You’ve heard of supplements for humans, but have you ever considered that your dog could perhaps use a vitamin boost?
It’s true: there is such a thing as nutrient supplements, or vitamins, for canines. There are many things to know about nutrient supplements and your dog, and it can be confusing learning the intricacies- that’s why we’re here to help.
To begin, we’re going to share why dogs sometimes take supplements. You probably have questions about the safety of pet supplements, which is understandable, so we’re going to answer those.
We will also give some insight about how you should approach giving your pet supplements and if asking a vet first is necessary. You will also learn some more about selecting the perfect vitamin for your pet.
If you have any individualized questions about what is right for your pet, we suggest you reach out to a trusted veterinarian. They can provide you with answers to your pet’s unique situation.
Why Do Dogs Take Supplements?
You might be wondering why dogs even take supplements in the first place. While not every dog needs, or takes, supplements, health and wellness trends in the dog food market have become clearer in recent years.
The most common supplements are multivitamins, supplements to help with joint health, and fatty acids to help improve the pet’s coat. Pet owners may also administer probiotics to their pets, though this is not necessarily the same as supplements.
Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential to support and sustain life. They occur naturally in food, and your pet needs vitamins to maintain their health and for growth, too. Your pet’s body cannot naturally synthesize them, which means they have to ingest them through food or supplement.
Your dog needs several different vitamins, so it is important to ensure that they are getting ample amounts of all of the nutrients they need.
Dogs need plenty of the same vitamins that humans do but in different amounts. This is why you should only ever give your dog vitamins that are created for canines.
Does My Dog Need Supplements?
While supplements could be helpful for some dogs, they could prove unnecessary for others. Dogs are meant to be getting their vitamins from the food that they consume.
If you feed your dog a dog food from a trusted brand that refers to itself as balanced and complete, and you can verify this by inspecting the ingredient label, then you can rest assured that if your dog is eating regularly, they have what they need. These foods are specially crafted to have all the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients your dog requires to maintain their health and growth.
It is important that you are feeding your dog the right food for its current life stage. Puppy food has different levels of certain vitamins as compared to diets at various life stages.
Make sure your dog is getting the right food and, therefore, vitamins. This is especially important if you have a large dog, for example a Great Dane, as they are prone to developing hip dysplasia. There are specific diets that will have the vitamins your dog needs to support normal growth.
If you are feeding your dog a truly balanced and complete commercial diet, they may not need additional vitamins unless they are suggested by a vet. If you give your dog a homemade diet, supplements might be wise. A vet can help you determine where your dog stands.
Are There Any Dangers Associated With Giving My Dog Supplements?
Vitamins are critical to support your dog’s life. However, they could prove to be hazardous if ingested in large quantities, so make sure your dog doesn’t accidentally get a hold of the vitamin bottle and gobble them up. If you fear that your pet has ingested more vitamins than they should have, immediately reach out to a vet.
There can be too much of a good thing, such as in the instance of calcium. When dogs have too much calcium, they could have skeletal problems. This is especially prevalent in large breed puppies.
Also, a surplus of vitamin A could prove detrimental, as it can lead to dehydration, joint discomfort, and hurt the dog’s blood vessels. In addition to this, few studies have tested how safe canine vitamin supplements are in the long term.
Do I Have To Ask a Vet Before I Give My Dog Supplements?
You certainly need to ask a vet before you decide to begin giving your dog supplements. You should work with your vet to create a nutritional plan for your dog including supplements if you have any concerns. This is especially important if your pet has any health concerns.
Asking a vet about supplements for your canine companion can help ensure that you give them only the best—and that what you give them is the right supplement for what they need.
While taking the extra step of setting up a vet appointment might seem like a hassle, it will prove to be worthwhile when you can rest assured that your dog has the right supplements. They may even tell you that your dog does not need them!
Another reason why you should confer with a vet before you select a vitamin for your dog is because some vitamins and supplements can interact with medications your dog is already taking.
If you just want to give your dog a boost and your vet doesn’t suggest that they need vitamins, you could always do this by giving your pup some pet-safe fruits and veggies occasionally.
How Do I Choose the Right Vitamin for My Dog?
As we mentioned, the right vitamin for your dog will be advised by your vet. They know your dog’s health the best and will have suggestions for if you need to take action and supplement what they are eating as part of their regular diet.
You should mention to your vet why you are concerned that your pet has a deficiency. For instance, if your dog’s health or behavior recently changed, you can ask your vet to test the dog to see if there are any vitamin deficiencies present. From there, your vet might suggest that you adjust their diet, add a supplement, or both.
Once your vet gives you the approval, you can start looking for the vitamins you’ve been advised to administer. In some cases, the vet will just prescribe them to your pup. You can order them or the vet might even be able to give you them right away.
If you are being tasked with finding the supplements yourself, however, then you will have to do some investigative work. For one, you should only use brands that have commissioned clinical studies to complete their products. You want to be sure that what you are providing your pet is quality.
You must read the labels closely before you give your dog the vitamins, to ensure the proper dosage is adhered to. If your pup already takes medication, your vet will advise on any conflicts that may arise.
You should also check for a lot number somewhere on the product. This signals that the vitamin company does quality control checks, which is important. You always want to make sure you do your research before you buy and only purchase from brands that are experts. If a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Kabo Helps Your Dog Live a Healthier, Happier Life
Vitamins are designed to supplement your dog’s diet; they are not medicine. If a vitamin claims to cure something, walk the other way and never give your dog human supplements.
If you are unsure which to choose, you can always ask your vet which they think is best, or even ask to order through them. It is always better to err on the side of caution with your dog’s health. Here at Kabo, our in-house pet health experts are familiar with your dog’s diet and can stand as another resource should you have specific issues, questions, or concerns regarding your dog’s diet or supplementation.
If you have questions about vitamin supplements for your dog, this is your ultimate resource. Today, we’re going to give you answers to all of your pet supplement-related questions. It is important that you feel confident in what you are feeding your pet, and at Kabo, we’re passionate about giving you the resources you need to help your pet live a healthy, fulfilling life. That’s our mission, after all.