Should I be Adding Supplements to my Dog’s Food?
Before discussing whether there are any benefits to adding supplements to your dog’s food it is important to understand that just as the human populations in many countries are fighting with the diseases of a modern age such as obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, allergies, stress and dental problems, so unfortunately are our dogs.
You will often read that commercial dog foods are formulated to meet all the nutrient requirements a dog needs to thrive.
The truth is that many dog foods contain the bare minimum of nutrients required for your dog to survive never mind thrive – the essential amino acids they must get from the protein in the food, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
But as with our food, there are certain ingredients, and nutrients, which offer far more than the basics needed to sustain life.
These foods are often referred to as functional foods or nutraceuticals. Most food is considered functional in terms of providing nutrients and/or energy to sustain life, but functional foods and nutraceuticals are dietary foods that prevent or reverse a diseased state.
And this is the reason so many of us have taken to supplementing our dog’s food by including supplements that contain functional or nutraceutical ingredients to their daily diets.
Following, we outline the more popular supplements which have been formulated with ingredients to provide support for the health conditions and issues our dogs are most likely to be affected by during their lives.
The most popular supplements are Joint and Mobility given to soothe stiff joints and maintain mobility.
As you would expect the two most popular supplement companies globally both have a number of different joint and mobility supplements for dogs – Zesty Paws and YuMOVE
The collective active ingredients in their supplements are – (those italicised are the plant-based ingredients included in Bonza food):
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
- Kelp (Seaweed)
- Green Lipped Mussel
- Vitamin C
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Natural Antioxidant
- Vitamin E
Bonza’s plant-based dog food also includes a wide variety of ingredients with powerful, scientifically researched anti-inflammatory properties that will help to support a reduction in inflammation of your dog’s muscles and joints offering them more comfortable movement.
Primary ingredients in Bonza providing this anti-inflammatory activity are oats, sweet potatoes, fava beans, chickpeas, nutritional yeast and quinoa.
Offering synergistic support for these primary anti-inflammatories are our inflammation reducing herbs, botanicals, adaptogens, oils and fruits – turmeric, ginger, chamomile, echinacea, Reishi mushroom, Siberian ginseng, pineapple, baobab, parsley, sage, rosemary, rapeseed oil, coconut oil, olive oil extract, kale, spinach, seaweed, and cranberries.
Bonza was formulated to provide natural and holistic support for your dog’s bones, joints and mobility in their daily diet removing the need for supplements.
Closely following joint supplements in popularity are digestive supplements.
The collective ingredient list for YuMOVE and Zesty Paws digestive supplements include – (those in bold are the plant-based ingredients included in Bonza food):
Closely following joint supplements in popularity are digestive supplements.
The collective ingredient list for YuMOVE and Zesty Paws digestive supplements include – (those italicised are the plant-based ingredients included in Bonza food):
- Beta Glucans
- Probiotics (Enterococcus faecium E1707, Bacillus subtilis DE111®, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactococcus lactis
For your dog’s optimum gut health both prebiotics and probiotics are important. The combination of prebiotics and probiotics, called synbiotics, are more effective in delivering health outcomes.
A holistic approach for managing digestive issues in dogs is the use of herbs. Herbs work with your dog’s digestive system to help naturally achieve the desired long-term result. Herbs are natural with multifaceted benefits (demulcent, antispasmodic, carminative, hepatic, antimicrobial, cholagogue and anthelmintic) that work to ensure optimal health and a strong immune system. The use of herbs also comes with little or no side-effects.
Bonza includes purposely selected, prebiotic and probiotic ingredients with a blend of herbs and botanicals designed to support your dog’s optimum digestion and overall digestive health.
Prebiotic ingredients: Chickpeas, fava beans, peas, oats, cranberries, yucca schidigera
Probiotic: Calsporin® – Bacillus subtilis C-3102
Herbs, Botanicals and Adaptogens: Chamomile, ginger, echinacea, turmeric, rosemary, Siberian ginseng, parsley and oregano
The skin and coat form your dog’s largest organ, comprising around 10% to 15% of their total body weight, and is one of the first things your vet will assess to establish a guide to the general health of your dog.
A lustrous, shiny coat is a sign vitality and is indicative of your dog’s overall health.
Analysis of skin and coat supplements offered by YuMOVE and Zesty Paws identifies the inclusion of the following active ingredients in their digestive support supplements – (those italicised are the plant-based ingredients included in Bonza food):
- Salmon oil (for Omega 3)
- Golden Flax (for Omega 3 and 6)
- Starflower (for Omega 3)
- Vitamin E
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Astragalus Root
Our belief at Bonza is that prevention is better than cure and nothing affects the condition of your dog’s coat more than their food. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals play an essential part in caring for your dog’s skin and coat.
- Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) help protect your dog’s skin and coat and keep it shiny. EPA helps combat inflammation. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish and seaweed (algal) oils and extracts and flaxseed.
- Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found in sunflower, rapeseed and flaxseed oils, as well as nuts, is a key nutrient in maintaining a healthy coat. Many dogs with dry, flaky skin are often deficient in linoleic acid. Dandruff, thin hair, discoloured hair, increased shedding, and poor healing are all associated with low linoleic acid levels in the skin and diet.
- Zinc is especially important in their skin because of the high cellular turnover rate caused by constant shedding. In addition, zinc helps reduce water loss through the skin. Dogs who are fed low levels of zinc develop hair loss, skin infections, and a dull coat appearance.
- Biotin and B vitamins play important roles as cofactors in many of the body’s metabolic processes, including fat metabolism. This is important in the skin because biotin and B vitamins are involved in aiding linoleic acid function in the epidermis and dermis.
Research has shown that adding omega-3 fatty acids, linoleic acid, and zinc in combination increases coat gloss and decreases dry, flaky skin (1).
Bonza’s plant-based food for dogs is formulated to provide your dog with the very best support for optimum skin and coat condition.
A blend of healthy oils, including sunflower, rapeseed, and coconut oil as well as seaweed and seaweed (algal oil) extract, provide the optimum balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to provide the foundation for your dog’s excellent skin and coat health.
Also included is a blend of super herbs and botanicals known to benefit dog’s skin and coat condition including Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Reishi Mushroom, Turmeric and Chamomile.
These potent herbs work together to reduce flaky skin, hotspots and other skin irritations and inflammation and work synergistically with the other quality ingredients in our food to support your dog’s very best skin and coat condition.
Research increasingly highlights the importance of the axis between your dog’s gut and skin and coat. For this reason we include Calsporin® – Bacillus Subtilis C-3102, a probiotic research has shown improves gut health and coat quality. (2)
Calming Support for Anxiety and Stress
Nutrition plays a vital role in your dog’s mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
Human research shows that when comparing a vegetarian diet versus omnivorous diet, vegetarians reported more positive moods than meat eaters, according to a study published in Nutrition Journal. (1)
The reason? The brain uses the amino acid tryptophan to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter largely responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being. Plant-based sources of tryptophan include leafy greens, sunflower seeds, watercress, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, broccoli, peas and other legumes.
A diet high in protein and animal foods can limit serotonin production. A healthy approach for ideal levels of tryptophan in the brain is to focus on plant proteins along with generous amounts of complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. With this pattern in place, there is sufficient serotonin produced to maintain feelings of calm and well-being.
It is no surprise then that YuMOVE and Zesty Paws include the following ingredients in their Calming supplements – (those italicised are the plant-based ingredients included in Bonza food):
- Hemp Seed Powder
- Valerian Root
- Ginger Root
- GABA Fermentate
- Lemon Balm
- Vitamins B1, B3, B6, B9 and B12
As in many other chronic health states it has been shown that inflammation plays a significant role in anxiety (1). An anti-inflammatory diet can help to support a reduction in physiological causes of your dog’s anxiety helping to restore calm to their lives.
The ‘Calming’ blend in our food includes turmeric, ginger, chamomile, ashwagandha and reishi mushroom – these herbs work synergistically and support relief of your dog’s stress and anxiety levels.
These super herbs together with the Omega 3’s (including EPA and DHA,) tryptophan rich plant-based ingredients – oats, peas, chickpeas and seaweed, and the best of complex carbohydrates including wholegrains – oats and quinoa, legumes – peas, fava beans, and chickpeas, vegetables – sweet potato, carrots and potato in Bonza gives you the best chance of reducing your dog’s anxiety and improving their overall mood and sense of wellbeing.
Oral and Dental Health Support
Support for your dog’s oral and dental health is a far more complex area than most others and one we don’t believe can be completely managed through the use of dental chews or supplements.
One only has to analyse Zesty Paws and YuMOVE’s oral and dental supplements to understand this.
YuMOVE allude to their ActivBarrier™ formulation (with no ingredients listed) as being able to remove and reduce the formation of plaque, provide fresher breath and improve dental health.
Zesty Paws meanwhile talk of ‘a cinnamon flavor to brush up bad breath, these bones get in-between teeth to prevent tartar buildup and help support oral health. But they’re much more than just a good cleaner! Best of all, these long-lasting bones also include pawsome ingredients such as Calcium, Omega-3, Turmeric, and more to provide pawsome benefits to support your bestie from head-to-tail!’
In our view there is no substitute for cleaning your dog’s teeth yourself or asking your vet to do this as part of their bi-annual or annual check-up visits.
However, there are ways of supporting their oral and dental health between teeth cleaning through your dog’s diet.
Bonza includes a number of ingredients specifically selected to provide support for your dog’s oral and dental health.
Brown seaweed (Ascophyllum Nodosum) has been clinically proven to reduce oral plaque and improve gum and teeth health in dogs (1). The seaweed blend used in Bonza’s plant-based dog food contains this brown seaweed (Ascophyllum Nodosum) to help support your dog’s oral health.
Brown seaweed has also been shown to reduce periodontal disease and bad breath in dogs.
In a study, treatment of adult dogs with edible treats containing Ascophyllum nodosum for 90 days reduced plaque deposition by 40% and calculus formation by 20% (2)
In addition to seaweed, Bonza’s plant-based food includes Echinacea, Sage and Chamomile which all have a positive effect on dog’s oral and dental health and are particularly effective against gingivitis and periodontal disease which also contribute to dog’s bad breath (3, 4).
Echinacea is used to treat inflammation including the gingival tissues in the mouth. It was found in research to be as effective as Chlorhexidine Mouthwash in reducing oral microbial flora (5)
Bonza’s natural, plant-based ingredients help support your dog’s freshest breath and overall oral and dental health between cleanings.
The importance of a balanced, functional immune system cannot be overstated. It’s one of the foundations of good health, together with complete and balanced nutrition and a strong and robust musculoskeletal frame and organs.
Exercise plays a role in maintaining the health of your dog’s immune system.
As with humans, obesity is a significant contributor to a dog’s compromised immunity and an immune system that functions less effectively than it should. Keeping your dog fit, and their weight under control, is one of the best things you can do for your dog’s health, happiness and longevity.
Stress and anxiety can also have a significant impact on your dog’s immune health. Cortisol is released when your dog is stressed, and if the stress persists the subsequent overload of Cortisol reduces your dog’s immune system and its ability to fight off other disease conditions.
Zesty Paws and YuMOVE approach immune support from different angles as can be seen from their respective supplement’s active ingredients – (those italicised are the plant-based ingredients included in Bonza food):
- Dried Fermentate (Made Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae) (EpiCor®)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fish Oil (AlaskOmega®) (for Omega 3)
- Proprietary Immune Herbal Blend (Astragalus Root, Licorice Root [Deglycyrrhizinated])
- Bacillus subtilis (DE111®) (probiotic)
- Salmon oil (for Omega 3)
- Glucosamine HCl
- Concentrated Fish Oil powder (for Omega 3)
- Yucca schidigera
- Zooplankton powder (seaweed oil extract alternative)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B6
- Natural antioxidant
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B9
- Vitamin B12
Your dog’s diet is the foundation of good immune health.
As Dr. Susan Wynn, an ACVN diplomate, explains “The gut contains about 70 percent of your dog’s immune system. The gut also contains your microbiome––the collection of hundreds of species of bacteria—and the bacterial balance in the microbiome is heavily influenced by the diet.”
It is important to analyse the formulation of your dog’s food, and ingredients, to establish the impact their diet has on the health of their immune system.
Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Vegetable and legume starches, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, quinoa, oats, beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils, have far greater levels of beneficial resistant starch than starchy grains like corn, wheat and rice. (1) They are also less likely to be allergenic than these starchy grains.
According to Dr. Wynne consuming a good level of fibre as part of their diet plays an important role in your dog maintaining a healthy microbiome which in turn has a significant impact on your dog’s overall immunity and immune health. A balance of soluble and insoluble fibres is important to improve and maintain digestive and overall gut health.
Other ingredients which play an active role in supporting a healthy immune system are:
Bonza’s plant-based, vegan dog food contains a host of complex carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble fibres and PhytoPlus®, a proprietary blend of herbs, adaptogens and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients designed to reduce stress and anxiety and inflammation and enhance your dog’s immune system, providing the natural immune resilience they need to maintain optimum health and wellbeing throughout their life.
Unfortunately, much like us, prevalence of cognitive decline and dementia in dogs is increasing as our dogs live longer.
Studies show the prevalence of canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is 28% in dogs aged 11 to 12 years old increasing to 68% in dogs 15 to 16 years old. Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is estimated to affect more than 15 million dogs in Europe (1)
The good news is that although CCD/dementia in dogs is very similar to Alzheimer’s Disease in humans, for which there is no known cure, the opposite is thought to be true with CCD for your dog.
As with most health conditions the earlier you identify the symptoms of your dog’s cognitive decline the better the chance of taking the necessary steps to reverse, or arrest, the decline in brain function.
This article on canine cognitive decline and dementia outlines the signs of cognitive decline and steps you can take to arrest or reverse the condition for your dog.
Our philosophy on health is that prevention is always better than a cure. There are well researched ingredients that have been shown to prevent, or delay, cognitive decline.
One of the most popular, and highly rated, supplements for dealing with CCD is Aktivait. The active ingredients for this supplement – (those italicised are the plant-based ingredients included in Bonza food):
- Omega 3 (DHA)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B9/Folic Acid
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D3
Dietary therapies have proven successful in delaying, arresting and even reversing cognitive decline.
Numerous studies conducted by researchers found that adding nutrients that reduce the amount of oxidants produced (Omega-3 and L-carnitine) and antioxidant nutrients from dried fruit and vegetables, that help clear oxidants already produced, will decrease the overall level of oxidants and of oxidative damage to the brain, in many cases reversing the cognitive decline. (1, 2, 3, 4)
A study of cognitively normal senior beagles tested the effects of a medium chain triglyceride (MCT)-enhanced diet compared to a control diet over 240 days and found that dogs on the MCT (found in coconut oil) diet showed significant improvement in cognitive capabilities with regard to attention, memory, spatial learning, and executive function. (5, 6)
Lipoic acid found in spinach, broccoli, yams (sweet potatoes), potatoes, yeast, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, and rice bran (and red organ meat) was also found to provide support for improvements in cognitive decline. (7)
Results from multiple research studies show that antioxidants improve cognition and reduce neuropathology in aging dogs.
Bonza arguably contains the highest levels of antioxidants of any dog food – see our foods ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity – values per kg of food (ORAC scores measure the antioxidant capacity of ingredients)
Our holistic, plant-based dog food has been formulated by nutritionists and integrative veterinarians to include PhytoPlus® a synergistic blend of potent plant-based phytochemical nutrients -antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and mitochondrial co-factors – known to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage, the principal causes of canine cognitive dysfunction.
Although dog’s sense of smell is their most powerful sense, their eyesight is one of the key senses, alongside hearing, for acquiring information about their surroundings.
Like humans, dogs experience eye changes with ageing. Retinal degeneration and cloudy lens (nuclear sclerosis) are common forms of eye problems that result in a decline of visual function in our dogs.
Our article on the importance of your dog’s eye health will help identify the different issues your dog may have with their eyesight. With so many probable causes of eye and vision issues, your vet is your first choice for diagnosis and recommendation to solve any problems with your dog’s vision.
There are a number of supplements that are formulated to provide dogs with the nutrients they need to support their eye structure and function and the maintenance of normal vision.
One of the most highly rated is EyeWell Plus. Another popular supplement is Dr Mercola Eye Support.
The active ingredients in these supplements include – (those italicised are the plant-based ingredients included in Bonza food):
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- Vitamin E
- Fish Oil Powder (for Omega 3)
- Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) (Berries)
- Vitamin A
Nutrition is often your dog’s best defence against deteriorating vision as it is for many of the health issues they may face.
As with any disease state, inflammation and oxidation play a significant role in many dogs’ eyesight issues. Diets rich in antioxidants combat oxidation helping to support normal vision.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the most potent antioxidants for the prevention or reduction in the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye-related diseases. These xanthophylls aid in eye health and have been shown to reduce the risk of several eye-related complications [1,2,3,4]. Vitamins A, C, and E are the most effective vitamins for reducing the risk of macular degeneration . However, only vitamin A plays an essential role in the canine retinal pigment epithelial cells, whereas vitamin C and vitamin E are known to act as antioxidants.
Foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, many of which are part of the Bonza formulation, include leafy green vegetable like spinach and kale, parsley, peas, romaine lettuce, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, baobab, oranges, fava beans, pumpkin and egg yolk.
Anti-inflammatory foods are also known to play a role in reducing vision related issues.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, help maintain the fluidity of cell membranes and protect the retina from oxidative damage. Higher intakes of Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) have been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and may even slow its progression (6). They may also help to reduce dry eye syndrome (7).
The richest sources of Omega 3 (particularly EPA and DHA) include seaweed and oily fish including salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines.
We have selected cranberries in preference to bilberries as our source of anthocyanins because of the role cranberries also play in supporting dogs with UTI issues.
Bonza’s plant-based food for dogs is packed full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidative ingredients including rich sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, Vitamins A, C and E and Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) and includes PhytoPlus®, a proprietary blend of phytonutrients designed to support a reduction in oxidation and inflammation throughout your dog’s body including their eyes.
Heart disease is almost as common in dogs as it is in humans. Approximately 10% of dogs suffer from some form of heart disease and, as with humans, the likelihood of heart disease increases as our dogs age, with dogs over the age of 9 twice as likely to suffer from heart disease.
Although the prevalence levels are similar the types of heart health issues faced by dogs and their owners are very different.
Humans suffer from coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition so rare in dogs it is not considered a health factor.
The two primary heart conditions our dogs suffer from are valve disease and heart muscle disease. Of the two the most common is valvular disease with an incidence rate of 80-85% – mitral valve disease (MVD) is associated with alterations in energy metabolism, oxidative stress and inflammation.
There are a number of heart health supplements on the market with two of the most popular being maxxicardio heart support for dogs and
The active ingredients in these supplements for heart disease are – (those italicised are the plant-based ingredients included in Bonza food):
- Hawthorn Berry Powder
- Vitamin E
- Coenzyme Q10
- Gingko Biloba
As with humans nutrition, weight management and exercise play a significant role in reducing the risk of heart disease for your dog with nutritional intervention a key.
A 2019 study on mitral valve disease published in BMC Veterinary Research found that a diet that included a cardiac protection blend of nutrients containing medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) as an alternative energy source, EPA and DHA from fish oil or seaweed/algae to reduce inflammation, antioxidants (Vitamin E), and other key nutrients (taurine and DL-methionine) important to cardiac health and function could slow or prevent MVD progression in dogs.
Bonza includes all the ingredients identified in the Cardiac Protection Blend in this study – MCT (from coconut oil), EPA and DHA from seaweed and seaweed oil extract, Vitamin E, DL-methionine and Taurine along with a number of other powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients.
A study, Nutritional therapy in the treatment of heart disease in dogs, found dietary supplementation with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), vitamin E (as alpha-tocopherol), L-carnitine, taurine, and fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) were shown to increase life span, improve life quality, reduce symptoms and physical evidence of disease, and decrease mortality rates in dogs with heart conditions.
A number of other ingredients noted for their support of heart health, a number of which are included in Bonza include dandelion, parsley, Siberian ginseng, motherwort, fo-ti root and selenium.
As with most health issues reducing inflammation and oxidative stress through nutrition plays a key role in prevention of heart conditions that may affect your dog.
Bonza’s plant-based dog food is packed full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidative ingredients including rich sources Vitamins A, C and E and Omega-3 (EPA and DHA) and includes PhytoPlus®, a proprietary blend of phytonutrients designed to support a reduction in oxidation and inflammation throughout your dog’s body including their heart and surrounding tissues.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
In collaboration with canine nutritionists, integrative veterinarians and canine herbalists, we have formulated Bonza with quality ingredients to support the prevention and reduction of the most likely health issues your dog may face through their life.
While dogs fed on most dog foods will benefit from supplementation, Bonza premium plant-based dog food provides all the health support your dog will need in their daily meals without the need for supplements.
Bonza. Nose to Tail Good Health.