Pet care is evolving alongside the deepening bond between humans and their animals, making the pursuit of optimal health and happiness for our furry friends more important than ever. There is increasing scientific and anecdotal evidence supporting the effectiveness of various supplements for dogs. However, pet owners may find themselves questioning, 'Are supplements safe for my pet?' or 'What are the benefits of using these supplements for my pet?' No doubt, with the multitude of options available in stores, choosing the right supplement can be overwhelming. In this article, we'll explore a selection of popular supplements for dogs and discuss why you might want to incorporate them into your pet's routine.
Glucosamine is a natural compound composed of glucose and glutamine, crucial for maintaining healthy cartilage and joint function. It stimulates the growth of cartilage cells and normalizes synovial fluid in joints (Johnson et al., 2020). While dogs naturally produce glucosamine, supplementation becomes necessary with age to prevent joint damage. Glucosamine supplements, typically derived from shellfish, can aid dogs with arthritis by replenishing this essential nutrient. Although not a cure, glucosamine helps improve comfort and mobility in dogs with degenerative joint disease.
Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that involves joint inflammation, leading to mobility loss, stiffness, and lameness. It can be triggered by events like injuries or infections or result from underlying issues such as joint deformities or excess weight on the joints due to obesity. Regardless of the cause, arthritis worsens over time, with symptoms appearing as pets age. Possible symptoms encompass stiffness or limping, which may worsen in the morning or colder weather, a diminished pace or hesitancy in standing, difficulties with stair climbing, entering or exiting a vehicle, and reduced enthusiasm for walks and physical activity.
Should My Dog Eat Glucosamine (Hip and Joint) Supplements?
As dogs age, they commonly develop arthritis, leading to joint discomfort and reduced mobility. Some may experience inherited or acquired joint issues, such as hip dysplasia, potentially resulting in arthritis at a younger age. If your dog has joint pain, your vet may recommend glucosamine supplements to alleviate discomfort and slow down joint deterioration. Personally, my older dog eagerly anticipates her daily glucosamine chew, and I can see the positive impact it has on her well-being.
Happy Bond Joint Supplement
Happy Bond's distinctive formula contains glucosamine for dogs, in addition to top-quality hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, and vitamins. Created by a biotech scientist with expertise in cartilage tissue engineering and endorsed by Cesar Millan (Dog Whisperer & Bondmaker), it's the optimal choice for your dog's well-being!
2. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is commonly given to dogs to enhance coat quality, alleviate skin allergies, and potentially aid in arthritis, and joint and heart health. It offers proven benefits like improved behavior and brain function, increased puppy intelligence, and the reduction of inflammation and epilepsy (Johnson et al., 2020). Fatty acids are vital for maintaining cellular structure and forming protective membranes crucial for energy production in mitochondria.
Supplements that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA are typically found in marine-sourced oils such as salmon, krill, squid, and mussels. These omega-3s have been proven to reduce inflammation and support brain regeneration (Roush et al., 2010). Marine oils contain resolvins, which are true heroes in combating inflammation, both preventing and resolving it.
Pet owners are advised to opt for fish oil supplements in triglyceride or phospholipid form rather than the cheaper ethyl ester foam as it may result in rapid oxidation and a decrease in antioxidants. Fish oil supplements available usually contain oils derived from diverse marine creatures such as salmon, krill, anchovy, mussels, and squid. In cases where your dog is allergic to ocean-sourced oils, high-DHA microalgae oil (algal oil) can serve as an alternative, but not microalgae powder, as it doesn't meet DHA or EPA requirements.
Should My Dog Eat Fish Oil (EFA) Supplements?
If your dog consumes fresh, minimally processed food or includes fatty fish like sardines or cooked salmon in their diet regularly, you may need fewer omega-3 supplements or none at all.
Veterinary nutritionist Dr. Donna Raditic recommends EPA and DHA, known for their anti-inflammatory effects, for dogs with various diseases. Recommended doses range from 50 to 220 mg/kg (23-100 mg/lb) of body weight, with the highest for dogs with osteoarthritis and lacking additional omega-3s. For dogs that do not consume other omega-3 sources, a maintenance dose of 75 mg per kg (34 mg/lb) is suggested. These doses are based on supplement content per capsule or milliliter of liquid. Store in the refrigerator after opening, use within thirty days, or choose capsules. Consult your vet, especially if your dog takes medications, before using fish oil.
ZEAL Hoki Fish Oil
Zeal® Pure Natural New Zealand Hoki Fish Oil stands out as one of the world's truly pure fish oils. It offers 140 mg of DHA and 70 mg of EPA per serving, with DHA being the most valuable component.
Antioxidants play a crucial role in shielding cells from damage caused by reactive compounds such as free radicals, gaining particular significance when chronic inflammation exhausts the body's natural antioxidant reserves. This depletion can lead to cell damage, DNA damage, and even cancer (Rubio et al., 2016) Antioxidant supplements may include various substances such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and enzymes. Examples include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and glutathione peroxidase.
Zesty Paws Salmon Bites
Zesty Paws Salmon Bites are soft chews enriched with omegas, vitamins, and antioxidants that promote skin health and protect against free radicals, ensuring your dog's well-being.
4. ProbioticsProbiotics, which are beneficial gut microorganisms in your dog's intestines, aid in digestion and can address issues like diarrhea (Biourge et al., 1998). Recent findings suggest that they can also combat urinary tract infections, boost the immune system, and alleviate anxiety. These microorganisms play a vital role in the interaction between your dog's gut and brain, enhancing mental and emotional well-being.
To support your dog's gut health, choose a probiotic formula with diverse strains and a high CFU (colony forming units) count, validated by third-party testing. You can rotate through different brands and types of probiotics, including soil-based and bacterial strains, to diversify your dog's gut microbes.
Additionally, incorporating prebiotic foods is essential to achieve the desired outcome known as "postbiotics." Postbiotics, sourced from polyphenol-rich substances, should be integrated into the diet. Due to their sensitivity to heat, ultra-processed pet foods like dry kibbles are not nutritionally optimal for preserving postbiotics. If your dog doesn't enjoy fermented veggies and plain kefir, consider switching to different dog-specific probiotics from various brands and types to promote their microbiome health. Follow the package instructions and consider the benefits of combining probiotics with digestive enzymes.
You can read more about probiotics and prebiotics covered in our previous article here!
Treat Happy + Healthy Supplement
HAPPY + HEALTHY is a powerful blend of pre-, pro, and postbiotics, as well as digestive enzymes and superfoods, to boost and rebalance your dog's microbiome for their long-term health.
If your pet is healthy, do they need supplements?
Ensuring your dog's nutritional needs are met depends on their diet. Dogs on a well-balanced commercial diet usually don't need vitamin supplements unless recommended by a veterinarian. Conversely, those on a homemade diet might require supplements to ensure sufficient vitamin intake. However, following advice from veterinary nutritionist Dr. Susan Wynn, DVM, it's essential to customize supplementation according to the diet.
While pet supplements can significantly contribute to your cherished companion's overall well-being and joy, it's also crucial to recognize that not all supplements suit every pet. You should prioritize factors like product quality, safety, and transparency in your selection process. Additionally, consulting your veterinarian to establish the most fitting supplementation plan tailored to your pet's needs is a prudent step, as discussed earlier.
Johnson, K. A., Lee, A. H., & Swanson, K. S. (2020). Nutrition and nutraceuticals in the changing management of osteoarthritis for dogs and cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 256(12), 1335-1341. Retrieved Oct 2, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.256.12.1335
Roush, J. K., Dodd, C. E., Fritsch, D. A., Allen, T. A., Jewell, D. E., Schoenherr, W. D., Richardson, D. C., Leventhal, P. S., & Hahn, K. A. (2010). Multicenter veterinary practice assessment of the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on osteoarthritis in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 236(1), 59-66. Retrieved Oct 2, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.2460/javma.236.1.59
Rubio, C.P., Hernández-Ruiz, J., Martinez-Subiela, S. et al. Spectrophotometric assays for total antioxidant capacity (TAC) in dog serum: an update. BMC Vet Res 12, 166 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-016-0792-7
Biourge, V., Vallet, C., Levesque, A., Sergheraert, R., Chevalier, S., & Roberton, J. L. (1998). The use of probiotics in the diet of dogs. The Journal of nutrition, 128(12), 2730S-2732S.
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