoning. Symptoms of chamomile poisoning include hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and lethargy.
Passion Flower Powder
There are all sorts of sources of anxiety for your dog. Unfortunately, we can’t always limit their exposure to stressful or anxiety-inducing situations, which is why natural calming herbs for dogs can be extremely beneficial. Stress and anxiety in dogs can lead to upset stomachs and other issues.
Herbs such as passion flower powder can have amazing results when it comes to aiding in calming your pup. There are over 500 known species of the passion flower, and they have been used since the 1500s to treat various ailments all around the world—everything from anxiety to earaches.
If you are looking for natural calming formulas for dogs, then you might consider passion flower powder. Unlike other calmative herbs for dogs, passion flower doesn’t leave your dog feeling groggy or sleepy. Rather, it calms the mind, body, and stomach without putting your dog to sleep, promoting natural and healthy relaxation.
Passion flower powder for dogs can be given as a tea—for both you and your canine friend—so long as it has been cooled and diluted. Or you can use an herbal extract for dogs, made into a tincture that can help offer relief for your anxious dog. Many anti-anxiety chews include passion flower powder due to the calming benefits it provides for dogs.
Potential side effects:
While passion flower powder is considered a safe and natural herb for anxious dogs, it is not recommended for dogs that are pregnant. You should also monitor your dog for allergic reactions. It is also important to use products designed for dogs and to speak with your vet about any contradictions passion flower might have with any medications your dog is currently on.
When used on older dogs, the sedative effects of passion flower may linger.
The benefits of ginger are no secret. Anyone who has struggled with an upset stomach has most likely reached for a ginger ale to help settle things. What you might not know is that ginger root for dogs can be beneficial as well. In Chinese medicine, ginger is used to help support digestion and help normalize the gastric function. While ginger is mostly beneficial to the digestive system, ginger root can also be beneficial in aiding in arthritic issues.
Fresh ginger for dogs can also be beneficial in treating heartworm disease, managing nausea and upset stomach, and reducing inflammation. Ginger root for dogs can also treat seasonal allergies and can reduce bloat, a life-threatening condition common in larger dogs. Bloat occurs when the stomach expands from food, but gas doesn’t expel. Ginger can help relieve this.
Ginger root also helps dogs who get motion sick easily. If your dog gets sick from car rides, you might consider ginger or other herbs for your dog’s motion sickness. A few drops of ginger extract for your dog can result in a smoother car ride.
Fresh ginger can be used in tinctures, powders, tablets, or teas.
Start with small doses of ginger, or else you might cause your dog to have an upset stomach. That’s the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve with ginger root!
Potential side effects:
The main adverse effect of ginger is mild gastrointestinal irritation.
L-tryptophan is an amino acid for dogs that can help support stress responses and boost moods. It helps solve some behavioral problems in dogs who react negatively to environmental stresses. Separation anxiety in dogs can often show itself in the form of behavioral issues. Dog anxiety can often be treated by removing the stressor from your dog’s life and ensuring they have all the attention they need. However, that isn’t always possible. Life happens, and sometimes your dog will experience anxiety.
If your pup is experiencing more anxiety than normal, you might consider L-tryptophan.
L-tryptophan for dogs is an essential amino acid. Your dog should be getting this amino acid through their diet, but they might not be getting enough. If this is the case, then adding in a supplement could help balance your dog’s serotonin levels. Serotonin levels for dogs are an important part of the amino acid balance. By restoring this balance, you could help level their moods and help them to overcome the sudden aggression they may be showing.
L-tryptophan supplements are marketed to help reduce anxiety and have calming effects for dogs. Supplements often include passion flower, ginger, or valerian root—naturally calming herbs often given to dogs to promote calmness or reduce anxieties.
It is important to talk with your vet about managing your dog’s anxiety and use supplements as needed, when needed. It is also important to note that L-tryptophan for dogs is not a cure-all for aggressive dogs, rather a treatment for anxious dogs who are prone to aggression when anxious.
Potential side effects:
While L-tryptophan for dogs can help reduce anxiety, it is important to note that some anxiety supplements can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, difficulty walking, and increased drowsiness.
Manganese for dogs is not a commonly heard-of mineral and is not found as a free element. However, sources of manganese for dogs can be found in foods such as whole grains, seeds, nuts, and proteins such as salmon, beef, eggs, or spinach. Manganese is an essential mineral for all animals and helps promote proper bone growth. It’s essential in bone health for dogs as well as hormone production.
Manganese for dogs is also important to help the digesting and absorbing of proteins and carbohydrates. It even contains antioxidants and helps activate the enzymes that help your pet use the fatty acids in their diets. Fatty acids for dogs are important to promote a strong immune system, provide energy, aid in vitamin absorption, and help promote healthy skin and coats.
The sources of manganese for dogs generally come through their diet, although some dogs are deficient. Your dog’s diet generally contains a type of manganese such as manganese sulfate or manganous oxide. While there is no risk in feeding your pet foods that contain manganese, a deficiency could be dangerous. High-quality dry food should contain adequate amounts of manganese, but those feeding a raw diet might consider a pet supplement with manganese as an added mineral. Some common signs of manganese deficiency are abnormal skin and hair as well as joint development issues.
Dog foods with manganese can include raw spinach, blackberries, raw beef liver, and sweet potatoes. These are all good sources of manganese for dogs and as an added bonus, most dogs love the taste of these foods, making them human and pet-approved options.
Potential side effects:
Too much of any mineral can cause toxicity, while not enough can result in deficiency. Make sure you consult your veterinarian to find out how much your dog needs.
Cat’s Claw Root Extract
Cat’s claw is a tropical, woody vine most commonly found in the Amazon rainforest, but is also present in certain parts of South and Central America. The name comes for the thorns which represent cat’s claws. Cat’s claw bark and root make a popular herb that is used to treat a variety of ailments such as arthritis as well as help clear up infections by boosting the immune system.
Cat’s claw root extract for dogs is most commonly used to treat symptoms of osteoarthritis as well as rheumatoid arthritis in dogs since it is an anti-inflammatory. Joint pain in dogs is often associated with arthritis and can benefit from cat’s claw. Anti-inflammatory for dogs helps by reducing swelling and pain and as a result, cat’s claw root extract for dogs can be used to treat inflammation of the bowel and stomach, as well. Cat’s claw has also been beneficial in treating high blood pressure for dogs as well as acting as an antioxidant and anti-viral.
Cat’s claw root for dogs can be sprinkled on their food or mixed into homemade treats. You can also make cat’s claw root into a tincture or tea that can be given to your pet. The herb has also been used topically to soothe pains.
Since cat’s claw lowers blood pressure, it isn’t advised to give it to dogs with low blood pressure. You should also not give cat’s claw root to dogs two weeks before surgery. Be sure to check with your vet if your dog is taking medications for liver problems or blood pressure as cat’s claw root could have negative interactions.
Potential side effects:
Nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
Willow Bark Extract
White willow bark, also known as white willow, white bark, or Salix alba is native to Asia and Europe. The bark of the tree is covered with fine white hairs, and has been used for its healing properties for decades. The salicin compounds have been used to treat many different ailments such as joint pain, back pain, and even used as an anti-inflammatory for dogs.
Since white willow bark is where aspirin comes from, when given in the right dosage amounts, it can be used as a natural pain killer or natural substitute for aspirin. White willow can be used to reduce inflammation for dogs.
Willow bark extract for dogs can be given in a supplement form or a tincture.
Willow bark extract can be used to treat various ailments such as arthritis, inflammation, and preventing blood clots. While aspirin effects are quick-acting, white willow effects are often slower and longer-lasting. Over time, white bark is more effective and better in the long-run.
However, it is important to keep in mind that white willow bark extract should not be given to dogs who are taking other medications. While the herb may be natural, it doesn’t always react positively with other medications. Be sure to speak with your vet if you have any questions regarding dosages or combinations of other medications.
Potential side effects:
Cramps, nausea, rash, gastrointestinal bleeding, and kidney damage. Do not administer if your dog is on other medications.
Chicken Bone Broth
For as long as we can remember, people have been making bone broth. It is often considered to be an immunity booster and something your grandmother made you when you were feeling under the weather. The secret behind this special broth? The stock is full of minerals and nutrients that are needed to help boost immune systems while also being easy to digest.
Chicken bone broth benefits for dogs can be numerous, as well. Chicken bone broth is a great broth for dogs’ livers, helping with detox. Chicken broth is also a great broth for dogs’ joints, helping to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Chicken bone broth is also great for your dog’s immune system.
It can be simple to make bone broth for dogs. Dogs will happily drink up chicken bone broth. Making bone broth can be done simply by adding raw meat bones, such as chicken feet, marrow bones, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar to a pot of water or crockpot. Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice is important in helping pull the nutrients and minerals out of the bones. You only need three or four tablespoons for a pot of bones. You should cook the bones on low for at least 24 hours or until the bones are brittle, ensuring you can get as much of the nutrients out as possible.
Once the broth is made, you can let it cool and add it to your dog’s food or give it to your dog separately. Store the excess broth in the fridge or freezer, depending on how much you plan to feed your pup.
It is important not to feed your dogs the cooked bones, since they can splinter and cause damage to your dog’s internal organs.
Potential side effects:
As always, moderation is key. Feeding your dog too much bone broth may lead to them consuming too many amino acids, or certain bacteria or heavy metals that may be found in certain ingredients.
We’ve all heard of the many benefits of coconut oil for dogs, but what about coconut milk for dogs? It turns out that while there are plenty of benefits that come from feeding dogs coconut oil, there are also plenty of uses and health benefits that come from using coconut milk, as well.
Coconut milk can help decrease inflammation since it’s high in lauric acid—one of the fatty acids for dogs that helps the body absorb nutrients whole. Because of this, coconut milk for dogs is beneficial for those suffering from arthritis. It can also help speed up the healing process of cuts and other wounds.
Coconut also contains albumin, which helps create red blood cells. Coconut milk is also good for boosting your dog’s immune system, treating yeast infections, and reducing itchy skin. It can also help with bad breath—and there isn’t a dog out there who doesn’t struggle with bad breath!
Coconut can be given to your dog in all the various forms: the meat, milk, and oil are all beneficial and safe for your dog. Some dogs even enjoy chewing and playing with a whole coconut. However, you should be cautious to ensure your pup doesn’t ingest any of the coconut hairs since they can get stuck in their throat.
It is important that when you purchase coconut milk for your dogs, you opt for the plain, unsweetened version instead of the sweetened version that can drown out the health benefits for dogs.
Potential side effects:
While many dogs enjoy the mild taste of coconut milk, it is rich and creamy and too much may cause an upset stomach. While it is non-toxic, it should be given in moderation to prevent loose stools, vomiting, or an upset stomach.
Milk Thistle for Dogs
Milk thistle is native to Europe and its medicinal use dates back to the time of the Roman emperors.
“Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a flowering plant that contains the flavonoid compound silymarin in the seeds,” explains Dr. Stacie Summers, veterinarian at Oregon State University’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine. “Although the terms milk thistle and silymarin are often used interchangeably, silymarin is the part of the plant that has the beneficial properties.”
The liver gets the brunt of the toxins that are around us everywhere. Regardless of how hard we might try we cannot escape the toxins that are in our everyday life. The liver works hard to filter and eliminate these toxins, but often is damaged in the process.
Milk thistle has been used for over 2,000 years, benefiting those who have used it for medicinal purposes, and continues to provide numerous health benefits.
There are three main chemicals that support the efforts of milk thistle: silychristin, silydianin, and silybin. Together, these three substances are known as silymarin—the active ingredient found in milk thistle.
Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the liver from toxins. Milk thistle for dogs can be used as a detox or cleanse for the liver and can treat liver damage as it helps promote the growth of new liver cells. Milk thistle can also be used to combat some allergies while it cleanses the liver of harmful toxins that may be leading to the allergy.
Milk thistle for dogs also has other beneficial factors. It can help those suffering from kidney disease due to infection, reducing the healing time. Milk thistle for dogs has also been used for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Milk thistle extract for dogs comes in capsules, tablets, or tinctures and can be given to dogs on or in their food. Most milk thistle extracts contain about 80 percent silymarin.
Potential side effects:
While rare, milk thistle has been known to have a laxative effect. You should avoid using milk thistle for dogs that are pregnant or nursing.
While generally safe, in high doses, silymarin may cause diarrhea in dogs. Speak to your pet’s veterinarian if they experience this reaction before giving it again.
Probiotics for Dogs
Probiotics are a tremendously beneficial supplement for dogs. Probiotics contain good, ‘gut-friendly’ bacteria that is naturally found in the digestive tract. Taking probiotics can help to maintain healthy levels of good bacteria that helps to prevent digestive issues, and boosts the immune system. In many cases, probiotics are taken after the immune system has been compromised due to infection or antibiotics.
Probiotics are also beneficial in dogs that have stress, regardless of if their emotional or physical stress. Stress such as moving, boarding, or changes in lifestyles can often result in diarrhea in dogs. Probiotics can help clear this up.
Probiotics can be found in some yogurts with live cultures, powders, chews, and are even present in some dog foods.
Potential Side Effects:
While a prescription is not generally needed to obtain probiotic supplements for dogs, you should be careful to monitor your dog for digestive issues such as diarrhea, bloating, gas, and constipation. Remember that not all probiotics are created equal and that many human forms of probiotics such as yogurt can contain high levels of sugar that can have negative impacts on your dog’s health.
Melatonin for Dogs
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles. It is produced in the brain by both humans and animals. While it is a supplement that has been used for a long time to help humans find restful sleep, it can also be used to help dogs calm down and reduce anxiety.
Melatonin for dogs can help relieve their anxiety, reducing restlessness and even helping with separation anxiety. Giving melatonin to your dogs before a stressful event or situation that provokes anxiety in your dog, such as leaving the house, a thunderstorm, or even during fireworks can help your dog remain calm. Melatonin can also be used to help dogs who suffer from insomnia, sort of acting as a sleeping pill for dogs.
Melatonin is an oral medication or supplement that can be given long-term. However, if you don’t see any changes in behavior or improvements after a few months you should stop giving it to your dog.
While melatonin is considered a relatively safe medication for dogs, it is important to talk with your vet before giving it to your dog. You should also talk with your vet to determine how melatonin might react with other medications they are currently taking. Don’t give melatonin to dogs who have kidney or liver problems.
You should also be cautious about what brands of melatonin you give to your dog. Although a prescription isn’t required, some brands may contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Be sure to speak with your vet before giving your dog any over the counter medications to ensure you get the dosage and brand right.
Potential side effects:
Side effects are rare but could cause an upset stomach, increased heart rate, itching, and confusion. If your dog shows any of these signs while taking melatonin, be sure to seek medical attention.
Cosequin® for Dogs
Cosequin® is a joint health supplement for dogs that helps to support the cartilage in their joints, which can help them to maintain normal movement.
Arthritis and other joint diseases are common ailments among dogs. While large dogs are more prone to joint problems, all dogs are at risk of straining their joints and causing damage.
Glucosamine is a natural substance found in your body, with the highest quantities found in healthy cartilage. Glucosamine produces glycosaminoglycan which helps form and repair cartilage. Over time, and with age, the body’s natural production of glucosamine slows. This combined with the ongoing use of your dog’s joints can lead to slower healing and repairs to cartilage which can lead to arthritis.
Cosequin® contains glucosamine which can help maintain healthy joints and strengthen weak ones. Cosequin® also contains manganese ascorbate, which when combined with glucosamine can speed up the recovery time.
Cosequin® for dogs is available in a chewable tablet that most dogs don’t mind accepting as a treat. It is also available in sprinkle capsules.
Potential Side Effects:
Cosequin® has not shown any negative side effects except the rare occurrence of diarrhea. You should use Cosequin® with caution if your dog is diabetic, overweight, or has glucose tolerance problems or liver problems.
Flaxseeds have been used for thousands of years in the creation of many different things. From fabrics to foods, flaxseeds may be small but they pack a serious punch. Flaxseeds themselves are little seeds that have a nutty taste. However, the seed, eaten in whole form is considered indigestible for dogs, and thus rendering them useless in their natural state.
Ground flaxseeds, however, offer up an abundance of nutrients that can be beneficial for your dog. Flaxseed meal for dogs, when used correctly, can help support a healthy coat, joints, and immune system. Flaxseeds can also help support kidney health as well as healthy digestion. Flaxseeds are also full of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, manganese, and lignans.
It is also important to remember that if you are adding flaxseed to your dog’s food, you don’t use whole flaxseeds. While they aren’t dangerous, they also provide no nutritional benefits. Be sure to use a ground flaxseed supplement, such as flaxseed meal or flaxseed oil to get the most from this additive.
Potential side effects:
Many dog foods contain flaxseed meal for these numerous benefits, and while it is considered a relatively safe additive, too much flaxseed can cause an upset stomach, due to its high levels of fiber. There’s also a risk of flax poisoning, if a dog ingests too much. While rare, symptoms may include vomiting, shortness of breath, weakness, and difficulty walking. Keep supplements out of your pet’s reach and always consult your vet about the proper dosage.
Sea cucumbers, as the name suggests, are cucumber-looking creatures that live at the bottom of the ocean. Sea cucumbers, while certainly not the most attractive looking creature around, have been used for their medicinal properties for hundreds of years. They are also considered a cuisine delicacy in many parts of the world.
Sea cucumbers contain high levels of chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and collagen, making them a key component for relieving joint pain for dogs suffering from canine arthritis. They are also beneficial for helping rebuild cartilage. Sea cucumbers can also help with muscle sprains, and tissue damage, as well as gum disease, clotting disorders, and high cholesterol. Sea cucumbers also have similar benefits to fish oil and offer support for healthy heart and brain function.
In many places, you can purchase whole, dried sea cucumbers that most dogs would appreciate as a treat, or as a supplement or powder that can be added to your dog’s food. It’s also important that you source your sea cucumber from a reputable source.
Molasses, in short, is the leftover sugar that comes from the sugar-making process. After sugar cane or sugar beets are crushed and boiled, the juice is extracted to make sugar. Once the juice has been removed, you are left with a thick, brown syrup known as molasses. The process is repeated multiple times, leaving you with multiple types of molasses. Blackstrap molasses is the best type of molasses that contains the least amount of sugar.
While many dog treats contain molasses, it isn’t always the best type of molasses and can contain higher amounts of sugar that can raise your dog’s blood sugar, increase obesity, cause dental problems, and even weaken the immune system.
Molasses in its true form can be added to your dog’s food or baked into homemade treats, and can be beneficial in helping with arthritis and anemia in dogs. Other health benefits of blackstrap molasses include helping give your pup healthy bones, and it contains calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and iron.
Potential side effects:
Certain types of molasses can contain large amounts of sugar, which can cause a myriad of side effects, including weight gain, increased blood sugar, and dental problems. Be sure not to give your dog too much.
We all know the important role that omega-3, 6, and 9’s play in our dog’s lives. They are essential to your dog’s health, both inside and out. Fatty acids are essential for supporting organ and brain function as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. But choosing the source of these omegas is equally important. Many sources can contain heavy metals or mercury.
Calamari oil is unique from other sources of omega-3, such as fish oil, krill oil, salmon oil, or cod liver oil, as it contains more DHA and EPA. DHA helps prevent brain and nerve disease, while EPA helps with joint health and healthy skin and coats. Calamari oil is a safe, eco-friendly, heavy metal-free option that offers great health benefits for your dog.
Chicken powder, or chicken meal, is dried, ground-up chicken. While nothing beats high-quality, real chicken, chicken powder contains the right balance of nutrients needed for your pets. In some ways, chicken powder is a better protein source than real chicken, since it is a concentrated source. It’s also a great flavor enhancer.
Chicken meal is an important part of your pet’s diet as it contains the necessary nutrients and vitamins needed for your dog’s health. The process of creating chicken powder separates fats and proteins as well as kills off dangerous bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Chicken powder is also loaded with important nutrients such as vitamins B6 and 12, linoleic acid, selenium, phosphorus, fatty acids, and choline. These nutrients are important for energy as well as the health of your dog’s skin and coat.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient in your dog’s diet that helps regulate calcium and phosphorus. It also promotes the retention of calcium which helps bone growth as well as nerve and muscle control. While it is an important vitamin to ensure your dog has in their diet, it is also a fat-soluble vitamin. This means that it is stored in fatty tissues and the liver. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, with fat-soluble vitamins, an overdose is possible since the extra is not eliminated by the kidneys through urination.
Most dog foods contain vitamin D. However, if your dog’s food contains too much vitamin D, or your dog gets into a vitamin D supplement, your dog could be at risk of a vitamin D overdose. This could lead to kidney failure or even death. It’s important to note that some rodenticides contain cholecalciferol, which causes a vitamin D overdose in the body. To a dog, rat poison looks like food, so it’s best to avoid rodenticides if you have a pet.
Dogs that have had too much vitamin D in their diet will show signs of upset stomach, loss of appetite, increase in thirst, or rapid weight loss. Depending on how much vitamin D was ingested—or if it was a gradual overdose, as opposed to a rapid overdose—the signs could appear in as little as a few hours or a few days.
A vitamin D overdose is diagnosed by performing a blood test to show if there are elevated levels of calcium, phosphorus, or kidney function values, as these all can be signs of a vitamin D overdose. If your dog is showing signs of a vitamin D overdose, or you suspect they have gotten into a supplement or rat poison, it is important to seek veterinary advice immediately.
Iron is an essential mineral for your dog’s health. The biggest benefit of iron is the synthesis of blood. Iron is directly involved in the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen and nutrients through the body. While most dogs get enough iron in their everyday diets, some dogs can be anemic or deficient. Unfortunately, some dogs can get an overdose of iron which can cause iron to be toxic.
Iron toxicity can be caused from pesticides, fertilizers, and even in some dehydrated foods. The level of toxicity depends on the amount of iron that was ingested and how much iron was already in your dog’s blood. Excessive iron can be corrosive to the stomach and intestine. An iron toxicity can attack the liver, nervous system, stomach, and metabolic system if your dog is not able to get rid of the excess iron.
Symptoms of iron toxicity may include drowsiness, lethargy, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Iron toxicity generally occurs in four stages. The first stage occurs within the first 6 hours of ingestion. The second stage will happen 6-24 hours after ingestion and will appear as though your dog is recovered. Unfortunately, unless your dog has treatment, they will have not recovered and the third stage 12-96 hours in will involve fever, jaundice, muscle tremors, rapid heart rate, possible seizures, and even death. The fourth stage is for dogs who survived with treatment but have liver damage or jaundice.
Some of the most common causes of iron overdose or toxicity are caused from prenatal vitamins, fertilizers, and oxygen absorbents. If you suspect your dog is experiencing an iron toxicity it is important to seek medical attention immediately. The sooner your dog receives medical attention, the better their survival rate.
Calcium is an essential mineral to help ensure that the heart functions efficiently as well as helps blood clot, aids in digestion and nerve function, and promotes healthy bone growth.
Calcium is an interdependent mineral that works with other factors to deliver benefits. Calcium works with other nutrients such as vitamin D and magnesium. Calcium is stored in your dog’s bones, which act as a mineral bank. Each day, deposits are made and withdrawn from the bones. A good level of calcium is important for your dog’s health.
While a lack of calcium can lead to some serious consequences, an overdose of calcium can also lead to problems. If a dog ingests calcium supplements in large amounts this can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. High calcium levels can cause other underlying diseases and conditions such as hypocalcemia, kidney failure, and adrenal gland failure.
Depending on what type of calcium your dog ingests, the signs may vary. However, some of the most common signs of calcium toxicity can also include excessive thirst, weakness, fatigue, vomiting, and even kidney failure. Calcium toxicity can occur if your dog eats too many chews that are made with calcium or calcium supplements.
With the proper treatment, most dogs who ingest an overdose of calcium will recover. However, if treatment is not sought, it could result in kidney damage. To prevent calcium overdose, it is important to keep calcium products, supplements, and medications out of reach of children and pets.
Chemicals and Preservatives
Preservatives used in supplements are almost always synthetic. They include:
Animal fats and oils are an important part of your dog’s food. But unless they are preserved, they can go rancid quickly, lose their effectiveness, and even produce illness and health issues in dogs. Rather than have these negative impacts, commercially prepared dog foods have preservatives added.
Food preservatives can be classed into two categories: natural or artificial.
Natural preservatives come from synthetic vitamins such as vitamin E or C. They are often listed as “tocopherol” or “ascorbate.” Natural preservatives are typically a safe option for preserving dog food. However, artificial preservatives can risk toxicity if used long-term.
One such preservative, ethoxyquin, is known as a hardening agent used in making rubber. It has been thought to cause liver and blood-related issues in dogs. Other artificial preservatives you should be aware of are butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Both of these have cancer-causing compounds, yet both are still found in many dog foods.
While small doses of these preservatives aren’t harmful, over time, the buildup can be harmful and cause health-related issues. The problem with using natural preservatives is that their shelf life is much shorter.
It is also important to keep in mind that terms such as “All Natural” do not mean that no artificial preservatives have been used, and it is important to search the ingredients to ensure you aren’t buying food that has been preserved artificially.
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Not all ingredients in your dog’s food are considered healthy, in fact, many should be avoided at all costs. Ingredients such as Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) are some of those ‘not so healthy’ ingredients that occasionally show up in dog food. BHA and BHT, in short, are preservatives. They help to preserve food odor, color, and even flavor. But both have been linked to cancer, liver enlargement, and even kidney damage.
Aside from dog foods, BHA and BHT can be found in things such as embalming fluids, cosmetic products, petroleum products, and pesticides. Sounds tasty, doesn’t it?
While the FDA recognizes this additive as “generally safe in small doses” these small doses can add up over time. Fortunately, the use of these preservatives has been lowered over the years thanks to research that has proven these ingredients to be less than helpful. While just a short twenty years ago the addition of BHA and BHT was common, typically these ingredients are only seen in low-quality foods now.
Still, it is important to read the labels of your dog’s food to ensure that there aren’t any potentially harmful chemicals being added. Ingredients such as “animal fat preserved with BHT and or citric acid” and “vegetable oil preserved with BHA/BHT” should also be avoided as they contain the harmful BHA/BHT preservatives.
You should also be cautious when feeding your pet human-grade products, as BHA and BHT can be found in many processed products such as potato chips, butter, cereal, and preserved meats. Again, BHA and BHT are used as preservatives in “low amounts” and are generally considered to be safe. Use your best judgement when giving foods containing these ingredients to your pet.
Vitamins and minerals are all an important part of your dog’s diet, and ensuring that those nutrients hold up throughout the entire process of manufacturing, storing, shipping, and buying is important. If fats and oils degrade, they lose their values and importance. They also become rancid. A preservative is needed to help keep this from happening, which is where ethoxyquin comes in.
Ethoxyquin is another preservative that is used to help preserve the energy sources found in fats. As fats break down and decompose, the vitamins and fatty acids lose their value. Ethoxyquin has been manufactured as an antioxidant to help prevent this breakdown. While this product is approved for dogs, it is not considered fit for human consumption.
The problem is that Ethoxyquin is also used as a pesticide and used to make rubber—both things you wouldn’t consider safe to feed your pet, yet the FDA has deemed it a safe additive for animal feeds.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to find a commercial dry dog food that doesn’t have ethoxyquin, even though most higher quality dog food manufacturers use natural preservatives such as vitamin E, there are still small amounts of ethoxyquin found. It is important to know that ethoxyquin is more commonly used to preserve fish and some poultry, so choosing a dog food that doesn’t have fish or poultry will limit the traces of ethoxyquin found.
The use of ethoxyquin could lead to elevated liver enzymes and accumulation of hemoglobin in the liver. This is, of course, dependent on the dose. And while small doses are generally considered safe, over time a buildup of this preservative could cause health issues.
Propylene Glycol (PG)
Propylene glycol (PG) is most commonly known for its use as a key component in antifreeze—something that you might also know as being dangerous and harmful to dogs and cats alike. However, this ingredient is also used to help preserve the moisture in some dog foods. While propylene glycol is less dangerous than ethylene glycol, and even considered to be one of the least toxic glycols, it still poses some risk if consumed in large amounts by animals.
In most cases, propylene glycol is used in pet food as a sweetener, although it can be used as a preservative to remove the moisture in dry dog foods as well.
The bottom line is that propylene glycol is considered to be safe when consumed in small doses. However, when a dog’s diet remains the same, there is the risk of a buildup occurring, which is where things become dangerous. If animals ingest a large quantity of propylene glycol, poisoning could occur.
Symptoms of propylene glycol toxicity in dogs include stumbling, seizures, tremors, excessive panting, lethargy, and disorientation.
While it is unlikely that your dog will get enough propylene glycol through their dog food to reach the toxic levels, it is important to keep an eye out for these symptoms as some dogs are more sensitive than others. It is also possible to avoid giving your dog treats or food with propylene glycol altogether if you don’t want to run the risk.
Understanding how to read your dog’s food label is important in getting the best food available. Fillers are often used in dog foods to promote low prices all while keeping your pup feeling full. Unfortunately, these fillers often add very little in the way of nutrition and can often lead to allergies or sensitivities. While the price tag may be nice, the end result isn’t always as beneficial.
It is important to keep in mind that the lower the quality of the dog food, the more fillers there will be. While most dog foods will contain a certain amount of filler, not all fillers are created equal. They aren’t listed on the label as ‘cheap filler’ either, making it important for you to understand just what the ingredients listed on your dog’s food really mean.
While many fillers are considered to be food-grade quality, that doesn’t mean they are good fillers or even supplements for your dog’s diet. Often the filler is a cheap way of including an essential nutrient into your dog’s food, all while keeping the price low. It is important to be aware of these low-quality fillers listed on your dog’s food bag.
Here are some of the low-quality, commonly used fillers.
Binders, as the name suggests are the binding components used to help hold the ingredients in dog food together. While they are a necessary part of creating dog food, there are different types of binders used in high-quality and low-quality foods.
Low-quality dog food binders can have negative impacts on your dog’s overall health. Even ingredients that are essential and important to your dog’s nutrition can be dangerous if they come from the wrong source. Many binders used in low-quality dog foods are cheap and devoid of nutrients.
Many binders, if taken in excessive amounts can lead to kidney failure, liver failure, and even death. While not all binders are bad for dogs in small doses, over time the buildup of the ingredient can have negative results on your pet’s health. It is important to know what ingredients are being used as binders so you can monitor your pet’s intake of ingredients and their overall health.
Here are a few of the more commonly used binders found in dog food and treats.
Finally, fillers that are considered safe include:
Not all products found or listed in your dog’s food, treats, or medications are good for them. While some things are necessary, others can cause other health-related problems. While it isn’t always possible to avoid everything, it is important to understand what each item does and how you can avoid it, if possible.
Disintegration aids are most commonly found in tablets or pills. They are included to help tablets swell and break apart once in the system. Disintegration aids are also used as thickeners. While there are natural aids such as potato and corn starch, most disintegration aids are not natural. In some cases, these ingredients can cause allergies, rashes, or asthma.
We all know that large amounts of sugar can be unhealthy. But did you know that artificial sweeteners can be just as bad, if not worse for your canine friend? While some artificial sweeteners found in human foods can be deadly to dogs, there are some sweeteners that are used in dog foods and treats that can also have negative effects on your pet’s health.
One such sweetener is xylitol, which is the most harmful sweetener there is for dogs, but is found in many human-grade products. For this reason, it is especially important to read the ingredients before giving your dog a human treat —or better yet, avoid them altogether!
However, there are some sweeteners that can be found in dog foods, despite being completely unnecessary. These sweeteners can feed viruses, bad bacteria, and even yeasts. It’s important to strictly limit the amount your dog gets, or eliminate these sugars from their diet completely, as an overdose in sugar can be dangerous and even lead to poisoning.
Sucrose – Sucrose is a sugar that comes from sugar cane.
Fructose – Fructose is the sugar that is naturally found in honey, fruits, and vegetables.
Maltodextrin – Maltodextrin is a sugar compound that generally comes from starch sources such as corn, oats, rice, or potatoes.
Sorbitol – Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in many fruits. It also is used as a laxative, and while not highly toxic can cause an upset stomach.
Maltrin – Maltrin is a corn syrup that is used as an artificial sugar or sugar substitute.
Xylitol (Very Toxic)
Finally, we have Xylitol. This is one ingredient that should never be given to dogs. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that’s used widely as a sugar substitute in many candies, gums, and mints. Naturally, the sugar alcohol is found in berries, corn, oats, mushrooms, and other fruits. Commercially, xylitol is extracted from birch trees and other hardwood trees. While it has been used for decades as a sugar substitute, it is incredibly toxic for dogs.
So why is xylitol so toxic for dogs? The level of blood sugar is controlled by how much insulin is released from the pancreas. When dogs consume xylitol, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a rush of insulin being released. The rapid release causes a decrease in blood sugar and, if left untreated, can lead to hypoglycemia, which can be life-threatening. In humans, xylitol doesn’t stimulate the rapid release of insulin, which is why it can be deadly for dogs, but not for humans.
Unfortunately, many sugar-free items smell and taste good to dogs, meaning that they could easily consume xylitol. You should always check the ingredients of a product before you give it to your dog, even if it’s considered a ‘safe product’ such as peanut butter, as many peanut butters contain xylitol.
If your dog ingests xylitol, typically you will start to see symptoms within 30 minutes. Typical symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, weakness, difficulty walking, and even collapsing. Liver failure or seizures might also occur. This is because xylitol can lead to hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar. As a result, the liver cannot function properly.
If you suspect your dog has eaten xylitol, you should call your vet immediately to start treatment and prevent irreversible liver damage.
We like to think that we are feeding our dogs the very best kibble available, choosing select flavors we feel will enhance their appetite or make them happy. While in many cases, our pups probably wouldn’t complain about the flavor of their dog food, you might want to reconsider some of these common ‘flavorings’ that can be found in dog food.
With names such as “steak,” “filet mignon,” “Bacon,” and “Beef,” we must be feeding our pets the very best. Unfortunately, not all flavorings live up to their names, and while your canine friend might not be complaining, it’s possible their stomach (or skin) is.
While the flavorings added to dog food are different from flavorings added to human foods, flavorings in pet foods can look quite different. In many cases, there are “animal digests” that are used to create the flavoring. According to the FDA, a digest is an “additive that has been treated with heat, enzymes, or also acids to produce a concentrated product intended as a natural flavoring.”
With this in mind, you might think differently next time you select a “bacon flavored” bag of treats, no matter how delicious your four-legged pal seems to think they are.
We all want to feed our four-legged friends the best food available. As humans, opening a bag of brightly colored kibble can be a comforting site, knowing that you are feeding your friend the ‘right balance’ of food. After all, the colorful rainbow displayed in the bag is an indicator of the health and quality of the food, right?
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Many low-quality pet foods add in artificial or synthetic coloring to give the food its rainbow appearance that appeals to humans. Dogs, believe it or not, could care less about the color of their kibble.
The most commonly used colorings in dog food are:
Many of these artificial colorings have been linked to allergies, skin issues, asthma, and even cancer. These artificial colorings add no nutritional value to your dog’s kibble.
Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that can and are being used to give your dog’s food a colorful appeal, without all the harmful additives. Natural colorings that come from vegetables and fruits such as blueberries, spinach, beets, or sweet potatoes can give your dog’s food a safe, yet colorful appeal.
Dog food is designed to entice your dog and boost their appetite. While humans rely on a combination of their senses when it comes to appetite, dogs rely on their sense of smell. In order to make dog food enticing, a coating is applied to make the meal attractive to the nose and taste buds.
Common coatings are done in three stages with fat, liquid, and powder being applied evenly to the kibble. These coatings include animal fats, vegetable oils, and antioxidants. Vitamins, dental hygiene additives, and digestive aids are then added, either in powder or liquid form.
While the main reason for applying coatings is for taste, it is also important to ensure that your pet will eat an adequate amount of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
The most common uses of gums in your dog’s food are to aid in thickening and stabilizing. As the name suggests the product acts like a ‘gum’ to bind the food together and help it hold its shape. Common gums used in dog food include:
While gums are generally considered to be safe, you should keep in mind that high doses could lead to diarrhea and that some animals are more sensitive to them than others.
Synthetic additives that are best avoided include:
Food allergies in dogs aren’t as uncommon as you might think. Dogs, like humans, suffer from an array of allergies —everything from dust and pollen to food.
A food allergy is not the same as an intolerance. An allergy is your dog’s immune system response to an ingredient it deems harmful. It creates antibodies that fight off this harmful ingredient. For the most part, food allergies present themselves in the form of skin conditions such as itchy, oily, or leathery skin. It can also present itself in the form of hot spots, sneezing, hair loss, and infections.
Dogs can have allergies to just about any food-related product, but the most common allergies are found from:
Allergies are most commonly developed to proteins and can appear “out of nowhere” after feeding your dog the same diet for years. This is because feeding your dog the same food, year after year, can lead to an intolerance or allergy of one or more of the ingredients. Since many foods are high in beef, many dogs develop beef allergies.
The severity and type of allergy your dog develops can also vary from dog to dog. Certain types of dogs are more prone to allergies than others. If you suspect your dog has a food allergy you might consider talking to your vet about an allergy test to help narrow down what foods he is allergic to so you can eliminate them from his diet.
Once you’ve determined the source of your pet’s allergy you can get started finding a food that will suit their needs and prevent their allergies from flaring up.