Feeding X for Y: Knowing the Why to Adding Supplements
with Savannah Welna of FeedThyDog, Nutrition Advocate

Many supporters of functional care value supporting the whole being. Before adding a supplement or food, we should always assess why we are adding it and make sure the why is accurate.


The common advice to “feed X for Y” may or may not be relevant and healing to the dog.


Consider the popular advice to feed turmeric for joint pain. Turmeric, a fantastic herb, is potent with its own set of characteristics suitable for some depending on the person or dog. Certainly, pain falls within this realm of uses- but it does not mean that it is always the correct solution. For example, what if the joint pain is because of a homemade diet lacking in essential nutrients? Turmeric may relieve symptoms, but it does not fix the underlying issue in this instance. The body is complex, requiring that all aspects of health are addressed.


A correct approach involves looking at the whole dog. A very basic example here might be a dog suffering loose stools (veterinary appointment included of course). There are several ways to address this and one person may recommend one thing and another person something else- purely based off of their experience not with your dog. One person may add fiber while another adds more bone (raw diets). In reality, the dog may have a diet a bit too high in fat, low in fiber, but is also experiencing day to day stress. This stress impairs proper digestion because resources are directed away from the gut as a response of the flight or fight mechanism. The low fiber hurts gut motility and the higher fat creates more disturbances in digestion. Instead of finding a band-aid solution in any single category, we address the diet as a whole, mental well-being, environment, etc.


Think critically. If the diet is already rich in b-vitamins- should you add more? The diet has fish, but does that mean you need even more fish oil? Do these additions change the of the diet- as in the case of the fish oil increasing antioxidant needs. (Psssst. If you are adding fish oil to the diet are you adding vitamin E?)


I love Herbs for Pets for this reason. It discusses supporting the entire system and helps the reader be more mindful of additions- making the additions powerful and targeted. I encourage it as a read for anybody who is interested in both herbs and nutrition. While not nutrition related specifically, it does help shape the proper mindset when addressing these topics. Plus- you learn about practical canine herbalism!


Next post we will dive deeper into this subject- starting with fish oil. We will chat the true purpose, function, and when (and how!) to add it. We will discuss the effects and how it affects the the dietary requirement of other nutrients.


Cheers,

Savannah Welna, Cert. ACN