Many nutritional supplements for dogs are now the go to tool for pet parents as a potential prevention of certain health issues in dogs. Even though we still aren't sure how effective many nutraceuticals are, we do see the holistic dog care approach gaining momentum in veterinary field and general dog ownership.
As a veterinarian, pet supplement question comes up more often than you would think. But before I recommend any supplements for dogs, let's look at their efficacy, purpose and the whole supplement industry as a whole. Note that more often than not, your dog does not need any supplements if you feed him a proper diet.
The market of pet supplements for dogs seems to be ever-expanding. Today, there's anything and everything from dog's skin soothing lotions to remedies for canine arthritis. In fact, there are too many supplements for dogs and cats out there, and majority of pet parents are becoming more and more confused.
How do we know which dog supplements are useful, and what's just a waste of money?
Which supplements for dogs are worth using?
Unfortunately, science hasn't gone so far as to test them all for 100% efficacy, therefore, it's important to understand what pet supplements are, and what they can or cannot do for ouir dogs. FDA published a page on this, which I recommend you read.
Basically, the dietary supplement business is a multi-billion dollar industry, but these pet supplements for dogs do not have any strict guidelines and regulations that traditional medications do. Because they are “supplements,” they're not supervised by FDA.
Therefore, as a dog parent, you need to be extremely careful when selecting which pet supplements you will administer to your canine, and you should always consult with your veterinarian first. Even though there are tons of dog vitamins that many pet parents use on a daily basis, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are always (or ever) effective.
Furthermore, remember that too much of certain vitamins, minerals and supplements for dogs can do just as much harm as not getting enough of them. Your vet will be able to tell you the correct dosage for your specific dog breed and your pet's size and weight.
EXPERT INTERVIEW: What Is Holistic Veterinary Medicine for Dogs?
Supplement testing is still in its infancy
Most of the supplements for dogs out there may boost the health of your pet or his immune system; however, we have no scientific evidence of their efficacy. All claims made about the effectiveness of these best supplements for dogs listed below comes from pet parents themselves and my own experience, therefore, it's just anecdotal evidence that may or may not be true.
Below you'll find a quick breakdown of these pet supplements for dogs which are often mentioned as having helped dogs in one way or another. Always remember to consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any type of vitamins, supplements or medicine.
7 Best Vet Recommended Supplements for Dogs
1Skin Relief Stick by Seabuck 7
Seabuck 7 is committed to sourcing Himalayan-grown sea buckthorn berries for nutritional supplements and human-grade natural remedies. While the skin stick is not traditionally thought of as a health supplement – it certainly is worth adding to your pet’s First Aid Kit and used regularly.
Many dogs develop dry, cracked paw pads, especially during the winter and this is usually the time when supplements for dogs are mostly needed. Daily use of the Seabuck 7 Skin Relief Stick can help their pads to heal and as a way to keep them supple and healthy.
From the manufacturer: SeaBuck 7 Skin Relief Stick is an easy to apply treatment that glides over skin and coat. Made from 6 proven skin-healing ingredients and proven to soothe and calm irritated skin. The portable and convenient packaging is easy to apply and results are seen almost immediately. SeaBuck 7 Skin Relief Stick is excellent for use on dry skin, hot spots, flea/tick bites and sunburn.
Average price: $65
This article is not sponsored or associated with Nutramax in anyway, but I do want to emphasize my trust in Nutramax Laboratories. They don’t just make pet supplements; they also produce trusted veterinary medical supplies such as synthetic bone grafting materials. Most of their pet products are sold over-the-counter and can be purchased at “big box” pet stores, your veterinarian, and online.
Their most popular supplements include glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate-containing products to support healthy joints (Dasuquin, Cosequin), probiotics and prebiotics for digestive support (Proviable), brain and liver health (Marin, Denamarin, Denosyl), urinary health (Crananidin) and multivitamins (Cosevite).
Omega essential fatty acid supplements for dogs are very popular for dogs right now and for good reason. Veterinarians recommend omegas for almost every dog, as they help to support healthy skin and brain function.
High levels of omegas are often prescribed for dogs that suffer from chronic skin problems as well. Same manufacturer that I have just mentioned above – Seabuck 7 – produces a concentrated sea buckthorn fruit oil, which contains a natural source of omega-3 and omega-7 fatty acids. Although you can find buckthorn oil blend for dogs and cats from a few other sources, it's still not very common.
You won't have to deal with fishy dog breath and it is appropriate for families seeking sustainable, vegetarian or vegan products. This simple one ingredient formula promotes optimum heart health, as well as a lustrous coat and healthy skin.
This homeopathic flower remedy is used with varying levels of success for dogs that suffer from anxiety daily.
It is also used before and during travel as a natural calming supplement for dogs. The original formula can be diluted in water for dogs, or you may choose to invest in their dog-specific product that is alcohol-free.
This formula is suitable for pets of all shapes and sizes, not just dogs. This is a great product to have on hand if you run a multi-animal household. Whether your dog is afraid of the groomer or has severe separation anxiety, this product can be used to soothe him and helps to calm him naturally.
Average price: $30
If your dog won’t let you brush his teeth daily, Perio-support is something you can add to his food to combat plaque formation. It contains probiotics and natural zeolites in an easy-to-feed powder.
Another great benefit to these supplements for dogs is that it helps to neutralize bad breath. The bottle that it comes in has an easy-to-use shaker top that allows you to quickly sprinkle the powder on your pet's food. This product should not be used as a replacement for veterinary dental care, but it will help keep your pet's mouth healthy in between visits.
Average price: $14
If your dog suffers from anxiety (thunderstorm, separation, travel, etc.), this supplement is worth a try. The best thing about this product is that it helps alleviate stress-related behavior problems without affecting your dog's personality or energy level.
Some other stress-relieving supplements for dogs drain your canines of energy, making them sleepy. Pet parents may think their dog is just relaxed, but in reality they are drained. These products lower a dog's quality of life and should never be used, so once again, make sure to do proper research before buying any dog supplements, and definitely talk with your vet.
Average price: $40
Many senior dogs have trouble with digestion and a daily multivitamin can help ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to thrive.
GNC Pets produces a great blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and joint-supporting chondroitin at an affordable price. This multivitamin offers advanced support for general health and fosters a healthy immune system.
Ultra Mega Multivitamin for Senior Dogs is also enriched with amino acids and minerals to support a healthy coat of your pet. Added antioxidants and digestive enzymes are also included to improve your dog's overall well being.
Need help with giving dogs supplements and other pills?
Dog parents often struggle and don't know how to give a dog medicine, vitamins or supplements. It's a common issue and we all know that our canines aren't huge fans of pills. Fortunately, there's more than one way to do this. We've made an in-depth guide on how to give a dog pills safely. For more actionable tips, subscribe to our YouTube channel.