So of course everyone wants to know what kinds of natural supplements might be best for their dogs (whether miniature schnauzers or not). Remember that from a Naturopathic perspective, foods would be the best sources for nutrition (vitamins and minerals) but these days, our foods do not contain as high levels of these essential nutrients as they once did. With more and more produce being mass-produced and genetically-modified for quicker growth and longer shelf-lives, we also lose some good nutrition as the fruits and vegetables most easily available are often nutrient-poor. So I work with supplements with our miniature schnauzer. If you read one of my earlier posts you will also remember that our Caesar had some skin and eye issue that I wanted to resolve through natural treatments. After I noticed the benefit to his health, I have kept up with a regular supplement regime with Caesar.
I must warn you here though, that just like for humans, it takes time and consistency of getting these supplements into a dog’s diet to see the benefits (and of course my goal with Caesar at this point is health maintenance and disease prevention). This takes time and effort on a pet-parent’s part. I know many people would think I’m crazy (I think I’m crazy sometimes!) to be putting so much effort in taking care of Caesar in this manner, but at least I feel that I am doing everything I can to keep his system as healthy as possible.
***please remember the I am not a Veterinarian — I am a Naturopathic Doctor working with my dog from a Naturopathic perspective***
So what kinds of supplements do I work with? Here is my list:
Vitamin C: a useful antioxidant for healthy skin and immune system
Vitamin E: a useful antioxidant for heart health and skin health
Missing Link Canine Formula: freeze-dried superfood formula providing omega-3 fatty acids in dried-food form
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: liquid formula — omega-3 fatty acids are good for skin, hair, brain health, immune system and cardiovascular health
Digestive Enzymes: good for decreasing strain on digestive system in breaking down nutrients from food/supplements and improving digestion of these nutrients. Note: this supplement has been very effective for even our human patients working with chronic pancreatitis and/or acute flares of pancreatitis. I believe and hope that it will be a good supplement to prevent this concern in our dog through his life.
Turmeric: an antioxidant-rich herb/spice which is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and liver-detoxifying effects.We work with this herb quite regularly in our treatment of patients with chronic concerns of arthritis to various cancers and I will add this mustard-coloured spice to many of the meals I make for Caesar.
Note: turmeric has a very yellow colour — don’t wear white while you’re using this, and if your dog has a white muzzle (like Caesar’s) get ready for some yellow stains if there’s too much turmeric in the dog food you might give your dog!! Luckily, this herb/spice is not “spicy” — it has very little flavour, but does enhance the flavour of foods that are cooked with it (meat, veggies, fish). Caesar loves it but I do try to “dry it out” in the foods I make for him to prevent the staining of his fur (usually successful but not always)!
See: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/turmeric-000277.htm for some info (human-related) for more info about turmeric.
That’s a lot! Remember that miniature schnauzers are pretty small dogs and don’t need too much of each of these nutrients. I use about 1/4 of a human dose of the nutrients for Caesar, and I give him the supplements on a rotational basis. So I will give him 2 or 3 of the supplements daily for a month, then rotate to another 2 or 3 the next month. Most of the supplements I only use once a day; however, I use the powdered “Missing Link” formula spread out over 2 meals in a day to also improve his absorption of the nutrients.
Many people feed their adult dogs only once or twice a day; we feed Caesar 3 times a day (smaller meals are easier to digest, and luckily, our schedule permits us to do this); on our very long working days, we’re able to give Caesar his first meal while we’re home, then I make sure to fill a Kong with a meal-size portion of food to serve as his “lunch” while we are at work and then a regular 3rd meal when we get home.
For supplements, there are canine/pet-specific supplements available at health food stores which are convenient since they usually contain amounts that are dog-specific. I do find many of these supplements overpriced however, and prefer to stick with human-grade supplements from health food stores where I am aware of companies that produce quality products. The only challenge is that this requires opening individual capsules or modifying liquid doses to Caesar’s requirements rather than using the “suggested doses”. Veterinarians will often carry various supplements too and may be able to guide individuals to those that are best suited to their own dog’s needs.
The “Missing Link” formula is specifically designed for dogs (canine formula) and I liked the ingredients and comments I had read through others on the internet, so this is something I definitely pick up from a pet store.
Most people that we meet in clinical practice wait until there is illness in themselves to start working with Natural supplementation. And this can be very effective. And I didn’t work with supplements with Caesar because I thought he was too young to need “preventative care” — but when I saw the effectiveness of supplements for his skin and eye health, I decided to maintain a healthy supplement regime for him with the intention of preventing future health concerns.
I hope this information is useful to you. I will write more about different supplements that may be useful for dogs in future posts.
“A good dog deserves a good home.” -Proverb