Do Dogs Need Nutritional Supplements?

Nowadays, dogs are fed with plenty of substances from daily dog food to special treats, all of which are formulated to provide for the nutritional needs of your pets. Table scraps are not recommended as dog food since many kinds of human food are toxic to canine physiology as well as the fact that table scraps are not exactly nutritious.

But many dog owners are also giving nutritional supplements on top of the dog food. The question then will be: Is it even necessary considering that dog food contains the essential micronutrients and macronutrients for the maintenance of good health? Our answer is yes but only for certain situations.

Reasons for Supplementation

Before you even ask a veterinarian and then purchase canine nutritional supplements by the dozen, you must be informed about the special circumstances for which supplementation is essential. Keep in mind that, just like humans, dogs should get all the required nutrients from a healthy diet instead of relying on nutritional supplements to achieve such purpose. Worse, don’t even think about partially or completely substituting nutritional supplements for a healthy diet.

Veterinarians recommend canine nutritional supplements under the following circumstances:

• The dog may have nutritional deficiencies borne of a special diet such as when meats are excluded for health reasons. Nutritional supplements provide for the missing essential nutrients.

• The dog may have special medical conditions that require higher levels of certain nutrients to counteract the symptoms as well as to meet the nutritional requirements. For example, arthritic dogs can benefit from glucosamine supplements while older dogs can have healthier coats with omega-3 essential fatty acid supplementation.

• The dog may require nutritional supplements to speed up the healing process after an illness or an operation.

Puppies may also need nutritional supplementation to aid in proper development. But ask a veterinarian about the matter as there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. As with humans, your dog deserves the right kind of nutritional supplements in the right quantity.

Kinds of Supplementation

So, the next question will be: What kinds of supplements are good for dogs? Again, you must work with the veterinarian to determine the best vitamin and mineral supplements for your pet. Certain health factors must be considered before supplements can be safely provided to the dog, which only a veterinarian is qualified to do.

These nutritional supplements may include the following as well as their beneficial effects on the dog:

• Vitamin supplements are prescribed for the maintenance of bodily functions on the cellular level. Veterinarians usually prescribe Vitamins A, B, C and E.

• Calcium is good for the dog’s bones, blood and nerves.

• Iron supplements must be especially formulated for dogs since human iron supplements are toxic to canines. Obviously, iron promotes healthy blood cells.

• Zinc is also a preferred supplement since it promotes healthy coat and skin.

Canine nutritional supplements usually come in solid form that can be incorporated into dog food. Just remember that a healthy diet is still the best way to make your dog as healthy as possible both on the inside and the outside.