Many veterinarians recommend natural dietary supplements for both prevention and management of various health issues. A well-balanced, nutritionally complete diet provides the foundation for optimal pet heath, but environmental contaminants, chemical additives, and soil degradation can diminish the quality of food your dog may be eating. Supplements can help bridge the gap.
Natural dietary supplements may be used preventively for healthy pets to ward off chronic illness and to increase vitality. A regular vitamin/mineral is a good place to start. Pet owner, Diane, of Westport, CT, started giving her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels a daily fortified vitamin supplement, including omega 3s, probiotics, and digestive enzymes the day she brought them home from the breeder. “I’m a big believer in prevention, so I feel like it’s money in the bank when I give my girls their daily supplements,” said Diane.
Dog Joint Supplements
Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are often used in combination with each other to help support joint health. Glucosamine builds cartilage, while chondroitin inhibits the breakdown of cartilage. As the body ages or suffers injury, the body’s natural sources of these may be depleted. Supplemental forms appear to support healthy cartilage tissue and may even support regrowth if there has been cartilage damage.
Hyaluronic acid is favored by many because oral hyaluronic acid works quickly, going directly to the joints. Hyaluronic acid is found in every tissue of the body and works as a joint lubricant, supporting joint comfort and flexibility. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid all work together, but hyaluronic acid supports comfort and flexibility faster than other supplements. It can be taken preventively, for arthritis, or post-surgically to reduce inflammation.
Best Dog Supplements
In addition to glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid, omega-3 fatty acids appear to function as an anti-inflammatory, useful for arthritis and to help ward off inflammation that can lead to cancer, periodontal disease, and heart disease. Omega 3s are also commonly used to address allergies related to poor coat and skin.
Digestive enzymes may be beneficial for digestion and to increase the utilization of nutrients from the diet. A good source is bromelain, a natural enzyme commonly derived from papaya or pineapple. Boswellia extract may be used for canine inflammatory joint and spinal disease, and may be a possible aid for dogs with digestive disorders. Milk thistle and SAM-e may be helpful for liver conditions, and valerian for anxiety.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant normally produced by the body that tends to decline with age. Supplemental CoQ10 may be helpful for canine heart disease, periodontal health, and diabetes. MSM, a source of biologically active sulfur, may be useful in supporting healthy connective tissue in joints.
If Your Dog Takes Medication
If your dog is on any prescribed medications, it is especially important to supplement only in consultation with your veterinarian. In addition, when a dog is receiving chemotherapy or radiation, mixing conventional cancer treatments with supplements could conceivably negate some of the benefits through supplement-drug interactions. Always check with your veterinarian first before adding a supplement to your dog’s medication routine.