SUPPLEMENT SERIES | From my cupboard
A few things to note before diving in:
These are just supplements I have used for my own dogs - there are likely others on the market that are also effective, I just speak from personal experience, research and education.
I am pretty particular with what supplements I feed my dogs - the canine supplement industry is not regulated so I take the time to get curious with the company, their standards, their sourcing, their testing methods and efficacy. I would never share with you products I do not stand behind.
None of these are ads - I am not endorsed or sponsored by any of the companies below.
If you want any more information on the ones mentioned send me a DM or message the companies directly.
Meeting micronutrient requirements in raw diets:
1. Sea Kelp - easiest whole food supplement to meet essential iodine requirements.
Premade feeders - check the ingredient list labels (the company may already include this in their blends).
DIY feeders - you must include a source of iodine.
2. Vitamin E - not found in a ton of whole foods bioavailable to dogs and as such must be supplemented 99% of the time.
The easiest way is through the liquid form from a dropper or capsule.
Dosage is important, see NRC values for your dogs weight for their recommended allowance. Ex. 50lb dog can have 100IU of natural vitamin E per day, or one 400IU capsule every 4 days (fat soluble and will be stored in the body).
Note that the need for vitamin E is also dependent on the amount of polyunsaturated fats in the diet and can be further tailored to the specific recipe for the dog.
3. Areas I commonly see gaps in
These are completely dependent on the protein variety, bone and organ sources and do not need to be supplemented for every formulated diet, but they are commonly deficient in BARF+ diets
Zinc - if zinc is low in my recipe, I don't include oysters, and the Zn:Cu ratio is off I will supplement synthetically with zinc picinolate (I have also used wheatgrass when zinc is a little low but data on bioavailability is lacking for dogs so I wouldn't solely depend on it).
Magnesium - if magnesium is low and I'm not substituting with another functional food, i.e. pumpkin seeds, hemp seed hearts, I will supplement synthetically with magnesium bisglycinate.
Manganese - manganese I nearly almost always meet with green beef or lamb tripe and/or blue mussels and don't tend to supplement otherwise
Calcium - if I am not meeting daily calcium requirements and the proper Ca:P ratio with raw meaty bones alone I will use calcium carbonate.
Generally speaking I use a lot of NOW Brand supplements as they are actually analyzed and tested to ensure safety, effectiveness and potency.
Please note that the supplements listed above are completely dependent on the recipe and profile I have set up for my dogs based on their NRC requirements. For more information see my blog post titled 'Filling in the nutrient gaps' or download the Raw Fed and Nerdy spreadsheet to fill in these gaps for your own dogs diet.
(aside from the impact of gut health on the immune system - see below)
1. 12 Mushroom Matrix (@wildlyblended ) : in short, the beta glycans in medicinal mushrooms act as immunomodulators helping the body prevent disease, regenerate cells and protect from cancer (amongst other defense mechanisms and nutritional value).
2. Bovine Colostrum (@four_leaf_rover ) : especially useful for allergies as it contains proline-rich peptides that can down-regulate an overly active immune system (that causes allergies). Colostrum also containes antibodies that help form passive immunity, binding and neutralizing allergens.
3. Blue Spirulina (@wildlyblended ) : contains antioxidants (specifically phycocyanin's) that help tone down various inflammatory processes involved with allergies and joint deterioration. Phycocyanin's also promote red blood cell formation and lymphocyte activity.
4. Berry Blend (@four_leaf_rover ) : contains various dried berries that contain natural antioxidants as well as extracted astaxanthin that helps fight free radicals and acts to detoxify. This blend is also considered a whole-food prebiotic (which will come into conversation for gut health).
5. Local Bee Pollen: used mostly to help control environmental allergies (crucial part is that it's local so it's been collected from allergens in your area). It contains quercetin (a natural histamine), so when taken at the proper dosage and regularly, it can help reduce allergy symptoms. Bonus - it also contains various antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids and enzymes.
Note: a biologically appropriate diet goes a long way with natural immunity and defense.
(so so important - even something I actually do for myself too - what a concept!)
Why? The gut is the start of it all. It's where fueling our bodies starts, where proper digestion and absorption of essential nutrients occurs. It's where allergies start. It's where yeast issues start. In order to truly get to the bottom of some of these commonly occurring problems, we have to not only heal the gut but protect it thereafter.
1. Gut Feeling (@wildlyblended ) : contains prebiotics, probiotics, and organic herbs. When looking for a probiotic supplement, it's important prebiotics are included (or you are adding them) as they feed the probiotics so they can do their job in preventing bad bacteria from overtaking the GIT. The herbs included in this blend also have added benefits of reducing inflammation, increasing nutrient absorption, helping to filter out toxins and have been shown to help with acid reflux.
2. Protect (@four_leaf_rover ) : this soil based probiotic is a great option for those wanting to stay away from dairy based probiotics or those wanting to try a new strain. Soil based probiotics are better at surviving the hostile environment of a dogs stomach and are becoming quite a popular alternative to traditional ones. Four Leaf Rover has other options that aim to repair and support the gut as well.
3. Goats Milk Plus (@northhound.life ) : whole fat goat milk powder, organic ginger, organic turmeric and organic cinnamon - so probiotic effects of raw goat's milk with added gut soothing herbs. I will use this periodically if I don't have fresh goats milk or notice the dogs guts are a bit off.
My go-to for diarrhea / "IBD":
Slippery Elm (@nowfoodsofficial ) : aka the supplement I think everyone should have in their cupboard (and bring with them if they are going away). Slippery elm soothes the digestive track by coating the membranes and putting a halt to really any GIT upset (I have the NOW one so I can use it for myself too).
Note: a biologically appropriate diet goes a long way with gut health.
It's natural, but it's overgrowth is not. Dirty stinky ears? Red paws? Dark pigmentation on arm pits or belly? Itchy? Just a gross dog smell?
Step 1: Remove the fuel from the fire. Feeding starches, or any sugars (this includes ingredients like berries, vegetables, cooked grains, mushroom powders, even keifer or goats milk, etc.) will feed the yeast and it will continue to grow/reproduce. Removing sugars from the diet will clear most yeast issues in a matter of weeks.
Step 2: If the overgrowth and issues persist with removal of starches, let's address resetting the gut biome. I just finished Yeast Free Fido by @four_leaf_rover and I am really happy with the results with Newman (I did this over Yeasty Beasty because I personally haven't heard any positive results from it). He wasn't an overly yeasty dog, but I really struggled to get his ears clean even after a sugar free diet for 6 weeks. This protocol took us 30 days and his ears are no longer red, he smells better, and they are FAR less gunky.
This protocol involves 3 supplements fed simultaneously (and daily) that aim to break down yeast's protective coating, eliminate & detoxify yeast and restore & replenish gut bacteria.
Step 3: If you notice a change and you still want to feed some carbs, you can try to start reintroducing low glycemic vegetables to your dogs diet and see if anything in particular causes a flare up (ex. spinach, kale, zucchini).
That's all for now! I shall continue to update this blog post as I see fit. Thank you for reading. Talk soon, Avery