Each year, I like to update you with what supplements I give to my dogs. My list of supplements doesn't change much because my dogs don't change much, but it's nice to learn (1) what works best for each dog and (2) what my nutritionist recommends for each dog.
Why I Supplement a Raw Food Diet
I add supplements to my dogs' raw diet to fill in any nutritional gaps that they're missing as well as address any health issues. Although an 80/10/5/5 raw food diet is supposed to give dogs everything they need, not all dogs are the same. Whenever I see raw feeders pushing the myth (in my opinion) that all one needs to do is add meat, organ meat, and bone to their dog's dish and everything else will be fine – I scratch my head. How can one diet be okay for every dog? In the wild, wolves (and yes, I know dogs aren't wolves) search for what they need, and I think that need has been inherited by our modern canines.
Please keep in mind that if you have healthy dogs, you don't need to add many supplements. Rodrigo needs additional digestive support (explained below). Sydney needs additional joint support (also explained below). Zoey needs additional mental support. And Scout is our one dog who can thrive on the basics.
The Risk of Over Supplementing a Dog's Diet
When I began feeding a raw diet, I made the mistake of adding every supplement people told me about t my dogs' diet. I figured the more they got, the healthier they'd be, and the longer they'd live.
I was wrong.
What I didn't understand was that by adding extra vitamins and minerals to my dogs' meals, I was risking vitamin toxicity with fat-soluble vitamins which are stored in the fat, not washed out in the urine like water soluble vitamins. I didn't understand that some supplements may conflict and cancel each other out. And I didn't understand about quality and sourcing and that some canine supplements are just placebos jumping on a trend and some human supplements are dangerous for dogs.
Today, I only give my dogs what they need.
Supplements I Give to My Raw Fed Dogs
Please keep in mind that despite earning a certificate in Pet Food Nutrition from Dogs Naturally Magazine, I am not an animal nutritionist or veterinarian. I'm a dog nutrition blogger and dog mom. The following supplements were chosen after years of research and under the guidance of our nutritionist and veterinarian.
These are the supplements that I add to all of my dogs' meals. I don't add all supplement daily unless directed by our veterinarian or nutritionist. Although many of the supplements have multiple benefits, I've added why I add them to my dogs' diet below.
The hyperlinks will take you to Amazon should you like to purchase any of these supplements for your dogs. I earn a commission on each sale. However, this doesn't add to your costs. Thanks for supporting the blog.
Fish Oil or Sardines are alternated in my dogs' raw diet for skin and coat health, joint health, as a natural anti-inflammatory, and for brain health – 4 days a week because I also feed green tripe, which is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Marine Phytoplankton for Pets
- Bonnie & Clyde Fish Oil
- Lifeline Salmon Oil
- Raw Sardines by OC Raw
- Seasons Canned Sardines (in water with no salt added or in olive oil)
Please note that I don't buy all of these items; these are foods and supplements I alternate in my dogs' diet.
Raw Goats Milk, Kefir, Fermented Fish Stock, or Turkey Stock for digestive and immune system support – 3 days a week (only one of these, not all three at the same time). I source the raw goats milk from a local creamery and the kefir, fish stock, and turkey stock are from Answers Pet Food.
Raw Eggs for vitamins A, D, E, and more – 3 days a week; always from pasture-raised chickens. I usually get my eggs from friends who have chickens. However, in the winter, when their chickens aren't laying many eggs, I'll buy certified organic, pasture-raised eggs from Costco. You can get 18 eggs for $5.
Golden Paste with Coconut Oil for arthritis, skin health, digestion, immune system, and cancer prevention. The coconut oil also helps with healthy weight, thyroid health, and nutrient absorption – 4-5 days a week. I also add a little extra coconut oil to each dish, except Sydney. She doesn't like coconut oil, so she gets butter made from grass-fed cows in Ireland.
Spirulina for immune system healthy and energy – 3-4 days a week. I began adding Spirulina to my dogs' diet when they were eating tons of grass. Their nutritionist suggested that I add spirulina to their diet and it worked! They still eat grass here and there but it's not this obsessive like before.
Ocean Kelp for metabolism and thyroid health – 2-3 days a week.
Pampa or Geisha Canned Oysters are a great source of zinc. I purchase the oysters that are boiled in water and canned. I don't buy smoked foods for my dogs.
Bee Pollen is a powerhouse supplement that I give at least 5 days a week. Bee pollen boosts healing, supports improved digestive health, corrects the deficiencies in a dog’s diet, helps a dog maintain a healthy weight, heals skin conditions, increases energy and vitality, relieves aches and pains, and some say that bee pollen protects our dogs from cancer.
Milk Thistle for liver health and detox – in April 2018, I started adding milk thistle to my dogs' morning meals daily because I learned that it is most effective when given to our dogs before they are exposed to toxins. Since I can't predict when this will occur, I give milk thistle to my dogs at least four days a week.
Rodrigo – 7 years old (8 years old in March 2018)
Rodrigo is the reason I switched our dogs to raw. He has a history of GI issues that were improved with raw feeding, but not cured, so he needs a little extra support. He also has increased anxiety and a stressed immune system due, in my opinion, to repeated prescriptions of antibiotics to treat what turned out to be inflammation caused by protein intolerances, annual vaccinations, and the commercial kibble diet I fed to him.
Pancreas/Digestive Supplement because Rodrigo has a history of GI issues which this helps – 5-6 days a week.
Digestive Supplement/Probiotic – 5 days a week to support healthy food digestion, nutrient absorption, and add healthy bacteria to the gut.
Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus with MSM Chewable Tablets – 7 days a week
Sydney – 7 years old (8 years old in March 2018)
Despite being Rodrigo's littermate, Sydney never had the chronic issues that he had other than yeasty rashes. Those went away when I transitioned my dogs to raw. Today, she has arthritis, a thyroid condition (not hypothyroidism), and she's overweight (but slowly losing).
Canine System Saver for joints and immune system health – 5 days a week
Natura Petz Dog and Cat Kryptonite for thyroid support – 5 days a week
Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus with MSM Chewable Tablets – 7 days a week
Scout and Zoey- 4 years old (5 years old in October 2018)
Scout and Zoey were transitioned to raw dog food at six weeks old. I credit the diet for how healthy Scout and Zoey are today.
As Needed Supplements for Dogs
The following supplements are added as my dogs show a need:
Olewo Carrots for digestive support. If one of my dogs (usually Rodrigo or Scout) has diarrhea or loose stool, I'll add a small amount of Olewo Carrots (1/2 tbsp) to their next one or two meals.
Ewegurt for anxiety and fear: given before vet appointments, exposure to new things, thunderstorms and fireworks. My dogs had Ewegurt New Years Eve after dinner. We all slept through the fireworks at midnight!
CBD-Hemp Oil for anxiety and pain relief: given before thunderstorms and fireworks and when Sydney or Rodrigo overdoes it and are experiencing pain. Use KTW15 at check out to save 15% on your order.
DGP for Pets for joint pain relief: for Sydney when she's experiencing joint pain; I also have Comfort Aches by Herbsmith Inc. on hand for when the dogs are experiencing pain; Sydney doesn't like this one (so I crush it and mix it into her meals); the other dogs love it.
In Clover Connectin Chews for joint health – 5 days a week. Scout and Zoey are now 4 years old and I think providing a supplement for their joint health is important given their activity level. They think the Connectin Chews are treats, which is fine by me because I know they'll race into the room to take their “treat” every day.
Keep the Tail Wagging Reader Discounts
In Clover: Discount: Save 10% when you use KTTW10 at check out.
- Connectin Chews (joint supplement); they offer powder and tablets too.
- OptaGest (prebiotic, which is food for probiotics).
Herbsmith Inc.: Discount: Save 10% when you use KTTW10 at check out.
- Milk thistle (for liver health).
- Scooter’s Butt Bar (great treat and helps with digestive issues).
- Comfort Aches (pain relief).
Visit my Special Offers page for more reader discounts.