Chia Seeds & Cushing's Disease in Dogs

Cushing's disease in dogs can easily be confused with early onset of old age.
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Cushing's disease is the overproduction of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands located in the belly near the kidneys. This disease occurs most commonly in dogs that are 6 years old or older. The signs of Cushing’s disease may vary, and many owners mistake this disease for early aging. However, veterinarians and owners have found that Cushing's symptoms can be alleviated and treated with medication and some nutritionally rich supplements, such as chia seeds.

Standard Treatment of Cushing's Disease

Cushing's is typically a chronic condition, but it usually can be managed with medications. The FDA reports that prescription drugs typically used to treat Cushing's disease work by stopping the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands. Studies show the most common side effects of these drugs are vomiting, lack of energy, diarrhea and weight loss. Because standard treatments can have such harsh side effects, owners and veterinarians have explored more natural options for treatment of Cushing's disease.

Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are well known as anti-inflammatories. Providing good fats in their diet helps strengthen and soothe the immune and digestive systems. In addition, chia seeds have been shown to help normalize blood glucose levels by slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars, which can help with weight management in dogs with Cushing's who also have impaired thyroids.

Other Nutritional Attributes

Chia seeds also contain fiber, vitamin E, the B vitamins and folic acid. The seeds contain higher than average levels of calcium and maintain regularity with soluble fiber. Chia's high levels of calcium, coupled with the mineral known as boron, helps the body absorb and utilize calcium. In addition, chia seeds have three times the amount of iron found in spinach, providing a great deal of nutritional content in a very condense and easy-to-digest substance.

Feeding Your Dog Chia Seeds

Chia is very easy to serve. The seeds have no scent or discernible taste, which makes it very palatable to dogs. You will only need to feed one tablespoon daily for small dogs, two tablespoons for large dogs. A good rule of thumb is to feed 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of your dog's body weight. You may feed chia to your dog in seed form, either after being soaked in water or ground into a powder. At feeding time, simply sprinkle the chia onto your dog's regular food.