This is a topic I speak about a lot because it’s a question every dog owner comes across. In an effort to not be too redundant, I’m going to try to keep this answer short and to the point.
I break supplements into two main categories:
Maintenance supplements for healthy dogs and
Treatment supplements for dogs that have some kind of issue to treat.
For healthy dogs, the question I get most often is: If you give your dog balanced whole foods, why does your dog need supplements?
The short answer is: She doesn’t. If we were to lose all of our supplements today there’s a good chance she would be ok. I supplement because even whole foods can be deficient in certain things and I do it to prevent future health conditions.
I study supplements on a daily basis and I share what I learn. I don’t give my dog every supplement I research because it would simply be too much.
There is only one supplement that I consider truly necessary for healthy dogs and that is:
Fish oil is the only thing that she really needs to thrive and cannot produce on her own or get from her food. (Omega 3 essential fatty acids) Even if I were to feed her fish, it simply would not be enough. Because fish oil can potentially also be TOXIC if not sourced correctly, this plays a huge role in it being beneficial.
My favorite article about this is Facts about omega supplements
I also go into more detail about this in a few article but especially here: Fish oil and joint supplements
After fish oil come the non-essential staples for us which are:
Green mineral supplement and a
I write more about this here: Our supplements
And here: How much is too much?
Sometimes we add things and/or skip days but these are our most important ones.
The number one thing to consider when choosing supplements, is finding a source that you trust. A good holistic vet can help a lot with that as well as what your dog’s unique needs may be. I know a lot of people can’t get this, especially right away so unless there are health issues, there are many holistic vets on-line that offer great information. I choose to follow Dr. Peter Dobias
Dr. Karen Becker is another great choice.
Due to the over-saturation of the vitamin market, it can be incredibly overwhelming to have to find this information out all on your own. There’s so many opinions about everything and many of them are not coming from vets! Following a good holistic vet on-line is the next best thing to in person and it helps weed through the conflicting opinions and information.
For healthy dogs this may be all they ever need. For dogs with health conditions however, I believe a direct consult is a lot more important. I am passionate about holistic vet care because I’ve seen it work miracles in cases where traditional medicine simply fell short. Things such as:
Kidney failure (renal disease)
Liver toxicity and even
Have been treated successfully in this way where all the tradition medicine could offer was symptom reduction and pain management. This is why I always suggest holistic care to people who have dogs with chronic conditions. It allows them to have the opportunity to treat the underlying causes of things and achieve full recovery. There are many testimonials of this and every case is different, but especially in the early stages of things, it’s always worth looking into. This is where supplements can go from beneficial to life saving and part of what keeps me writing!