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Top Health Supplements to Consider for Your Pooch

Veterinarian Reviewed by Dr. Janice Huntingford, DVM on March 14, 2019
Posted in Daily Nutritional Supplement

Humans take vitamins and supplements each and every day to make up for nutritional deficiencies and help their bodies function optimally, but have you considered also giving supplements to your pets?

Of course, dogs should never take any supplements designed for humans, but there are a wide variety of pet supplements available that can make your dog stronger, healthier and happier.

Just as it is the case with humans, it is advised that you only give your dog supplements after speaking with your veterinarian to ensure that the supplements are safe and necessary and will not interfere with any medications the dog may be on or any health conditions it is currently experiencing.

Top supplements for your dog

There are a lot of supplements on the market for dogs, but not all of them are truly necessary or useful in most cases. For the average, healthy pooch, consider utilizing some of these top supplements.

  • Probiotics: Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in the large intestine and help support proper balance among gut flora. The gut is closely linked to many other bodily systems, from the digestion of food to the immune system. Providing capsules of live probiotic strains to your dog may help alleviate gastrointestinal issues, especially if your dog recently underwent a round of antibiotic medication.
  • Joint supplements: Supplements such as glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin are popular among dog owners to help their dogs alleviate joint pain associated with arthritis. Glucosamine is one of the biggest ones; it is an amino sugar that naturally occurs inside joint fluid to support cartilage. Chondroitin works by inhibiting enzymes that are destructive to cartilage, and MSM supports healthy connective tissues. Aging dogs with and without current arthritis issues may benefit from taking joint supplements to help support their joints, improve flexibility and reduce pain.
  • Nutritional supplements: A comprehensive nutritional supplement usually contains a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals your pup may be lacking in its daily diet. Many processed pet foods lack the nutritional value necessary to keep pets healthy, so adding a vitamin and mineral supplement can make up the difference.
  • Omega-3s: The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements may be useful in treating a variety of ailments in pets. Fish oil may alleviate coat and skin problems by providing shiny fur and hydrated skin. It may also help clear up symptoms of seasonal-allergy-related skin issues, as well as reduce inflammation in the body.

What you need to know about supplements

Supplements are not always necessary for your dog. Ultimately, one of the most important factors in your dog’s health is its daily diet. A high-quality, premium dog food should contain all of the nutrients and vitamins your dog needs throughout its life.

Nutritional balance becomes more difficult if your dog has food allergies or intolerances or if it is being a fed a homemade diet. Dogs with dietary restrictions will likely need more supplements than dogs without, since they are not always able to get the full scope of nutrients from a single meal.

It’s also important to remember that too many supplements can be a bad thing. Giving your dog too much of a particular vitamin or mineral can actually cause harm to its health instead of making it extra-healthy. Toxic levels of certain nutrients can make your pet uncomfortable at best or extremely ill at worst. This is why it is so important to talk to your vet before giving your pooch any type of supplement.

When choosing supplements for your dog, always purchase them from a reliable source that provides high-quality products and conducts quality and safety tests on them.

Choose supplements for your dog’s stage of life

When purchasing supplements, it’s also important that you keep your dog’s stage of life in mind. Your dog may benefit from some supplements more than others depending on its age.

For example, older dogs are more likely to experience arthritis issues and may benefit from taking joint supplements, as well as vitamin supplements that stimulate proper brain function. Younger dogs may actually need fewer supplements to avoid introducing toxic levels of certain vitamins into their systems.

Always do your research on the supplement you want to give your dog, discuss it with your pup’s vet and ensure that the supplement will not interact with any current medication or health issues before administering. If all goes well, supplements may be the key to helping your dog live the most fulfilling, healthy life possible.

Read also: Introducing Your Dog to a New Puppy Safely

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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