As dog owners, we try to give our pets the best quality of life possible. And one of the most important parts of our furry family member’s well being is their diet. Now, while most pet foods are considered nutritionally balanced by the AAFCO, is there more you could be doing for your dog’s dietary needs? Absolutely! Your pet’s meals may cover the basics, there are some amazing supplements that you can also feed them to really give their digestive and/or immune system a boost. So, here are our top 3 recommendations for the best supplements for your dog.
Omega 3s- Your Dog’s New Best Friend
Many experts would agree that if you were to feed just one supplement to your pet, you should pick omega 3s. This nutrient is a multitasking supplement for your pet, acting as not only as an inflammatory but also as an antiarthritic. This means that it can help to address itchy, irritated skin and allergic responses in addition to also providing joint and bone support. Another plus? Your dog’s fur will become much softer and shinier as a result of feeding omega 3s. And if this wasn’t enough, this supplement also offers cognitive support, which is great for both growing puppies and senior dogs. It’s a powerful supplement that your dog can certainly benefit from.
Option 1: Fish Oil
As fish oil, omega 3s conveniently come in several forms, to include pills and bottled oil. When purchasing these supplements for your dog, be sure to do your research. Cheaper brands will source their oils from fish higher on the food chain, which can have more pollutants and toxins that can transfer to your pet. Salmon is a common fish used for omega 3s and is normally an acceptable choice. However, we recommend selecting sardines or anchovies, as these bottom feeders have fewer toxins.
Another thing to keep in mind is that omega 3 oil can become rancid from oxidative stress when exposed to oxygen. This can happen while being packaged or each time you open the bottle to pour out the oil. Even pump bottles run this risk, though perhaps not as much as those with twist open caps. This risk also exists for omega 3 pills, which can be exposed to oxygen in the same manner. So be sure to look for a company that gives the best guarantee of sourcing and packaging to mitigate this risk.
Option 2: Phytoplankton
Want an even better option than fish oil? Try phytoplankton instead! This algae is an excellent source of omega 3s and doesn’t run the risk of oxidative stress. It comes in a powder form, making it easy to add to your pet’s food. Again, make sure to choose a reputable company that has appropriate sourcing, processing, and packaging.
The Best Supplements For Your Dog Include Joint Support
Whether you have a growing puppy or an aging dog, it can’t be denied that joint support is pivotal to their quality of life. While most may think calcium is the first choice for this, in actuality glucosamine is a much better alternative. This substance (of which your dog’s body naturally produces) helps to rebuild the cartilage between joints, as well as provide anti-inflammatory benefits to your pet. As your pet ages, their body is unable to create as much glucosamine, which is why it can be a good idea to add this supplement to their diet. When feeding glucosamine to your dog, keep in mind that they will need a daily dose of 500mg for every 25lbs of weight.
Glucosamine can be purchased in a chewable pill form or even in soft treats. These options are typically sourced from shellfish or produced synthetically in a lab. If you’re looking for more natural sources of glucosamine, try pet-friendly bone broth! These broths not only contain glucosamine but also other beneficial ingredients, such as turmeric, pumpkin, cinnamon, etc. When feeding bone broth, make sure you are getting true pet-friendly products. Avoid grocery store broth or stock, even at natural grocers, as these options frequently include onions in their recipes (which is poisonous to dogs). Even if you don’t see it directly in their list of ingredients, be wary, as many may not specify in detail whether they include onions or not.
If you’re looking for a more direct source of glucosamine, try feeding your pup chicken feet, trachea or shellfish. These are all excellent sources of the joint-supporting supplement and are a tasty treat for your pet!
Go With Your- Er, Their Gut
Your dog’s digestive system plays an important role in their dietary health. If they’re unable to properly digest their food, they can’t absorb the beneficial ingredients. As such, ensuring their gut health is a top priority for you as a pet owner. Your dog has a certain amount of good bacteria (called probiotics) that help to maintain a healthy digestive environment. Additionally, your pet has digestive enzymes that break down and processes everything they eat. However, sometimes your pet may have a low number of these bacteria or enzymes, which can hinder their digestive process. This can cause issues, such as constipation, diarrhea, intolerance to certain foods, vomiting, etc. So, adding extra probiotics and digestive enzymes to their diet can make a world of difference!
Many supplements contain both bacteria and digestive enzymes to provide a holistic benefit for your dog. Some of the best types of probiotics to look for are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, and Enterococcus. In reference to digestive enzymes, one thing to take note of is that there are different enzymes for different types of food. For example, amylase is excellent for breaking down starches and carbohydrates. Lactase helps to break down lactose, which is found in dairy products. Protease is the enzyme that processes protein.
Amylase is an especially important one to include, especially if you feed your dog a kibble-based diet. Every kibble requires a binding agent to keep its form intact. Typical ingredients for this include potatoes, peas, beans, chickpeas, rice, grains, etc. Regardless of which type of binding agent your pet’s food has, amylase will help them to better break down and process it. Additionally, even if you feed veggies/fruits with a raw, dehydrated, or freeze-dried diet, it can be good to include amylase as a supplement to your dog’s diet.
When it comes to deciding on the best supplements for your dog, these were our top choices. And you can rest assured that no matter what you feed your pet, our team of professional sitters will make sure that your furry family member is taken care of like one of our own. Stop by our website today to take a closer look at our services!