Most commercial dog foods sold in pet food stores in the US contain all the recommended daily vitamins, nutrients, and minerals for dogs, as discussed in our Guide to Nutritional Requirements for Dogs. However, your pet may need additional nutritional support during certain life stages or if they eat a raw or homemade food diet. Because vitamins and supplements play a role in your pets’ well-being, select the best dog vitamins and supplements for their needs. Here’s what to look for when shopping.
Best Vitamins for Dogs
Dog supplements can aid canines at risk for nutritional deficiencies, cognitive or mobility problems, and skin and coat troubles. Your veterinarian can address underlying health issues and recommend the right diet for your dogs and cats. When researching vitamins for dogs, there are a few tips to follow:
- Find a reputable brand.
- Look for clear ingredients labeling.
- Consider what form of dog vitamin is best for your pet to ingest: pills, drops, chews or powder.
- Select vitamins specifically formulated for canines, not humans, as they may be toxic to dogs.
- Avoid brands promoted as a “fix” or “cure,” because canine vitamins and supplements aid your pets’ well-being. They do not fix ailments.
- Ensure you provide the proper dosage for your pets’ size and age.
While there are plenty of supplements for dogs, we suggest looking for all-in-one vitamins. This option can eliminate the hassle of serving up multiple chews or pills to your pet, plus save you a few bucks. With that said, the cost of vitamins for pets, in general, is affordable at around $1 or less per serving, which is a deal if they keep your dog healthy and away from vet bills.
Are there any dangers to vitamin supplements for dogs?
Chances are your pet won’t have any trouble taking additional vitamins and supplements; however, there are a few dangers to watch for. If weight is a concern, speak with your vet about the total number of calories (meals, snacks, treats, and supplements combined) per day your dog should consume, because you don’t want your pet becoming obese from high-calorie vitamin chews.
On the other hand, a higher calorie intake may be warranted if your pet is underweight, pregnant, nursing, under four months old, or a hardworking dog. Other ingredients you must watch for in food supplements for dogs include calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D. Although typically essential to good health, WebMD says too much of any one of these can cause serious health issues. Large calcium intake can result in skeletal problems, most notably among large breeds. Too much vitamin A can lead to dehydration, excessive bone formation, and joint pain, whereas a large amount of vitamin D can harm bones, cause muscle atrophy and even trigger a dog to stop eating.
The best dog vitamins and mineral supplements are easily administered
Of course, you can bribe your pet with chewable dog diet supplements or camouflage the pill with something tasty like peanut butter, meat, or cheese, which dogs tend to eat — often without the hidden pill! However, the best natural supplements for dogs are those easiest to administer, like the water-soluble powder Evolved Paws Omega and Multivitamin Pet Supplements, which can be sprinkled over food or mixed in water, leaving your dog none the wiser but healthier.
Because puppies undergo rapid physical and physiological changes throughout the first year of life, proper nutrition is essential. A puppy’s energy level and associated growth and development stresses may require adding puppy vitamins or supplements to their diet. Before buying supplements, do your research and speak with your vet. All good dog supplements should come from a reputable manufacturer and provide detailed label information like adult canine options.
Supplements for Dogs’ Joint Health
As dogs get older, their nutritional needs change. Senior dog vitamin supplements focus on joint health, vision, and cognitive function.
Osteoarthritis (the breakdown of cartilage between the joints) tends to afflict older dogs. Still, it can be seen in obese dogs and large and giant breeds, leaving them vulnerable to pain and decreased mobility. Managing and minimizing the pain from osteoarthritis often include dog supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin and those rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Proper vitamin and mineral supplements may further slow the progression of other degenerative conditions that affect the nervous system, skin, heart, kidneys, liver, brain, eyes, and ears. If your pet suffers from chewing or swallowing issues, you’re best to avoid pill-form or chewable supplements. Instead, we suggest adding a powder supplement to your dog’s water as an ideal method for giving the nutrients your pet requires. As always, consult your veterinarian about your dog’s nutritional needs before introducing supplements to their diet.
Top dog supplements are those that meet your pets’ individual needs and improve their well-being, allowing them to live their best life, no matter their age.