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I know there are many discussions on here about this. But, I don't have the patience to go through each one. So, I have a question. I sometimes make food for my dogs. I use the right amount of all the ingredients, but, I also add ground flax seed. I've read that it is extremely good for the skin and fur of dogs. It has Omega 3 fatty acids in it. Can I just use that instead of other vitamins? B/c don't the dogs get the vitamins they need from the other foods or do I need to add more vitamins? If so, what extra vitamins do I need?
 

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If you're feeding a properly balanced diet, no, you don't need to add supplements. But make sure you're adding all the right ingredients. There are a lot of websites that can help you make a balanced dog diet.

If you do want to add omega-3 fatty acids (good for skin and arthritis), fish oil is better than flax seed for dogs. They don't process plant foods as well as animal foods.
 

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Omega-3 fatty acids are great for the skin, coat, eyes, and joints. However, they are an amino acid, not a vitamin or mineral, and they are not a part of the AAFCO requirements. It doesn't replace needed vitamins and minerals. While your dog would be able to survive without omega-3s, he would not fair well with deficiencies in vitamin A, B, or D, calcium, iron, potassium, taurine, and other vital nutrients. You may want to do some research on the AAFCO profiles and determine your dog's dietary needs based on the actual dietary guidelines for dogs. Although I agree that they leave out some beneficial nutrients, they are nutrients that your dog's life doesn't depend on and won't die or become ill if they don't have. In a truly complete dog food, all of the necessary and extra nutrients come from meat, vegetables, and fruits, and there are no nutrients coming from powders, supplements, grains, or dairy.
 
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