Senior dogs have a special place in our hearts for their wise, laidback, and loving natures. If your dog is getting up there in their years, you might wonder what course of action you can take to provide them with the absolute best care. Supplementation is important when it comes to aging, since it can help provide essential vitamins and nutrients to keep organs and essential body functions running smoothly. Here’s everything you need to know about the best supplements for senior dogs.
What Are Supplements?
Supplements are concentrated vitamins and nutrients compacted into either a pill, liquid, or powder format that add nutritional value to your dog’s diet. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbal or botanical extracts, probiotics, and enzymes are often supplemented into a dog’s diet to ensure they’re getting all essential nutrients.
What Do Supplements Do For Dogs?
Supplements provide health benefits to your dog’s diet. We love man’s best friend and want them to be their happiest and healthiest, which is where supplements come in. They can provide extra nutrients and nutritional value to ensure a well rounded diet.
Why Do Senior Dogs Need Supplements?
Senior dogs need supplements to preserve the health of their organs and bones, much like we do later in life. Supplements ensure that your pooch is getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to feel their best, regardless of their age.
Certain supplements help with different therapeutic needs. For example, omega-fatty acids can help dogs with their skin and coat if they’re experiencing issues. When dogs age, they undergo degenerative processes with major organs, bones, and body parts. Hip dysplasia is a common condition that presents itself with age in dogs, even though it’s inherited. It’s often treated with supplements glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids that work to preserve the joint.
What Are the Best Supplements For Senior Dogs?
Omega-3 fatty acids have a coveted spot in the world of dog supplementation. Their ability to reach every cell in your dog’s body boosts numerous benefits for many organs like the skin, heart, eyes, bladder, brain, and joints. Omega-3 fatty acids are a super supplement for your senior dog. According to Julie Buzby, DVM for The Grey Muzzle, omega-3 fatty acids work incredibly well for dog arthritis, brain and cognitive dysfunction, eyesight issues, heart disease, and skin or coat issues.
Joint supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin can significantly improve joint movement, mobility, and function. Starting these young can help protect your dog’s joints but they are significantly important as degenerative joint disease progresses in older dogs.
Vitamin B complexes are often recommended as viable supplements for senior dogs, and rightfully so! These wonderful vitamins can help fight fatigue, increase your senior dog’s appetite, improve energy levels, build healthy skin and hair, protect against heart and brain disease, and strengthen the immune system.
According to Wag!, thiamine (vitamin B1), can help the body break down carbohydrates, strengthen the immune system, and help cognitive function. Riboflavin (vitamin B2), helps the muscles maintain strength, support eye health, and helps with red blood cell production. Niacin (vitamin B3), helps break down fatty acids, promotes brain function, and aids hormone production. With all the benefits of vitamin B complexes, they’re a safe option to make sure your senior dog stays happy and healthy.
Coenzyme Q-10, also known as CoQ-10, plays a supplemental role in treating heart and neurological conditions in both dogs and cats. It’s also a potent antioxidant that can protect your senior dog against inflammatory damage.
At first glance, it might be difficult to distinguish between digestive enzymes and probiotics. Digestive enzymes work by helping to break down food to streamline digestion. Probiotics work by balancing good bacteria in the gut to keep the environment prime for digestion. Enzymes and probiotics work together to create a healthy environment for digestion.
Vitamins C and E are potent antioxidants that fight free radical damage that can cause long-term inflammation. Vitamin C can also help prevent neurodegenerative impaired cognitive function. Vitamin E works similarly to boost your dog’s immunity to oxidative damage. It also boosts cell and metabolism function.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) oil is a newer supplement for dogs that’s said to support cognitive function and health. According to the American Kennel Club, around the age of seven, dogs begin to lose their mental ability to use glucose as a primary source of energy. This can lead to impaired memory recall, awareness, learning, and decision making. MCT oils are believed to provide an alternative source of cognitive energy and improve function.
Nutrient Rich Diet for Older Dogs
Supplementation is wildly important, but so is diet. By feeding your dog an antioxidant and omega-fatty acid rich diet ensures they’re getting enough nutrients to preserve vital organ functioning. These can be achieved through eating omega-fatty rich foods like eggs and fish, as well as antioxidant rich foods like leafy greens and berries.
Adding fiber and extra nutrients helps keep everything running smoothly and ensures they’re getting vitamins naturally. Supplements and nutrient dense food are a surefire way to load up your senior dog’s diet with all the good stuff!
Quality Over Quantity
Quality is key when choosing the best supplements for senior dogs. Always be sure to consult with your veterinarian before starting your dog on any supplements to ensure they’re getting the nutrients and vitamins they specifically need.
Carefully looking over labels can help you weed out any supplements that might be loaded with additives that provide little to no benefit for your dog. Proper nutrition is one of the biggest factors in ensuring your dog lives a long, healthy, happy, and full life. If you’re switching your dog’s diet to something more nutrient dense or adding in supplements, quality is of the utmost importance. As your dog ages, nutrients become more important. You can have peace of mind by aiding your dog with this process.
Rest assured that once you incorporate proper supplementation into your dog’s diet, they will be embracing their inner puppy in no time!
About the author
Rachael is the co-founder and head writer at Barkzine. Owner of one elderly pug, she’s dedicated to helping other dog owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.