Do you often get overwhelmed by the choices of supplements available on the shelves of the pet store? We always want the best, happiest, and the longest life for our dog, but does that mean supplements are mandatory? You might have so many questions revolving around supplements, and we have the answers. And before you head over to a pet store for over-the-counter supplements, you may want to read this.
What Supplements Are and Why A Dog Needs Them
Supplements are a concentrated form of nutrients to meet the nutritional requirements of a dog. Each dog is different, even if they’re of the same breed or are siblings. Depending on their genetics and medical conditions, some dogs require several nutrients in higher amounts than normal healthy dogs, and supplements can be the savior in that case.
They are necessary for supporting arthritic joints, improving the shine of the coat and shedding, digestive issues, etc. However, the need for a particular supplement should be determined by a certified veterinarian.
If we see it from a different angle, let’s say if a dog’s food is not balanced, the prolonged use of the same diet can cause nutrient deficiency. And most dogs are fed on the same food every day.
This is common with homemade dog food recipes. However, adding multivitamin tablets to your dog’s home-prepared meal only won’t solve the problem. You will have to consult a canine nutritionist or a veterinarian to add the right supplements and prepare the recipe more balanced.
Does Your Dog Need A Supplement?
We hear this question quite frequently from pet parents. Most people give their dogs supplements not because their dogs require it but because they want to. If your dog is healthy and eating balanced and wholesome food, he doesn’t need any supplements.
Some commercial pet food companies tailor their recipe skillfully and do clinical trials on dogs to observe their food response. Clinical trials are crucial because even the wholesome ingredients can lose their nutritional value to some extent upon being processed. But the fact is most companies don’t do food trials, and feeding your dogs on the diets that lack in one or particular nutrients can cause nutrient deficiency and might require supplements.
Also, if your vet has prescribed a specific supplement for your pooch and it’s available in your dog’s food, please check for the amount. This is because dog food has a regulation on the ingredients being used and might not have a supplement in a therapeutic amount. And in that case, you should go with therapeutic dog food prescribed by your veterinarian.
Well, you can always choose supplements that have long-term benefits, such as probiotics. Probiotic supplements promote growth and develop a favorable environment for good bacteria in the intestines. Moreover, probiotics are not harmful, but the same is not true for other supplements.
Do Supplement Harm Dogs in Any Way?
The answer is ‘yes, possibly’. A dog that has been eating wholesome food and getting enough nutrients from his food can be harmed if given supplements. For example, the dog fed on a diet with multivitamins added will suffer from vitamin toxicity due to excessive intake of vitamins.
Excessive calcium can cause skeletal issues, especially in large breed puppies. Whereas too much vitamin D cause appetite loss, bone issues, and cause muscles to atrophy. And vitamin A in excess cause dehydration, joint problems, and harm blood vessels.
The takeaway is you shouldn’t give any multivitamin or mineral supplements unless your dog requires it. And only a certified veterinarian can tell you that. If you’re adding supplements to your dog’s meals just because you want to make sure your dog stays healthy and doesn’t really require any of them, you should stop doing so.
Tips on How to Select Right Dog Supplements for Your Pooch
Now that you know when you should consider getting a dog food supplement for your buddy, here are some tips on choosing the right dog supplements.
- Prefer a brand that has been in the supplement market for quite a long time and does clinical trails to observe responses to their products.
- Don’t feed human supplements. Our digestion systems are not alike, and some human foods are toxic (for example, garlic) and can harm your pet. Moreover, the amount of supplements also vary.
- Check if the product has a lot number on it or not, that number is an indication of quality control checks.
- Supplements are crucial for your dog’s health, and you can always ask the company about the effectiveness of their product. Look for the contact number of the company and ask them who prepared the formula and what their expertise is.
- You can also take your vet’s opinion on what brands to select as they have a broad experience with different dogs they have treated.
- Check for any recalls of their products and read verified reviews online.
- Choose supplements that also have probiotic supplement as well to promote overall health and well being. One such supplement is Nutra Thrive for Dogs.
Dogs need supplements when they lack specific vital nutrients. Also, if their homemade meal is not balanced and wholesome, you can consult a canine nutritionist or a vet to help you with crafting a balanced recipe. Above all, whenever you think your dog needs supplements, you should consult your vet first and ask if there’s really a need for them as excessive nutrients can also cause toxication. Take the right decisions and keep your dog healthiest and happiest!