Raw Diets For Dogs: Getting Enough Vitamins And Minerals

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One of the main reasons pet owners are reluctant to switch their dog to a raw diet is the fear their dog wouldn’t get enough vitamins and minerals. Many others feed plant and vegetable matter for an added vitamin and mineral punch. But if you’re one of those raw feeders who’s tired of mincing veggies – or you worry that carnivorous dogs shouldn’t be eating that many veggies – then here’s a guide to help you see the vitamin and mineral content in animal proteins. If you’re new to a raw diet and want to learn more about starting out, then you might want to read our Raw Feeding Primer.

Although it’s hard to improve on a fresh, natural diet of species appropriate foods, you may have a dog who you feel needs extra nutrition (perhaps extra vitamin C for immune function or iodine for thyroid function). Luckily, there are nutritional herbs you can use to give your dog an additional boost without needing to mulch up those veggies. Most importantly, these whole food sources of vitamins and minerals are a much healthier choice than their synthetic counterparts. And unlike synthetic vitamins and minerals, herbs provide essential nutrients complete with the cofactors they need to make a healthy change in your dog – just as nature intended!

 

Vitamins

VITAMIN A

Enhances immunity, prevents eye problems and skin disorders. Important in bone and teeth formation. Protects against colds and infection. Slows aging process.

MEAT SOURCES: Chicken, pork, egg, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardines, liver, kidney, brain, tuna

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, borage leaves, burdock root, cayenne, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, sage, uva ursi, violet leaves, watercress, yellow dock

VITAMIN B1 (Thiamine)

Promotes growth, improves mental attitude, aids digestion, helps strengthen nervous system and prevent stress.

MEAT SOURCES: Liver, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladder wrack, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, sage, yarrow, and yellow dock

VITAMIN B2 (Riboflavin)

Needed for red blood cell formation, aids growth and reproduction, promotes hair, skin and nail growth. Important in the prevention and treatment of cataracts.

MEAT SOURCES: Liver, heart, kidney, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladder wrack, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginseng, hops, horsetail, mullein, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaves, red clover, rose hips, sage, yellow dock

VITAMIN B3 (Niacin)

Essential for proper circulation and healthy skin. Increases energy, aids digestion, helps prevent migraines.

MEAT SOURCES: Rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine, tuna

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, licorice, mullein, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, slippery elm, yellow dock

VITAMIN B5 (Panothenic Acid)

Enhances stamina, prevents anemia, helps wounds heal, fights infection, strengthens immune system.

MEAT SOURCES: Liver, heart, kidney, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, nettle, yellow dock

VITAMIN B6 (Pyridoxine)

Needed to produce hydrochloric acid. Aids in absorption of fats, and protein. Mildly diuretic, helps prevent kidney stones. Helpful in treating allergies, arthritis, and asthma.

MEAT SOURCES: Liver, heart, kidney, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, catnip, oat straw

VITAMIN B9 (Folate, Folic Acid)

MEAT SOURCES: Liver, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Rosemary, dandelion, parsley, spirulina

VITAMIN B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

Helps prevent anemia. Protects nervous system, improves concentration, aids digestion.

MEAT SOURCES: Liver, heart, kidney, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladderwrack, hops

VITAMIN C (Ascorbic acid)

Helps calcium and iron formation. Enhances immunity. Helps prevent cancer. Aids in production of anti-stress hormones. Antioxidant required for proper tissue growth and repair, and adrenal gland function.

MEAT SOURCES: Liver, kidney, heart, fish

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, horsetail, kelp, peppermint, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, pine needle, plantain, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, skullcap, violet leaves, yarrow, yellow dock

VITAMIN D

Essential for calcium and phosphorous utilization. Prevents rickets. Needed for normal growth of bones and teeth. Helps regulate heartbeat. Prevents cancer and enhances immunity. Aids thyroid function and blood clotting.

MEAT SOURCES: Egg, sardine, liver, kidney, salmon, tuna

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, horsetail, nettle, parsley

VITAMIN E

Antioxidant which helps prevent cancer and heart disease. Prevents cell damage. Reduces blood pressure and promotes healthy skin and hair.

MEAT SOURCES: Ostrich, buffalo, egg, halibut, haddock, sardine, kidney, liver, brain

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladder wrack, dandelion, dong quai, flaxseed, nettle, oat straw, raspberry leaf, rose hips

VITAMIN K

Promotes healthy liver function. Helps bone formation and repair. Increases longevity.

MEAT SOURCES: Egg, halibut, haddock, sardine, liver

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, green tea, kelp, nettle, oat straw, shepherds purse

 

Minerals

CALCIUM

Builds and protects bones and teeth. Helps maintain regular heartbeat. Prevents muscle cramping.

MEAT SOURCES: Rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, chicory, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, flaxseed, hops, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, shepherd’s purse, violet leaves, yarrow, yellow dock

COPPER

Converts iron to hemoglobin. Protects against anemia. Needed for healthy bones and joints.

MEAT SOURCES: Chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Sheep sorrel

IODINE

Needed in trace amounts for a healthy thyroid gland , and to help metabolize excess fat.

MEAT SOURCES: Salmon, haddock, seafood, egg

HERBAL SOURCES: Calendula, tarragon leaves, turkey rhubarb

IRON

Essential for metabolism, and the production of hemoglobin.

MEAT SOURCES: Rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, chicory, dandelion, dong quai, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, licorice, milk thistle seed, mullein, nettle, oatstraw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaf, rose hips, sarsaparilla, shepherd’s purse, uva ursi, yellow dock

MAGNESIUM

Prevents calcification of soft tissue. Helps reduce and dissolve calcium phosphate kidney stones. Helps prevent birth defects. Improves cardiovascular system.

MEAT SOURCES: Rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, bladder wrack, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel, fenugreek, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, licorice, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, sage, shepherd’s purse, yarrow, yellow dock

MANGANESE

Minute quantities of this mineral are needed for healthy nerves, blood sugar regulation, normal bone growth, and thyroid hormone production.

MEAT SOURCES: Rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, haddock, halibut, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginseng, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, mullein, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hip, wild yam, yarrow, yellow dock

PHOSPHOROUS

Needed for teeth and bone formation, nerve impulse transfer, normal heart rhythm, and kidney function.

MEAT SOURCES: Rabbit, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Burdock root, turkey rhubarb, slippery elm bark

POTASSIUM

Regulates water balance, and muscle function. Important for health nervous system and regular heart rhythm. 

MEAT SOURCES: Rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Catnip, hops, horsetail, nettle, plantain, red clover, sage, skullcap

SELENIUM

Provides an important trace element for prostrate gland in males. Protects immune system and helps regulate thyroid hormones.

MEAT SOURCES: Rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, fennel seed, ginseng, garlic, hawthorn berry, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, milk thistle nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, rose hips, sarsaparilla, uva ursi, yarrow, yellow dock

ZINC

Promotes growth and mental alertness. Accelerates healing. Regulates oil glands. Promotes healthy immune system, and healing of wounds.

MEAT SOURCES: rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardine

HERBAL SOURCES: Alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, milk thistle, mullein, nettle, parsley, rose hips, sage, sarsaparilla, skullcap, wild yam

*If you aren’t familiar with nutritional herbs, it’s a good idea to check out their contraindications before using them. A great reference is Herbal Remedies for Dogs & Cats by Gregory L Tilford.

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