With winter upon us and the weather now cold, it is the season for dry, itchy skin. The harsh elements, reduced humidity, and indoor heating dry out dogs’ skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body for dogs and people and it needs to be cared for during the winter. Scratches and tears in the skin caused from scratching create a gateway for preventable infection.
One simple way to help protect your dog’s skin and coat is to ensure that the proper amount of omega 3 fatty acids is included in your dog’s diet. If your dog begins itching and has dryness and flaking, it can often be relieved by supplementing omega 3 fatty acids to the diet, which reduce the itch by keeping the skin conditioned, supple, and less prone to infections. An often-overlooked important source of omega 3 fatty acids for your dog (and you) are flax seeds. Flax seeds are excellent for the good health of your dog’s skin and coat and contain a multitude of health benefits.
What are flax seeds? Flaxseeds (aka linseeds), are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. Flax seeds are one of the oldest fiber crops in the world and are a healthy source of fat, fiber and antioxidants.
What are some of the health benefits of flax seeds? Flaxseeds also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and aid digestion.
How can I supplement flax seeds in my dog’s diet? You may purchase ground flax seeds, but it is preferable to freshly grind them before using since flax can go rancid quickly. Store flax in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. Feeding guide: Give one tablespoon of ground flaxseed for a 40 to 60-pound dog, keeping plenty of water on hand. (Note: It’s always a good idea to consult a vet before starting a dog on any dietary supplement.)
Flax seed rich, chicken nugget recipe your dog is sure to love
- ½ lb chicken breasts, cubed
- ¾ cup water
- 2 ¼ cup ground flax (substitute oat bran or rice bran if you wish)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Boil chicken in water until cooked (save cooking water).
- Allow to cool a bit.
- Add cooked chicken and cooking water to blender.
- Blend into a batter-like consistency
- Add ground flax and mix well.
- Remove from blender and roll mixture into 1” ball and place on baking sheet.
- When done, use a spoon back, to slightly flatten balls (if they are sticky, moisten spoon).
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
Makes 30 treats. Make 1/2” balls to make smaller treats