Dog Dietary Supplements :
Which Ones Are Necessary & When

Daily multi-vitamins for humans are commonplace, but what about dog dietary supplements?

Are they really necessary?

There are a number of reasons why dog dietary supplements are recommended, but there are also many alarming things that you should know about them.


Why Dog Dietary Supplements Are Needed

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While the importance of a healthy balanced diet is never questioned, many veterinarians have recognized the lack of certain essential nutrients in some of their patients’ diets.

Dog dietary supplements are prescribed by veterinarians to compliment the diet and maintain optimal health. Even the healthiest of natural organic dog food may not be enough.

Supplements are also prescribed to dogs who suffer from joint problems, arthritis and other types of skeletal problems. They have been found effective when used in aging dogs that lack energy for play or daily tasks.

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Why Does Healthy, Natural Organic Dog Food Need to Be Supplemented?

Unfortunately, the fresh foods that we eat today do not have the same nutritional benefits as the foods grown 50, 100, 200 years ago.

According to the Earth Summit Report of 1992, the soils on North American farms and free range have been depleted of over 85 percent of their natural minerals.

Yes, it’s true, the soil that our fresh crops are grown in is so over used that it no longer allows the food to carry many of the essential minerals we hope to transfer into our bodies.

But is this the only cause of depleted nutrients in our dog’s diets? Actually there are a few other contributors to this problem:  

  • Dog food storage and cooking methods cause our foods to lose essential vitamins and minerals. When foods are stored at extremely high or low temperatures, they tend to lose essential nutrients. Also, when foods are cooked at very high temperatures they can lose up to 70% of their nutrients.
  • The complications associated with acid rain have been making things difficult for our growing plants. It decreases their ability to take minerals from the soil which in turn yields plants with a much lower mineral content.
  • The extremely high demand for fresh foods has forced farmers to use tactics such as artificial fertilizers to speed up the growth process. This accelerated growth does not give the plants adequate time to absorb the necessary minerals.
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Which Ailments Can be Helped by Dog Dietary Supplements?

Dr. Pitcairn recommends, “For animals that are not in the best of health, mineral supplements are an essential part of the diet.”

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Dogs who suffer from the following can reap benefits from dog dietary supplements:

  • Joint problems
  • Minor to severe arthritis
  • Skeletal problems
  • Dog teeth, mouth or gum disease
  • In-active lifestyle
  • Digestive problems
  • Hair loss or damage
  • Immune system problems

The list can truly go on and on when you consider the possible benefits of a daily multi-vitamin supplement for your dog. Veterinarians recommend a multi-vitamin to keep your dog healthy and to strengthen the immune system. Our recommendations are found further down the page.

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Are the Dog Dietary Supplements Offered Online and In Stores Safe?

You can rest assured that the majority of dog dietary supplements are quite safe and free from harmful ingredients.

However, though your dog’s safety might not be an issue, the "bang for your buck" that you're getting from the ingredients used may very well be.

Many suppliers attempt to cut costs and use ingredients that may not yield all the healthy benefits they claim. 

According to a CNN.com article, many supplements tested do not contain exactly what they list on the label...

“Dr. Tod Cooperman is president of ConsumerLab.com, which independently tests supplements for humans and animals. In the past few years, his company has reviewed roughly a dozen multivitamins, joint supplements and fish oils for pets and found that about half of the products tested don’t pass.” (CNN.com)

Dr. Cooperman also stated, "We have repeatedly found the quality of supplements for pets to be worse overall than for supplements for people."

As pet owners are informed about the potential benefits of supplements, many of them express excitement and make purchases before researching the necessary details.

The FDA urges pet owners to talk with their veterinarian before ordering and feeding supplements to their pets. Though they are relatively harmless, extreme overuse or misuse of supplements can be harmful to your dog.

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What Should I Consider When Purchasing a Supplement?

There are four things your should take into account before purchasing a supplement:

Dog Dietary Supplements
  1. Product quality- First examine the intended active ingredient(s) and then check the amount of those ingredient(s). A reputable supplier will provide an 800 number on the packaging that you can call with additional questions.
  1. Efficacy - It is important to note the research and testing that have been done to prove the effectiveness of the desired supplement. Information regarding the product testing should be accessible through the company’s website or elsewhere.
  1. Tolerance - Always check the list of ingredients before giving the supplement to your dog. You should know whether or not your dog has any dog food allergies or does not tolerate certain foods very well. It is also a good idea to consult your veterinarian to make sure the ingredients will not react with any other medications your dog may be taking.
  1. Safety - Make sure that the company has done numerous clinical tests of the supplement. Don’t be fooled by false reports, do some serious investigating and make sure the supplement is totally safe for your dog.
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Can Dogs Take the Same Dietary Supplements as Humans?

Certain vitamins and supplements prepared for humans can safely be given to your dog if you pay very close attention to the dosage. In general, if your dog weighs one-third of your total weight, serve them 1/3 of the supplement.

However, as a general rule, it is best to purchase or prepare supplements specifically made for animals. By doing so you reduce the risk of “over doing it” and giving your dog too much of a good thing.

Supplements purchased for animals provide accurate dosage according to size, age and breed. It takes all of the guess work out!

If you prefer to grow, mix or prepare your own dog dietary supplements, it is best to consult your veterinarian for exact dosage recommendations.

Important: Make sure that you dog is not given a supplement that contains benzoate preservative. This is found in certain human supplements and vitamins and can be gradually harmful if accumulated in the dog’s body.

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Daily Multi-Vitamin Recommendations

dog dietary supplements

After months of researching natural supplement vendors, we have found Native Remedies (PetAlive.com) to have some of the best proven, effective and 100% safe and natural supplements with the most appropriate ingredients by condition.

If you feel like searching their supplements by condition on your own, click here and choose a category on the left side of the page under "Herbal Remedies for Cats & Dogs".

Now on with the best supplements for the overall health of your dog.   Click one of the following based on the needs of your dog to jump down the page (and don't forget to continue reading further down the page - the next section is extremely important as well)...

For other condition-specific recommendations, see our Common Dog Health Problems and Natural Treatments page or sign ask our veterinarians directly via My Online Vet.

If more than one of the above fit your dog's situation, not to worry. You cannot go wrong with any of the following choices as they all share many of the same ingredients and qualities...

Overall Energy, Health and Vitality

Energy Tonic is a great all-around choice. It also works great with low-energy or depressed dogs or dogs who live at higher elevations:

  • Promote healthy energy levels
  • Support healthy immune systems
  • Support circulation and the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body
  • Encourage feelings of well-being
  • Maintain healthy liver functioning
  • Overcome exercise resistance in sluggish pets

Other good options for boosting the immune system? Give these a try...

Overall Cell Health and Improved Immune System

C-Caps should be your choice if your dog tends to be a picky eater or doesn't eat as much as he should for his weight.  Benefits include:

  • Maintain health and normal functioning in all organs, tissue and cells
  • Support healthy liver and lymphatic systems
  • Promote appetite
  • Maintain a healthy immune system
  • Promote healthy waste and toxin elimination
  • Support vitality and healthy energy levels

Healthy Body Systems and Promote Natural Ability to Get Rid of Waste and Toxins

DetoxPlus is better for dogs who live in areas where they are more likely to get sick (for example, if they are around a lot of other dogs or are going to be, if you take your dog to places where many other dogs and people visit, etc.):

dog dietary supplements
  • Support the body’s natural processes of cleansing and elimination
  • Promote healthy liver functioning
  • Maintain healthy bile flow
  • Promote healthy skin, coat, joints and digestive system through systemic cleansing>
  • Maintain healthy thyroid functioning
  • Facilitate healthy energy levels and general well-being
  • Support healthy immune systems 

Overall Health & Energy, including Physical Performance and Brain Functioning

Performance Plus is your best bet if you are about to begin or are in the middle of training your dog.  It is also perfect for any dog that participates in competitions:

dog dietary supplements
  • Support brain functioning
  • Maintain healthy concentration, memory, and mental alertness
  • Support peak performance in shows and competitions
  • As a brain tonic for animals attending training classes
  • Support the ability of healthy adrenal glands to deal with stress
  • Maintain immune system health and functioning
  • Give your pet a competitive edge and promote high performance levels

Arthritis & Joint Problems

Sea Jerky for Dogs from Coastside Bio Resources is an extremely palatable product, and we have not met a dog that has not liked it. In fact, we have found too many dogs trying to get into the kitchen cabinets to eat the whole bag!

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Recommended Dog Dietary Supplements in Addition to Your Daily Multi-Vitamin

In addition to a daily multi-vitamin, there are numerous dog dietary supplements that can benefit the health of your dog.

Following is a list of some of the most highly recommended dog dietary supplements and excellent sources of each. Click the supplement links below for additional information...

  • Calcium supplements for dogs:
    • Benefits: Bone formation, blood coagulation, muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission
    • Sources:  Bone meal, seaweed, Di-calcium phosphate, calcium tablets or powder, eggshell powder
  • Oil and Fat supplements for dogs:
    • Benefits: Energy, growth, maintenance of tissues in the body
    • Sources: Omega-6, omega-3, dried beans, certain fish
  • Vitamins A, B & E supplements for dogs:
    • Benefits: Immune system, growth, reproduction, cancer prevention, allergies, infections, stress
    • Sources: Multiple (click link above)
  • Vitamin C for dogs:
    • Benefits: While dogs make their own Vitamin C, some can have a deficiency of this important vitamin.  Click the link to learn more.
    • Sources: Supplement, raw food

If there is a specific issue that you are trying to address with supplements, you can also ask our veterinarians directly through My Online Vet.  In addition to guiding you toward the right supplements, they will also tell you what other options you should consider.

10 best dog foodCan't find your answer on this page? Our veterinarians will answer your specific question no later than tomorrow... click here to ask a veterinarian via My Online Vet.

You can also review related questions from other visitors here: Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Food Diet - Dog Food, Dog Treats & Homemade Dog Food Recipes Section

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