Flaxseed for Dogs
Choosing the best foods for your four-legged friend takes effort. There is much to consider, like the cost and nutritional value, of the food they eat. So in a market full of alleged superfoods and tainted by-products, what’s the word on flaxseed for dogs? Are they beneficial or just a fad?
Turns out, these little seeds are super healthy for your pup! Flaxseed, also referred to as linseeds, provides a great source of dietary fiber and omega-3 acids. They contain minerals like manganese, thiamine, and magnesium, as well as plant-based protein.
Numerous studies vouch that flaxseed can aid weight loss and digestion. But did you know that it can also help keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny? Let’s explore ALL the benefits of these powerful little seeds, and how you can give them to your favorite canine companion.
Can Dogs Eat Flaxseed?
Absolutely! In the appropriate amounts, you can surely never go wrong with flaxseeds! Just be sure to grind them first. The fiber in the outer shell will absorb water, making it swell, which turns into a gel once your dog swallows it.
But, flaxseed comes with some side effects on the digestive system. Eating too much flaxseed can increase your dog’s bowel movements (the same goes for people).
This means multiple trips to the bathroom to alleviate stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, and the like. Also, if your dog is prone to allergies, check for any possible allergic reaction to flaxseeds before you include them in their meals.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
It seems like there is so much (sometimes conflicting) information on the Internet about which supplements or vitamins to give your dog. Your dog’s nutritional needs depend on their age, diet, and health condition. Luckily, flaxseed can help any dog, regardless of age or diet! Here are its three nutritional benefits:
- Omega-6 for healthy skin and a soft, shiny hair coat
- Omega-3 to boost their immune system and prevent arthritis
- Lignans to assist healthy digestion and maintain a healthy weight
How Should I Give My Dog?
Your dog can eat flaxseed as is, but grinding flax seeds will make your dog’s body absorb more nutrients. Whole seeds will pretty much just pass through their system undigested.
Grinding the seeds slightly reduces its fiber content, but allows more omega 3 to be absorbed. Besides, flaxseeds can easily turn rancid, so it is best to grind them in small batches or grind them fresh first before using. Store them in the fridge or freezer to prolong their shelf life.
Flaxseed Helps Support a Healthy Coat and Hair
If your dog’s skin is dry, the appearance of its coat will not be as shiny or soft as before. This is a sign that your furry friend is not eating properly or getting the right nutrition their body needs.
Flaxseeds, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, are known to be great for the skin and hair. If consumed properly, they can surely improve the quality of your dog’s hair, making it softer, fuller, and shinier.
What Is Flax Poisoning?
Since flaxseeds offer plenty of health benefits, are they safe to eat? Can you overdo a good thing?
There is a chance that if you give your dog too much, they could overdose. All dogs are different, so it is best to base the amount to give on your dog’s weight and size.
Always start with a small amount and gradually work your way up. This will allow you to see if your dog has a poor reaction to flaxseeds.
Listed below are the recommended flaxseed dosages for dogs.
- Toy Breed – ¼ teaspoon daily
- Small Dogs – ½ teaspoon daily
- Medium-sized Dogs – ¾ teaspoon daily
- Large Dogs – 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons daily
As previously mentioned, too much flaxseed can cause your dog’s stool to become soft. Be sure to check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any supplements that might cause indigestion.
Symptoms to Watch Out for if Your Pooch Has Flax Poisoning
Some of the most common flax poisoning symptoms in dogs include:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Tachycardia (rapid increase in heart rate)
- Difficulty walking
Do note that dogs might have loose stools at the start, mainly due to the high fiber content. If these symptoms progress and become severe, it is best to consult with a veterinarian immediately to avoid further complications.
Treatment and recovery for flax poisoning
For flax poisoning, dry dog food may help reduce oil concentration in the stomach. Your dog’s veterinarian can induce vomiting safely to purge undigested flax.
But if cyanide poisoning is present, you must get your dog immediate treatment. Most dogs will easily recover from consuming raw flax products. Store them in a high cabinet or shelf so that your dog cannot easily access them.
We always want the best for cuddly four-legged friends due to the joy they bring into our lives. Giving them the best nutrition we can offer is the first step in creating a healthy lifestyle for your pet!
Flaxseed provides a wide range of health benefits for any dog regardless of size, age, and weight. If given the right amount, it will increase their well-being and help balance their diet.