Pet Supplements: What’s Best for Your Dog?

Chewables, Tablets, Powders, Liquids?

Our loved ones always deserve the best.

And, for our furry friends, we always strive to give them a well-rounded diet (as much as we can). There is a wide range of choices for feeding our pets, including nutrient-rich commercial pet foods and raw food diets.

Despite selecting nutrient rich foods, there are still instances when dogs need extra nutritional support.

In this article, we seek to give the relevant supplement facts.

Why Supplement?

Enter nutritional supplements.

Pet supplements are given to dogs to help them stay healthy, ensuring their nutritional needs are addressed. These supplements can contain essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that might be deficient in a dog’s diet or which the dog requires given their age, health condition or breed.

Ensuring the quality of dietary supplements is key!

One good indicator is the supplement’s adherence to industry standards. They should follow the guidelines from important organizations in the pet food industry, such as:

  • Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) – It’s a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides guidelines and standards for pet foods in the United States. AAFCO is made up of officials that are charged with regulating the sale and distribution of animal feeds (including pet foods) and drug remedies.
  • National Research Council (NRC) - In pet food and nutrition, it often refers to the NRC's Subcommittee on Dog and Cat Nutrition. The NRC provides scientific research and recommendations on the nutritional needs of animals, including pets like dogs and cats.

Choosing the Right Pet Supplement

The market is flooded with options, and while variety is good, it can also be overwhelming.

Selecting the ideal nutritional supplement for your dog isn't a decision to be taken lightly. Here's a detailed guide to help you navigate this crucial choice, ensuring you provide the best for your furry friend:

1. Assess Your Dog's Unique Needs

Every dog is different, with specific nutritional requirements varying based on age, breed, and health conditions. A young, active dog will have different needs than an older, less active one. Consult your vet for a comprehensive health check-up and tailored advice.

2. Ingredient Quality

Look for supplements that feature natural, high-quality ingredients. Avoid products with artificial additives, colours, or preservatives. The ingredient list should be transparent, allowing you to understand exactly what you're giving your pet.

3. Nutrient Spectrum

A well-formulated liquid supplement should offer a broad range of nutrients, including fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. This ensures a balanced nutrient profile that aligns with your dog's physiological needs.

4. Bioavailability

The effectiveness of a supplement is closely tied to how well your dog's body absorbs it. Liquid supplements generally offer superior bioavailability, but confirming this aspect is always good when choosing a product.

5. Manufacturer Reputation

Choose products from reputable manufacturers who are transparent about their sourcing and production methods. Search for companies that follow guidelines from organizations such as AAFCO, NRC, or FEDIAF. This shows that their products are usually of good quality.

6. Customer Reviews

While not a definitive guide, customer reviews can provide valuable insights into how effective a supplement is. Look for supplement reviews or supplement guides that specifically address the issues you hope to tackle with supplementation.

7. Consult a Professional

Your vet should be your go-to resource for any changes in your dog's diet, including the introduction of supplements. They can provide dosage recommendations and may even suggest specific brands or formulations.

8. Cost and Availability

While opting for cheaper options is tempting, remember that quality often comes at a price. However, the most expensive option isn't automatically the best. Balance cost considerations with the other factors listed here to make an informed decision.

9. Trial and Monitoring

Once you've made your choice, monitor your dog's response to the supplement. Watch for positive or negative changes in behaviour, energy levels, and overall health. This will help you assess the supplement's effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments.

Considering these factors, you're making an informed decision that could significantly impact your dog's quality of life.

Can I give my dog a liquid supplement?

Liquid supplements offer superior bioavailability, allowing your dog's body to readily absorb and utilize the nutrients. Supporting your dog's diet with a liquid supplement can provide several benefits:

  • Easy to Administer

You just need to put the liquid in your dog's food. By doing so, they will obtain the accurate quantity without the necessity of concealing pills in treats or searching for them later beneath the sofa.

  • Superior Absorption

Liquid supplements are more readily absorbed by your dog's body compared to pills, chewables, and powders. Nutrients are already dissolved, making it easier for your pet's digestive system to take them in.

  • Comprehensive Nutrient Profile

Premium liquid supplements, such as Groke Pet Vitalixir and Vitalixir PLUS boosters, provide a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential lipids that are soluble in both fat and water.

This all-in-one approach ensures your dog gets a balanced nutrient intake.

Despite these benefits, it's crucial to consult your vet before buying any supplement.

REMEMBER: The supplement should complement your dog's diet and support their overall well-being rather than causing nutrient imbalances.

So, personalized assessment and dosage recommendation are very important.

Why It’s Dangerous to Give Human Supplements to Dogs

Dogs have different nutritional needs than humans.

Therefore, giving dogs human supplements can potentially cause adverse effects, such as gastrointestinal upset, nutrient imbalances, and even toxicity.

Human supplements may contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Dosage and concentration can also be a problem because of over-supplementation.

To keep dogs healthy and happy, always talk to a vet before making any decision.

And, of course, stick to supplements made just for dogs.

The Efficacy of Liquid Supplements for Canine Health

Dogs have a unique digestive system.

Compared to humans, dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans, which speeds up the transit of food. They rely on their powerful jaws to break food into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Once ingested, the food travels to the dog's stomach and small intestine.

The canine stomach is highly acidic and optimized for killing bacteria and breaking down proteins. It is fine-tuned to extract nutrients from a diet rich in animal-based proteins and fats.

When a dog consumes foods rich in vitamin E, niacin, and magnesium, these nutrients must be activated during digestion.

While the dog's diet may be rich in micronutrients, the effectiveness of these nutrients depends on the body's ability to break them down. These nutrients need specific gut bacteria that aid in nutrient absorption.

LIQUID SUPPLEMENTS OFFER A CONVENIENT SOLUTION

Chewables, powders, and pills often require a higher dosage to achieve the same nutritional impact as their liquid counterparts.

Since the nutrients are already dissolved, they are more readily absorbed by the dog's body.

  • There is no requirement for specific gut bacteria!
  • They’re also easier to administer, especially for dogs that have difficulty swallowing pills.
  • You can simply mix it into your dog's food or administer it directly into their mouth.
  • It’s more convenient for pet owners and less stressful for dogs.

**IMPORTANT REMINDER:**Avoid combining the supplements with your dog's water. Determining the precise quantity of liquid consumed by your pet can be challenging, as they might not finish it or could accidentally spill it.

For these reasons, liquid supplements stand out as a convenient and effective option for those looking to enhance their dog's health.

Supplementation for Commercial Dog Food Diets

Most pets eat at least 85% of their calories from highly processed foods.

That's why many commercial dog foods claim to offer a full range of nutrients.

HOWEVER, the nutrient content in these foods can be compromised during manufacturing.

Extrusion, a common method for making dry pet food, exposes ingredients to high temperatures and pressure, reducing the food's overall nutritional value, particularly affecting vitamins like B, A, C, and E. Minerals and omega-3 fats are also affected, and the heat treatment can destroy beneficial probiotics. Proteins and essential amino acids like lysine can lose up to 80% of their nutritional value.

Canning and cooking also have negative effects on commercial wet foods. Like other high-heat methods, cooking can degrade the nutritional value of pet food and is linked to the formation of reactive oxygen species, which may contribute to the oxidation and destruction of nutrients.

On the other hand, freezing is considered the least harmful among the discussed methods. Properly frozen foods maintain more of their original colour, flavour, texture, and, most importantly, nutrients. However, the blanching process that often occurs before freezing can affect certain vitamins like vitamin C, A, B1, and folic acid.

With these, it becomes clear how a liquid supplement can help dogs meet their nutritional requirements. In fact…

A prominent pet food manufacturer, Hills Pet, has always emphasized that understanding your dog's unique nutritional needs— like age, activity level, and health—is essential to determine if commercial food alone is sufficient.

If your dog's diet doesn't provide all the essential nutrients for a healthy life, supplementation may be necessary.

Can I feed my dog raw food?

If your dog eats homemade dog food or a vegan diet, it may not get all the necessary nutrients. Here's why:

1. Incomplete Nutritional Profile

Homemade and vegan diets may lack essential nutrients like vitamins D and B12, calcium, and certain amino acids naturally found in animal-based foods.

2. Imbalance of Macronutrients

Dogs require a specific ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates for optimal health. Vegan and homemade diets may not provide this balanced ratio.

3. Lack of Expert Consultation

Without guidance from a vet or a pet nutritionist, it's easy to miss out on key nutrients when preparing homemade or vegan meals for dogs.

4. Caloric Imbalance

Homemade and vegan diets may not meet a dog's caloric needs, leading to weight gain or loss, which can have further health implications.

5. Quality Control

Unlike commercial foods, which are formulated to meet established nutritional standards, homemade diets may have variable nutrient content depending on the quality and preparation of ingredients used.

6. Lack of Research

Vegan diets for dogs are relatively new and not extensively studied, making it difficult to understand the long-term impact on a dog's health.

NOTE: Each dog is unique and has different nutrient requirements based on age, breed, size, and health conditions. Consulting a veterinarian or a certified pet nutritionist is crucial to ensure that a homemade or vegan diet meets your dog's nutritional needs.

They can assess your dog's specific needs and recommend supplements, such as liquid multivitamins, to ensure your dog receives a complete and balanced nutritional intake.

Talk to your pet nutritionist or vet about adding more nutrients to your dog's food. Whether you prepare the food yourself or purchase it from a store, seeking advice from a veterinary expert is essential.

Choosing the Right Supplement

When choosing the right liquid nutritional supplement for your dog, it's important to do your research. Look for supplements that contain all-natural ingredients and are specifically designed for dogs.

To choose the right supplement for your dog, consult your vet for a tailored approach to your dog's diet and requirements. It's important to consider their age, breed, and health problems before deciding.

If you’re interested, you can start by asking your vet about Groke Pet Vitalixir, a high-quality, all-in-one liquid supplement for dogs.

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