7 Signs You’re Feeding Your Dog the Wrong Food
12 Popular Supplements for Your Dog
Dog parents will be the first to tell you that they consider their furry friends a member of the family. It is because of this level of love and compassion that we go to great lengths to ensure their good health.
But while most quality commercial dog foods contain the recommended amount of essential vitamins and nutrients, there are some instances when your dog isn’t receiving the health benefits they need from the food that they eat.
(If you feed your dog a lot of table food for instance, this is particularly true.)
In these cases, you're often required to fill in these gaps with the use of supplements.
The pet supplement market has exploded into a billion-dollar industry in recent years, with almost as many options available for our lovable dogs as there are for us humans.
Unfortunately, this supplement industry, like that of humans, is not regulated and, therefore, goes unsupervised which can lead to questionable products.
That means that once you've established a need for particular supplement for your dog, you'll need to do some research to locate the best brands and companies to put your trust in.
But before all that, we though you may find it helpful to have a list of the more popular supplements people use on their dogs, and what they're generally used for.
Note: Before we dig in it's important to note that you should always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any new supplements. Every dog is unique and has specific needs. Your vet can help you to establish exactly what supplements your dog requires, or are best for your dog, and in what quantity.
Whether available as a specific supplement or found in dog food, glucosamine is, by far, the best-selling type of dog supplementation found on the market today.
Glucosamine naturally occurs in your dog’s body, with the majority of it found in their cartilage. But as dogs age, the level of glucosamine decreases, which results in increased pain and stiffness of the joints.
Glucosamine supplements help to lubricate joints thereby reducing inflammation and pain.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fats are an integral part of a dog’s diet, second only to protein. Since high omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation and omega-3 fatty acids lower it, in order to achieve a healthy digestive system for your pet there must be a proper balance between the two.
The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA and EPA, are the same for dogs as they are for us humans. These helpful fats promote better overall brain health, improved eye sight, better cardiovascular and nervous system health and help to reduce inflammation.
Given the delicate nature of a dog’s digestive system, it is imperative that their owners help to maintain a balanced level of probiotics so your dog can properly and easily digest their food.
A dog’s digestive system can be upset by many things, including a change in food, stress and the natural process of aging. Probiotics help to provide a more proper balance of essential “good” bacteria such as Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus and Lactobacillus.
4. Milk Thistle
The health benefits that milk thistle provides for a dog are numerous.
Primarily used as a liver tonic, the three primary compounds found in milk thistle, silychristine, silydianin and silybin, are combined to form a powerful compound known as silymarin. It is this compound that provides protection against kidney and liver damage, and can even help to repair some existing damage, although it cannot cure any disease.
It’s also used for treating jaundice, hepatitis and certain bacterial and viral infections and contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Although there is some controversy regarding the health benefits of CoQ10, dogs have experienced better cardiovascular health through the use of this antioxidant supplement.
Much of the debate surrounds the type of CoQ10 that is used, with many experts agreeing that the oil-based varieties are more effective than the powder versions.
But ensuring the proper absorption of CoQ10 into a dog’s system isn’t quite that easy. Since CoQ10 is fat-soluble, it is recommended that you mix it with a teaspoon of coconut oil or butter.
The easiest way to encourage a dog to take this mixture is to melt the oil or butter with a CoQ10 liquid gel and pour it over their food.
Known by its clinical name of S-Adenosyl Methionine, SAMe is an anti-inflammatory supplement given to dogs to help improve mood while combating arthritis, liver problems, depression, cognitive decline and other behavioral conditions.
L-carnitine assists with the transportation of long chain fatty acids to a dog’s cells, to then attach to the mitochondria of those cells, where they can be used as fuel/energy. In essence L-carnitine helps a dog's body become more efficient at turning fat into energy.
This supplement also helps to promote lean muscle mass in your pet. However, care must be taken when administering it as it can have the tendency to disrupt normal thyroid function, a condition that many dogs develop as they age.
If your dog suffers from excessive mucus or watering of the eyes, from an eye infection or conjunctivitis, goldenseal is the answer. This herb acts as a natural antibiotic and decreases the amount of bacteria that attaches to the cells of the eyes.
Additionally can be taken as an anti-inflammatory and is especially effective for ulcers and mouth irritations.
9. Sunflower Oil
An often overlooked supplement, sunflower oil is helpful in promoting healthy moisturized skin and a healthy, shiny coat. It also helps dogs by improving immune functions, as well as heart health, and promotes energy.
This is an essential amino acid which dogs must receive through their diet, since they cannot create this amino acid naturally within their bodies. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and thus are essential components for good health.
Lysine helps promote healthy muscles, helps to improve the immune system and aids in strengthening bones by promoting the absorption of calcium.
It is often combined with vitamin C to help prevent a common cardiovascular condition in dogs known as atheroma plaque. Some studies have also linked lysine with slowing the progression of cancer cells.
11. Green Tripe
If you can get past the fact that tripe is the stomach of a grazing animal, you’ll be surprised how beneficial it can be for your dog.
The reason most people get freaked out by tripe is because the only variety that benefits dogs has to be green, which means it is straight from the cow and still contains all of its natural juice versus the white bleached variety that has been processed and contains no nutritional value.
Green tripe is packed with nutrition, enzymes, nutrients and good bacteria.
12. Apple Cider Vinegar
Given the numerous health benefits that apple cider vinegar has to offer humans it should come as no surprise that it is quite beneficial for dogs, too. The benefits include helping to normalize weight, aiding in digestion and helping dogs to absorb the nutrients found in their food.
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