Most of us toy with the idea of taking supplemental vitamins once and a while, and many of us set out on a faithful vitamin consuming routine. When it comes to dogs, advocates claim that supplemental dog vitamins can only help. Proponents claim that they’re too dangerous or even unnecessary. Does this sound familiar? If you’ve done any research on nutritional supplements, then you can see that the arguments are essentially the same for both dogs and people.
There’s one thing that both groups can agree on, however, and that is vitamins and minerals are critical to meeting a dog’s nutritional needs. They help regulate a dog’s heartbeat, aid circulation, and stimulate neural processes. Many vitamins and minerals are already present in quality dog food either naturally or added in production, and that fact makes some people question the need for dog supplements. Then again, quite a few vitamins and minerals may be lost in the food’s production, and that makes some people call supplements a necessity.
Research has shown that some illnesses are the result of a missing dog vitamin or mineral. Adding the missing vitamin or mineral to a dog’s diet can often remove that illness. Dog vitamin supplements can improve a weakened immune system for example, and enable a sickly dog to fight off diseases. In some cases, they can ease symptoms of a chronic illness or prevent illnesses from occurring in the first place.
Veterinarians generally have a different opinion, however, since they’re well aware of associated dangers. Vitamin supplements are quite deceiving. On one hand, they’re perceived as safe, natural food items. On the other hand, some are life-threatening if over-consumed. This is a problem since it isn’t easy to determine how many vitamins and minerals a dog consumes in food. It’s easy to determine how many vitamins and minerals are consumed in supplement form, but because dog food may be sufficiently nutritious, adding more nutrients via supplements is going overboard. And this could be dangerous.
Another danger associated with dog supplements is that they’re largely unregulated. That’s why you’re strongly advised to consult your vet before putting your pet on a dog vitamin and/or mineral program. Your vet will know what’s safe and what isn’t for your dog’s age, activity level, breed, and health. Being in the profession, the veterinarian will also have access to the latest warnings against dog supplements – warnings that aren’t always released to the general public and warnings that you may not learn about at all. Your vet will also need to know what your dog ingests since some medications interact adversely with supplements. Without knowing this information beforehand, a vet might overdose or underdose an ailing dog.
If you insist on administering dog supplements, you must consult the vet first! There’s simply no arguing this point. Once you’re given the go-ahead, seek out only high-quality supplements manufactured from reputable companies. Don’t even think about giving a dog the same supplements that you take. And don’t sway from the recommended dosage. If you notice any health or behavior change after starting a supplement program, consult your vet for further instructions.