Senior dogs have different nutritional requirements due to the changes in their metabolism and energy levels.
In 8 Best Senior Dog Vitamins and Supplements (2020), Kayla of Canine Weekly said that it is important to switch to high-quality senior dog food to ensure the diet meets the needs of your senior dog.
Consult your vet before giving supplements or switching to a new diet.
If you feed your dog natural or home made dog food, your dog may need supplements to make sure the dog is getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that he/she needs to stay healthy and happy.
Supplements are also important for dogs who are picky and do not eat enough.
“Supplements are not a foolproof escape from a poor diet, however, and you should consult a vet if your dog is unable, or refuses, to eat a healthy diet,” Kayla said.
Supplements are also recommended when your dog has been diagnosed with a vitamin or mineral deficiency, or a medical condition that responds well to supplements.
“Although most healthy dogs do not need supplements, the extra vitamins and nutrients they supply can help ease the symptoms of a variety of conditions in older dogs,” Kayla said.
Kayla said there are supplements recommended by a vet for some cases. These are:
1. Supplements to ease hip and joint pain and stiffness.
“When searching for a hip and joint supplement, look for one that contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, as well as essential fatty acids. These nutrients work together to reduce inflammation and improve joint mobility.” Kayla said.
2. Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, help improve a dog’s skin and coat and help brain function, which can slow down as a dog gets older.
3. Probiotics to help digestion, especially if the good bacteria in your elderly dog’s stomach has been killed off by illness or medication.
Be sure to ask your vet if any of these supplements are needed.
“Always remember that supplements for older dogs can alleviate some symptoms of illness and aging, but they are not a prevention or a cure,” Kayla stressed.
Kayla cited as an example a dog with arthritis who will need medication “backed by a full clinical trial, rather than just hip and joint supplements.”
Risks of giving supplements
Do watch out for potential risks because “supplements have not gone through rigorous clinical testing are unregulated,” said Kayla.
“This lack of regulation can result in supplements with ingredients that are not proven to be effective, or even safe, as well as discrepancies between labels and actual ingredients,” Kayla added.
“Although an excess of some vitamins, such as water-soluble vitamin C, is harmless (your dog will just pee out the excess), other vitamins, such as fat-soluble vitamins A and D, can build up in your pet’s body, potentially to harmful levels,” Kayla stressed.
“Even organic or all-natural supplements have potential risks attached. Certain supplements can interact with medications, which could leave your dog with harmful consequences that are difficult to understand, and tricky to trace,” Kayla said.
Your vet will know when to give supplements and what vitamins to give, she said.
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