6 Tips To Add More Nutrients To Your Dogs Diet
Just like humans, dogs require a broad range of macro and micro nutrients to be healthy and thrive. When these requirements are not met, nutritional deficiencies occur. When you break down a nutritional deficiency, all it means is that the body does not have what it needs to repair, grow and function properly.
Macro nutrients vs. Micro nutrients
Macro nutrients are molecules used for energy production. These are eaten in larger quantities within the daily diet.
Micro nutrients are needed in smaller quantities. These break down into vitamins and minerals. Within the vitamin category, some are water soluble while others are fat soluble. When water soluble vitamins are consumed, our bodies take what it can and excretes the rest. Fat soluble vitamins can be stored in the body and used over a longer period of time.
Minerals are needed in varying amounts. The types of minerals that we need less of are called trace minerals. Trace minerals just means we only need them in trace amounts to thrive.
A fun way to begin making sure your dog is getting a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in their diet is to make them a portion of their food. By combining whole foods with a good quality kibble you can provide a well balanced diet. This also assures that they are eating fresh, healthy food and gives you the ability to alter their dishes for specific issues, a variety of nutrients and to find out what foods work with their system best.
A rough outline or ways to go about trying this would be to:
Cook up some type of meat (chicken, beef, lamb, fish) and mix it up with vegetables that are high quality and beneficial for dogs. You can blend it all together in a food processor (best absorption!) if the dog is picky or doesn't like certain textures so they have to eat all the different vegetables with their meat mush. If they're not picky then just putting meat and vegetables together in the same bowl should work!
Adding organ meats to their diet has a wide range of benefits since they are nutrient dense and dogs LOVE them. You can usually find these at butcher shop, if you talk to a rancher and some grocery stores. Some options are heart, liver, lungs, brains, kidneys and tongue.
Spices and herbs are another fantastic way to make sure your dogs are getting a wide variety of micro-nutrients. Some easy and nutritionally dense herbs that can be mixed in are: Nettle, turmeric, nutritional yeast, thyme and basil. Dried spirulina, kombu and dulse are great seaweeds to try adding.
Washing egg shells and powering them in a coffee grinder is a simple way for calcium supplementation. Other great options, which are a little harder to start feeding if raw meats gross you out, are chicken necks, turkey necks, chicken backs, chicken legs and wings. All of these options need to stay raw. Once bone is cooked it is very dangerous for our dogs to consume as they then splinter. Bone is a necessary part of a dogs diet for their nutrients as well as helping to clean their teeth.
Another option is to simply mix nutritional herbs and spices together and sprinkle it on your dogs food. This can supply a much wider range of nutrients than pure kibble alone. These types of nutrients go a long way. You don't need a lot at once and the slow accumulation over time can have great effects.
Adding bone broth to their food or quality collagen powder will have great benefits on their joints, digestive system and coat.
There is not one right way to feed your dog. Dogs react differently to different foods and we all have varying abilities in what we can offer. The most important nutrient our dogs need is LOVE. We all deserve a good dose of love!