Best supplements to add to dog food

December 21, 2021

What is the significance of supplementation? When should I begin? How can I know if it's working?

All reasonable concerns! Let's start with why it's vital to supplement with this fully made-up but entirely plausible scenario of a dog fed kibble for a lifetime.

Because they aren't found in processed, shelf-stable pet food, that kibble-fed dog was deficient in a number of nutrients that were critical to his health and well-being.

Supplementation would simply try to supply missing nutrients not provided by food to enhance health and wellness because, at its core, supplementation is all about prevention. It's a concept that everyone who washes their teeth or changes their oil every 3,000 miles(ish) is acquainted with– the idea is to treat something before it becomes an issue.

Stella & Chewy's Stella's Solutions Hip & Joint Boost Cage-Free Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food, 13 oz (SOL-FDCHJ-13)
  • SUPPLEMENT HEALTHY HIP & JOINTS for your dog with Stella & Chewy’s complete & balanced freeze-dried raw dog food topper. This always-tasty Meal Mixer promotes hip & joint health, mobility and increased energy & stamina.
  • ALL-NATURAL, ACTIVE INGREDIENTS like New Zealand green mussels and sunflower oil (to support the repair of your pet's cartilage and deliver high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids and linoleic acid) for overall hip & joint health, amino acid rich kelp to help produce energy and coconut flour which acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling. Each recipe is grain-free, pea-free, lentil-free and potato-free. AND includes added taurine.
  • MADE IN THE USA in Stella & Chewy’s own kitchen with cage-free chicken. Each ingredient is responsibly sourced.
  • ALL-IN-ONE SUPPLEMENT AND FEEDING SOLUTION that helps with inflammtion and pain relief for dogs, overall hip & joint boost and adds the benefit of raw nutrition to a dog’s diet in one convenient dog food. BONUS: Even the pickiest pups go wild for this dog food topper!
  • BONUS: Even the pickiest pups go wild for this dog food topper!
Sale
Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste| Eliminates Bad Breath by Removing Plaque & Tartar Buildup | Best Pet Dental Care Toothpaste | Poultry Flavor, 2.5 oz tube
  • FOR DOGS AND CATS: Enzymatic toothpaste specifically formulated using an enzyme system for dogs and cats to reduce plaque, freshen breath, and ensure a clean mouth with Poultry flavor pets love
  • SAFE FOR DAILY USE: Includes no foaming agents so this toothpaste is safe for pets to swallow
  • VET RECOMMENDED: Virbac is the Top Recommended dental brand by Veterinary professionals and Made in the USA
  • USE WITH A TOOTHBRUSH: Use a soft bristled toothbrush such as the CET Dual Ended Toothbrush, Apply daily or as directed by your veterinarian, Your veterinarian may give you specific directions follow this professional advice closely
Zesty Paws Omega 3 Alaskan Fish Oil Chew Treats for Dogs - with AlaskOmega for EPA & DHA Fatty Acids - Itch Free Skin - Hip & Joint Support + Skin & Coat Chicken Flavor (90 Soft Chews)
  • Rich Omega-3 Support – Zesty Paws Omega Bites are delicious chewable supplement treats with Omega fatty acids (with EPA and DHA), vitamins, and nutrients to help dogs look and feel their best.
  • Features AlaskOmega – Derived from Wild Alaskan Pollock, this premium ingredient provides a clean and pure source of omegas (with EPA and DHA) to boost your pup's wellness.
  • Healthy Skin = Happy Dog! – This formula contains Fish Oil, Biotin, Vitamin C and E. These vitamins, omegas, and antioxidants may help with hot spots and dry, itching, irritated, sensitive, and flaky skin.
  • Soft & Shiny Coat – These daily soft chews help pets with dull, dry, brittle, and shed prone coats by providing vital natural nourishment that promotes more shine, strength, and softness for your canine.
  • Joint, Heart & Immune Support – These grain free bite supplements also support hip and joint health, immune system function, and cardiovascular activity to help your pet feel zesty from head to paw.

Okay… But when do I begin?!

Dogs are resilient, so you won't see problems at 1 or 2 years old, or even at 5 years old, but when you do see signs, their bodies are already in difficulty, which is why you don't wait to manage or repair the problems. You'd like to begin boosting their diet as soon as possible. If they've been weaned, they should be receiving nutrients in addition to their kibble.

Stars and stripes, oh my. It's too late for me. Everything has been lost.

Inhale via your nose and exhale through your mouth. Rep three times more. Shake out your shoulders, and then your hands, and shake them out. Relax.

It is never too late to begin.

(*Cue the confetti, get the air horns ready, and go for the t-shirt cannon*)

At any age, any dog (and cat!) can benefit from supplements. Whether you give a probiotic to their bowl at 5 months or 5 years, that dog's gastrointestinal tract receives all of the benefits that probiotics provide. (Believe me when I say you'll know when the room-clearing toots stop.)

#1 Strengthen their Joints

Stella & Chewy's Stella's Solutions Hip & Joint Boost Cage-Free Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food, 13 oz (SOL-FDCHJ-13)
  • SUPPLEMENT HEALTHY HIP & JOINTS for your dog with Stella & Chewy’s complete & balanced freeze-dried raw dog food topper. This always-tasty Meal Mixer promotes hip & joint health, mobility and increased energy & stamina.
  • ALL-NATURAL, ACTIVE INGREDIENTS like New Zealand green mussels and sunflower oil (to support the repair of your pet's cartilage and deliver high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids and linoleic acid) for overall hip & joint health, amino acid rich kelp to help produce energy and coconut flour which acts as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling. Each recipe is grain-free, pea-free, lentil-free and potato-free. AND includes added taurine.
  • MADE IN THE USA in Stella & Chewy’s own kitchen with cage-free chicken. Each ingredient is responsibly sourced.
  • ALL-IN-ONE SUPPLEMENT AND FEEDING SOLUTION that helps with inflammtion and pain relief for dogs, overall hip & joint boost and adds the benefit of raw nutrition to a dog’s diet in one convenient dog food. BONUS: Even the pickiest pups go wild for this dog food topper!
  • BONUS: Even the pickiest pups go wild for this dog food topper!

If a dog devoured his prey in the wild, he would consume the joint capsule, joint fluid, and the cartilage caps of the bones. It would nourish his joints by delivering the building blocks essential for joint health: glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin. Glucosamine serves as a precursor to chondroitin and hyaluronic acid. Chondroitin is the spongy component of cartilage that gives it structure and the capacity to withstand compression. Hyaluronic acid is a component of synovial fluid, which lubricates joints and aids in the reduction of friction between them during movement.

Here's when it gets tricky (*wink*). There is no kibble on the market that contains enough joint-supporting chemicals like glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid. Do not buy any dog food that makes promises about joint supplements. If your dog is only eating dry food, they will want an additional supply of joint fluids, which they will not find in a bag of kibble.

Consider a joint supplement that contains therapeutic amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, and anti-inflammatory herbs to cater to all of the components of a joint — synovial fluid, connective tissue, and cartilage.

#2 Omegas, Omegas and More Omegas​

Zesty Paws Omega 3 Alaskan Fish Oil Chew Treats for Dogs - with AlaskOmega for EPA & DHA Fatty Acids - Itch Free Skin - Hip & Joint Support + Skin & Coat Chicken Flavor (90 Soft Chews)
  • Rich Omega-3 Support – Zesty Paws Omega Bites are delicious chewable supplement treats with Omega fatty acids (with EPA and DHA), vitamins, and nutrients to help dogs look and feel their best.
  • Features AlaskOmega – Derived from Wild Alaskan Pollock, this premium ingredient provides a clean and pure source of omegas (with EPA and DHA) to boost your pup's wellness.
  • Healthy Skin = Happy Dog! – This formula contains Fish Oil, Biotin, Vitamin C and E. These vitamins, omegas, and antioxidants may help with hot spots and dry, itching, irritated, sensitive, and flaky skin.
  • Soft & Shiny Coat – These daily soft chews help pets with dull, dry, brittle, and shed prone coats by providing vital natural nourishment that promotes more shine, strength, and softness for your canine.
  • Joint, Heart & Immune Support – These grain free bite supplements also support hip and joint health, immune system function, and cardiovascular activity to help your pet feel zesty from head to paw.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are polyunsaturated fats that are classified as "essential" fatty acids. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are essential for your dog's diet because he cannot create them on his own. Omega 3s reduce inflammation, which is only one of the many omega 3 benefits for dogs, while Omega 6s promote normal growth and development, such as skin and hair growth, bone health, and metabolism. Omega 6s also induce inflammation, which isn't always a bad thing, but it does require that a diet must also include Omega 3s to balance the 6s.

The majority of shelf-stable foods, particularly kibble, are deficient in Omega 3-fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are costly and not shelf-stable. It's difficult to get enough Omega-3 fatty acids in dry kibble that's been through a high-temperature extrusion process, which is how the majority of kibble is processed. Furthermore, because it is costly, most pet food firms do not add Omega-3 fatty acids back into their pet food after processing. In fact, the majority of the polyunsaturated fats in a guaranteed analysis come from the Omega 6s we just discussed– the fatty acids that are pro-inflammatory.

#3 A happy dog has a healthy gut.

Houndz Healthy Gut PREBOTIC, PROBIOTIC and POSTBIOTIC Soft Chews for Dogs. Custom Gut Health Blend with Beneficial Yeast Extracts, Yucca Schidgera Extract, Chicory Root & Ginger Root.
  • A HEALTHY GUT contributes to better nutrient absorption and supports overall health and immunity. Our custom recipe provides the perfect mix of yeast and enzyme blends and the benefits of PREBIOTICS, PROBIOTICS and POSTBIOTICS. Our natural ingredients are formulated for optimal efficacy and flavor.
  • NATURAL & HEALTHY INGREDIENTS like Chicory Root which is a great source of inulin, and Organic Ginger root can help with upset stomachs, nausea and bloating. REAL CHICKEN and other plant based ingredients ensure that your dog will love the taste
  • PREBIOTICS are beneficial dietary fibers in food known to promote growth of beneficial microorganisms, bacteria and fungi living in the intestine. In simple terms prebiotics feed the friendly bacteria that are already in your dog’s colon.
  • PROBIOTICS are live microorganisms (bacteria) and yeasts which have been known to boost immunity. Many dogs need assistance balancing their intestinal microbes and probiotics can also have numerous potential benefits including diarrhea prevention and aid with skin conditions.
  • POSTBIOTICS: New research demonstrates that postbiotics can enhance animal health by introducing bioactive metabolites directly into the gut unlike ever before. By introducing postbiotics directly into the gut, a proper yeast blend can support a healthy canine immune system, especially during bacterial challenges.

Gut health is intertwined with bowel and anal gland health, as well as overall intestinal well-being. Probiotics can help with symptoms like bloating, stinking gas, and even occasional diarrhea caused by an abundance of harmful bacteria in the gut. Live probiotics flood the gut, aiding in the fight against harmful bacteria that colonize there.

However, in shelf-stable meals such as kibble, the FDA has a zero-tolerance policy for bacteria within the food, which includes any pathogen such as E. coli, listeria, or salmonella. When infections are eliminated, beneficial, healthy bacteria that are required for a healthy gut biome are also removed. So, while providing sterile food means you're not giving them pathogens, which is excellent, you're also not feeding them the helpful "good" bacteria that the gut biome requires.

Pet meals have begun to include probiotics, which is a step in the right direction, but their usefulness must be questioned. The majority of probiotics on the market are living bacteria that have been kept dormant. Because they have such a short lifespan—just two weeks—keeping them dormant until they're ready to use assures that the dosage and strength remain consistent. They come to life as soon as they come into contact with moisture, even if it is from the air. If they aren't packed and sealed (consider how often you open that bag of food), those beneficial bacteria may be depleted before your pup ever has a chance to benefit from them.

That assumes there was enough probiotic to begin with... The best probiotic for dogs contains enough culture-forming units (CFUs) to transit the entire digestive tract, from the stomach to the colon, providing your pooch with the necessary support. A probiotic should be supplemented with prebiotics to feed the probiotics and allow them to multiply and outweigh harmful bacteria.

#4 Dental Care

Sale
Virbac CET Enzymatic Toothpaste| Eliminates Bad Breath by Removing Plaque & Tartar Buildup | Best Pet Dental Care Toothpaste | Poultry Flavor, 2.5 oz tube
  • FOR DOGS AND CATS: Enzymatic toothpaste specifically formulated using an enzyme system for dogs and cats to reduce plaque, freshen breath, and ensure a clean mouth with Poultry flavor pets love
  • SAFE FOR DAILY USE: Includes no foaming agents so this toothpaste is safe for pets to swallow
  • VET RECOMMENDED: Virbac is the Top Recommended dental brand by Veterinary professionals and Made in the USA
  • USE WITH A TOOTHBRUSH: Use a soft bristled toothbrush such as the CET Dual Ended Toothbrush, Apply daily or as directed by your veterinarian, Your veterinarian may give you specific directions follow this professional advice closely

Dogs, as carnivores, have physiological features that have evolved precisely for what they are designed to eat. They have densely interdigitated teeth for ripping and tearing prey, a shorter digestive tract for digesting raw meat, and little to no salivary amylase (i.e. the enzyme that breaks down sugars or carbohydrates). As a result, dogs who eat kibble absorb more carbs, which adds to tooth tartar.

Tartar and germs on the surface of the teeth, for example, are frequently responsible for that breath-takingly awful doggy breath. Tartar is a beautiful mixture of minerals, food particles, and bacteria that likes to congregate on the gingival surface, where the tooth and gum touch. Gingivitis develops when the gum line becomes irritating and inflamed. When the gums become inflamed and swollen, bacteria are free to enter the bloodstream, causing a slew of problems. That's why oral health isn't simply about bad breath.

Switching to a low-carbohydrate raw or freeze-dried meal will significantly reduce tartar formation in canine breath.

#5 Antioxidant Supplementation on a Daily Basis

PetHonesty 10 in 1 Dog Multivitamin with Glucosamine - Essential Dog Supplements & Vitamins - Glucosamine Chondroitin, Probiotics, Omega Fish Oil for Dogs Health & Heart- Dog Health Supplies (Chicken)
  • 10 Benefits in 1 Daily Treat - PetHonesty's 10-For-1 Multivitamin chews combine a well-rounded blend of the most essential vitamins and supplements for dogs' overall daily health including glucosamine, probiotics, vitamins, and omega's.
  • Joint Health with Glucosamine - These natural supplement soft chews have high amounts of glucosamine and other joint support ingredients that reduce joint inflammation and increase mobility and flexibility in your dog.
  • Improve Digestion with 1 Billion CFU Probiotics - These one a day dog vitamins contain probiotics and pumpkin, which help keep your dog's digestive system running smoothly and decrease diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach issues.
  • Keep Skin + Coat Healthy with Omegas - Egg shell meal and omega's from krill oil can help heal dry, itchy, and flaky skin and increases coat strength, shine, and overall health.
  • Immune System + Heart Health with Vitamins A, C, and D3 - A blend of vitamins with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties improves immune system and keeps heart strong and healthy. These soft chew treats are appealing and appetizing to dogs, making it easy for you to improve your dog's overall health.

While I would recommend every pet parent to put fresh food in their pup's dish at any age, this is especially critical for aging and senior dogs. Antioxidants can be derived from both what we create in our bodies and what we consume in our diets. As we age, our own endogenous antioxidant levels begin to decline, and if we do not increase our dietary antioxidant levels, our bodies are vulnerable to damage from free radicals and oxidative stress, which leads to premature aging, cancer formation, and immune system hypersensitivity, which is harmful to both good and bad cells. Adding brightly colored fruits and veggies to their daily bowl can be a simple way to supplement antioxidants. Consider antioxidant pills that include extremely concentrated quantities of antioxidants derived from entire foods.

Joint care, extra omega-3 fatty acids, intestinal health, pearly whites, and a daily dose of antioxidants are all simple changes that can help any kibble-fed dog enjoy a more vibrant, healthier life. Be proactive: toss blueberries into that bowl, look up fermented fish stock, add a probiotic, and get going, for the love of dog!

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