Ask the Vet: Supplements We Give Our Dogs
At Southeastern Guide Dogs, we take our dogs’ health seriously. Our staff, volunteers, and supporters love dogs and want what’s best for them. Healthier dogs are happier, longer-working dogs, and after investing tens of thousands of dollars into their care and training, keeping them at peak health is a top priority. In fact, our graduates sign a contract agreeing to keep their dogs from becoming overweight, a key health indicator. We liken our dogs to Olympic athletes who train regularly and take excellent care of their bodies.
Our veterinary team takes a holistic approach to our puppies’ and dogs’ health care, incorporating dog massage, acupuncture, cold laser therapy, fecal microbiota transplant, nutritional supplements, and other therapies and protocols.
Today, we’ll take a look at the top supplements our veterinary team recommends for our program dogs. But please note—before giving supplements to your own dogs, check first with your veterinarian. Every dog has unique needs, and our veterinarians work primarily with large-breed dogs.
The top three supplements our dogs receive include:
- Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil)
Glucosamine and chondroitin promote healthy cartilage, shock absorption, and joint function, especially important for large-breed dogs. Glucosamine and chondroitin are found naturally in normal cartilage, which acts as a cushion between the bones in the joint.
Omega 3 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coats (especially important for allergies), control inflammation, and contribute to joint health. These fatty acids are sourced from certain plants but mainly from cold water fish.
The word “probiotic” comes from the Latin words that translate “for life.” Probiotics contain live microorganisms normally found in the canine gut, and supplements are believed to help maintain a good balance of the “good” bacteria needed for a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Beneficial bacteria support the digestion and the dog’s overall immune system. Giving probiotic supplements is a good idea on a regular basis, but especially if a dog must take antibiotics. Antibiotics treat infections and “bad” bacteria, but they also can destroy “good” bacteria. Be sure to choose a probiotic designed specifically for animals and one that has a customer service number to contact the manufacturer with any questions.
If you’re considering giving your pet supplements, do check with your veterinarian first. And remember, regardless of whether you offer your dog supplements or not, the best thing you can do for its longevity is to prevent obesity through exercise and food portion control.