Health Benefits of Flax for Pets


Health Benefits of Ground Flaxseed for Pets

dash o flax - preground golden flaxseedFlaxseeds are rich in protein, lignans, dietary fiber, manganese, and the essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3, also known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Omega-6 fatty acids are involved in cell membrane structure, cell function, and are required for normal reproduction, growth, immune function, and skin and coat health. Both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are necessary for good health. Pets with allergic (flea allergy dermatitis), auto-immune (pemphigus, rheumatoid arthritis), or inflammatory (arthritis, glomerulonephritis) conditions need more Omega 3 fatty acids. Pets that have chronic illness (FIV, FIP, cancer) need more Omega 6 fatty acids.

Hair and Healthy Coat
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the oils that helps keep your dog and cat’s skin moisturized and its coat shiny. While it serves other purposes, your pet's coat is the first sign of its nutritional health. If the coat is not healthy, it’s often because the animal is not getting the nutrients it needs. Fur can become wiry, dry and dull when a dog or cat is sick, not eating, or not receiving the right balance of nutrients. This can also lead to dry, irritated skin and to dandruff, which becomes an airborne allergen when left untreated. In addition, if the natural oils of a pet’s coat are depleted, it reduces the lipid barrier in the skin, which protects them from infection. One or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed into your pet’s daily feedings may help with such issues. [source:]

Healthy Joints
Because essential fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties—the same properties which make them helpful in fighting skin irritations—they also can produce some relief for arthritis in dogs and cats. Adding ground flaxseed to your pet's daily diet may offer some relief to a pet suffering from minor or occasional joint pain, and may improve mobility. [source:]

Healthy Kidneys
Omega-3s also increase the production of other anti-inflammatories and can help in reducing inflammation of kidneys. It also helps support healthy kidneys by increasing the blood flow to the organs. Since these fatty acids support a healthy level of blood lipids in dogs and cats, those suffering from kidney disease produce elevated levels of triglycerides, helping to prolong your pet's life.

Immune System, Anti-inflammatory & Antioxidant Benefits
Flaxseed contains antioxidant lignans that support the immune system and help treat inflammation, arthritic pain and chronic inflammatory disorders, which may be helpful for joint problems. Of course, always consult with your veterinarian if your pet appears to have mobility problems. [source:]

flakes o gold - golden flaxseedFeeding
Sprinkle ground flaxseed on your pet's food or bake into homemade treats. When you first give ground flaxseed to your pet, it is important to start off slow so that your pet’s digestive system can get used to the added fiber in their diet. It is also ESSENTIAL to make sure that your pet is getting enough water every day: flaxseed bulks up in the digestive system and water assists in cleansing it through the digestive system. Flaxseeds should be ground--not given whole--for your pet to absorb the maximum beneficial properties and to be digested properly. A friendly reminder: start with small amounts of flaxseed and work up to the maximum recommended dose.

Suggested Flaxseed amounts for your pet's daily diet:
Small kittens + puppies - Start with 1 teaspoon
Small cats + dogs - 2 teaspoons

Based on weight:
Under 20 lbs. – 1/4 to 1 teaspoon daily
20-40 pounds – 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons daily
40-60 pounds – 2-1/2 to 3 teaspoons daily
60-80 pounds – 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons daily
80-100 pounds – 2-1/2 to 3 tablespoons daily
100 pounds or more – 3-1/2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup daily

flax hull sdg lignansFlaxseed, Lignans, and Treatment of Cushing's Disease in Dogs
Over the past two decades, treatment for Cushing’s disease in dogs has evolved a bit. New medications, the refinement of traditional medications, and especially the inclusion of several natural, holistic treatments, the most promising of which is lignan (flaxseed) therapy are increasing the quality of life for affected dogs, often sending them into a remission of symptoms.

Cushings in dogs is usually caused by a tumor on either the adrenal glands or a tumor on the pituitary gland. The University of Tennessee, college of veterinary medicine does most of the testing for Cushings when your vet sends out blood work to determine if canine Cushings is present. The University department of endocrinology is on the forefront of research in Cushing's and they have some exciting results. A report issued by Dr. Jack Oliver, DVM, and head of endocrinology said, “Melatonin in combination with Lignans may be an effective treatment for Cushing's disease.”

Lignans are found in many plant sources, but the plant source with the most lignan content is flaxseed. Flaxseed contains SDG lignan and is found in the hull of the flaxseed. The hulls have 20 times more lignan than the whole flaxseed. The flaxseed hulls are also high in fiber which benefits many canines, since many dog foods are low on fiber. It is the high fiber content that most likely contributes to this phenomenon. Fiber soaks up toxins in the body and increases bowel movement frequency and volume, thus the body is able to get rid of harmful waste products more efficiently.

Lignans have phytoestrogenic activity, and competes with estradiol for tissue estrogen receptors, with less biological effect. Lignans also inhibits aromatase enzyme (lowers estradiol) and 3-beta HSD enzyme (lowers cortisol). According to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, the suggested dose of SDG flax hull lignans is:

· SDG flax hull lignans – 1 milligram/per lb. of body weight/per day

Regardless of the choices you make on behalf of your wonderful dog, it’s always best to discuss all options with a veterinarian.

NOTE: The information presented here is for informative and educational purposes only and is not intended as curative or prescriptive advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not intended as medical advice. Its intention is solely informational and educational. It is wise to consult your doctor for any illness or medical condition.

Jane Meggitt, Demand Media,,

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Lignans Treatment for Atypical Cushing’s Disease in Dogs,

Cushing’s Treatment: About Lignans,

Treatment Option Considerations - Steroid Profiles in the Diagnosis of Atypical Cushing’s Disease, Clinical Endocrinology Service/College of Veterinary Medicine/University of Tennessee,

Treating Canine Cushing's Disease Disease,

Holistic Treatment of Canine Cushings Disease,

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