Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Should You Be Supplementing Your Dog’s Diet With Alfalfa?

In my canine nutrition studies, I’m really learning in depth the nutrients in many foods.  I chose to research alfalfa for my assignment in my last lesson.  I remember many years ago when I had rabbits as pets they really liked alfalfa hay, and I recall my dad telling me it was superior to the Timothy hay.
Alfalfa is a member of the pea family and is a bushy perennial.  It has blue-green leaves and sports mauve to purple flowers with seeds in a sickle-shaped pod.  It is quite versatile as the stems, leaves and sprouts from the seeds can be utilized.
Alfalfa is an astringent herb known to remove toxins from tissues and is also a diuretic.  It has detoxifier ability and can improve liver function and cleanse the blood.  Two teaspoons fresh chopped alfalfa sprouts with your dog’s daily meal is good for digestion, as it is a natural enzyme. (I would suggest starting with small amounts and slowly work up to the two teaspoons)
It’s a power house when it comes to nutrients.  Rich in minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, D, E & K…and let’s not forget the tremendous amount of chlorophyll it contains, besides carotene and organic acids.  Alfalfa helps to restore Vitamin K which gets depleted with the use of certain antibiotics.
It’s a disease ally, aiding dogs with arthritis and other inflammatory issues of the joints, and is a beneficial choice in treating dogs with cancer.  Alfalfa can be used over long periods of time without adverse side effects, and is useful in animals with debilitating diseases that need to gain weight.  It can also help a dog adjust to a new diet.
In older animals, it aids brain function and improves mental vigor.  For dogs that have ailments of overly acidic urine, bladder irritation and crystal formations, alfalfa can improve and heal these conditions.  I know it sounds almost too good to be true.  Of course, there is always an exception to every rule, even though this is a safe ‘food’, in large quantities it can cause anemia because of its considerable Vitamin K content.  It might also pose an allergic response in animals sensitive to pollen. But use of controlled quantities should not present a risk.  As with just about everything…moderation!
Considering it’s easy to grow…you might decide you want to have it growing in your own yard.  It is so versatile and can be used for so much; it really should be one of those items you always have available in your cupboard!

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