Dog supplements – Are they worth it?

by Amy Cooper
Dog Supplements

I’m sure all dog owners have seen lots of new different types of dog supplements coming onto the market recently. So, what are they and are they actually worth getting for your dogs? 

Isn’t kibble a complete diet?

The first thing that I think of when people recommend supplements for dogs is that isn’t kibble a complete diet? So surely your dog shouldn’t need any additional supplements. Right? Well according to petmd daily multivitamins are not necessary as pet foods are created to include all of a dogs required daily nutrients. Although they do also say that it’s important to realise that not all pet foods are created equal so it’s always worth looking at the ingredient list. 

What if your dog has specific health requirements?

If your dog has any health concerns like joint problems (non-structural), skin problems or reduced mental sharpness then a supplement could be beneficial. But you shouldn’t add any supplements to your dogs diet without first consulting a vet as too much of a supplement or the combination of a supplement and medication could actually be dangerous for your dog. 

Common types of supplements and their pros/cons:

Glucosamine and chondroitin for Joints

Pros – Can help with joint recovery after injury and is easy to administer.

Cons – Glucosamine is sugar based and is often derived from shellfish so is dangerous for people with shellfish allergies.

Omega-3 fatty acids for Skin and joints

Pros – As well as improving skin and fur health it aids kidney function and helps control inflammation.

Cons – Can go off quickly and can cause other health issues if not administered correctly.

Antioxidants for Immune system and cognitive function 

Pros – Supports memory and mental function in older dogs.

Cons – As with all supplements an overdose is very possible.

Probiotics for Digestion

Pros – Increases quality of stools and can help promote a normal inflammatory response.

Cons – Can cause diarrhoea and generally need to be kept in the fridge and used quickly 

Multivitamin for General health

Pros – Contains a wide range of nutrients and usually comes in easy to administer doses.

Cons – Difficult to regulate specific amounts of individual vitamins and can lead to an overdose if not administered correctly. 

So, are supplements worth it?

If your dog is generally healthy and is fed a high-quality kibble, chances are they wont benefit from any supplements. But that’s not to say that supplements will never be of any benefit to your dog. As I said above if your dog has any health issues it could be worth speaking to your vet about giving your dog supplements as they can help with some specific issues. Another time supplements could be beneficial is if you feed your dog a homemade diet, so it’s not guaranteed to be nutritionally complete. In this case a supplement used correctly can give you the reassurance that your dog isn’t missing out on any important nutrients. 

Overall, supplements can be really beneficial for some dogs. But because of the risks involved in giving your dog a supplement you should always consult with a vet before starting your dog on any supplements.

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