Did you know that approximately only 10-30% of dog owners provide their dogs with nutritional supplements? You might be thinking that sounds rather low, and so why are they under-utilized? Well, you’ll probably see on your pup’s food package some details about ‘extra added ingredients’, or claims like ‘boosts joint health’ and ‘promotes a healthy digestion’. As a result, it’s easy to think that your dog’s food contains everything they could possibly need, maybe even more, and so there’s no need for supplements. But in this article, we will find out how feeding a supplement product is even more beneficial than food with cooked-in supplements, and how supplements might boost your dog’s health.
Dog supplements are an easy addition to your pup’s diet to help make sure he receives wonderful, health-boosting nutrients. Let’s look at how supplements can improve your dog’s health. If you scour the market, you can find a dog supplement that will help with almost anything. Some of the most common, and scientifically verified, reasons to give your dog supplements includes:
- Improving joint mobility by decreasing joint inflammation and pain
- Supporting active joints from wear and tear, through slowing down joint cartilage degradation and improving joint fluid composition
- Enriching the health of the skin and haircoat
- Improving the skin barrier’s natural defenses, to be able to deal with itchiness and allergies
- Boosting the immune system with disease-fighting antioxidants
- Decreasing anxiety and improving happiness
- Enhancing digestion through the gut microbiome
- Boosting heart and organ health, including improving survival times for dogs with heart failure
So, if your dog is an active or working dog, has mobility issues, has a skin condition, needs to improve the glossiness of their coat, is a worrier, or is prone to an upset gut, supplements may be for him! For example, Toby the Jack Russell is now 15 years old, and struggling with arthritis in his stifle joints. He recently started a joint supplement, and now he wants to chase balls again. This hadn’t been the case for over two years!
Supplements are pretty powerful to achieve all these things! And they can be complemented even further with a natural, nutritious diet.
Some diets already contain cooked-in supplements, so it might be easy to think ‘why should a dog receive supplement products when you can buy food with them already added?’ Well, even though there is nothing wrong with kibble or dry food, the manufacturing process can cook-off and damage the quality of the ingredients. Therefore, you can rest assured that by boosting with a supplement, the quality and concentration of the ingredients will make it to your dog’s bowl as intended.
So how do you go about selecting the right supplement for your dog? Supplements can come in a variety of forms, such as a chew, powder, tablet or liquid. The most suitable type for your dog should be one of your main considerations. As in the end, your dog doesn’t eat it, the supplement is useless.
It is important to check the purity and concentration of the ingredients. This ensures they are of the best quality, to maximize the absorption into the body. After all, if you go to the efforts to get your dog to eat the supplement, then only a little is absorbed from the guts, it won’t have benefitted him. Likewise, if you choose a dog supplement with only a small concentration of the desired ingredient in, it might not be enough to make a therapeutic difference.
Supplements should have as few preservatives and additives in the ingredients list as possible. Checking out consumer reviews and scientific research linked to the supplement will also give you some surety in its quality and certainty of absorption, as these are wonderful examples of the supplement in action.
There are several ingredients which a dog supplement product could contain, and it can become overwhelming knowing which ones to look out for. These are some of the most common ingredients:
- Joints: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Green Lipped Mussel, Omega Oils, Turmeric, Devil’s Claw
- Skin and Coat: Omega oils such as seed oils and seafood, Biotin, Quercetin
- Digestion: Probiotics, Yucca, Milk Thistle, Pumpkin, Slippery Elm
- Anxiety: L-tryptophan, Casein
- Immunity: Vitamin E , Probiotics
- Heart and Organ Health: Omega oils such as seed oils and seafood, Biotin, Coconut, L-Carnitine
One problem that you might come across though, is when your dog has multiple ailments or areas of his health which you’d like to boost. You might end up having to give multiple different supplement products, and his bowl ends up with more powder than food.
It’s important to acknowledge that even though supplements are natural, they still have real and powerful effects, including interactions with medications. Therefore, you should consult your veterinarian before starting a new supplement to ensure it is safe for your dog to do so. However, once your vet is onboard, you can be confident to enhance your dog’s wellbeing by choosing a high-quality, minimally-processed, scientifically-researched supplement for your dog.