Chia Seeds and Dogs
Long considered a superfood, Chia seeds are now being labelled a ‘miracle’ food. The good news for dogs is they are beneficial for them too.
The fatty acids in Chia will help keep your dog’s coat healthy – especially if your best friend is sensitive to fish and fish oil.
Salvia Hispanica, to give Chia its scientific name, was domesticated as long ago as 2,600 BC. It is a flowering plant that is native to southern Mexico and Central America. Cultivated by Mayans and Aztecs it became a main part of their diet. So valuable was it that Chia was even used as a trade currency. Aztec warriors supposedly sustained themselves on a tablespoon of Chia seeds every day. The seeds provide abundant energy and enhance endurance.
The plant’s ability to increase stamina and energy, and its superior nutritional value, led to Chia becoming a holy seed.
The two varieties, white Chia and black Chia, are part of the mint family. Each seed helps prevent infections, containing between 19 and 23% gluten-free protein, 34% oil and 25% fibre.Chia seeds provide B vitamins and are packed with Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Omega Fatty Acids
For such a tiny seed it is astounding that Chia has three times the Omega-3 fatty acids as salmon! This is important to balance out the Omega-6 fatty acids and is beneficial in so many ways.
It promotes health in:
- Brain development
- Eye development
- The immune system
- Skin & coat
Chia seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties. Indeed just two tablespoons provide a 3-to-1 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6. fatty acids
Any increase in dietary fibre can help bowel movements. It alleviates constipation, generates regular movements and aids weight loss. Some dogs suffer from their anal glands. These can benefit from increased fibre in their diets and Chia seeds provide 34gms of fibre per 100gms of seeds.
Endurance, Weight Loss & Diabetes Support
A Chia seed absorbs up to 10 times its own weight in water. This creates a gel that can be consumed easily. This gel helps in cases of diabetes in dogs because it slows carbohydrates being turned into sugars.
Stable blood sugar levels also contribute to high levels of energy. Thus Chia not only supports normal blood sugar regulation, but improves insulin function and sensitivity, and creates a good level of glucose tolerance.
The slowing down of digestion rates also enables our dogs feel satiated longer while fully absorbing nutrients.
It must be noted that due to Chia’s highly absorbent qualities, fresh water must always be available.
Chia also imparts more iron than raw spinach, more calcium than whole milk, and more magnesium than broccoli. It is non-allergenic and is a good source of potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron and zinc.
Chia can be stored easily and over a long period, unlike flax seed. Nor is there any taste or scent so even the pickiest of dogs will not turn up their noses.
Be aware that you should not use too much at a time: only one teaspoon should be given to small dogs, two teaspoons for large – or 1/4 teaspoon for every 10lbs of your dog’s body weight. You can use Chia seeds soaked in water, ground up or simply seed form. Just mix into your dog’s food or sprinkle on top.
Look out for milled, organic Chia seeds if you can.