Whether you have a new puppy or a senior dog on your hands many concerned pet parents are asking this question. Should I give my dog supplements or vitamins? Supplements have been popular for a long time with humans and it was only a matter of time before we began giving them to our animals for an extra boost of pet health.
So, are vitamin supplements dangerous, helpful, or even necessary?
Pet Health: Fact From Fiction
Many supplements and vitamins are designed to support specific bodily functions like fatty acids, which support coat health, or glucosamine for joint mobility.
The thing is, all FDA approved dog food is formulated to provide all the nutritional requirements a dog will need for proper pet health. When dog food manufacturers develop dog food, they assume dogs will only be ingesting the ingredients within their food. Aside from treats and a few table scraps, dog food should provide a balanced diet.
So most of the time the answer is—no.
The best way to maintain your pet’s health is to provide a nutritious diet. Some supplements contain ingredients that could combine with ingredients in their food. This could cause toxicity or have an adverse reaction. If you believe your dog needs extra nutrition, please seek out veterinary advice before administering supplements.
Of course, not all pet food manufacturers are the same. There is a huge disparity between healthy pet food formulas and pet food that is poor quality. For a pet food to be sold it must “meet one of the AAFCO nutrient profiles, it must contain every nutrient listed in the profile at the recommended level,” according to the FDA.
Any medications your dog is taking could also react adversely with ingredients in supplements.
What Supplements are Available?
Many pet parents fear their dogs will inevitably develop arthritis or are already suffering from joint pain or limited mobility. This is common in senior dogs and some susceptible breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Rottweilers. Glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly used together to combat arthritis and protect joints and repair cartilage.
Giving your dog these bodily chemicals will support joint function, but will not reverse arthritis or restructure abnormalities.
Another popular supplement is Omega-3 fatty acids which are found in fish oil. Fatty acids work as a strong anti-inflammatory and help the functions of multiple organs, skin, and coat health. For directions on dosage amounts refer to your veterinarian. Every dog has different needs based on their own pet health. Your dog will need a different administration of supplement amounts than other dogs. Your vet is the most equipped to make that call.
Antioxidants, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C, are also widely used with senior dogs who begin experiencing dementia. When pet parents catch their dogs in a ‘senior moment’ they often turn to supplements with high amounts of these vitamins to curb cognitive dysfunction. Both antioxidants help repair aging brain cells. However, most senior dog foods are formulated with high levels of antioxidants that target cognitive support.
The Bottom Line
Supplements can be used under the guidance of your veterinarian, but most pet owners might save time and money by first selecting a premium dog food.
Not only should pet parents be able to decipher dog food labels, but they should also change formulas throughout a dog’s life. Most reputable manufacturers have different formulas that correspond to the appropriate nutrition a dog needs in certain stages of life. A puppy needs different nutrition than an adult and senior dog.
Foods like pumpkin and use of the rotational diet also help provide all the essential nutrition your dog needs with natural methods.
Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique want your dog to live and long and happy life!
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