You’ve gotten used to taking multivitamins daily, replenishing vitamin C when you’re feeling sick, and maybe even resorted to adaptogenic herbs at some point – why wouldn’t you do the same for your pet, isn’t it? After all, all pet owners want their furry babies to be as healthy as possible, to live long, full and adventurous lives by your side. But most dog owners only need to worry about additional supplements when a certain health risk arises, says Lindsey Bullen, DVM, ACVN, a certified veterinary nutritionist at BluePearl Pet Hospitals.
“If a pet is otherwise healthy and follows a complete and balanced diet, it probably doesn’t need supplements because its diet contains everything it needs to survive and thrive,” he said. she declared. Good Housekeeping. Most commercially available dog foods contain the nutritional balance that pets need, and owners are likely looking for the holistic benefits of their dog’s food as well. The need for additional vitamins and other supplements becomes evident as puppies grow into purebred adults and later as they develop health issues as they age. One of the most common reasons for supplements is joint pain, says Jerry Klein, DVM, chief veterinarian of the American Kennel Club (AKC). Coat issues, gastrointestinal issues, weight loss, inflammation, and cognitive impairment are other reasons pets take supplements.
But Klein and Bullen have a warning for pet parents: Never give your dog supplements without first talking to your pet’s vet.. “Each dog’s needs vary widely and excessive amounts of certain vitamins can be harmful to your dog,” Klein explains. For example, he says that too much calcium could cause skeletal problems in some large breed puppies, and that too much vitamin A can lead to further dehydration, joint pain, and blood vessel damage. Some supplements may contain herbs and other ingredients that can interact with medications, and side effects are something only your vet would know about ahead of time.
You should always confirm the proper dosage guidelines for any product with your pet’s veterinarian. Human supplements should not be given to dogs as they may contain ingredients that could be harmful to your pets.
There’s another reason it’s best to discuss long-term use first: Supplements for dogs (and for humans, too) aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. And, few studies have tested the long-term safety of vitamins and other supplements for dogs. So it’s essential to try only supplements recommended by your veterinarian and which have a seal of approval from the National Animal Supplement Council, Klein explains. Other things you should look for in a dog supplement:
- Brands specializing in a certain field or having commissioned clinical studies on their products.
- Products with a lot number, which indicates that the company emphasizes quality control.
- Products with contact details, so you can call to ask how the product was formulated and how long the manufacturer has been in business.
- Know what ingredients you are looking for and check the labels to make sure the product actually contains them.
Giving your dog supplements could improve his health and quality of life. But it’s always best to talk to your vet first. They will help you decide what is safe for your furry baby, and what your pet really needs, how much to take, and for how long.
Do vets recommend CBD oils or products for dogs?
There has been a lot of buzz in the wellness space over the past few years, so it’s no surprise that several CBD dog products have appeared. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural ingredient found in cannabis that is touted for its health benefits such as pain and stress relief. For dogs, some in the pet industry believe that CBD may help control seizures, relieve joint pain and inflammation, and have a calming effect.
But little research has been done on CBD and its full effect on dogs., explains Bullen, and any product that contains THC as a by-product, the substance that makes you feel high, could be toxic to your pet. “Given the lack of scientific information supporting the safety of CBD in food, the FDA also states that it cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe to use in food or feed,” writes the agency in a warning to pet owners.
Whether it’s a specific CBD supplement or a general product on the market, beware of supplements whose unverified claims seem too good to be true; that is, they will cure cancer or other diseases, Bullen says. “I think the majority of supplements are probably made and developed with the best of intentions,” she adds. “But, the challenge with supplements is that they aren’t well regulated. And, if you do choose to take a supplement, it’s really important to talk to your vet to make sure it’s actually safe.
If you’ve ever identified a common health problem for your dog with the help of your veterinarian, you may be wondering which supplements to try first. We’ve rounded up some of the most common dog supplements and what you need to know about each before giving it to your pet.
5-in-1 Bites, Multifunctional Vitamin
Dogs need the same vitamins as humans to stay healthy. Vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B are essential for your pet’s diet, according to the AKC. Some multivitamins for dogs contain these nutrients, which could keep your pet’s coat shiny and soft, and keep them active as they get older.
Best Glucosamine Supplement
Soft chews with MSM and omega-3s
Glucosamine is a natural compound found in cartilage that provides a cushion for the joints. Klein says that glucosamine supplements are commonly used to lessen the effects of arthritis, including pain relief and helping pets keep moving as they age. If your pet seems to be moving a little slower, jumps when running, or is reluctant to jump, talk to your vet about these supplements.
Best fish oil supplement
Ultra Mega Fish Oil Advantage Soft Gels
Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids which Klein believes may improve the quality and shine of your dog’s coat. If your dog is still scratching, fish oil can help. Its anti-inflammatory properties will make their skin less irritating and even skin allergies less bothersome.
Bullen adds that many fish oil supplements also contain omega-6s, which can help restore ceramides, the fat molecules that help the skin retain moisture and strengthen the skin’s cell membranes. She suggests looking for fish oil supplements that contain fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are actually found in fish.
Best probiotic supplement
Mega Probiotic and Prebiotic for Dogs and Cats
Probiotics are healthy, living bacteria and yeast that aid digestion and support gut health. For dogs with constant stomach issues, Klein says probiotic supplements might help by reducing their risk of diarrhea, constipation, and gas.
Best antioxidant supplement
Select an antioxidant supplement
Antioxidants are found in substances, such as vitamins C and E, and prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable parts of cells that can cause different types of diseases and accelerate aging. Klein claims that antioxidant supplements provide several benefits for dogs, including slowing the signs of aging, including memory loss and cognitive dysfunction. They can also help reduce inflammation and treat heart disease.
Best immunity supplement
Immune supplement against allergies
Supplements that provide immune system support are also popular with pet parents. Many immune supplements contain other ingredients that are healthy for dogs like antioxidants and probiotics. Supplements containing probiotics not only aid digestion, but can also support the immune system.
Best supplement for eye health
Ocu-GLO, 90 units
Just like humans, many dogs experience vision problems as they age. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Sciences have found that certain antioxidant supplements can help improve and maintain vision in dogs. These antioxidant-rich supplements typically contain omega-3 fatty acids and lutein, which can protect the eyes from sun damage and reduce the risk of cataracts.
Best anti-anxiety supplement
Calming Help Calm Moments
The sound of lightning or the doorbell makes some dogs a nervous wreck. There are several calming or anti-anxiety supplements available to give your furry friend some peace of mind. These products usually contain ingredients known to have calming effects like chamomile, ginger, and tryptophan. However, a study published in the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research found that tryptophan supplements had no consistent effect on dog behavior.
Turmeric for Dogs Curcumin Pet Antioxidant
Turmeric is a spice that is sometimes added to dog food and treats to add color. And, it could offer anti-inflammatory benefits for dogs, so it could relieve joint pain and itchy skin. Although a small study showed that the compounds in turmeric had little to no effect on inflammation or arthritis.
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