Dog nutrition is the basis of optimum dog health. Most dog food options available are already well balanced and meet the needs of your dogs as they are already fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. However, there are pet owners who still want to make sure that the nutrition of requirements of their dogs are met. Therefore, dog supplementation has been steadily considered by both veterinarians and pet parents to maximize vitamin and nutrient absorption.
As dogs age their nutrient-absorbing capability decreases. Because of the continuous research and advancing technology that enable dogs to live a healthy and long life, the demand for dog vitamin supplements has been on a constant increase.
This increase can partly be attributed to the fact that owners want to make sure that their older dogs can still receive the optimum nutrition despite their reduced capability to absorb them.
The need for dog vitamins
Generally, dogs that eat commercially available dog food receive a balanced diet that includes vitamins and minerals. However, dogs that are consuming homemade meals may need supplementation. Always remember that dogs have a specific compatibility with homemade meals and vitamins. The process is not as simple as feed your dog a meal and give it some vitamins.
A large number of dog vitamins in the market today supplement the current diet trend for dogs. The goal of these supplements is to make sure that dogs are getting the required levels of vitamins and nutrients to live a healthy life. Pet parents must make sure that the vitamins that will be given along with the homemade meal will lead to a balanced diet. Always remember that before you allow your dogs to try any kind of food supplement or vitamins, you should carefully consult with your dog’s veterinarian to avoid over dosage or hypervitaminosis in dogs.
The importance of vitamins
Vitamins are considered as very important for sustaining the normal chemical reactions and processes in a dog’s body. Vitamins sometimes work effectively with enzymes and minerals to make sure that muscle development and function, reproductive capability, and digestion are working properly. The importance of vitamins does not start here, as deficiency may also affect the health of your dog’s skin and coat, as well as the absorption and use of carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
Vitamins are divided into two groups: fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. There are four fat-soluble vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, include Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12, as well as Folic Acid and Biotin. These fat-soluble vitamins are stored in a dog’s fatty tissue and liver, whereas water-soluble vitamins are stored in minimal amounts in a dog’s body. Dogs get vitamins from the food they eat, whether from dog food or from balanced home-cooked meals.
It is important to consider several factors before providing supplementation for your dog. You should be able to identify the needs of your dog for any multivitamin or food supplement. The phrase “don’t fix what is not broken” might work here, as overdosing our pets may actually lead to hazardous results. This is why currently available commercially prepared dog foods are fortified.
Now, if during one of your routine visits to the veterinarian reveals a decrease in the absorption capability of your dog, considerations and options to help your dog reach the normal levels of essential nutrients will be discussed to achieve a healthy or close to healthy state.
When the dog has been identified to have a certain vitamin or mineral deficiency. For dogs that have been diagnosed with a specific kind of deficiency, your veterinarian will prescribe a single or low combination (such as two or three vitamins or minerals). This kind of supplement management specifically addresses only the vitamins or minerals that are in short supply in your dog’s body.
When the dog has been detected to have a disease that can be cured or alleviated with a food supplement. There are numerous illnesses that can be cured or alleviated with vitamins or food supplements. It has been proven that a dog diagnosed with dermatitis may respond to zinc supplements.
When the dog eats home-cooked meals. Pet parents who prefer to prepare homemade foods for their fur babies can find it delightful to provide nourishing, healthy meals. Preparing them at home by yourself is one of the extra efforts you can give your dog, and can rest easy that the food is fresh and free from contaminants as long as you have prepared it properly.
However, home-cooked meals are the ones that have the highest tendency to lack precious vitamins and minerals because they ingredients do not have these nutrients to begin with or the vitamins and minerals are destroyed during the cooking process.
Remember that there are vitamins and minerals that are sensitive to heat, and their potency can be reduced or totally removed during the preparation and cooking process. This concern can be covered by multivitamins that will be recommended by your veterinarian.
The dog has musculo-skeletal problems like pain and discomfort. Joint pain and discomfort are more common in older dogs, as their joints and cartilages are already wearing off progressively. Because skeletal muscles and joints are the most active parts of the dog’s anatomy that work every time a dog moves, they are the most prone to wear and tear. Your veterinarian may recommend food supplements and mineral tablets that can somehow alleviate this problem and promote your dog’s well-being in its senior days.
Human vitamins vs. dog vitamins
One of the biggest questions about supplementation for dogs is whether dogs can take human vitamins. The answer to this is a resounding no. Although dogs can tolerate capsules, tablets, and syrups, and although they share similar vitamins and mineral requirements, it is too dangerous to give them the food supplements and vitamins that we humans take. For one, the dosage is definitely different because we have different levels of metabolism. The weight computation also has a huge difference.
One of the most common supplements that pet parents are giving their dogs with the hopes of helping them are calcium supplements intended for human consumption. This very dangerous action may put your pet’s life in danger.
Highly recommended dog vitamins
We have scanned hundreds of available products in the market that have been reviewed by pet owners and expert veterinarians.
Probiotics are among the supplementation for dogs that have been the most heavily promoted over the years. Probiotics are responsible for enhancing the overall health of the gastrointestinal system. They also promote improvements in digestive health and serve as a defense mechanism against physiological and emotional stressors from day to day activities.
There are so many probiotic supplements available in the market, but before choosing one, you should first consult your veterinarian to determine whether the probiotic supplement you are considering is compatible with your dog’s needs.
Most recommended probiotics
Purina 3-Pack Fortiflora canine supplement
Amazon Rating: 4.8 out of 5.0 based on 529 Consumer Reviews
This probiotic supplement serves as an augmentation for antibiotic therapy and the promotion of a healthy gastrointestinal and immune system. It alleviates diarrhea by managing and shortening its episodes. It has been highly recommended by pet owners and veterinarians because of its overall effectiveness and general compatibility with most breeds for cases that require probiotic supplementation.
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Amazon Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0 based on 235 Consumer Reviews
This non-dairy probiotic supplement helps support and sustains digestive system health. It comes in a capsule form, which ensures that the five billion microorganisms from eight different strains are delivered effectively.
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Multivitamins are a balanced combination of vitamins and minerals with dosage that is aligned with the recommended daily allowance for dogs. These supplements do not focus on one or two specific vitamin or minerals, but rather carry almost all the essential nutrients needed by dogs on a daily basis.
Most recommended multivitamins
Pet Tabs advanced formula
Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0 based on 362 Consumer Reviews
Pet Tabs has been especially formulated to enable dogs to receive the recommended dosage of nutrients to supplement their food. These chewable tablets promote good health, as well as improve skin and coat quality.
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Pro-Sense daily multivitamins
Amazon Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0 based on 151 Consumer Reviews
Pro-Sense enables pet owners to sustain multivitamin supplementation without a significant addition to pet maintenance cost. It provides the essential vitamins and minerals especially made for adult dogs.
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Herbal supplements are made from natural ingredients that have been researched and perfected to promote a holistic approach to canine well-being. Herbal supplements can be derived from a single natural or herbal source or from a combination of several herbs to achieve the intended effect.
Most recommended herbal supplements
Amazon Rating: 4.1 out of 5.0 based on 118 Consumer Reviews
Apocaps is considered as one of the best nutraceutical options to support the biological process in dogs, specifically apoptosis. Apoptosis refers to the process in which the genes in cells are reactivated to make way to the formation of new cells. Apocaps is currently widely known as the only true apoptosis pill available for dogs. It has been developed by a world-renowned veterinarian to promote canine well-being.
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H3 Glucosamine for dogs
Amazon Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0 based on 331 Consumer Reviews
H3 Glucosamine is considered as the best glucosamine preparation for dogs. Its components have been derived from high-quality ingredients that include several vitamins and Yucca Schidigera. It has been certified safe and free from common food and supplement contaminants, such as E. Coli, yeast, and mold through microbiological testing. Also, unlike other glucosamine preparations, H3 Glucosamine comes as a chicken-flavored treat that is irresistible even to the pickiest dogs.
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Factors to consider in dog supplementation
In general, dog vitamins and supplements are not short-term treatments like antibiotics and pain medications. Most vitamins and supplements should be taken for extended periods of time, which may vary from months to lifetime consumption, especially for dogs with advancing age that already require continuous supplementation support.
It is important that you discuss supplementation with your dog’s veterinarian, not only because it will be an additional step in the daily routine that includes the typical eat and exercise regimen, but also because of the added cost.
Dog vitamins and supplements can vary in terms of cost, but given that these medications are to be consumed for a very long time, costs will eventually pile up even if you select the most affordable option.
In selecting dog vitamins, inexpensive is not always the best option. You may find a relatively affordable dog vitamin, but it may contain low doses of your dog’s requirements and you may end up buying and giving your dog more to achieve the ideal dose. Before choosing your preferred supplement, check the label, and compare the doses and concentration.
Several expensive types of vitamins and supplements offer the purest form of the vitamin. This ensures good absorption in the body. As a pet parent, check the contents and concentration first, and then compare prices so that you will not be constrained by cost alone. You should also get the best value for your money to inhibit the occurrence of unnecessary additional purchases.
It is one of the best intentions of a devoted pet parent to ensure the health of his or her dog. However, you should also understand the importance of identifying and addressing the problems that you have observed or that your veterinarian has called your attention to. Given that dogs cannot express their concerns on their own, you should have a keen eye for any changes that may have been caused by vitamin or mineral deficiency.
Early detection is still the best way to normalize the vitamin and mineral levels in your dog’s body, and you should schedule an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian the first time that you notice any symptoms and changes in your dog. In this way, you will be able to address the problem sooner, such that there is less possibility for additional problems to arise or for the condition to worsen. After all, you ultimate goal is to keep your dog healthy and strong so that you get to have it with you for the longest possible time.