Keeping our beloved pets happy and healthy through wise choices in nutrition and lifestyle is easier said than done. Over the past few decades there has been a raging debate about the necessity of taking vitamins or supplements for humans when they are more readily and efficiently delivered through a proper diet. However, the same debate cannot be extended to our pets, as in the case of senior dogs the debate of diet versus supplements is a little skewed, mostly because so much of their diet comes from commercially processed foods that are deficient in elements essential to good health.
We are going to look at both sides of the supplement debate, compare the different types of supplements and look at ways to administer them to our dogs. Even if we could all agree that supplements were not only advisable but are pre-requisites for a healthy senior dog, we should ensure that the supplements are assimilated well by the dog. For instance to improve the joint health of our dogs we might given them guclosamine; however, there are several forms of glucosamine and we should be well informed to choose the right type for our dogs. To get the supplements right can be frustrating task, and you might need the help of reputed experts to choose the right dog supplements. Most young dogs doesn’t need supplements of any kind, however they need balanced nutrition if they become senior dogs. A dog is considered a senior dog if her age is more than half of her life expectancy. It also depends on the breed and body weight. For instance, large and giant breeds age faster than smaller dogs. If your dog falls under the senior age group then ensure a proper balanced diet with all the nutrients.
We often tend to use the same decision making process on what supplements to use that we use for ourselves. Multivitamins are usually our first foray into the vitamin world because they seem to have so much of what we don’t get enough of in our daily diets. Same for our dogs. We know we don’t feed them right, we feel guilty because of it and we decide/or are told that we should start them on a multi-vitamin. But according to the FDA, they should already be getting their required amount of vitamins from commercially processed food. Whether that is true or not-federal agencies are far from infallible-we need to use the same attention in giving vitamins to our dogs as we do in giving medicine.
Just as with people we cannot give our dogs vitamins on a “more the merrier” system. Calcium and vitamins A&D, for example, given in too large a dose can wind up causing or exacerbating the very problems we are trying to address. Even worse, they can cause new ones. It is probably best to try to address deficiencies in diet, particularly if you are using a home made diet, before resorting to pills or liquids to give them what they should be attaining naturally. However, not everyone has the time and energy to cook food for your dogs at home, so in those cases it is important to opt for supplements and administering right dosages. Another important factor is supplement doesn’t just mean multi-vitamin. For dogs to have healthy joints and cartilage, they need glucosamine or condroitin. Almost all dogs need additional anti-oxdiant supplements to fight of free radicals and to prevent cancer. They might need S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) for better liver function. Choose the supplements based on the individual needs of your dog.