Dogs can benefit from taking health supplements in addition to their normal food. You as the owner need to make an evaluation of your dog’s needs. This evaluation must consider a number of factorsincluding age, level of conditioning, level of training, time of year and competition plans.
Vitamins are required for bone growth, good vision and for the body’s metabolism. Minerals are essential for strong bones and teeth. Supplements cannot make up for poor quality of foods, improper or inadequate training and conditioning. Yet, they are necessary for your dog to be healthy and strong.
Supplements are just that, supplements or additions to help get the most out of the food, to help minimize the stressful effects of the hard work of good training and to allow the dogs to reach their personal best potential in health and fitness. There are many of these supplements and some of them are discussed below.
Vitamins: Do dogs need vitamins? Yes, particularly if they are under the heavy stresses of hard training, vitamin supplementation is beneficial. As for specific vitamins, there are are several that have been found to beneficial.
Vitamin B12: This vitamin, given correctly, as a supplement, improves a dog’s appetite. Dosage should be kept as low as is effective, perhaps beginning with 1-2 cc/ dog / day; with a maximum dose of 4-5 cc/ day.
Vitamin C: This vitamin in moderate doses may be beneficial in several ways. It helps maintain the immune system and helps dogs fight off infections, especially viral. Vitamin C is also helpful in maintaining the skin; Moderate doses are approximately 250 mg to 500mg twice daily for the average dog. It is not necessary to give large doses of this vitamin. Vitamins C and D work together in a dog to make collagen (a substance that strengthens the tendons and ligaments) and all dogs need vitamin C, just not from a dietary source.
Vitamin E This vitamin has proven beneficial in two areas, one: in helping to maintain good footpads and as a mild anti-inflammatory. Normal dosage should be about 400IU / dog twice daily. Nutritional supplements and vitamins for pets like dogs and cats are crucial to pet health. Dog vitamins and nutritional supplements are tailored specifically for canines.
Glucosamine and chondroitin: These have proven valuable if given in combination. This supplement, derived from shellfish, appears to increase the viscosity and volume of synovium (joint fluid). This, in turn, acts as a protective mechanism for the joint surfaces. The best use of this supplement is as a preventative medicine. The most benefit from this application is to start young dogs (2 years) on the supplement and keep them on it. Aim for a liquid if possible, it makes administration far easier.
The effects of glucosamine on the older dog is the same, however if there are already arthritic changes, then the beneficial “preventative” effects are less; but the supplement is still helpful and recommended. A dose of 500-600mg per dog twice daily is adequate. Glucosamine, Calcium, and Manganese work to help the joints of a dog for deteriorating and strengths overall bone health.
This allows the dog to stay active well into old age. These elements also keep younger dogs healthier and minimize that chance of bone and joint discomfort during strenuous activities. Antioxidants help fend off free radicals that can cause harmful diseases. When a dog is given the correct amount of antioxidants, and supplements in general, their bodies stay healthier longer and they live healthier, happier lives.