If you are already feeding your dog the right raw diet, there is really no need to add vitamin supplements. In fact, it will only be a waste of money. You don’t have to give your dog “just in case” multivitamins. You might just be doing the opposite of keeping your dog in excellent health because of the possibility of over-supplementation.
However, many raw feeders use fish oil to supplement the lack of omega 3 fatty acids in grain-fed meat sources. Cod liver oil is not used because of its high vitamins A and D contents which can cause health problems. You can get fish oil in the vitamin section of any supermarket. The best sources of fish oil are cold water marine fish. The usual dosage is 1000mg daily. You can increase up to 2000mg but you need to observe your dog’s response. Fish oil helps maintain the balance of oil in the dog’s skin to keep it supple and soft.
Dogs with joint problems and arthritis need glucosamine and chondroitin. Veterinarians usually prescribe them to dogs with such problems. However, dogs can get them naturally from chicken feet, and lamb or beef trachea. With these body parts in the dog’s diet, you don’t need to supplement but if you need to for older dogs, give them time for adjustment to the raw food diet before adding glucosamine or chondroitin supplements.
A. Supplements and Vitamins are Processed
The whole idea behind raw feeding is to feed your dog what nature has intended to be its natural sustenance. Any type of processing is discouraged to preserve the foods’ natural enzymes and nutrients contents. Processing changes the food and strips it of some of its most important content. Almost all supplements pass through processing which means that they are in a form that cannot be utilized fully by the body, rendering them useless and unnecessary.
If your dog needs a particular nutrient, instead of giving it to him as a supplement, the best way is to provide it from a natural source. So instead of giving fish oil, why not give your dogfish? And if you really do not want to supplement your dog’s diet with fish oil, you may want to consider feeding fish regularly.
B. Myths about Supplements
As mentioned above, vitamin supplements are unnecessary if you are feeding the right variety of raw food to your dogs. However, many raw feeders are still unaware of the fact that these will not do anything for your dog, and worst, there are people who take advantage of this ignorance.
If you look at the pet food industry, you will observe that commercial pet food manufacturers want you to believe that feeding your dog requires a doctorate degree to do it right. They feed you with information saying that they have put a lot of money into researching the best dog food ingredients for your dog so you won’t have to. They want dog owners to think that they can’t feed their dogs right without supplements and that without supplements, your dog’s diet will never be balanced.
Commercial pet food manufacturers won’t make money out of healthy dogs. They make useless vitamins and supplements but they don’t provide the solutions for the underlying health problems. They encourage dog owners to give supplements so dog owners can feel better about themselves as they think that their dogs are healthier because of the supplements. Manufacturers of dog food add vitamins and supplements to their products but the desired effects are lost due to the cooking process that the food goes through.
The simple truth is that your dogs gain no benefits from the addition of vitamins and supplements to their diet. The only way to ensure that your dogs get the most out of their food is to give them the right combination of raw meat and bones – a carnivorous diet. They cannot get the appropriate nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from a bag or a can.
C. Can Supplements Harm your Dog?
Humans routinely take vitamin supplements without being harmed. However, there are certain supplements that can harm your dogs. For example, you should not give iron and zinc supplements as these can be extremely toxic. Iron is needed by the dog but in excessive amounts, it can damage the dog’s stomach and small intestines. Too much iron intake can make the dog vomit, have diarrhea, and liver or kidney failure. Zinc, on the other hand, can interfere with enzymes and destroy cells. Excessive zinc can cause organ failure and death.
If you have just recently switched to raw dog food but have not noticed any improvement, make sure that you are not giving supplements to your dog. Most often, those who switched but continued to give supplements did not notice any marked improvement in their dogs. The culprit, they found out were the supplements that continued to mitigate all the benefits of raw food. The supplements not only cost them a great amount of money but also made their dog’s health condition turn for the worse.
To summarize, you do not have to give supplements and vitamins to your dog. They may even cause their own set of unwanted health problems. There are people who are making living out of innocent and gullible dog owners. You will do better to keep your money and save it for buying better quality raw meat and bones for your dogs.