Does your dog need extras on a balanced diet?
I commonly hear "if your dog is eating a balanced diet then they do not need extras (supplementation) in their diet - I think this is an oversimplification of the world we live in today....let's talk more about this.
To start this conversation, I think it is important to recognise that the nutrition within fresh food has changed since our parents were children. There are many reasons for this from what we spray on produce that changes the composition of the soil, to environmental pollution from traffic and runoff from factory farming as well as the actual process of factory farming itself...just as a few examples.
It is also important to recognise that all individuals, be they human or canine are biologically individual - what this means is, for example, my dietary needs are different from yours therefore what is deemed as a balanced diet to me is not balanced for you. I may require more zinc for my body to run at an optimal level than you do and there are many variables that dictate what this may be including genetic and environmental.
A balanced diet in canine terms means a diet that meets the AAFCO/FEDIAF/NRC guidelines (each is different) and AAFCO is the MINIMUM requirements aka to keep your dog alive - these guidelines are certainly not all your dog needs. These minimum guidelines in commercial products are commonly balanced with synthetic nutrients that the body doesn't process the same way they do whole food nutrients.
In humans, a balanced diet means something completely different and there is far less paranoia surrounding the term in humans than in dogs - a paranoia which has been fueled by some kibble companies to make you feel you have to feed "complete and balanced".
Individuals under stress whether this is emotional, physical, or medical stress will need more of certain nutrients on board such as vitamin C.
Extras i.e. supplementation, toppers & boosters are there to support your dog, their potential nutrient gaps even on a so-called balanced diet and booster their immune system's ability to deal with stress and disease.
Feeding a variety of ingredients on rotation using the BARF ratios is what we believe is a great way of providing your dog with a range of different nutrients to balance by nature and not synthetics as well as using supplements, boosters and toppers where you feel appropriate.