Pet supplements have become a billion-dollar industry, but do dogs really need them? Are they safe? Undoubtedly, supplements are not created equal, some work, others don’t, and many are not necessary and may even prove to be harmful to dogs.
If you are giving your dog a complete and balanced diet (premium quality), he probably will not require any supplements, particularly if he is active and healthy. But if your dog is on a homemade diet, supplements may be necessary to ensure that your pet does not suffer from specific deficiencies and their associated ill effects. It is recommended that you check with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist to determine what supplements your pet may require.
Do dog supplements work?
Certain supplements may be recommended by your veterinarian if your dog is found to be suffering from certain health issues that warrant the need for supplementation. However, your dog should undergo a thorough checkup before it can be ascertained if he will benefit from supplements or not.
How effective a supplement can be will depend to a large extent on how it is manufactured and the quality of its ingredients. Many commercially available dog supplements have not gone through clinical trials. Your best bet is to go for supplements from reputable companies but do make sure to do your homework and try to learn as much as you can about the supplement that has been recommended by your vet.
Risks of giving supplements to dogs
According to the FDA and many veterinarians, dogs that are already on a premium quality diet do not need supplements because it could have harmful consequences. Excess amounts of certain vitamins and minerals in the body can lead to serious problems. Some of the common examples are:
- Too much calcium can pave the way for skeletal problems particularly in large breed of puppies
- Excess vitamin A can increase a dog’s risk of dehydration and pain in the joints. There is also a negative effect on blood vessels.
- Too much vitamin D can cause muscle atrophy, bone problems, and loss of appetite.
- Herbal supplements, even if they are using natural ingredients, can also have potential side effects and/or cause negative reactions.
If your dog is suffering from a certain health issue, like arthritis or liver disease, you should never attempt to forego traditional treatment methods and give supplements and herbals instead. There are ingredients in some supplements that may interact negatively with a medication that your dog may be taking.
Common Dog Supplements
These products are often recommended for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. Studies show that supplementation in dogs with arthritis led to less pain and more mobility. It may also help relieve joint pain and improve the mobility of senior dogs.
Beaphar Joint Tablets for Dogs contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and vitamin E to support joint health, help rebuild cartilage, and allow pain-free movement of the joints. It also promotes the regeneration of cartilage and keeps them healthy. The product also supports the natural production of synovial fluid which is essential for the smooth movement of the joints.
Fish oil is an excellent source of essential fatty acids (EFAs), like omega-3 and omega-6. These EFAs help keep the skin and haircoat healthy and shiny. They also possess anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate skin allergies.
Real Nature - Mega Fish Oil For Dogs contains omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) from America Anchovy Oil and Alaska Cod Oil. It is packed with anti-inflammatory effects while keeping a dog’s hair coat sleek and shiny.
Reduce inflammation and help senior dogs with cognitive dysfunction and memory loss. Antioxidants protect the body cells from free radicals that cause cell membrane damage and even cell death. Common antioxidants include vitamins C and E, and coenzyme Q10.
Kala Health Immunix Antioxidants Pet Supplements is packed with powerful anti-oxidants (amino acids, enzymes, grape seed extract, vitamins, and minerals) that protect a dog’s body from cellular damage caused by free radicals.
These are products that are composed of live beneficial microorganisms that support the health and function of the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics are usually used in conjunction with other medications for treatment of the diarrhea and other problems affecting the digestive system.
Dom & Cleo Probiotics For Dogs contains 8 strains of beneficial microorganisms and 30 billion CFUs (colony-forming units). Daily supplementation can help support gut health and improve digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Tips To Choosing A Dog Supplement
- Select a brand that specializes in one type or area of supplements.
- Do your assignment by checking out which companies have conducted clinical studies of their products.
- Check if the product has a lot number. This indicates quality control checks conducted by the company.
- The product label should have the company’s or manufacturer’s contact number. This will enable you to gather more information about particular supplements such as who formulated the product, what field of expertise do they have, and the length of time that the manufacturer of the supplement has been in the industry.
- Be an educated pet owner. Do not be carried away by claims and promises that are too good to be true.
- Check if there is a certification from an independent company or organization that has verified the contents of the supplement.
- Do not give human supplements to dogs except when recommended by your vet. Some human supplements contain ingredients, such as garlic, that are harmful to dogs.
- Know more about the seller by checking out any record of product recalls or problems with their supplements.
When choosing supplements for your dog, you may choose to obtain recommendation by your veterinarian. If you have heard or read about a supplement that you wish to give to your pet, it is always recommended that you consult your vet. If your dog is on medication for a certain health issue, giving supplements, even natural herbal products, it is important to consult your vet as it can possibly lead to harmful effects.
With so many dog supplements flooding the market, many have been found out not to meet label claims. In fact, several studies have shown the quality of many pet supplements to be lower compared with human supplements. It is enough to say that both authorities and the veterinary industry are concerned about the quality of these pet supplements.