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LET'S COOK by Brian Lapham, DVM of Southpoint Animal Hospital Top 5 Food Supplements Every Dog Owner Should Know

Turmeric – One of my favorite cooking spices, and with such amazing color! This spice grows wild in South Asia, and is a key ingredient in many Indian and Thai dishes, including the well-known curry dishes. The root or rhizome of the plant is usually dried and powdered to be used for flavoring, medicinally and to add color to various foods. The active ingredient in turmeric has been identified as curcumin and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, as a remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort and to aid in sleep.

Ginger – This is another root-based therapeutic food, coming from the rhizome of this plant. This spice also originally came from South Asia, but now is grown throughout the world. Ginger is usually dried and powdered, but can also be used fresh or even pickled like Sushi ginger, called gari. It has been used to give a hot taste to foods, as a preservative, to make tea, and of course, for its medicinal properties. The most well known medicinal use of ginger is for gastrointestinal upset, in particular nausea from motion sickness. There are also some preliminary discussions on its use for arthritis, blood thinning and ability to lower cholesterol.

Garlic – Is in the onion family. Garlic contains many good things, including substances that are antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. It has also been shown in people to help reduce blood clots. Raw garlic has a higher concentration of these compounds so it should not be cooked prior to consumption. Some dogs will not eat garlic raw because of the strong taste, but can be disguised in fresh foods or home-prepared diets readily.

Probiotics – These are live organisms that have beneficial health properties associated with them. These were originally found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, but can now be purchased as powders or capsules. The most common ailment treated with probiotics are gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome. Some research is suggesting they might be helpful for fighting cancers, lowering of cholesterol and improving immune function.

Fish Oil – The new cure-all! OK, maybe not, but this food supplement containing omega-3 fatty acids (such as EPA and DHA) have many benefits, some of which are only now being discovered. In fact, an FDA- approved version was recently approved for humans. Studies indicate that these can be helpful in combating heart disease, hypertriglyceridemia, osteoarthritis, depression and many common skin conditions. It has also been documented to protect against fetal brain injury and improve infant brain health. It is, however, important to stay away from fish that may contain high levels of contaminants – such as shark, tuna and tilefish.

The Triangle Dog T Volume 2 • Issue 1 31

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