5 Reasons to Add Supplements to Your Pet’s Diet

by Sarah Seward-Langdon on November 04, 2022

Supplements for Dogs: 5 Reasons to Boost Your Pet’s Diet

Written by: Sarah Seward-Langdon

Published on: 11/04/2022

There’s a hilarious saying floating around the internet: “no one lives better than dogs owned by women in their 20s”. It’s hilarious but accurate and is a nod to the increasing number of millennials who own pets. These millennial pet parents consider their pets to be their precious fur babies, and instead of raising human children, they are deciding to spend all their money on their dogs or cats.

The young conscientious pet parent is giving their dog or cat expensive food alternatives (to kibble), adding to their collection of specialty pet gear, and always bringing home a new toy to keep their pet entertained. It’s no wonder that in a world where we treat our pets like royalty, the discussion of pet nutrition and supplements is a primary focus!

If up to 57% of human adults over the age of 20 use supplements in the US, then it is no surprise that those who are pet owners would also consider the benefits supplements could have for their special four-legged children as well [1]!

Although some pet owners question why the sudden call for change, after all, pets have been doing fine since kibble became mainstream decades ago… haven’t they? Many recent pet health statistics say otherwise.

  • Up to 90% of dogs and cats develop some type of gum disease before the age of 2 [2]
  • The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) conducted a study in 2016 that found approximately 56% of pet dogs in the US are overweight [3]
  • As many as 20% of dogs suffer from some form of ear disease during their lifetime [4]
  • According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, it’s likely that 1 in 4 dogs will develop cancer during their lifetime, and almost 50% of dogs over 10 years of age could be afflicted by cancer [5]

Knowing all of that, don’t you also want to find ways to help keep your dog healthy? Let’s dive into why one way to help your dog is by adding the correct type and amount of supplements to their diet!

What Are Supplements?

Before we talk about why supplements are such an excellent idea for your dog’s diet, you should understand the basics of supplements. First off, what exactly is considered a supplement?

The National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council defines a pet supplement as “a substance for oral consumption by horses, dogs and cats, whether in or on feed or offered separately, intended for specific benefit to the animal by means other than provision of nutrients recognized as essential or for provision or essential nutrients for intended effect on the animal beyond normal nutritional needs, but not including legally defined drugs [6].”

That definition is just a fancy way of saying a supplement can be anything you feed your dog to enrich their regular diet. That means supplements can simply be the whole foods sitting in your fridge to something branded specifically for your dog!

However, not all supplements are of the same quality or provide the same benefits for your dog. Keep scrolling to find out five specific reasons you should consider supplements for your dog to boost their health. We’ve even included a few examples of great supplements in each section.

One quick disclaimer before we start listing out all the ways supplements can benefit your dog… You must know what you’re feeding your dog currently and consult your vet when making changes to your pet’s diet.

With that out of the way, let’s begin!

1. Boost Your Dog’s Digestive System

Whether or not your dog suffers from digestive issues, using specific supplements can help you to improve or keep your dog’s digestive system healthy. A dog’s digestive system naturally contains beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that keep balance within your dog’s body.

However, if the balance of bacteria is thrown out of whack, your dog can experience issues. To ensure that their digestive system is running in tip-top shape, you can boost it with the right balance of good and bad bacteria with probiotic supplements! Since you’ve probably heard about the influx of human probiotic supplements, it’s no surprise that doggos also benefit from this popularity burst [7].

You’ll be able to find probiotic supplements in many forms, including yogurt, capsules, powders, and many more. If you’re looking for high-quality probiotics, try some of the following:

If you do the right things to make sure your dog has a healthy digestive system, you can expect more health indicators like less bad breath, better water absorption, and a decreased chance of irritable bowel syndrome [8]. This sounds like a win to us!

2. Improve Cognitive Development

Hoping to make sure your dog is using their full mental capacity? Adding nutritional supplements to your dog’s diet can actually improve cognitive function over time!

The most common supplements that can help your dog’s cognitive development include vitamin E, vitamin C, and L-Carnitine. Plus, any good supplement will contain antioxidants, which are also linked to better learning abilities.

Whether it’s about making sure your dog learns as many tricks as possible, or you just want them to be mentally able for as long as possible, use supplements to help their brain! Aside from using vitamin supplements for dogs, our favourite way to make sure your dog’s brain is getting everything it needs to thrive is to feed it fresh fruits and veggies.

If you’re going the whole food supplement route, we recommend trying blueberries, raspberries, or spinach. Talk to your vet about this change, and make sure you gradually introduce your furry friend to these new supplements.

3. Fight Skin & Coat Problems

Is your dog’s coat always dull and rough? Do you always find them itching or biting themselves? Are you finding excess dandruff and clumps of hair around the house? Maybe you just visit the vet about your dog’s skin or coat a bit too often? If this sounds like you and your dog, supplements could make your life much easier!

Although many underlying issues can cause skin and coat problems, supplements containing omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), biotin, or amino acids can help soothe your pet. Even pet owners with generally healthy animals see shinier, softer coats and fewer skin troubles when they add the right supplements to their pet’s diet [8].

If you’re looking for a great option to give your dog a source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, look no further than Smart Earth Camelina Oil for Dogs. This is a cold-pressed product, so you don’t need to worry about over-processing, and since it’s a plant-based product, even dogs with fish allergies can benefit!

4. Avoid Joint Pain & Inflammation

Giving your dog the proper supplements will help maintain joint health and improve inflammation while also possibly helping ward off more serious joint issues, like arthritis. Discussing the correct type of supplement and dosage can help relieve your pet’s pain if they're already having joint problems [11]!

When considering joints, inflammation, and general mobility, many people look towards supplements that provide their dog with essential fatty acids or glucosamine. Camelina Oil by Smart Earth Camelina is an excellent source of EFAs, so it will help skin & coat problems, improve joint pain, and decrease inflammation.

Find out top tips & tricks for when you’re starting to add omega-3 supplements to your dog’s diet (most tips work for other supplements as well!)

5. Combat Predisposed Disease

If you have a large breed dog, you’ve probably already been told you should look into specific foods and supplements. Most large breed dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, a painful disease that impairs mobility.

But it’s not only big dogs! There are lots of sizes of dogs, or different breeds, that are more prone to specific ailments.

For instance, some breeds that are known to have problems include [10]:

  • Dachshunds are more susceptible to musculoskeletal conditions, for example, intervertebral disc disease and patella luxation (loose knees)—primarily because of their short legs and long spine
  • Cocker Spaniels can be prone to several issues, one of them being recurring ear infections due to their longer, floppier ears
  • Beagles are known to be more prone to inherited epilepsy than some other dog breeds

What’s a key takeaway here? Do your research before picking a breed!

To help your dog beat the odds, start giving them supplements as early as possible. Focus on the supplements that will help boost or maintain areas of their health that are more likely to decline because of their health.

Support Your Dog at Any Life Stage

Did you know you can use supplements at every stage of your dog’s life, and they will provide valuable benefits? Whether you’ve just brought home a new puppy or watching your senior dog get slower, specific supplements could help your four-legged friend!

Supplementing your dog is very specific to each animal; therefore, it’s important to know your dog first, do your research, and consult a professional. There are lots of ways to give puppies, adult dogs, and senior fur babies an extra boost through their nutrition. Supplements are a vast subject, and you’ll probably keep learning things as you go, and that is okay.

We applaud you for looking into ways to improve your dog’s quality of life and think supplements are a great way to do so as long as it’s done correctly. After getting the rundown on reasons we love dog supplements, we wish you happy, healthy feeding!

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About Sarah

Sarah is a marketing specialist with a passion for anything creative! Her openness to working across industries and job opportunities has allowed her to gain enormous amounts of experience in graphic design, video production, and written content creation. Animals have a special place in her heart as she grew up with cats and now owns her own Alaskan Malamute. She has spent the last couple of years in Vancouver working with different companies within the pet industry and gained valuable knowledge about the ins and outs of the (alternative) pet food industry, supplementation, and various training methods. When she’s not digitally creating content for pet lovers to consume, she’s out eating great food, dancing at drop-in classes, or exploring the beautiful Canadian scenery with her fur-child Miso.