How to Supplement KibbleDecember 19th, 2012 | Posted by in dogs
My K9kitchen list is a group of caring dog owners who feed in all manner of ways. Raw, cooked and kibble diets, depending on the owner’s preference and the dog’s ability to do well on a particular diet. It used to be that the great majority of people on the list fed fresh food diets, but the economy has forced some to feed kibble, and those are the folks I want to address.
My in-box is full of questions about supplementing kibble. Should you do that, or is the kibble enough? Which supplements are good and which are overkill? The answer is based on what the kibble provides since anything formulated to meet AAFCO requirements is considered to be a balanced diet. I guess is depends on what one considers “balanced” to be. No doubt, kibble provides all the protein, fat, vitamins and minerals we know about, but it’s missing “life force”. That may sound wacky even to my own ears, but if we think about it, fresh food vs. dry food does indeed seem to offer nutrients that a highly processed food simply can’t. What do I consider to be “life force”? Think about something as seemingly simply as spinach. It’s a living thing that provides moisture, vitamins, minerals and fiber, but is also a great source of lutein which benefits the eyes. In other words, it has vitality. We can certainly compare the nutrients in kibble and fresh foods on paper, but absorption and the possible unknowns about fresh foods (think phytonutrients which weren’t known about until fairly recently), are more than that which is why I believe that whole foods can’t be beat. Would you be better off eating a cereal that has every vitamin and mineral added to it, or eating more protein and veggies?
So, if you feed kibble every day, maybe you want to think about adding a bit of fresh food as well. Just a bit, so you don’t unbalance the diet. Assuming you have a healthy dog, some of your leftover veggies from dinner (no onions!- they’re toxic to dogs) can be mashed and added. Otherwise, a dollop of mashed sweet potato, a few blueberries, bit of melon or apple, a teaspoon of yogurt (assumes no lactose intolerance), scrambled egg white, poached egg once weekly, a tad of roasted chicken breast without skin…all can be nice additions. But what about supplements? That’s what so many people seem to want to know.
Forget about multi vitamin and minerals made for pets. Kibble provides plenty of both and the only thing that most of these products provide in ample amounts is B vitamins. That’s because excess Bs are excreted via urine, so toxicity isn’t an issue. But your kibble-fed dog is already receiving plenty of B vitamins, so you’re creating expensive urine. Good choices are ones that add important benefits. Think wild salmon oil for omega 3 fatty acids to support, brain, eye, heart and skin health as well as being anti-inflammatory. Think acidophilus a couple of times weekly to add beneficial bacteria to the gut, so it stays robust. Think joint supportive supplements. Think taurine for heart and eye health, and CoQ10 for heart health and cognition. These are the things that can benefit any dog, and most especially one that eats kibble on an ongoing basis. These are the ones that can truly make a difference.
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