There are a vast array of supplements available in the current year for those of us who are looking to boost our pet’s general wellbeing. That said, for many of us dog owners, there is a real worry that man-made chemicals have no place in our dog’s diet when there are plenty of viable natural alternatives available. But given the large number of products available, what are the core items that are needed, and how do they work? Let's examine natural supplements to give our dogs to help them stay healthy for life.
Vitamins and Minerals
Just like with people, dogs benefit from a nutritionally balanced diet. Feeding your dog a high-quality diet recommended by an animal nutritionist or your vet ensures that your dog gets the vitamins needed for healthy growth. However, supplementing their diet with a multi-vitamin pill is not necessary. Although, if you feed your dog a home-made diet or they have health concerns that affect the absorption and processing of nutrients found in the food, then the story is different.
Vitamins like A, C, D, and E, and minerals like zinc and iron are essential to the formation and maintenance of the teeth, bones, and nervous system. Warding off conditions such as anemia and tooth deterioration, and maintaining the eyes and immune system go hand in hand with a nutritionally balanced diet and a regular exercise program.
Found in cod-liver oil, salmon and other seafood, omega-3s play a number of roles in the body. Supplementing your dog's meal with omega-3s will ensure a healthy coat and supple skin. Less visible, but still significant effects include things such as the promotion of heart health, reinforcement of the immune system, and the development of healthy bones. Despite being most commonly found in fish, omega-3s can also be obtained from plant sources such as linseed, chia seeds, and flaxseed, allowing for easy cultivation and a simplified supply chain that allows customers to verify that the produce is grown organically. Seaweed is another source of this beneficial nutrient.
Responsible for maintaining healthy joints and bones, glucosamine can be obtained from a variety of different sources, including shellfish and fungus grown on fermented corn. The substance’s main function in supplement form is to strengthen the connective tissue between the bones, warding off arthritis and other damage to the cartilage. It also helps the tissue to recover faster after periods of intense exertion, preventing your dog from sustaining minor overuse injuries during work and play that would typically go on to become serious problems in their own right. It is especially important for older dogs to get ample amounts of glucosamine, as they are particularly at risk from developing arthritis or joint problems.
In much the same way that humans look to cure gastrointestinal problems using probiotics, our dogs can also derive a digestive benefit from such products. Probiotics work by encouraging the development of healthy bacteria in your dog’s gut, ensuring that food is properly broken down and that hostile pathogens do not get a chance to take hold. This also results in a more comfortable digestive process, and can relieve many of the symptoms of indigestion such as lethargy, cramps, and flatulence. You should also know that the majority of probiotics are available in the form of natural yogurts, meaning that they are devoid of man-made additives and chemicals. This also means that they are easy to mix in with your dog’s daily meals without significantly altering the taste or texture.
Check With Your Vet
Many of the natural supplements available for dogs have proven positive effects on their health and wellbeing. It is always best to check with a veterinarian before giving your dog anything new, as it is easy to inadvertently provide them with something that may exacerbate an existing health condition or react with a particular kind of medication. Keep in mind that when looking for natural products, it is imperative to check the ingredients. This is because less scrupulous firms may try to market their items as being natural, yet they may still contain man-made additives.