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Should you give your dog natural supplements?

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Owners are increasingly looking to give their pets a healthy lifestyle that maximizes their chances of a long and happy life. This includes finding the best foods for their dog to eat, giving them regular mental and physical exercise, and even introducing natural supplements like superfood powders and CBD oil into their diet.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular natural supplements for dogs, and whether they really do increase pups’ wellbeing.

What are natural supplements?

Natural supplements are dietary or topical treatments, usually made from plants or animal products, which are taken to improve health and wellbeing. Supplements might include vitamins, minerals, enzymes, healthy fats, amino acids, and aromatic compounds.

Also Read: Why Use CBD Oil For Dogs?

How are supplements different from traditional medications?

Supplements are different from most medications, in that they’re not designed to cure an illness or disease. Instead, natural supplements support dogs’ bodies in fighting conditions.

Because they’re not official medications, supplements may or may not be regulated by official bodies like the FDA. Vets may also not prescribe or directly recommend supplements due to a lack of official testing.

Despite this, owners should ensure that any supplement they’re considering for their pet is both legal and safe.

Which natural supplements are appropriate for dogs?

Here’s what we know about some of the most popular supplements for dogs on the market right now:

CBD oil

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is the shortened name for Cannabidiol, which is a compound extracted from cannabis plants. CBD oil for dogs is known to be a safe, non-toxic anti-inflammatory, which doesn’t cause serious side effects or make dogs ‘high’. 

How does it work?

CBD has a calming effect by affecting a part of dogs’ bodies called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is partly responsible for controlling stress, inflammation, and pain across major organs. By stimulating receptors in the ECS, experts believe CBD can reduce arthritis pain, stress, and swelling in dogs.

Do dogs benefit from this supplement?

Because it’s an anti-inflammatory, CBD can benefit any dog that’s suffering from an inflammatory condition. These include anxiety, allergies, some types of seizures, and arthritis or joint pain.

Probiotics

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are a type of living bacteria and yeasts known to promote healthy conditions inside dogs’ stomachs and digestive tracts. They are often mixed into foods and drinks to aid absorption.

How do they work?

Probiotics support dogs in being able to digest and excrete food, as well as absorb nutrients, by creating ideal conditions inside the digestive system. An optimal gut biome is achieved when probiotics are able to compete with and crowd out unwanted bacteria inside the stomach.

Do dogs benefit from this supplement?

Dogs benefit from supplementing with probiotics when they’ve experienced issues with digestion. This might mean difficulty maintaining healthy stool, eating a regular amount of food, or an inability to sufficiently absorb nutrients. 

Also Read: 5 Benefits of the Raw Diet For Your Dog

Glucosamine

What is glucosamine?

One of the most popular supplements for senior dogs (and humans) is glucosamine. Glucosamine is a component of protein and fat and is particularly found in cartilage, which is the tissue that helps protect joints when they flex and rotate.

How does it work?

By adding additional glucosamine into a diet, advocates say that dogs are better able to maintain and repair joint issues and inflammation.

Do dogs benefit from this supplement?

For dogs suffering from arthritis or other conditions that cause swelling around the joints, supplementing with glucosamine may support the body in restoring and repair cartilage – a key part of healthy joints.

Fish oils

What are fish oils?

Another dietary supplement popular with both dogs and humans is fish oil. Often sourced from salmon and krill, fish oil is a processed product extract from these fish tissues and concentrated into pills or tinctures.

How does it work?

By concentrating the fish oil, these supplements are able to offer high amounts of Omega fatty acids in a small dose. Omega acids are anti-inflammatory compounds known to have several benefits for dogs, including helping to maintain coat and skin health, joint flexibility, and even cardiovascular function.

Do dogs benefit from this supplement?

Fish oils are a great choice for almost any dog looking to derive more nutrition from their diet. However, dogs with skin, coat, or joint issues may benefit the most from this supplement.

Valerian root

What is valerian root?

Valerian root is an herb extracted from parts of the Valerian plant. In supplement form, valerian root is often concentrated into a powder, capsule, or liquid that can be concealed into dogs’ food.

How does it work?

Contained in valerian root are several antioxidants and acids that are known to promote feelings of calmness in dogs. Valerenic acid interacts with the way the brain receives certain nerve signals, related to the triggering of stress and anxiety responses.

Do dogs benefit from this supplement?

Many dogs that are experiencing anxiety and psychological stress benefit from supplementation with valerian root. Often, owners will use valerian root to help calm down dogs who have phobias to loud noises or certain environments. However, this supplement has been known to cause drowsiness in dogs, so owners should proceed with caution.

The bottom line

Natural supplements can be a great way for owners to help their dogs fight common canine conditions without resorting to pharmaceutical medication. However, supplements should always be carefully researched and only given to dogs when there’s a clear need.

When starting any new course of pet supplementation, it’s worth having a conversation with a vet to make sure it’s the best choice for dogs. 

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