Supplements for Dogs
People love their dogs and want to care for them in the best way possible. The pet vitamin and supplement industry makes billions of dollars each year on this desire to provide the best nutrition for pets, but many of these compounds are not necessary and may even be harmful. Understanding more about the vitamins and supplements available to dog-owners will help them to make better decisions for their best friend’s health.
Most dogs get all the vitamins and minerals they need from the commercial dog food they eat every day. Pet food companies spend billions in research of nutritional needs to ensure that their products provide all the dietary different types of pets require. However, if your dog is a picky eater or demands homemade food, a multivitamin can ensure that you are not overlooking some important component in his diet. Dog-owners should be aware that an excess of some vitamins can cause problems in their pets. Too much vitamin D can cause bone problems or muscle atrophy. Excess calcium can cause skeletal abnormalities in large dogs. Too much vitamin A can lead to dehydration and joint pain. Check with your veterinarian before starting a vitamin regimen to avoid overdosing.
Glucosamine & Chondroitin for Dogs
Glucosamine is a derivative of glucose that is obtained from chitin, a component in the shells of crustaceans. Chondroitin is a component naturally found in animal cartilage. These two compounds together have been found to have a significant effect on joint pain and stiffness in both humans and canines. Glucosamine-chondroitin supplements can be helpful in relieving pain and immobility in older dogs. Talk to your vet before starting your dog on this type of supplement to ensure that the animal has no other physical conditions that would contraindicate its use. Some dogs may experience vomiting or diarrhea from the product.
MSM Supplements For Dogs
Methylsulfonylmethane, usually shortened to MSM, is another type of supplement that is used for canine joint problems. It is a sulfur compound that aids in the cell regeneration and can be helpful for painful joints as well as overall health. MSM is sometimes used along with glucosamine-chondroitin to improve mobility in dogs. This supplement is often used when the dog has poor tolerance of prescribed joint medications. Consult with your vet to determine the right amount for your dog’s needs.
Fish Oil for dogs
Fish oil supplements are often recommended for dogs with dry skin and coat problems. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids that can improve skin, hair, joint health and heart function. Some studies show it can even be helpful in slowing the growth of cancer. Generally, daily liquid fish oil supplements are poured over food or in capsule form that can be tucked into a favorite treat.
Probiotics for dogs
Some dogs have delicate digestive systems that are easily upset by nervousness or from eating unusual foods. Veterinarians have found that probiotics can help regulate the bacterial floral in the digestive tract instead of prescribed medications. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are commonly found in the canine digestive tract. Any disturbance in the balance of intestinal bacteria can cause abdominal upsets and diarrhea. Even taking a course of antibiotics can disrupt the normal bacterial balance in a dog’s digestive tract. Ask your veterinarian about the use of probiotics for your dog’s digestive issues.