The Best Natural Supplements for Dogs
Supplements meant for dogs come in many forms, each with different benefits. While an extensive array of synthetic products are available on the market, generally, the best ones are derived from plants and herbs - hence the term "natural." Here's a look at some of the most popular natural supplements for dogs:
Glucosamine and chondroitin
These two compounds are important building blocks in joint tissue and cartilage, helping to keep them lubricated, flexible and healthy. Dog glucosamine and chondroitin come from sources such as green-lipped mussels, sea cucumbers and other shellfish.
It's easy to get your hands on pure, natural supplements containing these nutrients. Glucosamine may come in liquid form, with some veterinarians prescribing it for dogs with osteoarthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids
These fatty acids are found in fish, nuts, and seeds; they're also popularly taken as a supplement in chewable form. Omega-3 fatty acids have many benefits, such as aiding in the development of heart health and helping to reduce inflammation associated with arthritis. They also promote healthy skin and coats, which means your dog will look and feel their best. Vegan omega-3 options are available for those who prefer to avoid the fish varieties.
Did you know that omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role in speeding up the healing process after surgery? Yes, wounded dogs will benefit from a regular dose of omega-3s!
Beneficial bacteria are crucial for maintaining gut health as they assist with digestion and boost the immune system. Probiotics for dogs translates to "good bacteria”, which are present in yogurts and other fermented foods. Probiotics can also be found in powder form and come in various flavours that your furry buddy will willingly munch down on.
Like all other animals, dogs require a balance of bacteria in their stomach. This is especially important if your dog has suffered from an illness or infection, as it helps replenish the crucial bacteria their body needs to stay healthy. Remember that an impaired immune system in canines opens the door to a host of other issues, so natural probiotics are an absolute must-have supplement.
This one's quite underrated, but hemp oil is just as beneficial for dogs as it is for humans. Hemp oil contains essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that promote canine health. Research indicates that the anti-inflammatory properties of hemp oil could potentially alleviate pain resulting from arthritis or damaged joints.
The omega-3 and 6 found in hemp oil also support skin health, making it a sensible choice for canines with dry or damaged coats. Hemp oil has been linked to calming effects in dogs, which is helpful for those who suffer from separation anxiety or a fear of things like loud noises.
This edible oil is one of the best natural supplements for dogs, containing a wide range of health benefits. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, an antiviral and antibacterial compound that boosts immunity and helps fight off infection-causing bacteria in canines. Tracking down coconut oil is not a problem since it can be found in most grocery stores.
Coconut oil is also effective for treating digestive problems, as its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe an upset stomach. Some believe this oil can help dogs lose weight because it reduces cravings and increases metabolism. With a regular dose of coconut oil, your pooch will experience better digestion, improved energy levels, and a brighter coat.
This spice is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, so it's no wonder that turmeric is being used as a supplement for dogs with joint pain. Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is a centuries-old natural remedy for pain relief. Studies have shown that curcumin can reduce swelling and discomfort associated with arthritis in dogs.
Mixing a teaspoon of turmeric into your dog's food (having consulted with your veterinarian first) can give them some welcome relief. You should introduce this spice gradually and in small amounts, as large doses will lead to a stomach upset.
Fish oil isn't merely for a better coat. It's one of nature's most concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids. As mentioned, omegas are essential for a healthy coat and support cardiovascular and joint health. They play a part in brain development and function, so adding fish oil to your pet's diet is a no-brainer.
Fish oil should typically be refrigerated after opening and stored away from direct heat or light. This supplement should only be given to your pet after it has been processed and purified, as raw fish carries potential risks of mercury poisoning or other contaminants. As with any supplement, you should consult a veterinarian before introducing it into your dog's diet.
Natural tree bark extract has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy, and it's still widely used today. This supplement is typically ground into powder form and mixed into wet food, treats, or added to water. Tree bark extracts have various health benefits in pets, the most renowned being their antiseptic effects.
Tree bark contains tannins and flavonoids, which reduce inflammation, boost the immune system and aid digestion. Tree bark extract is also believed to stimulate pet appetite, making it a natural solution for picky eaters. Also, tree bark can be especially useful for treating skin problems like eczema or psoriasis.
A Few Caveats of Natural Supplements
While these supplements can treat some health issues with your dog, be reminded that even all-natural products should not be taken without consulting your veterinarian first. For one, natural supplements should never take the place of veterinary-prescribed medications. It's hard to tell if the supplement contains additional ingredients, i.e., other fillers or preservatives. Monitor your pet for any adverse reactions when trying new supplements since allergies and sensitivities may occur with some ingredients.
The best practice is to read the label and opt for those from reputable brands. And by the way, never exceed the recommended dosage - even products derived from natural ingredients can be dangerous if taken in high doses.
Again, always ask your veterinarian prior to giving your pet supplements of any kind.