Think about the food you feed your dog or cat. It’s balanced as to their basic nutritional needs. Some diets even elevate those basics to optimum levels, like raw food diets. Why then should you consider supplementing that diet?
Well, sometimes basic or optimal isn’t enough. We live in a world with toxic chemicals, poor air quality, soil depletion, factory farmed food and well, you get the picture. It makes sense then to boost the nutrients that your dog or cat consumes.
And while there are many good quality supplements to select from, this article will discuss what we call whole food supplements, along with their benefits.
Healthy fats are an important component to any pet’s diet. The one fat that our dogs may not get enough of is Omega 3 fatty acids. There are many healthy fish oils available to add to your pet’s diet, or better yet add whole fish to your dog’s bowl. Using whole foods like green lipped mussels, sardines, mackerel, and salmon (skin and all) or fermented fish stock will greatly improve the level of Omega 3s and give your pooch a tasty treat as well. The benefits will be a shinier coat, better bone and joint function, as well as body, brain and eye health.
Another whole food supplement to consider is bone broth. Much like in humans, bone broth also boosts the immune system of your pet, helps with leaky gut, and because it’s full of collagen, it improves bone, joint, and tendon health! Make sure the bone broth you use is specifically for pets so you know that onions (not good for pets) have not been added into the vegetable mix. There are many varieties to choose from available in most natural pet food stores, or you can make your own.
Raw goat’s milk, or fermented cow’s milk (Kefir) are great whole food supplements. Both of these add probiotics and digestive enzymes to your pet’s microbiome. The addition of these essential bacteria helps to improve digestion, prevent leaky gut, and form better stools.
Finally, consider foods like fermented vegetables; think kimchi or sauerkraut, mushrooms, and pumpkin.
Fermented veggies help the body to detoxify and add probiotics and vitamins. Mushrooms can benefit the body in so many ways. They can help with the heart, immune system, liver, allergies, Cushing’s disease, inflammation, arthritis, and cancer. Mushrooms to consider are reishi, shiitake, turkey tail, cordyceps, and maitake. Dried mushrooms can be turned into a broth or tea, or you can use powdered mushrooms sprinkled over food or in capsules. Make sure your mushrooms are organic and from a reliable source.
Pumpkin is a very tasty and beneficial fiber and used to normalize stool production. It also aids the immune system, digestion, and helps with hydration. As with any whole food supplement, make sure that you add in no more that 15% of your dog or cat’s calorie requirement, then reduce some of their regular diet by that amount. We don’t want to cause another problem, obesity, while helping with their nutritional boost!