What's Best for Your Dog
The well-being and physical state of a beloved pet is a serious matter which should always be discussed with a vet. However, most dog owners want to give their pets the best care possible, and that includes various diet supplements and canine vitamins. It is necessary to understand what kinds of dog supplements there are and when it is safe to give them to a pet.
Essentially, there is no limit to the number of various pills and supplements that can be added to a dog's rations, but is more always better? Let’s find out!
How Often Do Dog Owners Use Supplements?
According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, as many as 35% of families in the United States add various supplements to their dog's nutrition on a regular basis (JAVMA, 2017). Moreover, almost half of dog owners admitted to buying some sort of pet dietary supplements at any point in their life as a recommendation from a vet.
However, changing the ration of a dog for no apparent reason can lead to more health problems than at the start. The majority of dog food manufacturers are particularly thorough in supplementing their product with enough nutrients, microelements and ingredients of the highest quality, guaranteeing a well-balanced diet for your pup.
So in what cases does a pet need a dietary adjustment?
When Does Your Dog Need Supplements?
Commonly, there are three reasons why a dog owner might decide to use vitamins and supplements on a regular basis (after consultation with a vet, of course).
The first reason is that your pet has been diagnosed with a vitamin or nutrient deficiency. Usually, veterinarians prescribe a single supplement that is consistent with the diagnosis.
In this case, a dog owner has to understand that adding a multivitamin supplement to their dog's diet on top of the supplement recommended by the vet will do more harm than good. From time to time, a slight change in diet will go a long way, and the addition of a single vitamin will have a more positive effect on a dog’s health than a whole handful of them.
The second reason for adding more nutrients into a dog's diet is if the dog has been diagnosed with a sickness that can be treated with a certain supplement. There are particular canine illnesses that are common with no regard to breed or size. For example, osteoarthritis affects almost 20% of dogs as they become older.
Recent research suggests adding a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement to the ration of a dog with this disease. Each dog might react differently to different doses of any supplement, especially if they are ill, which is why it's important to consult a veterinarian.
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Supplement Home-Cooked Meals
Lots of people resort to cooking their own meals as a substitute for store-bought dog food. This is a wonderful way of making sure that a dog gets all necessary energy from their meals. However, it is highly unlikely that the precise number of vitamins a dog needs for healthy living is correctly calculated by a dog owner from day to day.
A veterinary nutritionist might offer some help to see whether your favorite pooch needs a multivitamin pill to go with that wonderful home-prepared food.
Types of Vitamins
When going about choosing a supplement for your dog, it's important to know that two types of vitamins exist. The first type is water soluble and the other one is fat soluble. The first group of vitamins (C, B1) are basically harmless, as an excessive amount of them can be discharged with urine.
But the second group of fat soluble vitamins (A, D) builds up in the liver and fat tissues of a pet, causing potential problems with joints, the cardiovascular system and even muscles and bones. So, a dog can suffer from the extra vitamins and supplements just as much as from the lack of them.
Use Caution and Be Consistent
A dog owner always has to be careful about the source of the supplements that are a part of a dog’s healthy ration. The marketing campaigns for dog food supplements can be as convincing as ads for human supplements, and should not always be followed blindly. Make sure both you and your veterinarian are certain in the theoretically and clinically proven advantages of the supplements, as it is not always better to give a suspicious new vitamin on the market the benefit of the doubt.
Also, most supplements take some time to work, so don’t rush into changing the diet of a pet again. The health of your dog usually relies on balance and constancy. Take time to get to know the needs of your pet, as it will save a lot of time, costs and worries in the long run.
As you can see, keeping a dog healthy and happy largely depends on the right amount of vitamins and diet supplements. Please always remember to consult a veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist when in doubt, as the health of your pet depends on it!
AVMA (Assessing Pet Supplements)
Open Veterinary Journal (Glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis: A review)
Dogs All-in-One for Dummies