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Many of us take supplements for our own health and in turn, we give them to our dogs, but are they really necessary? Today we’ll share facts you need to know about vitamin safety and dangers you need to look for when giving your dog supplements for his health.
Approximately 1/3 of all dogs and cats in the United States receive to vitamins or supplements on a daily basis. The most common of these supplements are multivitamins or supplements that help aging pets with arthritis. Other dogs receive fatty acids to help with coats and shedding or probiotics to aid with gastrointestinal issues.
Do dogs really need vitamins or supplements? Are they safe for dogs to consume? Experts and veterinarians say that while some work, many don’t. Some aren’t even necessary while others might do more harm than good.
Dogs receive most of the nutrition they need from a complete and balanced diet. If their diet is complete and balanced they should be getting all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy even from a diet of commercially processed dog food.
The problem in a dogs’ diet often stems from the fact that his food is homemade. If this is the case, then yes, it might be necessary to supplement with vitamins. Otherwise, your dog should be just fine. If you have any concerns about your dogs’ diet or whether or not you should supplement his diet with anything, it’s best to speak with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist for advice.
If your dog already eats a well balanced diet it might be best to hold off vitamins and supplements because you don’t want to run the risk of giving your dog too much when it comes to certain elements.
For example, too much calcium has been known to cause skeletal problems, especially in larger dogs. Too much Vitamin A can harm blood vessels and too much Vitamin D can cause a dog to stop eating. Too much Vitamin D can also harm the bones of your dog and it also causes muscles to atrophy. Many supplements also contain herbs that might interfere with other medicines your dog might currently be taking.
Yes, it’s best that you speak with your veterinarian before giving your dog something he may or may not need. If you’re concerned about your dogs’ health, don’t hesitate to make an appointment to discuss your concern. A poor coat or hair loss, for example, may signal that your dog has an issue with his skin but it’s best to let an expert help you diagnose the issue.
Many dog owners give their aging dogs’ glucosamine-chondrotin supplements to help with arthritis but even these have been shown to have mixed results when it comes to a dogs’ health.
Supplements don’t always live up to the hype that they promise on the bottle. According to Consumerlab.com sixty percent of all glucosamine supplements manufactured for pets failed in lab testing and 25% didn’t meet the claims presented on the label.
The Food and Drug Administration is the organization responsible for regulating animal supplements. Currently, at this time, there is little to no information on the safety of pet supplements so if you choose to use them, know that you are doing so at the risk of your dogs’ health.
If you do choose to supplement your dogs’ diet there are tips that will help your decision go a little smoother:
When choosing a brand, be sure that brand has been studied for effectiveness.
Always read the label and know the name of the ingredient you are looking for. Go with your gut and be sure to speak with your veterinarian if you have any questions about ingredients listed on the label.
Look for a lot number on the bottle because tells you that the product has been checked for quality control.
Check the label to see if there is a contact number for the company. You can always call and ask who made the product, where it was manufactured, etc. If you still feel uncomfortable after speaking with someone, you aren’t obligated to buy the product.
If the product sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If it promises to alleviate certain diseases or conditions, it might be best to put the product back on the shelf.
Check the label to see if the product comes from an organization that has been certified. If the product has been certified there’s a good chance the effectiveness of the product has been verified.
Supplements meant for humans should not be given to dogs. Some products meant for humans can be dangerous for dogs.
Always know the seller of the product you are buying. There are fewer problems with supplements purchased from your veterinarians’ office but yes, they have been known to occur.
Many adult dog foods contain supplements but because of state regulations it’s usually not a very high dose. Prescription dog food, on the other hand, might just contain therapeutic levels of certain supplements.
It’s up to you as to whether or not you choose to supplement the diet of your dog, but it’s recommended that you speak with your veterinarian before adding anything to your dogs’ diet. Speaking with your veterinarian will ensure that the health of your dog is maintained throughout the life of your pet.
Today we would like to thank pets.webmd.com for helping us with this post. Be sure to visit their website to learn more helpful tips that will help keep your pets happy and healthy for life.
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