What Supplements Should I Give My Ageing Dog?
If your furry family member is slowing down with age or has been diagnosed with arthritis, you might have wondered what you can give them to slow the signs of aging.
Although your dog might still act like a puppy, as he gets older, it’s time to consider his changing needs, from diet transitions to joint support.
Your dog is considered a senior citizen when he has reached 75% of his life expectancy. While that age might be young for a Great Dane, it’s usually older for a Yorkie.
There are plenty of supplements on the market, but which are any good and which are not worth the trouble to give your dog?
We’ll take a look at several different categories of supplements, from CBD to multivitamins and go over when or why you should consider giving them to your dog.
Considering that there are numerous brands of human and pet-specific joint supplements, fish oils, and vitamins, it’s mind-boggling to try to narrow down your focus to just one type of supplement without a little help.
Read on to learn more about the benefits these supplements can offer your older pup.
Relief with CBD Products for Dogs
CBD has been popular in the news and pop culture in recent years, and it can be a great benefit for your dog.
CBD oil contains cannabinoids, which interact with the endocannabinoid system within your dog’s body.
The effect of these products is astounding, leading to help with nausea in your furry friend all the way to stopping joint pain.
As many senior dogs suffer from anxiety, there is some support, according to PetMD that CBD oil will even help treat anxiety.
You also don’t have to worry about your dog getting high from CBD products, as most of them do not contain THC, which is the psychoactive component in marijuana products, or they contain such a small amount of THC that your pet wouldn’t have any symptoms from it.
CBD products are also considered pretty safe. It’s hard to overdose them, with the main symptom of that being your dog acting “high” if you’re using a product with THC in it.
You will want to check and make sure that other ingredients aren’t in your CBD product, which could be toxic to your dog.
Be Free from Anxiety with Hemp Chews for Dogs
Hemp chews, similar to CBD products, are becoming increasingly common, but most of the research about these products is anecdotal.
Hemp products generally contain less than 0.3 percent THC, so you generally don’t have to worry about psychoactive components, according to Veterinary Practice News.
Hemp chews are generally designed to alleviate symptoms of anxiety in your pet. As dogs get older, it is increasingly common for them to suffer from generalized anxiety disorders or more specific problems, such as separation anxiety.
Hemp chews are usually mixed with other helpful components, such as magnesium, to help relax your pet. Rather than having a dog pace the house all day and night while you’re at work, your dog can rest easy on his dog bed in a beam of sunshine while you’re working.
When using hemp chews, they have a pretty large margin of safety, meaning it’s hard to overdose or cause issues for your pet.
Unfortunately, we need more scientific studies to know exactly how much is good for your dog, so you’ll have to stick with anecdotal guidelines from the manufacturer.
Glucosamine is naturally found in your dog’s body, and it produces glycosaminoglycan, which is a compound that helps repair tissues such as cartilage.
The highest proportion of glucosamine is found in joint cartilage, but the amount in your dog’s body decreases over time. Dr. Karen Becker shares more information about glucosamine.
By supplementing glucosamine through an effective joint supplement, you will help the natural wear and tear that develops in your dog’s joints.
This supplement helps rebuild the cartilage in your dog’s joints, such as his knees and hips, which can help restore the joint’s normal function.
There are other reasons to utilize glucosamine. This substance has natural anti-inflammatory effects, so it can help decrease joint pain from arthritis naturally, and there are little to no side effects from it.
It is a natural alternative to pain medications that your veterinarian may prescribe for your aging pup.
Joint supplements often contain other compounds in addition to glucosamine, such as chondroitin and MSM. MSM is a sulfur compound that helps increase joint flexibility, while decreasing pain.
Chondroitin is also found in your dog’s joints, so replacing it can help with joint damage.
Turmeric is often used as a spice, but it can have surprising health benefits.
According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, the spice when used as a supplement for dogs can have benefits, such as being antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory, while also acting as an anti-cancer agent and wound healing supplement.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, and it can help decrease inflammation, which is the root of many diseases.
In addition to helping with joint disease, which can lead to arthritis, curcumin may help with inflammation caused by chronic periodontal disease and other health problems.
Turmeric has also been used in cancer studies. It has been shown to prevent precancerous changes in cells from turning into full-blown cancer.
In some studies, it has also been shown to kill cancer cells, making it a very effective adjunct to normal cancer treatments.
Turmeric has also been used to successfully treat gastrointestinal problems, by decreasing inflammation and decreasing the permeability of the gut.
The gut is the largest immune organ in the body, so keeping it healthy will help keep your furry family member healthier.
Fish oils can be incredibly beneficial for your dog. They include omega-3 fatty acids, which are often lacking in many diets.
Instead, most foods have higher amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which are helpful in some regards, but your dog needs higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids help balance the effects of omega-6 fatty acids, decreasing inflammation in disease processes like allergies and arthritis.
In fact, supplementing your dog’s diet with fish oils can help improve the symptoms of inflammatory disease processes such as allergies.
Omega-3 fatty acids also help improve skin and coat quality. If your pooch has dry or itchy skin, fish oils can help improve the quality of the skin barrier, which also helps protect your pet from allergies and other skin conditions.
As your pet ages, omega-3 fatty acids can be very beneficial for cognitive function. They help puppies when they are developing, and senior dogs who are prone to cognitive dysfunction disorders may be helped by supplementing with fish oils according to the AKC.
Immune System Supplements
Immune system supplements can help your dog fight off illnesses and lead a healthier life, similar to what they do for us.
There are a wide range of immune system supplements that have been used in dogs, and some are ones we’ve already covered on this list, such as using fish oils, which are anti-inflammatory.
Some vitamins can be supplemented through using the vitamin or an immune system supplement to help your dog reap the benefits.
Vitamin C can help fight off infections, while vitamin E improves heart health, as well as skin and muscle health.
Milk thistle is a common supplement used in dogs with liver issues as it has benefits that help the liver function more optimally, as well as having anti-oxidant effects.
It is commonly used with S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), and both can be of great benefit to your dog’s immune system.
According to summaries from Dog Food Insider, echinacea is another supplement that can boost your dog’s immune function, shortening illnesses and helping to keep illnesses away.
Rosemary is another powerful anti-oxidant that may help your dog’s immune system with supplementation.
The gastrointestinal tract is the largest immune system in the body, and it is often a battleground between bugs making your pet sick and the body keeping your pup healthy.
Probiotics can help tip the scales in your dog’s favor by maintaining a healthy amount of normal bacteria in the gut.
You’ll find that probiotics have a host of beneficial activities in your dog’s body. They help produce short-chain fatty acids, which help prevent harmful bacteria from overpopulating the gut, such as pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella.
Studies in humans and in dogs have shown that probiotics can help treat intestinal infections and health issues such as diarrhea.
In some studies, probiotics are as effective a treatment as using antibiotics, without all of the potential unwanted side effects or issues such as antibiotic resistance.
Probiotics can also help your dog’s body by decreasing inflammation. They can help control allergic reactions by decreasing the permeability of the gut.
Some studies are also showing that they can help control signs of anxiety in dogs, which can help your senior dog who might be suffering from separation anxiety.
Skin and Coat Supplements
Skin and coat supplements can help your dog’s coat quality.
These vitamins and supplements used can help decrease itchiness and also decrease symptoms of allergies and other skin conditions.
What then can you supplement for your dog to get these benefits?
Some supplements come in skin and coat varieties and include several different components to help your dog’s coat and skin.
These often include omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins such as vitamin E. You can also supplement these items separately into your dog’s diet.
The good news is that your dog will rarely have a nutritional deficiency as long as you’re feeding a well-formulated commercial diet, according to WebMD.
That said, if you’re feeding a diet that has not been formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, your dog may not be getting enough supplementation.
In addition, many pet foods are lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, making these a good thing to supplement in your pet’s diet.
As noted previously, these can help in a variety of ways, including improving the skin barrier and helping your pet have a sleek and shiny coat.
Many people give a multivitamin to their pets, and, depending on the type, these can be beneficial for your dog.
That said, too much of a good thing can be bad, and giving too much of certain vitamins and minerals has the potential to be toxic to your dog.
According to WebMD, too much calcium supplemented to your dog can lead to skeletal abnormalities, especially if you’re giving it to growing large breed puppies.
Excessive amounts of vitamin D can harm bones and even lead to muscles atrophying.
If your dog is not eating a commercial pet food, a multivitamin may be necessary to ensure that they get all of the vitamins and minerals they need to meet balanced requirements.
This is something your veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist can help you determine.
Why then give a multivitamin? Many of these have fatty acids supplemented that can improve your dog’s coat quality and decrease inflammation.
Supplementation with factors such as glucosamine can also help with joint pain and disease.
VCA Animal Hospitals outline the many benefits of fatty acid supplementation.
Giving your dog fatty acids, which usually come from fish oils, krill oil, or flax seed oils, can help promote a healthy skin and coat.
They can do much more than just that though. Omega-3 fatty acids are showing that they can do a whole host of good things for your dog’s body.
They may decrease the possibility of diabetic neuropathy from developing, and they can help prevent autoimmune disorders.
They may help in the shrinkage of tumors, as well as helping prevent tumors from forming by promoting cell differentiation in cancer cells, which can inhibit the tumor from forming.
Fatty acids may even help in treating seizure disorders or cardiac arrhythmias.
While some levels of omega-6 fatty acids are important, having higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids can help promote anti-inflammatory benefits from the supplement.
Using fatty acids tends to be rather safe, with the most common side effects being bad gas or soft, greasy stool in your dog.
Your senior dog could benefit from a variety of supplements.
Fatty acids or fish oils are one of the most commonly used supplements, as are glucosamine supplements.
These can help protect your dog’s joints and decrease inflammation, both of which can have very positive effects for your pooch.
Other supplements can also benefit your dog. If your pet is having anxiety or pain episodes, hemp chews or CBD products may prove themselves useful.
Supplementation with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium can also help relax your dog.
Using many of these vitamins and minerals can also help bolster your dog’s immune system, helping prevent infections that they may be more prone to as they age.
They can also have anti-cancer properties and prevent other diseases.
Choosing supplements for your dog can be difficult, and you don’t want to overdo it.
Make sure to discuss your concerns and possible supplements with your veterinarian, so your dog’s doctor can help make the best recommendation for your pet.