Is your dog’s coat starting to look dry, patchy and her skin itchy? This might be a sign that they are not getting omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids from their diet.
Researchers from the National Center for Biotechnology Information say that supplementing your pet’s food with ground flax seed should sort that problem right out. However, there has been speculations that flax seeds are toxic to dogs. This leaves most dog owners asking the question, can dogs eat flax seeds?
Constitution of Flaxseeds
Flax seeds are brown nutty-flavored seeds that are loaded with nutrients good for both humans and canines. They are a great source of
numerous proteins that not only keep the bones strong but also the skin and hair looking good. Flax seeds also contain soluble and insoluble fiber that help to remove toxins out of the dogs body hence stopping constipation and bowel issues. More importantly however, flax seeds contain antioxidants known as lignans that fight inflammation and enhances immunity.
Flax Seed Poisoning
The speculation regarding flax seeds being toxic is based on how much seeds you give the dog and the formulation. To get the maximum benefits of these wonder seeds without compromising the health of your dog, here are some of the precautions to take;
1. Process the flax seeds: While dogs can be able to consume flax seeds in their whole ungrounded form, they will not get any nutrient from the seeds. The outer coat of flax seeds is very hard and cannot be digested by dogs so it will come out just the way it went in. Grounding the flax seeds using coffee grinder, blender, pepper mill or mortar is the best way to process the seeds into something the dog can digest and absorb. The flax seeds can also be hard pressed to produce flax oil which is the most concentrated form in terms of nutrients.
2. Refrigerate processed flax seed: Unfortunately, when you process flax seed by either grounding them or refining them into oil, their shelf life reduces drastically. Ground flax seeds and oil have to be refrigerated at all times to keep them from going bad which can poison the dog and cause diarrhea. Alternatively, you can process the seeds every morning before adding them to the dog food.
3. Give small doses: Whole flax seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides which means they can cause cyanide poisoning. Though processing removes these toxic properties significantly, small traces of the cyanogenic glycosides still remain. For this reason, you should give the dog a very small amount of flax seeds per day to prevent poisoning.
Flax seeds also contain a lot of fiber which can cause diarrhea and vomiting in dogs if given in high dosage. The recommended dosage for flax seed powder and oil is quarter of a teaspoon to begin with and you can give half a teaspoon per day in a few weeks.
4. Diabetes: Dogs that have diabetes should only be given flax seeds after consultation with the veterinarian. This is because flax seeds can improve blood sugar in some dogs.
5. Give plenty of water: The constitution of flax seeds is hard for any dog to digest and absorb. However plenty of water during the day helps this process along and ensures that the dog can convert ALA into EPA and DHA efficiently.
Besides improving the skin and fur, flax seeds can also be used to improve cardiovascular conditions, fight cancer, arthritis and blood pressure in dogs just like in humans. By adding a small dosage of well refrigerated flax seed meal in dog food, you can improve the overall health of your beloved friend.
I think you got the answer behind this question – can dogs eat flax seeds or not.