Most veterinarians agree that almost a third of all dogs in the United States are given some sort of dietary supplement for everything from arthritis to heart health and everything in between. There often isn’t a lot of good research into some of these supplements, but there is some encouraging evidence that is everything they are promoted to be.
What follows is a shortlist of four popular supplements for dogs and what they can do for their health. Pet owners can also check out petparentsbrand.com for more information.
Glucosamine is a popular supplement for dogs that helps joints build cartilage. Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is found naturally and taken from shellfish and is even made in laboratories. Veterinarians and many dog owners believe that glucosamine is effective for treating arthritis in dogs. Glucosamine is also known to help older dogs by relieving joint pain and improving mobility. In a 2007 study published in “The Veterinary Journal,” evidence showed that glucosamine supplement helped to reduce pain and increase mobility with only 70 days of treatment.
Fish oil is the second most commonly used supplement for dogs. Fish oil is an omega-3 fatty acid that is thought to help improve the quality of a dog’s coat and alleviate skin allergies. Some research has been done to show that fish oil is effective for treating heart health, arthritis, and joint issues. The results are mixed, however. A study published in the “American Journal of Veterinary Research” showed that fish oil helped to reduce inflammation, which is what most dog owners use it for.
Antioxidants have been shown to help with some of the effects of aging. This includes cognitive dysfunction and memory loss. Antioxidants are also used in the treatment of heart disease and to reduce inflammation in dogs.
Given the fact that probiotics have had such a huge effect on the health of humans, it can’t be too surprising that they are also becoming more popular as a supplement for dogs. Probiotics live naturally in the body formed as yeasts and live bacteria. These substances aid in digestion and intestinal health. As a supplement for dogs, probiotics help to treat such problems as diarrhea and other digestive issues. Several forms of probiotics are available, including capsules, chews, powders, yogurts, and even some formulations of dog food.
Before dogs are put on a supplement regimen, there are a few things that an owner should know:
* Make sure you speak with your dog’s veterinarian before starting them on a supplement. Underlying conditions might exist that would make a supplement unnecessary or even dangerous.
* Don’t fall for all the claims made by makers. Supplements for dogs are the same as those for humans. Let the buyer beware.
* Make sure to buy a reputable brand of supplement, preferably one that is made specifically for dogs. Veterinary supplements are not all created equal. Even if a supplement is made for pets, it does not make them good for all species of animals.
* Never give a dog a supplement that is made for humans. Not only are veterinary drugs different, but dosages are different as well. To give a dog a supplement intended for a human can be detrimental to a dog’s health.
Whether a dog owner decides to use supplements that are natural or created in a lab, there is considerable evidence that using these can be beneficial. There have been few studies into the long-term effects of these supplements, but many that have been completed show that results, including better cognitive function, improved digestion, shinier coat, and a peppier step, are positive. Aren’t these traits that all dog owners want to see in their best friends?