There is no general answer to whether a dog needs nutritional supplements or not. It depends on whether he has problems with his health due to deficiency symptoms. A healthy dog food should already contain all the important nutrients that the dog needs. However, there are many cases in which dogs have changing nutritional needs, for example due to pregnancy, illness and age.
In this article we explain in which cases feeding nutritional supplements makes sense and which ingredients you should pay particular attention to. We also look at how deficiency symptoms manifest themselves in dogs and what needs to be done.
Recognize deficiency symptoms in dogs
To find out whether a dog needs nutritional supplements, you should keep a close eye on him. Deficiencies can manifest themselves through various symptoms, including:
- itchy, flaky skin
- Movement restrictions
- increased susceptibility to disease
- dull and brittle fur to the point of hair loss
- Delays in development
- early signs of aging
- Susceptibility to stress
- permanent fatigue, apathy
If you notice one or more of these signs in your dog, you should always go to the vet first. This person can carry out a detailed examination of the animal and ultimately prescribe something for treatment. These can be medications or nutritional supplements for dogs. Dietary supplements can also be used as a preventive measure so that the dog does not develop deficiency symptoms in the first place. However, this only makes sense if there is reasonable suspicion that a dog needs more nutrients than it can get from its main food.
Caution: Overdosing on nutrients could have health consequences . For this reason, you should always consult with a veterinarian before randomly feeding your dog any supplementary food.
Treat nutrient deficiencies
Dogs generally need various basic nutrients , which are ideally provided with a high-quality complete food . However, the nutrient requirements differ depending on the animal. Factors such as age, weight, height and degree of exercise play an important role. In addition, there are individual illnesses, pregnancy or deficiency symptoms .
This shows that in some cases the administration of high-quality nutritional supplements is not only useful, but also necessary.
What nutritional supplements for dogs are there?
Supplements for dogs have the task of strengthening the animal's body and organs, as well as preventing or alleviating complaints . Well-known ingredients include vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids . The preparations can be added to dog food so that the dog will hardly notice them.
As already mentioned, you shouldn't just feed your dog food supplements indiscriminately. It is important to get the opinion of an expert beforehand. At the veterinary practice, the dog can be examined and a health assessment based on the results.
Here we provide an initial overview of in which case the dog needs which nutritional supplements.
Vitamins are basically divided into two groups: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins . While the B group vitamins and vitamin C are water-soluble vitamins, vitamins A, K, D and E require fatty acids to be metabolized by the dog's body.
The distinction is important because an overdose of water-soluble vitamins can be excreted by the body. Things are different with fat-soluble vitamins. If the dog ingests too high a dose, it can cause physical damage .
When dosed correctly, vitamins play an important role in the dog's body. They help maintain the health of the coat and skin , strengthen the immune system and ensure a healthy metabolism . Vitamins are also responsible for bone formation and blood clotting. It is therefore all the more important to make sure that the dog receives enough vitamins from its food.
Fatty acids not only provide the dog with energy , but also serve to utilize fat-soluble vitamins . They have a positive effect on the immune system and metabolic processes. They are also important with regard to the health of a dog's coat and skin .
While most fatty acids can be produced by a dog's organism itself , others must be present in dog food. These include linoleic acid (one of the omega-6 fatty acids ) and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid .
Minerals that are micronutrients cannot be produced independently in dogs' bodies either. Since dogs still need them for a healthy life, they must be present in sufficient quantities in dog food or fed as a dietary supplement .
Minerals are divided into two subgroups : trace and bulk elements . The body only needs trace elements in small amounts. These include zinc, iron and iodine, among others. In contrast, bulk elements are required in large quantities by the dog's body. Typical bulk elements are calcium, magnesium and sodium .
While magnesium is responsible for the healthy structure of bones and teeth , sodium is responsible for regulating water balance . Iodine, on the other hand, plays a large role in the production of thyroid hormones .
Dogs need microorganisms for healthy intestinal function . These are contained in so-called probiotics and have a positive effect on the intestines. The healthy intestinal flora strengthens the immune system , among other things, and the dog is then less susceptible to various diseases. In addition, the germs in the digestive tract are displaced by the additional intestinal bacteria.
It makes sense to give probiotics in the event of allergies, diarrhea or after taking antibiotics.
Strengthen the dog's immune system
Just like us humans, dogs need a strong immune system so that their bodies can defend themselves against various types of diseases. For this reason, dog owners should ensure that it is sufficiently strengthened . This works best for dogs in the form of nutritional supplements, as these can be easily mixed into the main food.
Improve skin and coat
Especially in the winter months and when the dog is going through a coat change , it should be supported as best as possible by adding nutritional supplements. Shedding can be supported by high-quality protein sources for the production of keratin, B vitamins, zinc, biotin and unsaturated fatty acids .
Osteoarthritis in dogs is not something to be trifled with, but in this case too, a lot can be achieved through nutritional supplements for dogs.
Food supplements for joint problems
If the dog suffers from joint problems, nutritional supplements that promote a healthy musculoskeletal system can help in addition to the normal dog diet . This allows the following effects to be achieved:
- Protection and regeneration of articular cartilage
- Promotes the formation of synovial fluid
- Alleviation of inflammation
Supplementary feed for building muscle in dogs also supports sick joints and counteracts muscle loss.
Digestive problems in dogs: clay & probiotics provide relief
A dog can suffer from diarrhea and flatulence if the accumulation of microorganisms in the body becomes unbalanced. Preparations with clay are useful because they can soothe an irritated intestine . Probiotics also serve to support and relieve symptoms. In the case of acute diarrhea, activated charcoal is best used. This allows toxins to bind in the gastrointestinal tract of dogs, which in turn can solidify the dog's stool.
In the event of constipation, it makes sense to give fiber such as corn or wheat flakes, carrots or pea flakes so that they stimulate digestion again.
Old age in dogs: antioxidants help
If your dog is older, we recommend nutritional supplements that contain antioxidants . The algae spirulina is popular and could help dogs gain more vitality. The reason for this is the high content of protein and antioxidant substances. The best way to protect dogs from oxidative stress is with zinc, selenium and vitamins C, E and B2 . However, since vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, it should never be overdosed .
CDB oil for dogs
If the dog suffers from serious illnesses, CBD oil can be administered to accompany the treatment. However, this should always be discussed with a veterinarian in advance. CBD oil could help the dog relax in stressful situations or when in pain. A relaxing effect can also be expected in cases of anxiety disorders or epilepsy.
It should be noted that CBD oil does not help cure the diseases mentioned, it could only reduce the symptoms for a short time . To administer CBD oil, you either give it directly to the dog's tongue or mix it into their food. If there are several dogs in the household, it is important that different vials are used (to avoid the risk of infection). Or the sick dog is given a separate feeding place where he can be given the CBD oil.
Protection against parasites
Parasite infestation is also possible in dogs. Typical representatives are worms, fleas and ticks . Since they can transmit diseases, they should be kept away from dogs as much as possible. This can be done, for example, with the help of black cumin oil . If the dog eats food that has previously been mixed with the oil, it will then emit a smell that is unpleasant for the bloodsuckers. However, this method does not provide complete security.
Black cumin or coconut oil can also be easily applied to dogs' fur . This process is used for external tick prevention.
Are nutritional supplements useful?
If the dog is kept appropriately and is healthy, a conventional complete food is usually sufficient to cover its nutrient needs. However, things may look different in the following cases:
- recent surgery
- Fur or bone problems
- >first signs of aging
The nutrient requirements usually change, so it becomes important to adapt the diet optimally . This works best and most effectively with nutritional supplements. As the name suggests, these should never be fed exclusively , but only as a supplement. Otherwise, the dog may suffer from malnutrition or an excess of nutrients due to the unbalanced diet.
In order for dogs to lead a healthy life and be provided with all the important nutrients, they not only have to be kept in a species-appropriate manner and receive high-quality complete food. It is also important that the nutrient requirements are determined individually and adjusted accordingly .
In this context, questions that relate to possible deficiency symptoms in dogs or the correct dose of vitamins are often asked. We answer these and others in our FAQ section .
Which nutritional supplements are useful for dogs?
Dogs may need different nutritional supplements depending on their age, size and health. Those that provide the dog with sufficient vitamins, minerals and fatty acids make sense. However, dogs' nutritional needs can vary greatly. Overdosing should also be avoided as it can also be harmful to the dog's health.
How do deficiency symptoms manifest themselves in dogs?
Often, dogs deficient in various nutrients suffer from reduced energy, a vulnerable immune system, dull coats, hair loss and dandruff. In addition, behavioral problems such as increased feelings of stress or apathetic states can occur. If you suspect a deficiency in your dog, it is important to first define it more precisely. Only trained veterinarians can help.
What is the healthiest thing for dogs?
In addition to proteins, dogs also need vitamins, trace elements and a small proportion of carbohydrates. Muscle meat, eggs or liver usually contain a lot of protein. Trace elements are also found in meat, but also in various types of grains, yeast, legumes and nuts.
Which vitamins are good for dogs?
Dogs need the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, but the water-soluble B vitamins are also essential for the animals. Vitamin C is also an important nutrient for dogs, but they cannot produce it themselves in their bodies.
Dogs need various nutrients, which include vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and proteins. They should be able to get a large proportion of this from complete feed. It is important that dog owners primarily purchase food with this label for their four-legged friend. However, there are some cases where even the nutrients in the dog's regular food are not enough. The animals can then develop symptoms that indicate a lack of nutrients. An increased sense of stress and restlessness, but also apathy and itchy or flaky skin are possible.
If you notice these or similar signs in your dog, you should first take them to a veterinary practice. Veterinarians can perform detailed examinations and then prescribe products or medications for treatment.
Dietary supplements are also suitable for preventing health problems in dogs. They provide dogs with all the nutrients they need for a healthy body. Supplementary feed can either be mixed into regular food or served individually. However, you should make sure that the dog also eats his main food.
At Recoactiv we offer high-quality nutritional supplements for dogs that dog owners can use to optimally support their furry friends.