Supplements for a Happy, Healthy Pet
How often do you take vitamins and supplements to help aid in your health and keep your body functioning better? The same way dietary supplements are beneficial to your body, so too can they be great or your pets.
The most common supplements taken by pets are for arthritis support in joints and fatty acids to reduce shedding and ensure a shiny coat. Probiotics and antioxidants also help with digestive problems, fight against ageing, and aid in cognitive maintenance.
So, what supplements are necessary for your dog? Which are harmful? Here’s everything you need to know:
Does my dog need supplements?
The best way to make sure your pup is getting all their nutritional needs met, is with a complete and balanced diet. If your dog isn’t getting the highest quality dog food and you are feeding them a homemade diet, they definitely need an additional vitamin to round out their dietary intake. You can speak to your vet for the best one.
Are supplements safe for my dog?
It all depends on what you are feeding your pet. If they are getting all their vitamins from proper vet-recommended pet food, they may not need a supplement. However, if your pet isn’t getting their nutritional needs met with their food, they may be at risk for disease. Similarly, if your pet is getting an overdose of vitamins, they may be at risk, too, as too much Vitamin A can lead to dehydration, joint pain, and damaged blood vessels, and too much Vitamin D can hard bones and muscles.
Do supplements work?
Once again, it depends. The same way that supplements may or may not work for you, they may or may not work for your dog. Consult your vet to find out what shortcomings your dog may have and what you can give them to help. They may need fatty acids, fish oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and others to help with gastrointestinal problems and give them a shiny coat. You are using these in addition to your dog’s diet, so don’t rely on supplements alone to provide your pet with their nutrients. Always start with the correct food.
How do I choose the right supplement?
While you should consult a vet before settling on one, you can generally look out for the following to choose a proper supplement:
- A high-quality brand that specializes in a specific type of care
- No funny ingredients disguised as essential vitamins and minerals
- A lot number on the packaging which will indicate that control checks were done
- A contact number of the company
- Too good to be true claims, like promises to cure or alleviate cancer and viruses
- Certification that the product has been verified to be safe for use
A word of warning: never give your dog supplements or even nature medicine meant for humans. Some traditional remedies like garlic for humans are toxic to dogs, so stay away!
Additionally, always check with a vet or pet nutritionist before starting a course of supplements. Some problems in dogs cannot be fixed with supplements alone, and may need the help of neurological, dermatological, and hormonal care, and many problems can be alleviated with the correct diet!