Which Supplements Are Right for My Dog?

best dog food supplements

Even when a dog’s diet may be nutritionally complete and balanced, adding dog nutrition supplements can benefit dogs with certain health concerns and support overall health and wellness.  

If you think your dog has extra nutritional needs, make sure to talk to your veterinarian, who can help you decide the best dog supplements for your pet’s specific needs. 

Do Dogs Need Vitamins?

Dogs need vitamins to thrive, and each vitamin fulfills specific needs. Fortunately, commercial dog foods are formulated to fulfill the needs of most dogs, but in certain cases supplementation may be beneficial.  

Be aware that if your dog is eating a nutritionally balanced diet, excess supplements can mean wasted vitamins, or worse, vitamin toxicity. Allowing your veterinarian to help you understand your dog’s unique dietary needs will help you make the best decisions regarding his food and need for supplements.  

Types of Supplements for Dogs

There are a wide array of supplements that can help support your dog’s health. Examples include Fortiflora for dogs to promote healthy digestion, dog dental chews to support teeth and gum health as well as vitamin E for dogs to support immune, skin and coat health. Popular supplements include:   

Brain health: Helping your dog stay sharp into old age is important. Besides keeping him active and mentally stimulated with exercise and interactive dog toys, dog brain health supplements can help. Look for brain-boosting oil ingredients like medium-chain triglycerides from coconut oil and Omega-3 fatty acids from marine fish sources, as well as L-arginine, biotin, B vitamins and plenty of antioxidants when choosing supplements to support cognition.  

Heart: You can keep your dog’s heart in tip-top shape with plenty of exercise, but adding a heart health supplement for dogs can also be beneficial. Supplements featuring taurine, fatty acids, L-carnitine, Coenzyme Q10 and niacin can be a great support to your dog’s heart health.  

Gut: The more we learn about the digestive system, the more we realize its importance for not only healthy digestion, but immune health as well. Finding a dog supplement with probiotics (the beneficial bacteria that live within your dog’s intestinal tract) not only helps your dog’s body break down food, but also aids immune system function. 

Skin and coat: If your dog’s skin and coat appear healthy, that’s often a good indication that your dog’s overall health is in good shape. Aside from regular grooming, skin and coat supplements that feature ingredients like vitamin E, omega fatty acids, coconut oil and fruits for a natural antioxidant blend of nutrients, evenor a super-food algae like spirulina, can be especially effective. 

Joint health: When considering supplements for senior dogs, canine joint health supplements are important, but your veterinarian may suggest starting your dog on them sooner, depending on if the breed has a predisposition for joint issues. Supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are commonly used to promote joint comfort and mobility, as well as provide the building blocks to support healthy cartilage. These can be formulated from purified sources as well as natural sources like the popular ingredient green-lipped mussels, that also contains omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which all play an important part in supporting your dog’s joints.  

Other notable joint health ingredients include hyaluronic acid and collagen. Many people are familiar with hyaluronic acid as a molecule commonly used for its use in skin products, but it has joint health benefits as well. Hyaluronic acid works by boosting cell moisture, which helps promotes joint lubrication and comfort.  

(Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5356289/)

Stress relief: Separation anxiety, fear and other external stressors can play a significant role in adding stress to your dog’s life. Along with figuring out and reducing the cause of these stressors, supplements can make a big difference. Dog calming supplements often contain the amino acids L-theanine and L-tryptophan for their ability to support calmness and help reduce stress response. Chamomile and ginger root both feature a natural calming effect that may also have stress-reducing effects.  

Immunity: If you’re looking for an immune supplement for dogs, we’ve already mentioned the importance of probiotics for their digestive and immune-boosting capabilities. Anything containing high levels of antioxidants to battle cell-damaging free radicals is encouraged. Great sources of antioxidants include Coenzyme Q10, vitamins C and E, to name just a few of the more common options.  

Dental supplements: Just like us, a dog’s overall health isn’t complete without something to keep their teeth and gums clean from tartar and plaque buildup. Dog dental chews come in all shapes and sizes, often with a ridged design to help scrape teeth clean. They may contain  natural ingredients designed to promote tooth and gum health.  

Remember, if your dog is struggling with any of these issues, your veterinarian should be the one to assess whether supplementation is an appropriate choice, or if other options would be more beneficial.  

Get more information on dog supplements and nutrition from our experts on our Pet Expertise page.  

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