Supplementation - What's Necessary

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!

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Member Since
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 7:24am PST 
I have a question on supplementation. I'm under the understanding that those who do a more BARF style diet are generally higher in supplementation and those who do prey model raw choose not to over supplement and believe most everything the dog needs comes from the diet.

With that said. I'd like to know which supplements are considered necessary and which ones aren't. And the ones that aren't what are the cases or situations in which one might want to consider using those supplements.

For example. I know a good fish oil is recommended for those feeding factory farmed meat to fix the omega 3/6 ratios.

But what about probiotics, digestive enzymes, immune boosters, vitamin supplements, green kelp, alfalfa, blue green algae, spirulina, etc to name a few.

Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 7:28am PST 
I feed prey model raw and do absolutely no supplements for any of my boys.

I am in the camp that feels if you're feeding properly and there are no underlying medical problems there should be no need to feed anything beyond what the dog would naturally consume.

Edited by author Wed Dec 12, '12 7:30am PST


I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 7:40am PST 
I balance Max's diet to NRC levels and need to supplement his 1.6% daily ration with some zinc, manganese, magnesium, vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids. Even feeding mostly red meat those are low. I can do it with some tripe and ground sunflower seeds plus oysters if necessary. I tried kelp but was uneasy as I don't want to overdo iodine and my supplement didn't have a complete analysis. Haven't found analysis of some of the others and 'containing micronutrients' just doesn't cut it for me. If he needs 50 mg of something then that supplement might have 1-5 mg and that won't work.


Do you even- lift?
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 1:27pm PST 
Fish oil, or just feeding oily fish, if you're not feeding grass fed meat is the only thing I really consider necessary if you're feeding a balanced prey model diet. You didn't mention what you feed, but I believe you said in another post that it was PMR?

As long as you're sticking to the 80/10/5/5, you shouldn't need much in the way of vitamin supplements. Depending on the dog, things like glucosamine or probiotics may be good additions though.

My toys, All- Mine!
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 2:25pm PST 
I supplemented the minerals then stopped and could tell the difference. Now he is getting zinc and quite a bit of tripe and I think it is doing the trick. He also is currently getting fish oil instead of whole fish so also getting vitamin E capsules those days as well.

Just learned that soaking fish oil and E capsules in hot water will dissolve the gelatin caps so I don't have to pill the poor old guy or puncture and squirt the oil on his food.

I want to play!
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 7:38pm PST 
I don't think there is a big need on supplements if you feed a good balanced raw diet, but if most of the meat is not grass fed/free ranged meats then giving fish oil is good..

Some say it's needed to give vitamin E. I'm not sure if you do be sure it's natural not synthetic.

I only give joint supplements as Saya has some joint issues.

I give green lipped mussel supplement and elk velvet antler I think it helps Saya.

Besides that she just gets balanced diet. Half is free ranged/grass fed and half grocery plus she sometimes gets wild deer, canadian geese, duck, dove and stuff like that.

When Saya was on kibble and new to raw she got salmon oil.

Do you even- lift?
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 7:43pm PST 
I view it as a difference between necessary and beneficial. I actually supplement my dog's PMR diet with several different things that I feel are beneficial. But I think he'd be healthy without them, and I think even without any supplements, his diet is healthier than any kibble.

I feel that with a proper balance of meat, bones, and organs, with sufficient variety, most people don't need to supplement beyond fish oil. If they feel a need or want to add other supplements, I don't see a problem with it and do think it can offer benefits. But I feel like most supplements are just fine tuning.

Mr. Personality
Barked: Fri Dec 14, '12 5:58am PST 
Some people feel supplementation isn’t necessary and some feel it is. If your dog is on a prey model raw diet, they do not NEED supplements. However, they can still benefit from them. Eduardo is on Only Natural Pet GI Support and Only Natural Pet Ultimate Daily Canine Vitamins Plus. Only Natural Pet GI Support is just for an overall immune-support, but can be used for dogs with allergies. Only Natural Pet Ultimate Daily Canine Vitamins Plus is for skin health, and can be used for dogs with any skin conditions. I don’t give fish oil, as Eduardo regularly gets herring and sardines. Probiotics are beneficial to any diet.
Blake CGC

got meat?
Barked: Fri Dec 14, '12 8:38am PST 
I used to be in the same camp with Trigger- my dogs eat PMR, and the diet is balanced, so they shouldn't need anything extra.

And for many years, a balanced diet was all they got. Then, all of the sudden I woke up and realized I had a 9 year old dog. And 9 year old dogs' joints can get very tired. I recently started supplementing his diet with a glucosamine/chondroiton supplement and also giving him extra fish oil despite having fish in their regular diet. I really, really wish I had started this supplementation earlier. Our younger dog, nearly 3 year old Piper, gets the additional fish oil but not the G/C. I will likely start her on that around age 7?

Supplementation really depends a lot on the diet you're feeding and the age, lifestyle, health, etc of your pets. Definitely not a one-size-fits-all type thing.

Barked: Fri Dec 14, '12 3:48pm PST 
There have been some really good answers and I really like the whole principle of not neccesary, but beneficial.

I add magnesium oil (and also use it-best thing ever!) to my dog's water and also to their belly as it's absorbed through the skin. I do apple cidar vinegar, braggs, from time to time. They get homemade raw milk kefir as well as kefir grains which they love. I've given them fermented sourkrat juice before. I'm a big beliver in fermented things and the gut benefits.

I like the idea of putting it into the website mentioned and seeing what you're missing. I don't personally always feel like the whole "PMR is enough" because meat has changed so much. Factory-farmed meat has a much higher ratio of fat to protein than pasture farmed meats and also they recieve a ton of toxins that are all store in the fat so that makes it even worse. Also, the omega ratio, the fact they never see daylight so no vitamin d, and there's other vitamins/minerals that are deficient in factory-farmed meat. I don't feed factory-farmed meat, but I don't feel quailifed enough to say if you do, no supplements are needed since I've seen just how much less nutritious that meat is.
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