flaxseed for dogs

Health Benefits of Flaxseed for Dogs and How To Use Safely

Is Flaxseed Good for Dogs?

While it’s critical that you supplement your dog’s daily diet with good flaxseed oil for dogs, it’s equally important to determine which type of oil is best for your dog.

When deciding, an important thing to remember is that flaxseed 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 its benefits.

Unfortunately, this is not easy for dogs and flax isn’t the best option of providing your dog with the necessary oils he or she needs. Dogs digest animal protein much easier than plant-based proteins and flaxseed is, of course, a plant protein. However, we’ll share with you the best ways to use it.

What Type of Flaxseed Should I Use for My Dog?

what type of flaxseed should I use for my dog

Are Flax Seeds Good for Dogs?

We recommend either using flaxseed meal such as Bob’s Red Mill Ground Flaxseed or a good oil like Earth Source which contains all three major fatty acids 3,6, & 9.  Remember to refrigerate it and use it within two months. *Tip: put a label on the outside of the bottle with the date that you opened it.

Be sure to only use ground flax aka linseed so that your dog’s body can absorb it.  The fiber contained in the outer husk can absorb large amounts of water, which allows it to swell and become a soothing gel once your dog ingests it.  When using an oil, you also want to make sure that it is organic, cold pressed and unrefined.

Both of these brands are good. Keep in mind that the oil includes all three fatty acids, but the ground flax does not, although it does include a very high dose of omega 3’s.  Either option is good when feeding your dog flax.

Known Benefits

  • Can help with skin & coat.
  • Flaxseed Lignans are often recommended for the treatment of Cushings Disease to help restore thirst and urination regularity.  Add 1-2 mg of Lignan for each pound of your dog’s body weight.  See our recommended brand here > Lignans for Cushings
  • Linseed (flax) is also recommended for IBS patients.  Flaxseed is known as an adaptogen helping dogs with both loose stool and constipation.  It should be organic and again it MUST be ground and given slowly until you reach the maximum recommended dosage.  All dogs are different, so use common sense and if your dog shows signs of the stool becoming soft, back down and adjust until you see the stool remain firm and formed. See recommended dosages below.
  • The Budwig Diet is popular in the treatment of cancer and includes cottage cheese and flaxseed.  A study showed that flaxseed slowed the growth of breast cancer and melanoma.

Flaxseed Dosage for Dogs

These are the general guidelines, but you can slightly increase or decrease based upon your dog’s reaction. Keep in mind that it can take anywhere from 1-3 months to show any improvement.

flaxseed dosage for dogs

Concerns When Using Flax for Your Dog

  • As mentioned earlier, using too much flaxseed can cause your dog to have soft stool or diarrhea.
  • Raw flax plant contains cyanogenic glycosides. The consumption of large amounts of flax can lead to cyanide poisoning. For this reason, take special care when using flaxseed for dogs if your pet is on the small side or has a history of medical conditions that may interfere with the eradication of toxins. And if you are growing flax in your garden, make sure that your dog does not devour your entire crop or you could be in for a rude awakening.
  • For the most part, symptoms are digestive in nature and include diarrhea.

More About Flaxseed for Dogs

flaxseed recommendations for dogs

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 for dogs, 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 might not be 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.