I personally became a firm believer in nourishing our dogs’ bodies (and our human ones, too) with superfoods rather than synthetic supplements in late 2014.
That’s when my Boxer mix Missy was diagnosed with cancer for the first time, and I began researching alternative ways of boosting her immune system and ways to prevent illnesses from surfacing in her brother Buzz.
Although Missy ultimately died of cancer in April 2018, she ended up being in remission from it for 3+ years.
I believe that her raw food diet that I supplemented with superfoods contributed to her improved health, and that it’s been keeping her brother Buzz free of illnesses so far (knock on wood).
That being said, it’s not necessary to add a cocktail of superfood supplements to your healthy dog’s raw diet as long as the diet is an overall balanced one.
You could pick two and feed them on a daily basis for illness prevention – I’m thinking kelp powder along with bone broth or turmeric paste – and offer others on an as-needed basis during periods of recovery from surgery or illness – such as colostrum powder or hemp oil.
Do I need to add supplements to my dog’s raw diet?
I’ve added the following immune system-boosting supplements to my raw fed dogs’ diet:
- Kelp powder, purchased from Raw Paws Pet Food
- Raw goat milk, purchased from Raw Feeding Miami and Primal Pet Foods
- Bovine Colostrum powder, purchased from Wholistic Pet Organics on Amazon
- Hemp Oil, purchased from Bluebird Botanicals
- Turmeric paste, homemade
- Bone broth, homemade
Supplements for a dog’s raw diet – Kelp powder
Kelp is a seaweed that’s rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and trace elements. It promotes dental health and fresh doggie breath, is great for skin, digestive and thyroid health, and also helps repel fleas. You can just mix it into your dog’s raw food. Get it here.
Raw goat milk to supplement a dog’s raw diet
Raw goat milk is a great source of protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and trace elements. It acts as a natural probiotic, relieves joint pain, and fights yeast.
Either pour some into a bowl as an extra liquid treat, or mix it into your dog’s raw food. Raw goat milk can also easily be turned into refreshing summer treats – just pour some in silicone molds, freeze overnight and offer them to your pup!
Bovine colostrum powder
Bovine colostrum powder is derived from a mother cow’s first milk shortly after having given birth and is a natural source of concentrated antibodies.
Besides its immune system boosting qualities, it’s also an anti-inflammatory, helps battle the symptoms of arthritis and leaky gut, and is used to treat and prevent cancer.
Just mix it in with your dog’s raw food. Since it also heals wounds, it can be administered to a dog externally (mixed with distilled water) after surgery as well.
Hemp Oil for a dog’s raw diet
Hemp oil is derived from hemp plants. It reduces inflammation and has the perfect ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids, which makes it great for joint health, coat & skin health, as well as a cancer preventative.
Just mix it in with your dog’s raw food. I supplemented my pup Missy’s immune system with it after her second cancer diagnosis this year. I wish I would have known about it back in 2014 when she was first diagnosed with it.
Adding turmeric paste to your dog’s diet
Turmeric paste is also known as golden paste. It’s a concoction made of the orange spice turmeric, coconut oil, water, and freshly ground pepper. The ground pepper increases the benefits of the turmeric powder twentyfold, which makes it a powerful anti-inflammatory that’s excellent for joint support.
Turmeric paste also has liver-detoxifying benefits, anti-cancer benefits, as well as anti-septic and anti-bacterial benefits. You can mix the liquid paste in with your dog’s raw food or turn it into a frozen treat of sorts like shown in the picture below. Here’s the recipe for my homemade turmeric paste.
Bone broth supplement
Bone broth is made from joint bones that are rich in glucosamine and chondroitin, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, garlic, and some optional veggies and spices. It needs to simmer on low heat for about 24 hours, so it’s best to make it in a crockpot.
It’s great for joint health, digestive health, and detoxifies the liver. You can mix it in with your dog’s raw food or offer it as a liquid treat in their bowl.
Tip: I recently noticed beef and chicken bone broth at my local grocery store, so you may want to check your grocery store for some if you don’t have the time to make your own. Also check out the brand for dogs called Primalvore.
The Honest Kitchen base mix
Another option is you can use a base mix from The Honest Kitchen, and this should have all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs. You just add the meat! It’s a simple way to feed a raw diet and might allow you to cut back on other supplements.
Feed a balanced commercial raw diet
Another option of course is to feed a commercial raw diet such as Darwin’s. For the most part, you should not need to add any supplements because the food is already balanced.
Have you supplemented your dog’s diet with any of these superfoods?
Let us know in the comments!
Barbara Rivers writes regularly for That Mutt. She is a blogger, raw feeder and dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.