Natural supplements for your companion animal

Natural supplementation is extremely important for your pet, especially when treating an ailment or condition. Herewith is a list of my preferred supplements to include in your companions diet.

OMEGA 3 FISH OIL – for skin conditions and allergies.

A quality omega 3 is essential in restoring cell damage and should be your first choice supplement. Almost every Vet will recommend an Omega 3 when treating skin disorders and inflammation.

Sally-Anne Creed is one of South Africa’s leading nutritionists and her stance on whether to use fish oil or flax oil is very clear. She firmly warns clients to avoid flax.

Although flaxseed oil is often touted, even by some doctors, as a substitute for fish oil, new studies show it’s not a reliable alternative.

A new Emory University study found that taking high daily doses of flaxseed oil  caused no increase at all of omega-3 DHA in the blood of subjects.

Similarly, feeding animal’s alpha-linolenic acid, as found in flaxseed oil, did not increase DHA in their brain cells, according to research at the National Institutes of Health.

New British research says high doses of flaxseed oil may even cause a decrease in omega-3 DHA and that flaxseed oil does not adequately nourish fetal brains.

According to the study published in ‘American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’ flaxseed oil is found very less effective against inflammatory conditions. Generally, flaxseed oil has been considered to be anti-inflammatory agent. But few more studies reveal the shocking truth that it actually increases inflammation in most of the cases.

My preference, especially when treating skin ailments, is high quality fish oil, preferably salmon oil.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR – for itchy skin & arthritis

Apple cider vinegar is a remedy with multiple uses for dogs: alleviating allergies, arthritis, establishing correct pH balance.

If your dog has itchy skin, the beginnings of a hot spot, incessantly licks its feet, has smelly ears, or is picky about his food, the application of Apple Cider Vinegar may change things around. For poor appetite, use it in the food – 1 tablespoon, two times a day for a 20 kilo. dog.

Taken internally, Apple Cider Vinegar is credited with maintaining the acid/alkaline balance of the digestive tract.

If you have a dog that has clear, watery discharge from the eyes, a runny nose, or coughs with a liquid sound, uses Apple Cider Vinegar in his or her food. One teaspoon twice a day for a 20 kilo dog will do the job.

After your weekly grooming sessions, use a few drops in his or her ears after cleaning them to avoid ear infections and to clean out mites. Two parts Apple Cider Vinegar to eight parts warm water would be the desired dosage

For itchy skin or the beginning of hot spots, dilute Apple Cider Vinegar, three parts water and one part the vinegar, and add into a spray bottle or dab onto the dog’s skin.

Fleas, flies, ticks and bacteria, external parasites, ring worm, fungus, staphylococcus, streptococcus, mange, etc., are unlikely to inhabit a dog whose system is acidic inside and out.

Your dog will also smell so nice that you may mistake your companion animal for your garden salad


Yeast: all B vitamins

Lecithin: helps body absorb fats

Garlic: natural anti-biotic and flea deterrent

Kelp: Sea minerals

Calcium: bone builder

Dandelion: cleans liver and kidneys

Vitamin C: tiny amount as they produce a lot of their own. Calcium ascorbate used as we don’t want to irritate the lining of the stomach

SPIRULINA – for immunity and digestion

One of my preferred supplements is Spirulina.

Spirulina contains a remarkable combination of vegetable protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and powerful antioxidants. These vital substances work in synergy to assist in immune enhancement, disease prevention, the promotion of healthy bowel flora and general well-being.

All vitamins and minerals in Spirulina are present as natural, organically-bound complexes. Unlike synthetic combinations of isolated vitamins and minerals, these complexes are easily recognized by the body and are therefore highly bio-available. Spirulina provides superior nutrition, especially at a time when many commercial foods are becoming increasingly more nutrient depleted

Spirulina has the highest protein content of any natural food.  Spirulina contains between 65 and 70% protein. This is 270% more protein than fish, 334% more than beef and 556% more than tofu.

Spirulina also excels with regards to protein quality. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Unlike non-essential amino acids, essential amino acids can not be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from the diet. Spirulina provides all the essential amino acids and is therefore considered a complete protein.  With regards to usable protein (as a percentage of the food’s composition), Spirulina is second only to whole, dried eggs. Furthermore, protein from

Spirulina contains various trace minerals and provides 475% more calcium than whole milk and 5756% more iron than spinach. Iron from Spirulina is more than twice as absorb-able as the form of iron found in most meats and vegetables. Spirulina is the best natural iron supplement available and has been shown to correct anaemia, increase blood haemoglobin content and increase iron reserves.

In general, Spirulina enhances overall immunity, promotes a healthy gut and overall well- being.  Spirulina is an excellent supplement for a healthy skin and lustrous coat.  It enhances appetite even for finicky cats. Spirulina fed pets have a fresher breath odour.

In short Spirulina has been shown to:

* Boost Immune System

* Improve Digestion

* Produce healthy skin and lustrous coat

* Improve Appetite (so eat more of your food)

* Improve overall well-being and freshen breath

DEVILS CLAW AND ROSEHIP – an effective treatment for joint pain and arthritis

Supplementing your companion animal’s diet can be very beneficial. As a puppy or kitten it is very important to enhance nutrition whilst in the growth phase.

For adult or ageing companions, supplementing diet with enriched natural minerals and vitamins is well advised. This is especially true for dogs and cats that are likely to experience arthritic and hip dysplasia problems, which is very common with large breed dogs and almost all ageing animals.

Devils Claw and Rosehip is a must for all ageing animals and for that matter, humans.


Native to southern Africa, devil’s claw is a shrub that has lush foliage and red flowers. The plant gets its name from the miniature hooks that cover its fruit. For thousands of years, the Khoisan peoples of Madagascar and the Kalahari Desert have used Devil’s Claw root in remedies to treat pain and inflammation and many other medical ailments.

Today, Devil’s Claw is used for degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis, for back pain, and as an appetite stimulant and digestive tonic. Scientific evidence supports the use of Devil’s Claw root to help relieve pain and inflammation in people with arthritis and other painful disorders.

Studies have found that taking Devil’s Claw for several months substantially reduces pain and improves physical functioning in people with osteoarthritis. In addition, those who received Devil’s Claw experienced fewer side effects and required fewer pain-reducing medications throughout the study.

In addition to the treatment of osteoarthritis and other painful disorders, Devil’s Claw is also very useful for upset stomach, loss of appetite, headaches, allergies, and fever.


Another natural remedy that compliments the positive attributes of Devil’s Claw in dealing with arthritic and pain issues is Rosehip.

The pain-relieving properties of Rosehip, which has previously been linked to reduced inflammation in osteoarthritis, have been suggested for decades.

Scientists have found that powder made from a wild variety of Rosehip, Rosa canina, is better at reducing pain in patients than glucosamine, a treatment prescribed by many vets.

The latest studies led to a reduction in glucosamine use by many arthritis sufferers and that Rosehip powder was an effective alternative for those seeking a natural remedy for these symptoms.

The evidence for the benefits of rose-hip powder in osteoarthritis appears consistent, and, if pet owners wish to use this natural remedy in addition to any other prescribed treatment by their vet, this would be perfectly in order.

The Daily Telegraph in its headline claimed that Rosehip was ‘better than painkillers’ for arthritis. Researchers have found that it is three times more effective than standard paracetamol at relieving pain and 40% more effective than Glucosamine.

Feeding Requirements

Both Devils Claw and Rosehip can be bought at most health shops and some pharmacies in a powdered form and they are both very palatable. Your companion animal will have no problem digesting them when mixed with their food. Obviously, it would be a lot easier to administer if you were feeding a home cooked or natural diet.

I would recommend for small dogs and cats a half tea spoon of each, mixed with the food, daily. For a medium breed, 1 tea spoon of each and for a large breed, 1.5 – 2 tea spoons of each.

DIATOMACEOUS EARTH – a natural dewormer and parasite cleanser

Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized shells of unicellular microscopic water-dwelling plants known as Diatoms.

These tiny unicellular plants use soluble silica (sand) from their environment to make their cells walls. When these organisms die, the shells pile up on the bottom to form thick beds of sediment.

These beds, called Diatomite or Diatomaceous Earth, are then mined from ancient dried lake bottoms.

One can obtain synthetic or processed Diatomaceous Earth which is often used in paints, filtering systems, chemical insecticides and cosmetics. However, NATURAL DIATOMACEOUS EARTH has not been altered in any chemical way and is derived from a fresh water source and contains less than 1% crystalline silica. Any Diatomaceous Earth that exceeds 1% is referred to as pool grade and best used in pool filtration systems.

Natural Diatomaceous Earth is made up of microscopic shells of diatoms. These fossil shells have tiny points (similar to lemon grass), which puncture the insect’s or parasites exoskeleton and thus kills them.  Thus Diatomaceous Earth operates mechanically and NOT chemically. Because of this, parasites and pests cannot become immune or resistant to Diatomaceous Earth.

There are commercial products available to de-worm and rid parasites, but they are all chemically based or poisons and can be a hazard to the health of your companion animal.

Diatomaceous Earth is registered, certified and approved by the Department of Agriculture and approved by almost every international agricultural body including the F.D.A, the E.P.A and the E.U.

Diatomaceous Earth is an effective natural de-wormer and parasite cleanser.  Parasites live in an animal’s intestinal tract, causing nutritional problems and physical irritation, effecting the health condition and attitude of the host. You can safely and effectively eradicate them with Diatomaceous Earth.

Diatomaceous Earth, when internally digested is known to kill parasites mechanically by scrapping the gut, literally piercing their structure. Externally applied, it is very effective in killing fleas in the same manner. Both are totally safe and work mechanically rather than chemically. Remember, chemicals and poisons will certainly have an adverse effect on skin conditions and general health.

Diatomaceous Earth has many other health benefits. It also helps to attract and absorb bad bacteria, herbicides, pesticides, food additives, artificial hormones, heavy metals, drug residues, viruses and toxins and helps excrete it from the animal’s body.

Diatomaceous Earth is very effective in helping to support your pet’s immune system and enhance metabolism by scrapping the gut and getting rid of toxins. Daily exposure to a wide variety of toxins can seriously affect your pet’s health. A highly-processed diet filled with colourants and preservatives, chlorinated water, commercial flea collars, insecticides and pollution are all contributors to a toxic and unhealthy life style.

Diatomaceous Earth also contains an array of trace minerals to feed and nourish your pet.  One of the minerals that it contains in abundance is Silica. Silica is a vital trace mineral required by the animal’s body for strong and flexible joints, glowing skin, coat health, stronger hair and bones.

In summary, Diatomaceous Earth helps to maintain all-round systemic functioning and maintain health and vigour in pets. Besides eradicating parasites, worms and pests, it other advantages are:

  • Improved Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
  • Improved Coat, Hoof and Bone Health
  • Enhances growth of animal
  • Contains 71 Organic Trace Minerals
  • Combats Arthritis and Joint Pains
  • Lower Cholesterol levels
  • Stimulates metabolism
  • Reduces overall animal stress

Feeding Recommendations

Diatomaceous Earth is a fine powder which is very palatable and should be added to your pet’s food. Daily supplementation is recommended:

Kitten/puppy – ½ spoon per day

Cat or Small Dog – 1 teaspoon per day

Medium – Large Dog – 2 teaspoons per day



  • Mrs. Beryl Gilmour Posted 15 February 2017 19:04

    Helpful information as my Pitbull X Doberman has very itchy skin and nothing I have tried so far has helped. I am going to try the spirulina first and then will try other remedies.

    • Paul Jacobson Posted 20 February 2017 11:52

      Sorry – only saw your response to my blog now . The resolve to itchy skin is easy – say no to all kibble. Say no to all flea poisons. Suppliment with omega 3 fish oil, spirulina, apple cider vinegar and probiotics

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