Flaxseed for Dogs
Looking for an inexpensive way to improve your dog’s overall health? Flaxseed or simply flax is a rich source of a-linolenic acid (ALA), a fatty acid that can boost your dog’s immune system and improve digestive health. Many people are unaware that flaxseed has already been for centuries.
Farmers cultivated it all throughout history, even dating back to early civilizations. Lately, it’s gained popularity for the multiple health benefits it can provide. So, can it be good for your favorite canine companion too? Can dogs have flaxseed?
Yes, but only in moderation.
Can Dogs eat flaxseed?
If you give them the proper kind and amount, your dog can reap the benefits of flaxseed! Just like any new food, you should introduce flaxseed slowly by incorporating it into a delicious treat. Add liquid flax oil or ground seeds to something tasty before putting it into your dog’s usual bowl of food. This will also avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach.
Flaxseed has several positive advantages for dogs, but one of its more notable benefits is its fiber content. Studies also show that flaxseed can improve a dog’s skin condition even after just 14 days of applying it to its coat. For humans, the ligands in flax have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and even osteoporosis.
Likewise, for dogs, it can act as an antioxidant by boosting your pup’s immune system.
Health Benefits of Flaxseed
From weight loss to a healthy coat, it is no wonder flaxseed is widely used as a regular supplement for dogs. Just like some other superfoods that are good for dogs, flaxseeds can provide a range of health benefits. Check out some of the perks below:
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that improve skin and coat health
- Lignans, an excellent antioxidant, that support the immune system
- Natural fibers to aid in digestion
- Soluble fibers to lower cholesterol and balance hormones
Flaxseed Helps Support a Healthy Coat and Hair
Popular for centuries for its nourishing benefits, flaxseed is known for a whole other purpose: hair and skin health. Whether applying it as an oil or eating ground seeds regularly, it will surely make your pup’s coat stronger and less prone to shedding. If your dog is not getting all the nutrients it needs, you will notice their skin is dry.
Flaxseeds, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can restore some of the fat and protein your dog needs. Both consumption and topical application can greatly enhance your dog’s coat, making it fuller and shinier.
What Is Flax Poisoning?
While it supplies a great source of omega fatty acids, and other essential nutrients, excessive use of flaxseed can overload your dog’s system and even cause poisoning. This being said, how much flaxseed is considered too much? A general rule of thumb is to base the dosage on your dog’s weight and size.
For this reason, be extra cautious when giving your dog flaxseed, especially if they’re smaller or have a history of illnesses. Begin with a small amount and gradually increase the dose until you’re sure their digestive system can handle it.
Factors that may increase the risk of flax poisoning, include:
- Too much flax supplement supplied
- Dog chewing an open bottle of capsules or oil
- Improperly processed supplement
- Ingestion of raw or unprocessed flax
- Ingestion of flax plants growing in the garden
Symptoms to Look for if Your Dog Has Flax Poisoning
Some of the most common symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, mainly due to their body’s inability to metabolize the compound. Though these symptoms may resolve without any medical intervention, it is still best to carefully watch your dog under observation for a day or two. Don’t hesitate to contact your vet! Other symptoms to watch out for include:
- Difficulty in breathing, easily out of breath
- Weakness/extreme fatigue
- Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
- Difficulty walking
While it does not pose a serious threat on its own, flaxseed poisoning might be worse for dogs with other health issues. You should seek treatment immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. Check with a healthcare professional for additional medical advice, or if you have any other concerns.
Treatment and Recovery for Flax Poisoning
For flax poisoning, a veterinarian might induce vomiting more safely and effectively than you can at home. Most dogs will recover since the risk of cyanide toxicity is more likely only if raw flax products are consumed.
Flaxseed offers a wide range of health benefits for any dog, and if given the right amount, it can surely boost their nutritional intake and immune system. Although there are a few risks of giving your dog too much flax, you can always consult your vet to ensure you’re using the supplement safely. Give your dog just the right amount to keep them in peak physical condition!