Vitamins and supplements are rising in popularity among health-conscious dog owners, due in large part to concerns about the quality of pet food. Of course, manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and producing an array of products – from the healthy and practical to the completely absurd. For instance, if you are so inclined, you can now purchase bottled vitamin water for your pampered pooch.
While bottled vitamin water is pretty crazy, there are good supplements on the market that can be used as either preventive care or to manage specific health conditions. Martha Smith is the general manager of i Love Dogs, a company that produces a line of natural vitamins and supplements for dogs. “Vitamins and supplements are a great way to support dogs as they deal with existing issues like hip and joint issues, allergies, nutrient deficiency, and even cancer,” says Martha. “They can also be powerful preventive agents for dogs who are prone to certain illnesses or conditions.” For example, Martha has her German Shepherd Dog (GSD) on glucosamine and chondroitin, which support joints and cartilage, because GSD’s are promote to hip and joint problems.
However, supplements might not be appropriate for all dogs or all conditions. Martha suggests that owners of dogs with unstable health or serious allergies should consult a vet or a holistic canine healthy practitioner.
The positive result of increased interest in pet supplements is that manufacturers are releasing products designed to meet our and our dogs’ needs. For instance, i Love Dogs uses plant- and animal-based ingredients, but they also have a vegan option.
If you’re considering adding a vitamin or supplement to your dog’s diet, here are some things to consider:
- Before starting your dog on anything, schedule a visit with your vet, especially if your dog has a chronic condition you’re trying to manage.
- “With vitamins in particular, pet parents need to pay careful attention to the dosing instructions for their dog’s weight. Some of the minerals and other ingredients in vitamin supplements can be harmful when over-dosed,” says Martha.
- Read labels and ingredient lists as carefully as you would if you were considering the supplement for yourself because, according to Martha, “vitamins and supplements vary widely in terms of formulation, ingredients, country of origin, and recommended dosage.”