The amount of flaxseed you should feed your dog depends on their size. Dogs under 20lbs should consume 1/8-1/4 of a tsp. Dogs that are 20-40 pounds should start with 1/2-1 tsp. Dogs weighing 40-60 pounds can begin with 2 tsps. Finally, dogs weighing 60-100 pounds can start with a tablespoon and increase to 2.5 tablespoons.
There are many unusual foods and fat diets that dog owners claim are great for your dogs health, but do any of them have merit?
If you decide your dog might benefit from a dietary supplement, it is important to first determine the appropriate dosage and delivery for your dog’s breed and weight.
Remember to introduce the new supplement gradually, watching your pet for any adverse reactions. A vet can help advise you on how to safely introduce a new food or supplement to your dog.
Many sources have agreed that flaxseed is a harmless supplement for dogs and provides a myriad of health benefits. Depending on your dog, you can offer him a few teaspoons of flaxseed per day to boost his immune health and provide a dose of Omega fatty acids.
What is Flax?
Flax is a plant grown in southern Europe and Asia. I’ts used for both food and textiles. Humans often use flaxseed to add protein and fiber to their diet, improving digestion. The oil from flax seeds also contains Omega-3, Omega-4, and Omega-6 fatty acids.
In dogs, it’s believed that flaxseed can help avoid blood clots, aid with digestion, improve kidney function, lower cholesterol, and stabilize blood sugar. These benefits haven’t been proven, so talk to your vet if you aren’t sure whether to try flaxseed.
Flax Options For Dogs
Whole flax seeds will pass straight through your dog’s digestive system, wasting your time and money and providing no benefits.
If you buy bulk flaxseed for your dog, you will need to grind the seed into powder. You can use a clean coffee grinder, a spice mill, a blender, a food processor, or an old-fashioned mortar and pestle. Flaxseed goes rancid quickly, so grind only enough for one day right before use.
You can provide your dog flaxseed directly in his food, or you can search the internet for dog biscuit recipes using flax.
Flaxseed can be used in almost any format that is convenient for you and your dog. Most pet stores carry flax supplements and treats if you don’t want to process your own flaxseed. These usually contain handy dosage instructions on the package, avoiding the need to measure your own ground flaxseed.
Check with your vet before going on a flaxseed regimen. They can verify your dosage and help you consider your dog’s health holistically. They can also provide health warnings that are customized to your pet. This is especially important if your dog is diabetic or showing symptoms of diabetes, as flaxseed affects blood sugar levels.
While dogs should be given an appropriate dose of flaxseed, one time overdoses are not usually a problem as flaxseed is relatively harmless. Your dog’s robust digestive system will pass the excess flaxseed, leaving him healthy and unaffected.
However, it is possible on rare occasions for a dog to get flax poisoning. This can happen in cases of extreme overdose, such as if a bottle of the supplement is left on the floor and the dog eats all of it. It can also occur if your dog eats unprocessed flax plants.
The most common symptoms of flax poisoning are vomiting and diarrhea, which can clear up on their own. If your dog has a seizure, does not get better within 48 hours, or suffers from rapid heartbeat and breathing, take them to the vet promptly.
If you bought a package of flaxseed treats or supplements from the store, follow the dosing instructions on the package. When grinding your own flaxseed at home, start with a small amount and build up slowly to avoid stomach upset.
The dosage of flaxseed for your dog is based on weight. A small amount of excessive flaxseed will not harm a dog. However, for best results, dosages should still be measured appropriately for your dog.
Not all sources agree on exact dosages, so these recommendations are approximate. They should not replace vet recommendations or instructions on a package. If your dog has diarrhea, reduce the dosage to a comfortable level.
- Miniature dogs under 20 pounds should start with 1/8-1/4 of a teaspoon of flaxseed and can build up to 1.5 teaspoons.
- Small dogs weighing 20-40 pounds should start with 1/2-1 teaspoon and can build to 2 teaspoons.
- Medium-sized dogs weighing 40-60 pounds can begin with 2 teaspoons and build up to a full tablespoon.
- Large dogs weighing 60-100 pounds can start with a tablespoon and increase to 2.5 tablespoons.
- Giant breeds over 100 pounds can begin with 2 tablespoons and increase up to a quarter of a cup.
The safest conservative dose for all breeds, small to large, is between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon a day.
If you want to serve your dog flaxseed oil, stick to 2 teaspoons or fewer for a smaller dog and 1-4 teaspoons for a larger dog. As with flaxseed or any diet change, err on the side of starting slowly and building up.
It is considered a good idea to serve half of the flaxseed dosage with your dog’s morning meal and half in the evening. If you are adding flaxseed oil, you can sprinkle it directly on the dog’s food. For ground flaxseed, consider mixing it into peanut butter or yogurt. This mixture can easily be thrown on top of your dog’s regular food, and most dogs will consume it eagerly.
When adding flaxseed to your dog’s diet, make sure your dog stays hydrated at all times, as additional moisture will be absorbed by the supplement.
Provide a full supply of fresh water at all times and monitor your dog’s drinking and urinating habits.
As mentioned earlier, talk to your vet before beginning a flaxseed regimen for a diabetic dog, as flaxseed can affect blood sugar levels.
There are several seeds and oils that have similar effects as flaxseed. You can evaluate the pros and cons of each and decide which is best for your dog’s needs.
Camelina, or “false flax,” is quite similar to flaxseed in terms of skin and coat benefits. The benefit of camelina over flax is that camelina doesn’t go rancid nearly as quickly, helping those who like to prep larger amounts.
If you are primarily concerned with giving your dog Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil is a rich source of these beneficial ingredients.
Most dogs digest fish oil more effectively than flaxseed oil, getting more benefits from each dose. The tablets are very convenient and keep for a long time in the refrigerator. Fish oil is a very popular supplement for dogs, but dogs who are allergic to fish will not tolerate it well. Watch your dog for signs of itching and discomfort to signal a fish allergy.
Coconut oil is easy for dogs to digest and contains many healthy saturated fats that can improve energy, skin, and digestion. Dogs usually enjoy the flavor. Coconut oil contains higher calories than other oils, so account for the additional calories in their diet. Olive oil is a similar product that is great for dogs who need to lose weight.
Chia seeds contain numerous beneficial minerals and help manage electrolytes, leading to more sustainable energy and lower anxiety. Another great seed to consider is pumpkin seeds. They contain Omega-3 and many minerals and vitamins. They are very healthy and can be served in many different ways.
Just like with humans, dogs can benefit in many ways from a healthy supplement. They are usually very easy to feed to your dog and can boost their immune system while making their coat shiny and healthy. Start any oil or seed in small doses, watching for digestive distress, before building up to a full dose.
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