Flaxseed is an amazing superfood that health-conscious people like adding to their meals. A serving size is just a tablespoon which makes a little bit go a long way to boost your health choices. Adding flaxseed to your diet may help with fertility, digestion, and weight loss, but is it only for humans? Flaxseed is great for your pet too! Flaxseed for dogs may benefit their health as well when given in proper amounts. While you might not want to feed your dog a handful of raw seeds as a snack, there are ways to incorporate flaxseeds safely and beneficially into their diets.
What is Flaxseed?
Flax was one of the first crops cultivated by man to be used for fiber before the invention of the cotton gin. Once domesticated, flaxseed was spun, dyed, and knotted to make fibers for textiles for thousands of years throughout the world, starting with the ancient Egyptians. Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant and was a prized material among Egyptian priests!
Today, flax has lost its popularity as a commercial crop for clothing since more durable fabric materials have emerged. Instead, flaxseed is grown for seeds that may be eaten or ground up to make a meal or linseed oil. Flaxseed is consumed primarily for its nutritional properties and helps a balanced diet.
What Types of Flax Products Are There?
Flaxseed-based products As a seed, flaxseed is edible by itself. It comes in two different varieties: brown and yellow. Yellow flaxseeds are higher in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and brown flaxseeds contain higher antioxidants; however, their biggest difference is taste. Most argue that these flax seeds are the same nutritionally, but brown flaxseed has a nutty and more flavorful taste.
Flaxseeds are commonly ground up to make them easier to digest. Whole flaxseed may pass through the intestine without being digested properly, causing you to miss out on all of its benefits. Ground flaxseed is also easier to add undetectable to foods and beverages, so their flavor or texture doesn’t interfere with the quality of the overall dish.
Ground flaxseed can also be processed into a vegetable oil known as flaxseed or linseed oil which can be used as a varnish.
Flax is also used to make paints, textile fibers and is given to livestock as a highly nutritious fodder. This also makes flaxseed a great ingredient in dog food.
Can My Dog Eat Flaxseed?
If rabbits, cows, and poultry can eat it, then why not your dog? Flax seeds are often added to dog foods because of their high content of omega fatty acids, which benefit your dog’s coat and skin quality and their immune and digestive systems. Flaxseed oil may be preferable because it is easier to mix into their food, is more easily digestible, and stays fresher longer.
What Are the Benefits Of Flaxseed For Dogs?
Giving your dog flaxseed may improve their overall health!
Fatty acids contained in flaxseed meals are essential for dogs. A tablespoon of ground flaxseed has about 1.8 grams of omega 3s, which benefits just about every part of a dog’s health. The alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in omega 3s contributes to the strength of a dog’s immune system and helps maintain a healthy coat and skin. ALA also plays a part in reproductive, growth, mobility, health, and more!
Flaxseeds are a great source of fiber that aid in digestion and gut health. Fiber contributes to the growth of healthy bacteria that helps reduce the risk of colon cancer or injury and reduce diarrhea and constipation symptoms they may be suffering from.
The anti-inflammatory properties caused by a combination of fatty acid and lignans flaxseed aid in easing arthritis symptoms, heart problems, and kidney function. Lignans also change the way estrogen binds to cells, reducing the risk of hormone-related cancers like breast and prostate cancer.
Are There Side Effects Of My Dog Eats Flaxseed?
Toxicity occurs when raw flax plants or if large quantities of flaxseed get consumed. Dogs should not be allowed to eat whole flax plants or unprocessed flaxseed or flaxseed meal. Only give whole or ground flaxseed to dogs if they have been safely processed due to the plant’s low levels of cyanide. Flax poisoning caused by cyanide may cause severe symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, rapid heart rate, hyperventilation, and weakness.
Nonlethal side effects from overindulging in safely processed flaxseed caused by high amounts of fiber which can be:
- an allergic reaction
- stomach upset
- loose stools
Oily skin and fur can also be a side effects of high amounts of flaxseed oil. As long as flaxseed is properly manufactured and you moderate your dog’s consumption, there is a very low risk for side effects.
How Much Flaxseed Can I Give My Dog?
When incorporating flaxseed or flaxseed oil into your dog’s diet, start slowly. If your dog is new to flaxseed, then ingesting large amounts may cause intestinal problems like diarrhea.
Smaller dogs should be given less, especially when starting their new diet. The amount will vary depending on your dog’s weight.
No more than 1/8 of a teaspoon per day in two doses is recommended for beginners. For larger breeds, start them at around 1 1/2 teaspoons per dose twice a day. Here’s a more specific breakdown for the daily starting doses for every sized dog:
- Teacup (2-4lbs): 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon
- Small (5 – 22lbs): 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
- Medium (24 – 57lbs): 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons
- Large (58 – 99lbs): 2 1/2 teaspoon – 1 Tablespoon
- Giant (100lbs and above): 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons
(Remember to divide these amounts into two different amounts or more a day)
For oil, 1/4 tsp for small breeds, 1 tsp for medium-sized breeds, and 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp for larger breeds split into two even doses a day will do. If these amounts upset their stomachs, divide the daily dose in half. It may take a few weeks before you start to notice the benefits of flaxseed, as gradual improvements in your dog’s health.
It’s always best to consult a veterinarian or dog nutritionist for the most accurate dose. They can also go over health benefits and dietary needs catered perfectly for your dog!
How to Use Flaxseed for Dogs
It’s hard to convince your dog to eat plain flaxseed. To make it more appealing, try these tricks below.
Mix into Meals
Mixing the flaxseed or oil with meals or treats is a fast and easy way to give your dog their daily amount. Oil is easier to mix with wet foods or liquids like your pet’s water. Grinding up flaxseed and adding it to their wet food or a bit of plain yogurt can entice even the pickiest pet, doing so will disguise the smell and texture of the flaxseed.
Giving your dog flax seed-mixed food will also lower their risk of nausea and other digestive issues because they won’t be taking it on an empty stomach.
Using Flax as a Substitute
If you cook your dog their food at home, replacing a protein in that recipe with flaxseed works great. Substituting things like eggs or grains with ground flax seeds mixed with warm water will thicken it up and make it a suitable stand-in for your dog’s protein intake.
Make Your Own Flaxseed Treats
Homemade flax dog treats are another way to give your dog a healthy and beneficial goody infused with the power of flax seeds. A simple no-bake recipe that dogs love is peanut butter bites. Mixing 1/4 cup of peanut butter with 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed, 2 Tbsp rolled oats, and 1/4 cup water, make a batter that’s rollable into delicious soft treats for your pup.
As a Supplement
A flaxseed supplement belongs in your dog’s daily wellness routine. Most pet stores sell capsules of flaxseed most that have predesignated doses for your dog’s weight. Disguising a flaxseed pill or capsule in a spoonful of cream cheese or a wedge of apple or cheddar is a sneaky trick that your dog won’t mind falling for!
Are There CBD Products For Dogs With Flaxseed In It?
Some CBD products may contain flaxseed in them. Solid treats are more likely to contain ground flaxseed meal incorporated into their dough. Most CBD companies like to keep their ingredient lists as simple as possible, so an easier way to get your hands on a CBD product with flaxseed in it is to add CBD oil to an already-existing flax seed treat.
Adding CBD oil to your dog’s treats can boost your pet’s health by aiding in their holistic and nutritional health. Both flaxseed and CBD aid in heart, gut, immune, and reproductive wellness when taken consistently.
Final Thoughts – Flaxseed for Dogs
Flaxseeds are one of the oldest crops; having use as a natural source of fiber in its early days and as a beneficial dietary supplement later. Humans and their pets can eat flaxseed as long as safely processed and eaten in moderated amounts.
Pet owners should consider giving their dogs flax seed as a part of their daily diets. It is rich in essential fatty acids and dietary fiber, which contribute to a healthy circulatory, digestive, and immune system. A small amount of flaxseed or flaxseed oil daily can improve your dog’s skin and coat quality in a matter of weeks. While consulting with your dog’s vet is best before starting them on a flax seed regime, the benefits of this superfood well outweigh the risks. Talk to your vet the next time you visit and ask if your dog is a candidate for taking flax seed!