March is National Nutrition Month! And while the occasion reminds us to check our own health habits, let’s not forget about the health of our four-legged family members.
A wholesome, natural diet is the best foundation for any healthy pet. But what about supplements or ingredients that offer benefits specific to your pet?
Here are some common ailments that your canine might face, and the natural foods and vitamins to tackle them:
Flaky Skin: Strong, flexible skin is important to keep bacteria and viruses out while keeping moisture in. Weak, dry or flaky skin can tear, increasing the chances of inflammation or itching.
Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin E are both extremely beneficial for healthy skin. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, flax meal and walnuts. Eggs, fish, fruits and vegetables are all great sources of Vitamin E.
Stiff Joints: Vitamin E and Omega-3 fats to the rescue, part two! Stiff joints come naturally with old age, although joint pain can occur in younger pets due to hip dysplasia or osteochondrosis. The Vitamin E and Omega-3s in fish can help to reduce joint inflammation, as can Vitamin C found in fruits.
Glucosamine and chondroitin should also be standard for every large breed and/or senior dog. These help to preserve tendons as your pet ages. Look for a food with high levels glucosamine, treats like smoked esophagi, or added supplements of pure glucosamine.
Tooth Plaque: Plaque and tartar build-up can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis, which have the potential to turn into something much more serious.
While regular brushing is the best preventative measure, wholesome treats that promote chewing, such as low-sugar vegetables like carrots, broccoli stalks, cauliflower and rutabaga, are a great alternative. Or if your pet refuses to eat his veggies, frozen raw bones, slow smoked bones, or natural dental treats do the trick.
Reduced Eyesight: Vision problems can be caused by a number of diseases. DHA, which is an Omega-3 fat found in fish, and orange vegetables like carrots can benefit eyesight in dogs of all ages.
Consider mixing in a fish-based food and some steamed chopped carrots into your pet’s meals (our pets go crazy for fish skin when we grill some for dinner—just make sure the skin isn’t over seasoned with salt or garlic).
Anxiety: Looking for a natural way to calm your dog’s nerves? Try a product with valerian root, chamomile or L-tryptophan. Certain scents can also help calm your dog; we love My Peaceful Paws made locally in Austin of Mandarin, Marjoram, and other essential oils.
Dull Coat: Just like for us humans, biotin and vitamin B are great at improving canine skin and coat health. Egg yolks are an excellent (and delicious) source of biotin—try topping your dog’s next dinner with a raw yolk. We also love dried sea kelp to help keep coats healthy and curb shedding.
Decreased Immunity: This is where a biologically appropriate diet of whole proteins and produce are key—the healthier a pet’s diet is, the healthier the pet will be and the more easily his body can defend against illness. In addition to a healthy food, Missing Link supplement is a great and easy way to ensure all of your vitamin and mineral bases are covered.
Upset Stomach: Most dogs with an upset stomach go on a self-induced fast, naturally calming the issue. However, the pre- and probiotics in canned pumpkin, tripe, or unpasteurized goats milk can help ease an angry tummy.
Poor Appetite: If your pet is bored with her everyday food, add a little something special. Whole, unprocessed foods in small quantities such as eggs, steamed veggies or chunks of leftover meat are delicious options. Just remember to feed in her bowl and not at the dinner table to help train good manners, and avoid sharing anything heavily seasoned or potentially poisonous.
Weight: Is your dog having trouble keeping weight on? Coconut butter, flaxseed oil, chicken, fish, raw goats milk and eggs can add some extra protein and fat to their diet.
Maybe your pup could afford to lose a pound or two? Lean protein such as fish or chicken alongside high-fiber foods like pumpkin help your pet get the protein he needs and feel full without loading up on extra fillers like corn or soy.
Many of these ingredients are excellent for all family members, pets and people alike. These can be fed in addition to regular pet food or can be incorporated into the occasional homemade treat. What else do you give your pet to improve his/her health and wellbeing? Let us know in the comments!
Source: Modern Dog Magazine