Happy National Dog Week!  September 19th-25th marks the 75th National Dog Week and we are so excited to be able to celebrate!  Part of being an awesome pet parent is being knowledgeable on your pets health especially if you are looking into introducing vitamins or supplements into their diet. Check out our post below to find out if vitamins and supplements are right for your pooch…

According to the FDA, in 2013 over half of the U.S. hooman population took some form of vitamin or supplement.  Vitamins are essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy life style in both humans and pets alike. Millions of folks consume vitamins and supplements to aide with certain health problems, dietary needs or pregnancy but is it a good idea to be giving our pets vitamins too?

Up to a third of U.S. cats and dogs receive vitamins or supplements with the most common being the multivitamin.  But are vitamins and supplements safe to give to your beloved pet?

Our four pups here at Sweet. Dog. Life. have not been put on a vitamin or supplement regime nor have our two senior cats.  We have been doing our research to see if this is something we should consider adding to our pets lifestyle. Our research led us to this article and we feel the information is very relevant and we wanted to share with our audience.

Elizabeth Lee with WebMD Pet Health, supplied some awesome FAQ’s about giving supplements to your dog. Check out some of the FAQ’s from her article below:

Dog Vitamins and Supplements: Get the Facts (Elizabeth Lee, PetMD)

Original/Complete Article, here.

1. Does my dog need vitamins?

Most dogs receive a complete and balanced diet – including necessary vitamins and minerals – from commercially processed dog food, according to the FDA. Dogs fed a homemade diet may need supplements. Check with a veterinarian or nutritionist for help in determining what, if anything, is needed.

2. Is there any danger in giving my dog vitamins?

Possibly. If an animal already eats a balanced diet and receives excess portions of some vitamins and minerals, they could be harmful, according to the FDA and veterinarians. Too much calcium can cause skeletal problems, especially in large-breed puppies; too much vitamin A can harm blood vessels and cause dehydration and joint pain. Excess vitamin D can prompt a dog to stop eating, harm bones, and cause muscles to atrophy.

3. Should I check with my vet before supplementing?

Absolutely, vets say. Symptoms that look like arthritis, such as a dog with a weak rear end, could instead be a neurological problem. A poor coat could indicate skin, metabolic or hormonal problems. Ingredients in some supplements, such as herbals, may interact with other medicine an animal is taking. Your vet can also assess whether your pet needs a supplement.

4. Do dog supplements work?

It depends on what the supplement is used for and how it is manufactured, veterinarians say. Clinical trials are rare. Glucosamine-chondroitin supplements, commonly given to dogs with osteoarthritis, have shown mixed results in testing in humans and animals. A 2007 study published in The Veterinary Journal concluded that dogs treated with glucosamine-chondroitin sulfate showed less pain and more mobility after 70 days of treatment. Fatty acids can help coats look better. Fish oil supplements also can reduce inflammation, according to a study published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E also reduce inflammation and help aging dogs with memory problems, Wynn says. But she’s cautious about recommending supplements, especially for young animals that might be on nutritional supplements for many years. 

5. How should I choose a supplement?

Here are tips from veterinarians and those who test supplements or work in the industry.

  • Look for a brand that specializes in one area, or that has commissioned clinical studies of their products.
  • Read labels. Know the name of the ingredient you’re looking for, so you won’t be deceived by sound-alikes.
  • Look for a lot number on the product, a sign that the company has set up quality control checks.
  • Look for a contact number for the company on the label. Call and ask who formulated the product, what expertise they have, and how long the manufacturer has been in business.
  • Be wary of claims that sound too good to be true, such as promises to alleviate diseases like parvovirus, cancer, and hip dysplasia.
  • Look for certification from an organization that has independently verified a supplement’s contents.
  • Be cautious about giving human supplements to dogs. Some products, such as garlic, can be dangerous for dogs.
  • Know the seller. 

Now it’s your turn!  We want to hear from you!  Is your pet on a vitamin or supplement regime and if so how has your experience been?  If not, have you ever considered starting a vitamin regime for your pet?

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