Just as humans benefit from natural dietary supplements, dogs also require natural dog supplements to complement their daily diet and provide them with the essential nutrients for optimal health.
Here’s a list of the top 10 natural supplements for your pooch to have a healthy and happy life.
What are fatty acids and omega-3?
Essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3, are polyunsaturated fats that go a long way in making sure that your precious pooch has a healthy, glossy coat. These also help in controlling other problems like skin allergies or inflammation, joint problems, arthritis, and problems in the immune or nervous systems.
What is the best source of fatty acids for dogs?
Omega-3 is NOT naturally found in a dog’s diet, but mainly in fish oil capsules. Different brands of fish oil gelcaps also contain different amounts of omega-3. It is best to stick with omega-3 oils that specifically come from wild-caught fish like salmon, cod, or sardines, instead of plant-based oils like flaxseed oil. This boils down to the form of acid that these oils are made of.
Why are fish oils the better source compared to flaxseed oil?
The omega-3 in flaxseed oil is in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), while fish oils are in the form of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Dogs require the EPA and DHA from fish oil, but cannot convert ALA to EPA and DHA as easily, rendering flaxseed oil useless for them.
How much fish oils should I give my dog?
Determining which fish oil capsule to give your dog depends on the dog’s weight and condition. If you only aim to give fish oil for maintenance, you can start with 1000mg of fish oil per 30 pounds of body weight. Dosage can go as high as 1000mg per 10 pounds for dogs with health problems.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Why should I give glucosamine supplements to my dog?
Dogs that are starting to feel their age — a little stiffness in the joints, arthritis, and even hip dysplasia — will greatly benefit from glucosamine supplements in their diets. Glucosamine is primarily found in joint cartilage and is essential in maintaining healthy cartilage for both humans and dogs. However, production of glucosamine slows down as dogs and humans age, leading to stiff joints and even more serious problems in later years.
It is best to take preventive measures against these problems by giving dogs glucosamine as soon as they hit their twilight years.
What is chondroitin?
Glucosomine is best given with chondroitin, another naturally occurring compound found in animal cartilage that blocks destructive enzymes from breaking down cartilage. Together, these supplements lessen the effects of arthritis and other joint problems when used regularly.
Are there contra-indications?
While these supplements are perfectly safe to use for dogs, take precaution when giving these to dogs with diabetes, as glucosamine is sugar-based. Dogs with bleeding problems also cannot use glucosamine as it may increase blood clotting time.
What are the benefits of probiotics for my dog?
Dogs also do very well with probiotics, or the “good” kind of bacteria that restore the normal balance in a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics are great for dogs with inflamed gastrointestinal tracts, intestinal problems, poor diet, or exposure to different allergens and bacteria, and even stress.
Probiotics not only improve a dog’s digestion; they also have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial qualities that can help combat destructive bacteria like salmonella or E. Coli. Helpful nutrients produced include biotin, folic acid, and vitamin B groups, which improve a dog’s overall health and strengthen its immune system.
How do I choose the right probiotic?
With probiotics becoming increasingly popular among dog owners, it is important that you choose the right probiotic for your dog’s specific needs. Since probiotics are live cultures, be sure to give a dry dog probiotic supplement with stabilized strains of bacteria that won’t react negatively with changes in temperature or exposure to liquids.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV isn’t just for cooking; it’s also a completely natural and effective supplement with tons of health benefits for your dog. ACV works best added to other nutrient-rich food, making it an important digestive aid.
How is apple cider vinegar good for my dog?
Apple cider vinegar has a laundry list of benefits for dogs, aside from its anti-bacterial, anti-septic, and anti-fungal properties. The most obvious effect is on dogs’ skin and coat, as it provides almost instant relief from itchiness when used as an after-shampoo rinse.
It strengthens immune systems and is highly beneficial to dogs with diuretic or heart problems, arthritis, and other join problems. Ingesting some ACV daily also balances the digestive enzymes in a dog’s stomach.
How is coconut oil used for dogs?
Another very useful natural dog supplement, unrefined coconut oil can be given both orally or as a topical treatment to dogs. As with ACV, it has anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities that can help prevent or treat yeast infections or other infectious diseases.
It’s also a great supplement for overweight dogs, as the oil has much lower calories that other fat sources. It is also easy to digest, and helps in omega-3 absorption efficiency.
How is it used as a topical treatment?
When used as a topical treatment, coconut oil can help against skin allergies, such as itching, or dry, flaky hair. It can also be used on cuts and wounds, as it promotes healing faster.
Who should take digestive enzymes?
Digestive enzymes are particularly useful for dogs with issues digesting their food, or for those who eat processed or cooked food that have been stripped of enzymes during the process. Examples of these enzymes include protease, amylase, cellulase, and lipase, each of which has a unique role in breaking down specific proteins or acids.
Enzymes like protease are also great for managing inflammation and improving blood circulation, further promoting healing and pain management.
How will my dog take these digestive enzymes?
Include the digestive enzymes in your dog’s food at mealtime to help with food digestion. To improve metabolism, give the enzymes about an hour before meals.
Vitamins and Minerals
While commercial dog food often has vitamins and minerals added, it is always a good thing to supplement your dog’s diet with some essential vitamins and minerals for added benefits. Some of the more important ones include vitamins E and C, and B-complex.
What are the benefits from additional vitamins and minerals?
Vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants, while also promoting bone and muscle growth, especially in puppies. Vitamins are also either fat or water soluble, with the difference being how they are stored in the body.
Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) are stored in the liver and fatty tissue, while water soluble (B and C groups) ones are only stored in small amounts and can often be excreted as excess. Water soluble vitamins need to be replenished daily.
You can find these in pet multi-vitamins, which should contain the optimal combination of supplements to ensure that your dog is not getting too little or too much per dosage.
Does your dog like eating vegetables? Then he’ll love kelp, which is a very good source of nutrients that are good for both humans and dogs. Kelp is a sea vegetable, essentially a seaweed, that is rich in minerals, amino acids, simple and complex carbohydrates, and essential plant growth hormones.
How is kelp good for dogs?
Kelp is particularly rich in iodine, which is essential in maintaining a healthy glandular system, especially adrenal, pituitary and thyroid glands. Dogs suffering from hypothyroidism will benefit greatly from kelp’s iodine content.
Flea-infested dogs will also thrive on a kelp supplement, as it renders them unattractive to fleas and flies.
How do I choose my kelp?
When supplementing kelp, make sure to source only deep ocean kelp and avoid any kelp harvested from US shorelines, as these may be contaminated by industrial pollution. You can get kelp in powdered form and simply follow feeding instructions for your dog.
Honey isn’t just a sweet treat for dogs, it’s also very useful and contains many health benefits while still being all-natural. Raw honey is an especially healthy supplement, as it is rich in vitamins A to E, and K, as well as minerals like calcium, potassium, copper, and others.
How can dogs benefit from honey?
Honey is a tasty treatment for seasonal allergies, as the amount of pollen in the honey desensitizes a dog’s system so that it doesn’t overreact to the burst of pollen in spring and summer.
Honey can be used as a topical solution, as its pH level is low enough to prevent the growth of bacteria. It minimizes inflammation and soothes wounds and burns.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
What is grapefruit extract?
The seeds, membranes and pulp of grapefruit are used to create grapefruit seed extract, which is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and detoxifying. It is rich in vitamins C and E, with a highly acidic and bitter taste.
What are the benefits from grapefruit seed extract?
Dogs that have ear or skin infections will thrive with GSE. Due to its high acidity, it can also be used as a very effective antiseptic that can also be taken either topically or orally. Its high acidity also help alkalinize the blood, rendering it undesirable to bacteria and fungi.
It can be used diluted as a cleaning solution for bacterial and fungal infections in the skin and ears, as well as other skin rashes or wounds. It can also be added to your dog’s food to combat Candida yeast infections, or indigestion from bacterial or viral infections.
While it is not necessary to give your dog all of the natural dog supplements on this list, it helps to narrow down what benefits you want to give your dog and start from there. Identify the needs of your dog and find the best natural solution.