Dietary supplements are gaining importance among dog owners and veterinarians.
There are no magic pills, but supplements are becoming recognized and scientifically corroborated as a valued component of a program to maintain and manage health.
There are countless formulas in the market target a range of health conditions.
These products are claimed to support joints, skin and coat health, gastrointestinal tract health, and heart health, for example.
The following article includes some examples.
Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulphate & Hyaluronic Acid
Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, and Hyaluronic Acid supplements are probably the most commonly used dog supplements for joints.
The motive is that arthritis in dogs is a very frequent condition seen by veterinarians.
They are essential basic natural components of cartilage and synovial fluid (liquid inside the joint).
They are produced by the body, but can also be offered in the diet.
Numerous clinical studies have proved that the administration of these particular micronutrients leads to a reduction of arthritis symptoms.
They are chondroprotective agents able to slow the progression of cartilage destruction and may help to regenerate the joint structure, leading to reduced pain and improved mobility of the affected joint.
Dietary Fatty Acids
The essential fatty acids in canine diets include omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid – EPA, docosahexaenoic acid – DHA, α-linolenic acid – ALA).
Marine oil sources provide EPA and DHA.
These elements have been useful in many clinical conditions. For example:
- In inflammatory skin disorders, omega fatty acids improve pruritus, self-trauma, coat character, and alopecia
- In dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation, muscle loss and increase appetite
- Clinical studies suggest changes in brain concentrations of DHA are positively connected with changes in cognitive or behavioral performance and memory
- Feeding bitches a diet supplemented with DHA during gestation and lactation is linked with improvements in neurologic development of their puppies
Cod liver oil should not be used as a fish oil supplement, as most forms hold disproportionate amounts of vitamins A and D.
Dog’s digestive tract is home to billions of bacteria.
The intestine is known as the biggest immune organ in the body.
Healthy intestinal flora is vital to a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
It acts as a barrier against pathogens and helps to eliminate toxins and microorganisms.
Probiotics are living microorganisms analogous to dog’s intestinal flora when administered in appropriate quantities confer a health benefit.
The major part of clinical studies evaluating the efficacy of probiotics in veterinary patients relates to the gastrointestinal system, particularly diarrhea cases.
However, probiotics have also been assessed in diseases, for example, dermatological conditions.
Rising proof exists in the veterinary field that probiotics can be beneficial in a variety of conditions.
Because they present a few side effects, the administration of probiotics should be considered when treating dogs with the gastrointestinal and dermatological disease.
Vitamins are essential to maintaining your dog’s health.
A deficiency of a specific vitamin can origin health problems.
The majority of dogs is getting what they need from dog food.
A good quality food formula uses high-quality ingredients and is design to be balanced, providing the correct amount of what your dog needs.
There are two types of vitamins:
- Water soluble
- Fat soluble (Vitamins A, D, E, K)
Excess of water soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B1, is eliminated in urine, so too much of these vitamins normally don’t cause disease.
However fat soluble vitamins are deposited in the liver and adipose tissue, thus, in large amounts, these can cause serious issues (skeletal problems, damage to blood vessels, and muscle atrophy).
If you prepare you dog meals at home I advise you to seek the help of a veterinary nutritionist to evaluate the amount and proportions of vitamins your dog is receiving.
A multivitamin may be appropriate in some cases.
Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) is a vital element of the mitochondria, which are components of the cell that produce energy from oxygen.
It is especially important to the function of organs such as the heart and brain.
So Coenzyme Q-10 is possibly beneficial to support the function of organs with a very high energy necessity, including the heart muscle.
Actually, Coenzyme Q-10 is a standard presence in many supplements aimed to improve heart function.
Research advocates there may be a complementary interface between CoQ-10 and other cardiac medications.
So it can be used as adjunctive therapy along with conventional medications for dogs with more severe heart disease.
No significant side effects have been found, but veterinary supervision is advisable.
You should ask your veterinarian for recommended and trust brands.
A prescription is not needed for coenzyme Q-10 supplements.
Tips for choosing dietary supplements:
- Ask your vet if it is safe
- Look for a seal of approval by an independent laboratory
- Monitor your dog’s behavior to notice if there are any alteration
- Administer recommended doses
- Avoid products in salt form (sodium chloride on the label) if your dog has high blood pressure
Veterinarians can help your to judge the quality of the product and the reputation of the company to choose the appropriate supplement to your dog.
*Disclaimer: We are not vets nor animal nutritionists. Please consult with your own veterinarian when choosing and/or trying new foods.*