Natural Diet for Dogs: How to Supplement It

Whether your pup is showing signs of deficiency or you’re hoping to prevent degenerative illnesses and other dog sickness, supplements can be an effective measure to take. However, we must beware... If only our furry family members could tell us what's wrong. If we could say, "bark once if it's your tummy or twice if it's something else." But they're so sweet, they actually don't want us to know there's anything wrong. So, we have to pay attention to the signs. Signs like:

  • Dull, Dry Haircoat
  • Patchy Hair Loss
  • Warm Spots
  • Digestive Discomfort

With a growing population of aging, overweight dogs, it's no wonder the supplement industry is taking off. In the U.S. alone, an average of about one-third of dogs is on some sort of supplement regimen.

These supplements claim to help everything from arthritis to heart health, digestion, and coat care. There has been minimal research on the efficacy of these supplements, however. Although anecdotal evidence does seem positive. So... should your pup be on a supplement?

Always Check with Your Vet First

Once you see the signs, it can be easy to start treatment with "natural" and holistic remedies or supplements. However, symptoms that look like arthritis could instead be a neurological problem. As well, a poor coat could indicate skin, metabolic or hormonal problems versus a dietary deficiency.

Make sure to check with your vet before feeding your pup any dog supplements. Your vet may determine that your furry family member could use some additional nutrients. This could be for many reasons, such as:

  • Compensating for a known (or suspected) nutrient deficiency
  • Optimizing the dosage of certain nutrients for therapeutic effects

Depending on the reason for supplementation, here are a few common supplements they'll suggest:

Probiotics & Enzymes

For many dogs with digestive challenges, one big thing is typically missing. Healthy gut bacteria. Supplementing with digestive enzymes or probiotics for dogs may alleviate the distress. Most dogs do better with regular digestive enzymes with occasional probiotics for additional support.

Trace Sea-Mineral Supplement

Small micro-minerals have been depleted from our soil throughout generations of farming. Therefore, the cattle, sheep, and chicken that is to be your dog's food don't have these necessary micro-minerals, potentially resulting in mineral deficiency in dogs. Adding a Sea-Mineral supplement supplies the trace minerals that are no longer present in our soils.

Glucosamine Chondroitin

Found naturally in the fluid around the joints, Glucosamine is an amino sugar meant to help build cartilage. It's said to be the best joint supplement for dogs. For older dogs, it may relieve joint pain and improve mobility as the body's natural ability to generate Glucosamine declines.

Fatty Acids & Fish Oils

Essential to a pup diet, Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids. When supplemented, these fatty acids supply anti-inflammatory and lubricating qualities to improve coat quality and alleviate skin allergies. Don’t fall for claims that sound too good to be true. Supplements will not cure cancer, parvo, or other serious diseases.

When searching for vet-recommended food and supplements, make sure to use sources like to ensure quality. Don't be deceived by generics or sound-alike ingredients. Look for a brand that specializes in one area, or that has commissioned clinical studies of their products. Don’t assume that human supplements are good for dogs. Some, like those containing garlic, can be harmful.

What supplements do dogs need?

Some of the most popular ones are Glucosamine, fish oil, antioxidants, and probiotics. Although there's evidence claiming that these supplements work, always make it a habit to check with your vet first before starting supplementation.

Are dog supplements necessary?

Supplements may not be necessary if your dog has a healthy and complete diet, unless your vet recommends it. Supplements are often required to ensure that your pup is getting enough vitamins and nutrients with their meals.

Can dogs take human supplements?

You should not give your dog vitamin supplements that are made for humans. The amount of concentration in human vitamins as well as certain substances like additives can be harmful to your furry friend.

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Written by Leo Roux

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