Essential fatty acids are essential to your pet are not produced in the body. They must come from the animal’s diet
Omega 3s are not readily available from the standard diet…
Omegas are very sensitive to heat processing (which is why you want to look for cold-pressed oil) and Omega 3s are also very sensitive to oxygen. This is why Omega 3 in particular is lacking in a kibble- based diet because kibble is extruded (cooked at extremely high temperatures) and then exposed to tons of oxygen during processing and again once the kibble bag or container is opened (and reopened daily during feeding).
Benefits of Omega 3s
- Improve Skin & Coat
- Reduce Inflammation
- Help modulate immune system (good for dogs with allergies)
- Help development with retina and visual cortex
- Modulate blood cholesterol
Recommended Sources of Omega 3s:
- Green Lipped Mussel
- Whole Fish
- Krill or Squid Oil
Probiotics are living microorganisms that are essential to your pet’s overall wellbeing. Over 70% of your pet’s immune system is based in the microbiome in their gastrointestinal tract. However, these microorganisms are not only found in the digestive tract but also all over your pet’s body in places such as their nose, ears, genitals, skin, and mouth.
Some foods contain probiotics or they can be given in powdered, capsule, or liquid form.
Why Give Them?
- Your pet’s digestive tract has its own unique microbiome, aka an “ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms” (1).
- These microorganisms are beneficial for helping with digestion, nutrient absorption, the production of B vitamins and enzymes, and for dealing with diarrhea, ear infections, and possibly even behavioural issues (2), just to name a few.
- In my opinion everyday stresses in the life of the average companion animal necessitate daily supplementation
- Examples of Common Stressors
- Inappropriate food
- Over- vaccination (ie following conventional recommendations instead of Titer testing to check for necessity)
- Insecticide based flea and tick treatments
- Chemical dewormers
- Toxic household cleaners
- PBDE (Flame Retardant) exposure from bedding and carpets
- Antibiotic use
- Chlorinated Water
- Examples of Common Stressors
Sources of Probiotics
- There are many different sources of probiotics. Some of my personal favourite include:
- Raw goat’s milk
- Fermented foods
- Note: When looking at probiotics make sure to look for products with no fillers and a CFU (Colony Forming Unit) count in the billions.
Fresh Food (Veggies & Fruits & Other Superfoods)
- Great source of antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients
- also: Vitamin C, Vitamin K , and manganese
- Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Folate, Vitamin B12, Iron, Selenium, Fatty Acids
- Feed raw (with the shell) (3)
- Note: ideally only feed the shells of eggs you are sure are pesticide free
*The Following food are best fed fermented if possible to maximize your dog’s nutrient absorption. Dogs don’t have an effective fermentation process in their gut which effectively breaks down plant matter → hence why raw carrots will often come out looking the same as when they went in (4)
- Kale is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
- Has anticancer properties because it contains indole-3-carbinol as do other cruciferous vegetables
- Studies show that I-3-C stimulates “detoxifying enzymes, helping to eliminate toxins and harmful forms of estrogen that can lead to cancer. These nutrients can also stop or slow development of cancer cells.” (5)
- Bell Peppers (Red, Yellow, Orange)
- High in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, Manganese
- Another cruciferous vegetable (meaning it also has cancer fighting properties due to its I-3-C content)
- It is also high in fiber, very high in vitamin C and has potassium, B6 and vitamin A
- Contains vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and vitamin C.
- It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, protein and choline.
- Not suitable for dogs with calcium oxalate stones
Extras for Kibble Feeders:
ADD MOISTURE to your dog’s food!
This can help reduce dehydration, and help flush the kidneys. Some options include
- Bone broth
- Raw goats milk
Bonus: Many of these options have added health benefits for your pooch!
These are important if your pet eats cooked or processed food. This is because enzymes are killed at food cooked above 118 degrees F (meaning there are little to no viable digestive enzymes in kibble)
Digestive enzymes help you dog’s body break down and absorb nutrients from their food. Dr Edward Howell proposes that the body’s enzyme supply is not infinite and that eating primarily enzyme-deficient cooked foods with put a strain on the pancreas and other digestive organs. The result of enzyme deficiency according to Dr Howell is a shortened lifespan, illness, and lowered resistance to to stresses of all types. (6)
Enzymes don’t just digest food … they play other important roles in the body including:
- Slowing the rate of aging
- Improving Immune function
- Hormone regulation
- Reducing inflammation
- Removing toxins and waste from the body
Note: If your pet has a specific health concern or you feel anything on this list is not right for your individual animal, please talk to your integrative veterinarian about alternatives or substitutions.