Although I was around dogs growing up and have always liked them, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I officially became “owned by dogs” when two Australian shepherds came into my life. Buddy is a big boy who loves the outdoors. He can spend hours sitting outside enjoying the view and doesn’t seem to be bothered by snow or cold. Bella is my shadow and stays next to my side day and night – except when she is racing to catch her ball. We enjoy car rides, walks along the river, and hanging on the couch together. They are truly this man’s best friends.
As I discovered the joys and trials of dog ownership, it was only natural that I turned my passion for health and nutrition to ensuring the very best for my furry companions. I have learned that many of the same nutrients that I recommend for humans also have benefits for dogs. In this article, I would like to mention a few that I think every dog owner should consider to help their dog live the longest and healthiest life possible.
CURCUMIN AND BOSWELLIA: The All-in-One Solution for Dogs
Your best friend’s playful instincts will be at their best when they naturally feel pain free and ready to have fun!
I have long said that if there is one natural medicine that has benefits for everyone it is curcumin. This amazing extract from turmeric stops cancer, relieves pain, protects the liver, neutralizes free radicals, reduces inflammation, and that is not even half of its benefits! Research in dogs shows it has many of the same effects for them as it does for people. Scientists have found benefits for curcumin in slowing and stopping the spread of cancerous cells in dogs, relieving arthritis pain, and reducing inflammation. I think that curcumin is ideal for older dogs with stiff joints and arthritis, as well as dogs dealing with cancer. Curcumin on its own is not easily absorbed – either in people or dogs – but combining curcumin with turmeric essential oil containing ar-turmerone increases its absorption in dogs by up to 700% over curcumin alone.
Boswellia is another natural anti-inflammatory that has beneficial effects for animals. In a study of dogs with arthritis, 71% of dogs treated with boswellia saw improvement in their symptoms, including lameness and a stiff gait, and stiffness after resting. I suggest boswellia that has reduced levels of beta-boswellic acid, a compound in boswellia that can reduce its effectiveness, and is standardized for at least 10% AKBA, for the best benefits. For even greater results for arthritic dogs, I suggest a combination of curcumin with turmeric essential oil and boswellia: 500 – 1,000 mg daily for small dogs, 1,000 – 1,500 mg for large dogs.
PROBIOTICS for Digestion
Even with the best of diets, your canine needs the best of beneficial bacteria. It’ll help them absorb the nutrients they need from food, and reduce gas and upset stomachs, too.
Buddy and Bella have had a few instances of what my veterinarian refers to as “garbage gut.” I think all dog owners have to occasionally deal with the fallout of eating too much of something that doesn’t sit right in your dog’s stomach. To keep your dog’s digestive tract running smoothly, probiotics are helpful. Probiotics are the beneficial microflora that live in canine (and human) digestive tracts. Probiotics aid the process of digestion, reduce inflammation in the intestines, and help reduce the incidence of gas and digestive upset. Did you know that a dog’s stomach is much more acidic that a human’s? Some sources say as much as 10 times more acidic! Therefore, supplemental probiotics need to survive passing through this acidic environment in order to reach the intestines. Two probiotic strains that have been shown to be very acid resistant are Bifidobacterium animalis and Bifidobacterium bifidum. In fact, a research study in dogs with sudden diarrhea found that time to recovery was reduced by 40% for dogs treated with B. animalis versus a placebo. I suggest a combination of 2.5 billion CFU of B. animalis and B. bifidum daily for all dogs.
ECHINACEA for Calming
Your dog relies on you to be their calming mentor, but a little help from a specialized Echinacea angustifolia extract can make a world of difference.
Many dogs experience nervous reactions to unavoidable situations – fireworks, car rides, and grooming sessions are some of them. For humans, I have long recommended an extract of Echinacea angustifolia to reduce tension and promote calmness, and it turns out that this botanical has the same effects for animals. In animal studies, researchers found that a particular extract of E. angustifolia contains a unique ratio of compounds called alkamides. The alkamides trigger receptors on the brain that relieve anxiety. Animals that received the extract were calmer and able to ignore events that would normally induce stressful behavior. Even better, this extract works quickly – effects were seen about 30 minutes after use. I think it is ideal for dogs that have a hard time being home alone, that don’t like riding in the car, or are terrified of fireworks. I suggest a dosage of 20 mg of E. angustifolia for all dogs. If possible, give at least 30 minutes before the event that your dog finds stressful.
It is my hope that these suggestions help your dog to better health. Buddy and Bella have brought more joy and love to my life than I could ever have imagined, and it is hard to remember that once upon a time I thought I wasn’t a dog person. I’m now proud to say that I’m a happy member of the dog-loving community, and I have dog hair all over my car to prove it. Buddy, Bella, and I wish you and your dog many healthy years together.
The formulas I discuss in this article are:
The all-in-one solution for dogs: A combination of Beef Liver Powder, Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) Gum Resin Extract standardized to contain ≥ 70% Total Organic and Boswellic Acids with AKBA ≥ 10%, ≤ 5% beta-boswellic acids, Curcumin (Curcuma longa) Rhizome Extract enhanced with turmeric essential oil and standardized for curcuminoid complex (curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin)
Probiotics for Digestion: A combination of Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, Bifidobacterium bifidum
Echinacea for Calming: Narrow-leaved Coneflower Echinacea angustifolia Root Extract standardized for proprietary echinacosides and a unique alkamide profile
For more information on this topic, watch this video: Keep Your Pet Healthy – The Natural Way