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Many times a week, we’re asked what supplements dogs should be eating, if any. Whether you are feeding your dog a strict prey model diet, a scoop from a bag of kibble, or something in between, giving him extra vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients is never a bad idea. Choosing the right supplement needn’t be hard – and many of the ingredients can be found right in your back yard!
Here is a list of nutritional herbs you might consider putting into your dog’s meal rotation…
Alfalfa is is high in nutrients, which are drawn into the plant from deep in the soil. The richest land source of trace minerals, the roots of alfalfa plants have been known to reach as much as thirty feet deep! The leaves of the alfalfa plant are rich in minerals and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and carotene. They are also a source of protein, vitamin E and vitamin K. Alfalfa has been used by the Chinese since the sixth century to treat kidney stones and to relieve fluid retention and swelling. Alfalfa nourishes the digestive, skeletal, glandular, and urinary systems. Alfalfa also contains chlorophyll, which is renowned for its cleansing qualities.
Cayenne is a pepper well known for its benefits to the circulatory system. It aids the body to balance pressure levels and resist abnormal bleeding. Cayenne also nourishes the digestive system. This plant assists in the body’s utilization of other herbs, when used in an herbal combination, so it’s a good idea to add a dash when mixing up your dog’s herbs. When applied topically, it helps relieve minor discomfort.
Dandelions rank as one of the top green vegetables in overall nutritional value. Dandelion is nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! Dandelion is also particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein. Both the roots and leaves can be used.
Kelp is a rich source of natural vitamins and minerals, including essential trace minerals. Kelp is dependent upon the sea for its nourishment — an excellent source since the sea is the repository of all the minerals that have been washed from the land through the millennia. Kelp is especially high in iodine, which must be present for proper glandular function and metabolism. It also contains iron, sodium, phosphorus and calcium, as well as magnesium and potassium. Kelp is a source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, plus amino acids. Because of its high nutrient content, this herb is reputedly beneficial for a wide range of applications. It is known to nourish the sensory nerves, brain membranes, also spinal cord and brain tissue. Kelp also contains alginic acid which can help protect the body against the effects of radiation.
Nettle, also known as stinging nettle, is a rich source of beneficial phytonutrients such as chlorophyll, sterols, polyphenols, lignans, and gallic acid. Nettle also contains numerous minerals and vitamins including vitamins C and A, potassium, iron, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It is also a diuretic, tonic and can also be applied to stop bleeding in open wounds. Nettle has been used for centuries to help treat stiff joints and aches and also helps to purify the blood and cleanse the liver and kidneys.
The above herbs can be given as a dried powder, in capsules or in a tincture. Small and toy dogs should get about a pinch of each herb and giant breeds would get about a tablespoon.
Feeding your dog his vitamins and minerals in a whole food supplements like nutritional herbs, as opposed to synthetic derivatives (like vitamins in a bottle), is an important step toward creating optimal health. Only whole food ingredients can provide your dog with all the nutrients contained within the food, rather than just isolated components. For example, ascorbic acid is not a food ingredient: it is an isolated component of vitamin C. If you were to just give your dog vitamin C, you would be missing hundreds of other important nutrients that all interact synergistically. Nutritional herbs contain all the vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, and phytonutrients in a way that nature intended, in a whole food form.
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