Why dog need dietary supplements?
Mineral and vitamin supplements are common these days, and millions of us take them every day. Debate continues about their effectiveness and the potential long-term effects of taking supplements on our health and well-being. Scientific research continues, and while some are convinced, others remain skeptical. But even if you belong to the former camp, should you supplement your dog with minerals and vitamins?
A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reported that as many as one-third of dogs in the United States are regularly fed dietary supplements1.
The most popular supplements include multivitamins, arthritis treatments and fatty acids to improve skin and coat condition. Nutritional supplements for the pet industry are estimated to be worth about $2 billion annually.
However, if you are feeding his dog a complete and balanced diet, does your dog need supplements? A veterinarian may prescribe supplements for aging or sick dogs. But many dog owners may give them when they are not necessary, and they can do more harm than good.
Are vitamin supplements bad for dogs?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), feeding supplements on top of a balanced diet may harm your dog. Too much calcium may interfere with natural bone development, especially in puppies. Adding vitamin A can lead to dehydration, arthritis, and damaged blood vessels, while too much vitamin D can lead to loss of appetite and muscle wasting. Always consult your veterinarian before adding supplements to your dog’s diet.
Are herbal supplements safer for my dog?
Most herbal supplements come to the market without clinical trials to determine if they are effective and how safe they are. Sometimes, if your dog is sick, herbal supplements can interact with your veterinarian’s medication and be harmful to your dog. Your veterinarian can recommend which herbal supplements are helpful, which may be harmful, and which are not effective at all.
Do vitamin and mineral supplements for dogs work?
While the FDA oversees the manufacture and sale of vitamin and mineral supplements for dogs, the industry is not regulated. This means that products often enter the market without proper clinical trials and testing. Veterinary groups have consistently warned that while there are several supplements that help some conditions, there is little scientific evidence to support their widespread use.
Are supplements added to commercial dog food?
Labels on dog food packages have strict guidelines, including lists or ingredients and the percentages of important nutrients the food contains. Manufacturers may add vitamins and minerals to their products. However, these are usually symbolic and are not considered effective doses. The exceptions are specially prepared “therapeutic” foods prescribed by veterinarians for dogs with specific diseases.
Your dog may not need supplements
While you can buy dozens of brands of vitamin and mineral supplements over the counter, there is little scientific evidence to support their use. If your dog eats a healthy, balanced diet, he probably doesn’t need them. If you have any doubts, be sure to consult your veterinarian, who can recommend a proper diet, treatments, and reliable supplements if needed.