Thinking of giving your dog supplements? Ask yourself “why”, “what” and “how much” to help you come to the right choice.
When it comes to supplements, more does not necessarily mean better. In fact, it could be the opposite.
While nutritional deficiency is dangerous, over supplement is equally harmful. This is especially so for fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, of which excess is not flushed out of the body but stored in body tissues.
If you are feeding a balanced and complete diet, you do not need to feed your dog supplements, unless they are recommended by your trusted vet for specified medical reasons.
Below are some reasons you may need to introduce appropriate supplements to your pup. When fed in the right amount, supplements may be beneficial to your dog’s health and prolong her lifespan!
The key is to consult a professional, introduce supplements slowly and monitor your dog’s progress.
I am feeding my dog a home-prepared diet:
Calcium is one of the most important minerals in our body. When there’s insufficient calcium in the bloodstream to support critical metabolic functions, the body will take it from the bones. Hence, it can take a long time before you realise that your dog is calcium deficient.
What’s more, calcium binds with phosphorus and too much of the latter will deplete your dog’s calcium reserves. The two need to be balanced at a ratio of 1:1 (do note that too much calcium will also cause problems).
Blood and raw meaty bones are the best sources of calcium. If those are not part of your dog’s home-prepared diet, you can opt for calcium carbonate or calcium citrate supplements.
2. Omega 3 + Vitamin E
Omega 3 is an essential part of your dog’s diet and has to be balanced with Omega 6 (around the ratio of 1:5-10) to prevent nutritional deficiency. It has anti-inflammatory properties that improve certain health conditions, such as arthritis, skin and coat, and heart failure.
While insufficient Omega 6 is unlikely, Omega 3 is often lacking in a home-prepared diet and needs to be supplemented.
Vitamin E works together with Omega 3 so it’s best if the Omega 3 supplement you are using contains vitamin E as well. Learn how to choose an Omega 3 supplement.
My dog has skin issues, digestive problems and/or poor immunity:
Probiotics are live good bacteria that are good for gastrointestinal health. Both emotional and physiological stresses can cause the good bacteria in your dog’s gut to go out of balance. Hence, introducing multi-strains of good bacteria in your dog’s diet can aid her digestion and immunity.
I am currently using Dom & Cleo Probiotics.
My dog has joint issues:
4. Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are usually present together in joint supplements to support joint function by providing lubrication and cartilage repair. It’s important to note, however, that they do not treat joint issues but may act as a relief to the joints.
If you have Glucosamine at home, you can share it with your dog. There is no need to get a pet specific one. In fact, supplements for people are sometimes better because they are definitely human grade. Consult your vet for the correct dosage for your dog’s weight and condition.
I have an old dog:
5. CoEnzyme Q10
CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can help fight kidney infections, cardiovascular problems, and cancers. Even though the body produces CoQ10 naturally, it is produced in lesser quantities as the body ages. Hence, it may be beneficial to feed your elderly dogs CoQ10 to maintain overall good health.
DISCLAIMER: The information found in this post is based on our own research, experience, and opinion. Before adding a supplement to your dog’s diet, please consult a trusted canine healthcare professional.