Multivitamins and supplements are all the rage these days, but does that mean your dog should also be taking them?
Providing your dog is fed a complete commercial food, they shouldn’t need any additional help getting the right nutrition. Commercial pet foods are specially formulated to meet all your dog’s nutrition needs in a day, so young, healthy dogs don’t necessarily need anything more.
That said, if your dog has an issue that you think might be aided by a supplement, there’s no harm in giving it a try. It is always best to speak to your vet first, to ensure they have no objections and that you are giving the right dose.
While most vitamins and supplements are generally either helpful or ineffective, they can occasionally be harmful if given in too high a quantity. Too much vitamin A, for example, can cause arthritis, while too much vitamin D can cause muscle atrophy and loss of appetite. Excessive amounts of calcium can lead to skeletal problems if fed to large breed dogs before maturity.
That said, your vet may suggest a supplement to help resolve a particular issue, or to help maintain health in a particular area that may be susceptible to problems in later life.
One such supplement that is often recommended is chondroitin and glucosamine to help prevent or slow progression of arthritis. While a supplement won’t reverse structural abnormalities associated with arthritis, it will support joint function and may even prevent further damage. There are many on the market, so it is worth discussing with your vet before settling on one.
With winter approaching and colder weather expected, you may notice your dog looking a bit stiff in their joints when getting up from a period of rest, in which case a joint supplement given daily may help ease discomfort and help them move around more freely.
Another popular supplement is omega 3 fatty acid, which is often recommended by vets to dogs with skin and coat troubles, or senior dogs with a degree of cognitive dysfunction. It is also a great support to joints and multiple organs in the body. Furthermore, fish oils have been linked to improved cognitive function in dogs with dementia.
When the temperature drops, it’s common for your dog’s skin to become dry and scurfy, and you may find a fish oil supplement helps resolve the problem. It’s very hard to overdose on omega 3, but we would still advise speaking to your vet if you’re thinking about giving it as a supplement.
Depending on your dog’s age and level of health, your vet may recommend any number of supplements, or even a specific commercial food that is formulated for dogs with certain health problems. If your dog has an existing problem, we would strongly recommend getting veterinary advice before supplementing their diet, as occasionally you can encounter problems.
We would be interested to hear what supplements you give and why, and also what benefits they have had on your pet. Feel free to comment below to share with our other readers :)
Written by: Hannah