In my continuing series regarding natural herbs for dogs, I want to share some of the benefits of flax for our four-legged friends.

The Skinny on How Good It Actually is for Your Dog

It’s critical that you supplement your dog’s daily diet with a good oil, preferably a fish oil such as this.  Without a doubt, dogs digest animal protein much easier than plant based proteins and flaxseed is of course a plant protein.

Another important thing to remember is that flax is made up of mostly ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which is an  omega 3 fatty acid.

While that might sound good, it’s not so good for your dog because his body has to work twice as hard to convert ALA to EPA and DHA in order for him to take advantage of it’s benefits, and unfortunately, this is not easy for dogs.

However, Here’s a Few Well Known Benefits of Using Flax for Dogs:

  • Can help with skin & coat.
  • Flaxseed Lignans are often recommended for the treatment of Cushings Disease to help restore thirst and urination regularity.  Learn more here: Lignans for Cushings
  • The Budwig Diet is popular in the treatment of cancer and includes cottage cheese and flaxseed.  Flax slowed the growth of breast cancer and melanoma. Read more here.

Again, fish oil is recommended first, but if for some reason you need to use flax instead, then you should use one that is pure and offers all three major fatty acids, and remember to refrigerate it and use it within two months.

USE ONE LIKE THIS FROM EARTH SOURCE THAT CONTAINS 3, 6 & 9 FATTY ACIDS

flaxseed oil for dogsDosage

This is definitely an herb that you want to start off slow with and increase based upon your dog’s weight.  It will cause diarrhea if fed too much. Start slow and gradually move up. If you notice the stool is too soft, back down a bit.  Here’s a guide that may help.

Divide the following dosages into two doses giving half in the morning and half in the evening:

  • Small dogs – 1 tsp daily
  • Medium dogs – 2 tsp daily
  • Large dogs – 1 tablespoon
  • Giant dogs – 2 tablespoons

Precautions

Using ground flaxseed, oil and capsules are relatively safe, but there are some caveats:

  • While some say flax can lower insulin levels, others say it improves blood sugar. Bottom line, check with your vet first if your dog is a diabetic or hypoglycemic.
  • As mentioned earlier, dogs who digest whole flax seeds will likely pass the whole seeds undigested. This renders their nutritional aspects null and void, which is really just a waste. This won’t harm the dog or cause any health concerns, but it’s something to be avoided nevertheless.
  • Again, dogs don’t easily convert ALA into EPA and DHA which means your dog doesn’t benefit from it, like she would if it were a fish oil.

About Flaxseed

For the interest of this article, the focus is mainly on flax seeds. These come in two assortments: brown and yellow.

They typically come with a considerable amount of nutritional properties and feature omega-3 fatty acids. They also produce flaxseed oil, sometimes known as linseed oil. This is one of the world’s most durable oils.

Flax oil is retrieved through the process of expeller processing, which efficiently squeezes the living daylights out of the flax seed to extract all the oil.

The flax seed sprouts themselves are edible, although eating too many without adequate liquid can lead to obstruction of the bowels. They have a somewhat spicy flavor and are likely not the best option to feed dogs.

References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford and Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen.  Ellies Whole Grains.

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Showing 40 comments
  • sonja Miller
    Reply

    Thanks Janie,
    Loved the article and always looking for new things for my fur kids. Can i give coconut oil and flax seed or both oil? My one is diabetic and has had pancreatitis in the past i give her coconut oil now and is doing great on it.

    Also not to change the subject but looking for some advise on diabetic dogs and diets. Do you have any suggestions on what would be good to feed as far as home cooked or a kind that is dehydrated?

    Thanks,
    Sonja

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Sonja:

      It’s so nice to hear from you; it’s been a long time. 🙂 I hope you and your fur kids are all doing well. I’m glad you liked the article.

      With regard to using both flax and coconut for a dog with pancreatic problems; although both are excellent sources of oil, dogs with a history of pancreas problems tend to worry me when it comes to feeding too much fat.

      I definitely recommend that you stick with the coconut oil if it’s working for her. But, remember that it’s a 100% fat and we want to watch the fat content for dogs with these conditions. So, I wouldn’t recommend giving both for dogs with this condition. LISTEN to your dog’s gut Sonja! You’ll hear it. When I hear my dog’s belly making noise, I go into alert mode.

      Most holistic vets typically recommend feeding a good multi-vitamin and a organic green supplement daily, combined with the right diet of course. While doing research recently, I found this excellent multi-supplement which has become my new favorite.

      It covers all bases with regards to the fatty acid ratio (which I was going to recommend individually), vitamin B’s, E, minerals, etc. I’ve been using another brand, but plan on switching as soon as I finish them off. However, it does contain dried coconut, so my recommendation would be to cut back on the whole coconut if you decide to try it. Regardless, make sure you’re feeding a good multi vitamin to the dog with pancreas issues and all of your dogs really.

      If your dog starts to eat grass, then I recommend that you add a form of chlorophyll daily. You can read more about that here.

      I have an article on my other site Sonja which specifically targets diabetic dogs, diets and natural supplements vs using insulin.

      Here’s the link the for the article which I think will be very helpful.

      Stay in touch okay and let me know how things go. I hope this helps.

      Janie

      • sonja Miller
        Reply

        Hi Janie,
        Thanks so much for the wonderful info i was looking into Honest Kitchen but actually it was Zeal because of the lowest in fat and carbs but is high in protein so i worry about Pancreatitis. I do home cooking now for my fur babies but not sure how to home cook for a diabetic very frustrating at first. Dr. Karen Becker said a meat and veggie diet. As far as the coconut oil she is doing very well but i did like the Dog zymes so maybe i will try that one.

        What do you think about Nature’s Variety frozen raw as a diet very low carbs and could always add more protein.??

        It has been a very long time since we have spoken my other fur baby that i always talk to you about has now crossed the Rainbow Bridge last summer so now have another older one so now hoping to help her in her golden years as well.

        • janie knetzer
          Reply

          Hey Sonja!
          I need to change The Honest Kitchen formula on that page.

          Okay, so you need a low fat diet for both conditions (diabetes and pancreatitis). While I love raw diets and I truly believe it’s the best way to feed a dog, I don’t recommend it for older dogs; especially those with any type of health concerns such as the ones that your dealing with now. So, I wouldn’t recommend Natures Variety raw.

          Are you concerned about the amount of protein in Zeal because of potential kidney issues Sonja? Here’s the thing; it’s low fat which is good for pancreatitis and low carb which is ideal for diabetes. My opinion; I would go with Zeal and worry less about the amount of protein and more about the quality of protein. Keep in mind that older dogs DO NOT NEED LESS PROTEIN. They may require less food due to less activity, but not less protein.

          I’m so sorry to hear about your fur baby that crossed over last year. 🙁 No matter how many I lose, I struggle each and every time. What keeps me going is believing that I’ll see them all again.

          I hope this helps Sonja. P.S. Make sure you’re supplementing their diet with greens as well as I mentioned in the video in my earlier comment.

          Janie

      • sonja Miller
        Reply

        Hello Janie just thought of this supplement you mentioned a while a go.Can i add this to her food like the U Stew that already has these vitamins in it or will it be to much? I don’t have her on a multi vitamin as we speak but i did start her back on coconut oil a 1/4 tsp x2 twice daily am and pm in her meals. Would it be better maybe to just give her the supplement Dogzymes instead. She is 22.9 lbs. I’m thinking right now she isn’t getting enough vitamins that she needs with this Sojo’s since i had to decrease her carbs so kind of worried about that.

        Sonja

      • Melanie
        Reply

        Hello my name is Melanie. I have a 10yr old Husky/Lab who suffers with arthritis. With hot spots 9 yrs of his life. I’m hearing a lot of positive feedback about flaxseed oil. He is 100 lbs and is still active daily,with shorter walks due to his arthritis. Do you recommend this oil? Also he is on a senior large bread kibble diet.

        • janie
          Reply

          Hi Melanie:

          I sent you a private message.

          Janie

    • Doug Ahart
      Reply

      I seemed to have had very good luck treating my greyhound with the Budwig protocol. Read about her case history at:

      http://racehorseherbal.net/Budwig.html

  • Eileen
    Reply

    I found an article regarding fatty acid metabolism in dogs. The article concluded that if your dog has no visible inflammatory issues, then using flax seed is a good alternative to fish oil, whereas if your dog does, then the authors conclude that fish oil is a better choice as dogs, like humans, favor the AA pathway in the absence of high concentrations of EPA.

    http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1516-35982008001300004

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Eileen:

      Thanks so much for sharing this excellent source!!

      Janie

  • sonja Miller
    Reply

    Janie,
    Thanks again for your help. Gabby is use to a partially raw diet as we do give her raw venison and beef but i understand what you are saying. Actually i found another food by Honest Kitchen with less carbs called Halcyon protein 27.6, fat 14 and carbs 23 so not sure if this one would be better. The zeal had 8.5 of fat. Right now Gabby is on Sojo’s grain free and she has also been on Dr. Harvey’s miracle food but to many carbs so this is why i need a new food or figure out how to home cook a well balanced diet for her.

    I do add greens to there food now and they like them i am lucky my babies eat anything, lol.

    Sonja

    • sonja Miller
      Reply

      Hello Janie,

      Well, still no luck regulating my babies blood sugar i know the Honest Kitchen is a good one but not liking the potato in them have you heard of U stew out of Canada?? I have to change her diet whether my vet agrees or not this one is not working her sugars are running in the 300-400 range and on 2 units twice daily. I have to home check her glucose any suggestions on monitors?

      Sonja

      • janie knetzer
        Reply

        Hi Sonja:
        Have you looked at Primalix which is a natural product for regulating blood sugar in dogs? That food is new to me, but I checked it out on their website and I think it’s a good option whether the home cooked premix or the raw Sonja. You can even rotate between the two.

        I also recommend (as do most good holistic vets) that you add COQ10 which maintains the heart and is critical to diabetic dogs. Alpha Lipoic Acid is also recommended by many holistic vets for diabetes with dosages ranging up to 200 mg daily. You can investigate this a little further Sonja. Some think too much ALA can cause toxicity, but I recommend you read about it and not rule it out.

        Regarding monitors, this is one that I recommend since it’s already calibrated for pets. It also gets very good reviews which you can read here if you want.

        I hope you find this helpful Sonja.
        Janie

  • Jill
    Reply

    I had found information stating that when giving dogs one has to be sure to give omega 3 with an omega 6 or it doesn’t work the way it is supposed to. So with flaxseed being an omega 3 you can also pair it with coconut oil which is a 6.

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Jill:

      Thanks for sharing that excellent information on the omega 3 and coconut oil! 🙂

      Janie

  • Tammy L Boutwell
    Reply

    Thanks so much for the flaxseed info. Have 3 terriers 1 rat 2 jack russell all were shedding horribly. Been giving them flaxseed oil once daily. Now the shedding has been mild. Use to have dog hair on everything and it looked like I never cleaned. My poor vacuum and washer and dryer thank you also.

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Tammy:

      My pleasure. I’m glad the shedding is better! Keep in mind that organic coconut oil given daily works wonders for shedding too and many other issues as well.

      Janie

  • Ron
    Reply

    Hi!

    I read your page. And im soo hapy you!
    You halped me alot.
    I have a qustion and im hoping you will answer me.
    Can i give my dog flaxseed oil for her hair and not the grounded flaxseed?
    Thank you

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Ron:

      You’re very welcome and I’m glad to help. I’m sorry for the delay. I’m out of town with my family. Yes, you can definitely use flaxseed oil for her vs ground flaxseed. However, I wouldn’t use just any brand. Many brands are already products that are already oxidized and offer zero benefits, which is a waste of your money. The brand I recommend is cold pressed, organic, vegan and stored in the right type of container. You can take a look at it here if you like Ron.

      Good luck with your furry friend.

      Janie

  • nina
    Reply

    Hi there, my eight year old Bichon and I moved to India in May. She has no health issues, but due to bad gingivitis had most of her teeth were removed so she is on a very soft diet. I have been grinding her California Natural nuggets and adding some chicken and broth. So far so good. We are going to have to switch to a cooked diet because the only dry dog foods available here I will not feed her.
    I am at the end of my 5 lb bag! enough to wean her off it by mixing veges/some carbs and protein.
    I have read up on what to feed for bulk, etc. need to know if flax seed (ground) is OK to add to the vegetable/meat I will be cooking for her. Any suggestions welcome. I added some potato and carrot today, will add beans tomorrow and maybe a little chicken liver. Giving her a week to adjust. Is red/brown rice well cooked OK? we have always used soupy white rice and chicken broth for the rare tummy upsets.
    Thanks so much for any advice. Everything has been going in and coming out fine so far 🙂 no rumbles in her tummy and I want to keep it that way!!
    Nina

    • janie knetzer
      Reply

      Hi Nina:

      I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Ground flaxseed is fine for her and will give her the much needed omega three’s. If interested, my cookbook might be helpful for you. You can read about here and see what you think. Because she doesn’t have any health issues, you can use any of the recipes in the book Nina. However, I definitely recommend a good multivitamin when homecooking, such as Nuvet. I know they ship internationally, but, it doesn’t have to be this brand. I’m glad to hear that she doesn’t have a noisy belly; this is great.

      You’re doing a great job Nina!! I would work up to 3/4 teaspoon of ground flax a day for her. And yes, turmeric is EXCELLENT for dogs and not toxic. You can read my article on the benefits of turmeric here if you like. Keep me posted on your progress. I would love to know how your little girl does with her transition. 🙂

      Janie

  • nina
    Reply

    So sorry, the above info hadn’t loaded when I asked my question, so if I grind the organic flaxseed that I get here I can add a 1/4 tsp maybe building up to a tsp a day…? she is around 15 lbs.
    Another question turmeric has been shown to have a lot of health benefits, a small amount for dogs too? or toxic for them?
    Thanks for the Amazon links, will see if I can order the supplements as well…:) Nina

  • Sandy
    Reply

    Hi Nina
    I have been giving my 3 Jack Russells Wheat Germ Powder and Organic Coconut Flour since Iv’e read the health qualities for dogs I’m just not sure if I’m using the correct dosage. Could you please advise?

    Sandy

  • Laurie Ostrowski
    Reply

    Hi Janie
    I am at a loss to help my daushund. Well I found your site while doing research on my dog Tuckers skin problems. He has red raw skin from constantly scratching. We have tried everything and nothing seems to give him permanent relief. He eats a grain free food. Any help would be much appreciated. Tucker is 8 he is a rescue standard dauchshund. I also have a mini 10 yr old dauchshund also a rescue. Thank you so much 🙂
    Laurie

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Laurie:

      I’m sorry to hear about your little guy. With regards to food. Can you tell me if you’ve only ever fed your dog kibble? It would help to know what you’ve tried with regards to food and supplements. That way I can better share what can help. And, you’re welcome. 🙂

      Janie

  • Lisa Dunn
    Reply

    Hi there,
    My Lola was diagnosed with hemotolyc anemia and is on prednisone and cyclosporine she had a blood transfusion and almost died, is there anything diet wise that you can recommend? she gets kibble with a tablespoon of fresh ground turkey or liver or salmon with the broth over.

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Lisa:
      I’m sorry about the delay. With the holidays in action, I just haven’t had a chance to respond any sooner.

      Anyway, your goal should be to get your girl off the steroid (prednisone) and the cyclosporine as quickly as possible. If you’re not doing so already and you’re not aware, you should avoid ANY and all rawhide or bones coming from China. Use deer antlers for entertainment. They’re high in calcium which is good.

      I also highly recommend that you eliminate ALL kibble and use either freeze dried or dehydrated foods such as The Honest Kitchen, Dr. Harveys or Grandma Lucy’s combined with raw that’s partially cooked (baked at 275 until just lightly cooked on the outside and lightly pink on the inside) such as ground chicken, turkey or beef meat (organic if possible). You can even include fresh or frozen fish plus fresh or frozen steamed veggies (no corn, peas or carrots; stick with brussel sprouts, green beans, spinach and rotate) which are excellent for her.

      There are two supplements that will be very helpful for her. She needs support for her low red blood cell counts and to keep them in normal range. This includes thousands of enzymes as well as the most dense form algae found on earth. It helps with anemia, digestive issues and a weak immune system, eye & kidney health, muscle mass and more. You can read more about it here.

      The other is an outstanding nutritional supplement that will also help strengthen her and keep her strong. You can learn more about that one here Lisa.

      Both of these along with the diet will help her to gain strength and vitality and stay that way. You should also avoid vaccinations and insist that your vet give you a waiver for your dog for the rabies vaccine. This should be indefinitely due to weak immune health.

      I hope this helps Lisa.

      Janie

  • Kathy
    Reply

    My dog climbed up to where I had the bag of Flax seed stored and ate a whole bag of ground Flax seed while I was gone 🙁 I am guessing she probably will have some very loose bowls soon.

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Kathy:

      I would bet that your girl is going to have diarrhea and possibly vomiting as well.

      Janie

  • Melanie V. Byrne
    Reply

    I’m so excited to have come across your site! I just recently started cooking for my dogs, mainly because I ran out of dog food and had been meaning to try it, and they LOVE it! And since I take flax meal myself, I thought why not check if it’s ok for my dogs. Great article, I liked your page and look forward to studying your site!

    • yourolddog
      Reply

      Hi Melanie:

      Thank you so much and I’m glad you like the site! Good luck with home cooking. Don’t forget to include a good multi vitamin, calcium and fatty acids. These are all important when home cooking. If you feed raw with bones, you can ignore the calcium.

      Janie

  • Sally
    Reply

    Hi there.
    I have a one year old female pug. Cutest thing ever but I can’t stop her from eating stones!!!! What do you think?

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Sally:

      Pica happens for several reasons, but nothing is written in “stone”. 🙂 It can be behavioral, nutritional or a medical issue.

      I would start with nutrition and exercise. Feed a very good food that’s high in protein. You have a young dog. The best thing you can do for her is to start feeding a good raw diet with mixed fresh vegetables steamed very, very, very well until very soft. Include egg in her diet and a good multivitamin such as Nuvet.

      You MUST also include calcium when feeding raw or home cooked and that can be done in the form of calcium carbonate powder. Did you know that one main ingredient in rock (stones) is calcium? For puppies, they need more phosphorus than adult dogs, so I would use bone meal which contains both calcium and phosphorus. Once your dog reaches 2 years, I would switch to just calcium carbonate.

      Dogs seek out what they are missing and they are very resourceful. If you choose to feed a commercial food, I recommend avoiding dry and feeding s food such as Dr. Harvey’s or The Honest kitchen. If you choose to feed a commercial diet, don’t include the calcium. It’s already in there.

      Start now by feeding her a GOOD diet that dogs are meant to eat. EXERCISE her daily and include a multi. AVOID OVER VACCINATIONS which many believe are causing so many health issues in our dogs. AVOID chemical flea and tick products and use natural methods. Take care of her teeth.

      If you do these things diligently, you will have a very, very healthy dog and avoid the vet for years to come.

      Hope this helps.

      Janie

  • JJanessa @PetSeed
    Reply

    People often think and ask a question that whether feeding fish oil is beneficial or Coconut oil for dogs? The trust is both of these are beneficial and contain some amazing nutritional which will help your dog to grow healthy and active. Here are some facts about Fish oil and Coconut oil; you must need to know before feeding these oils.

  • Kat
    Reply

    What is the best fish oil to feed dogs?

  • Dr. Douglas Shearer
    Reply

    Interesting article. However, with an older dog already on a supplement called Dasuquin with MSM – the benefit of adding yet another supplement, like flaxseed oil, may be minimal. Period. As some vets say, if might work, but only maybe. And giving CBD hemp oil to a dog is beneficial if not giving chicken as the main food source. Thus, flaxseed oil might work.
    In summary, using various supplements on your older dog, is really using your pet as a “guinea pig.” And if you are not a vet or a physician, you are simply relying on “heresay.” Douglas S. Shearer, Ph.D., M.D.

    • janie
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing Dr. Shearer. 🙂

      Based upon my experience with the dogs I’ve worked with and my own dogs; adding supplements can be very beneficial. Sure, every dog is different and what works for one, might not work for another. It’s no different than that of human.

      In my opinion, it’s all speculation.

      Janie

  • Toni
    Reply

    Hi, I’m looking for supplements for my 8 month old Toy Poodle. He has recently been diagnosed with a liver shunt and is due to have an operation.
    He doesn’t drink much water which concerns me, the vet has said he doesn’t seem dehydrated but his urine is a dark orange colour at times. Any help would be appreciated.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Toni:

      I would look into a good, pure milk thistle supplement for sure. You can should also include a https://yourolddog.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.phpgreen PURE supplement such as spirulina for him. If you can find a good PURE multivitamin for him in the UK, give him that as well. Feed a good food such as this line from PurePetFoods in the UK where you simple add hot FILTERED water.

      If you don’t want to do this, I recommend our cookbook and you cook for him in the crockpot using the recipes for liver disease. If you can include either dandelion or burdock root for him daily, that would be helpful as well. You have to watch his stool to see what he can tolerate.

      You have to keep him away from ALL chemical flea and tick products and vaccines.

      Janie

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