It’s a well-known fact that the food we eat these days is not as nutritionally complete as it was over 50 years ago. Due to environmental factors and human intervention, a lot of the food we eat has been depleted of its minerals and nutrients, which means we have to resort to taking daily multivitamins and supplements to ensure we are receiving a completely balanced diet.
Our pets’ situation is slightly different. First, if you are providing them with a commercially available dog food that has been recommended by your veterinarian, that offers high quality ingredients, is well-balanced and is nutritionally complete, the chances are they don’t need an additional supplement. And if you do give them one in this situation, you would probably be doing more harm than good because the balance of vitamins and minerals would be out of proportion and you’ll most likely make them sick.
There are however some cases when additional supplementation is recommended. Some of them are listed below:
- If you are feeding your dog food you have prepared yourself:
- As mentioned above, the food we eat is often lacking the required healthy nutrients we need to live a healthy life. On top of this, unless you are a fully qualified veterinarian, it is unlikely you are aware of exactly what your pets require in terms of complete nutrition.
- If your pet is suffering from a disease or illness which warrants supplementation for healing:
- If your pet has arthritis, has undergone surgery, or is suffering from any other type of ailment, then supplementation is recommended. In this case, however, a specific supplement is required (e.g. Regal Pet Health’s Skin Care Remedy), not a general multivitamin.
- If your pet presents a nervous disposition, appears to be depressed or any other neurological symptom, the correct type of supplementation would be beneficial.
- If he/she is not eating well or eating a poor quality dog food and is not getting the necessary nutrients.
- Or perhaps your pet has been diagnosed with a mineral deficiency. Again, you would need to supplement with a specific supplement to counteract the deficiency.
- If your pet is taking or has taken antibiotics recently, then a good probiotic is necessary to restore the “good” bacteria in the body that the antibiotics have wiped out by destroying the “bad” bacteria.
Having noted the above, not all commercial dog food is created equal and often commercial foods are lacking the required vitamins and minerals, in which case, supplementation would be beneficial. The following in particular;
- Fish oil: High in omega-3 essential fatty acids, fish oil is beneficial for the immune system, stops inflammation and is great for brain development in foetuses and puppies. Omegas tend to perish when exposed to heat and air, so are often missing from commercial foods.
- Enzymes: Digestive enzymes are not found in commercial foods and can be beneficial if your dog suffers from digestive disorders.
If you are supplementing your pet’s diet, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- It is possible to give your pet human supplements, but always give the correct dosage. For example, if he is a third of your weight, only give a third of the dosage.
- Ensure the products used are as natural as possible and of the highest quality. Don’t always go for the cheapest.
- Always discuss the product you wish to use with your veterinarian first.