These days, pet owners are more careful than ever about what they feed their dog. They’re more cognizant of what ingredients are put into their dog’s food and how they can best bolster their pet’s nutrition. Just like humans, it’s not always easy to get all of the supplements your dog needs through diet alone. That’s where supplements come into play.
Supplements help add essential vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet and can be used to treat a variety of ailments. The following supplements can be added to your dog’s diet at any stage of life and are generally considered among the best supplements to keep your dog happy and healthy.
Golden paste is a powerhouse supplement. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which helps protect the liver from toxins, it can help combat allergies, and is even thought to prevent and treat cancer.
This supplement can be made easily at home by combining turmeric powder, filtered water, fresh ground black pepper, and coconut or MCT oil. As with any supplement, dosage should start out small and increase to tolerance, up to 20 mg per pound of body weight.
Have you ever seen a dog with a super-shiny coat? It’s probably because their diet includes fish oil. You can add fish oil to your dog’s diet by way of actual, whole fish such as mackerel or by a store-bought supplement.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, a beneficial type of fat that your dog’s body can’t produce on its own. In addition to the benefits this supplement has on your dog’s coat, it’s also great for their heart health and overall immune system. It can help with dry skin and allergies. It can also stave off joint pain and can help fight cancer.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar isn’t just a staple for salad dressings. It can also be a great supplement for your dog! Look for the apple cider vinegar containing “The Mother” which has the appropriate enzymes and beneficial bacteria. It will look cloudy in appearance.
Used topically, apple cider vinegar is purported to help with itchy skin, ear infections, and as a flea and tick repellent. When given orally to your dog, it can help regulate blood sugar and blood pressure levels, may help with urinary tract infections, and can help cognitive decline or obesity. It’s also an antimicrobial, which means it can help with bacterial overgrowth. Apple cider vinegar should never be given undiluted, so be sure to mix it in with your dog’s food or water. Dosage will vary by weight.
Dogs need their probiotics too! Thanks to its antifungal properties, Kefir is an excellent supplement for maintaining your dog’s delicate gut health. Similar to yogurt in texture and appearance, kefir is made from fermenting grains that contain yeasts, fungi, and bacteria, and can be made in a variety of ways. It is most commonly made using sheep, cow, or goat’s milk, but can also be made with coconut water for a lactose intolerant pet.
Given its friendly bacteria load, kefir is best known for its gut-healing properties, but can treat many things. It can prevent bad breath, allergies, and the spread of cancer. It can be used to address joint disease, anemia, pancreatitis, and leaky gut syndrome. It can even help treat canine depression and anxiety. In terms of dosing, it is suggested to give small dogs 1 tsp – 1 tbsp, medium dogs 1-2 tbsp, and large dogs 2-3 tbsp.
One of the most widely used supplements for dogs is glucosamine. Glucosamine is part of the fluid that makes up joint cushioning and is produced naturally in your dog’s body, however, its production decreases with time as your dog’s cartilage wears down.
Glucosamine can be derived both naturally from shellfish and artificially through plants in a laboratory, and is made to treat arthritis. It can also be used as a preventative or to help alleviate joint pain. Glucosamine is sold in powders, pills, and chews.
The bottom line…
If you’re looking to optimize your dog’s diet, supplements might be a helpful addition to your current food regimen. It’s all about finding the right balance, which can be difficult to do with kibble alone. While dietary supplements can be highly effective in treating an array of maladies, keep in mind that they can’t replace regular veterinary care. Supplements are simply one more tool to keep in your back pocket in case your furry friend needs a little extra boost.