Should My Senior Dog Be on Dietary Supplements?

Should My Senior Dog Be on Dietary Supplements?

Dogs entering the senior lifestage will require a different balance of vitamins and minerals than their younger counterparts to help prevent certain health issues. Feeding your dog senior-specific dog food will help ensure they are getting the correct balance of nutrients, such as essential fatty acids and antioxidants to support your dog’s ageing joints and immune system.

However, if your older dog suffers from any kind of health conditions, no matter how small or chronic they may be, a supplement could help relieve pain and provide a higher level of certain beneficial nutrients.

Here, I will explain what dietary supplements are, if they are suitable for your dog, and how to introduce them into their diet.

Dr Carol Doyle Veterinarian

Carol Doyle, BSc VN DVM

Carol DoyIe is a small pet veterinarian in a practice in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and is the human companion to her cats, Nala and Donal, two horses - Indie and Bella, and her dog Phoebe.

As a guest blogger and advisor, Carol shares her professional advice with pet owners, answering many of the questions that she gets asked regularly in-clinic.

What are the nutritional needs of my senior dog?

Older dogs will benefit from a diet formulated for their needs. Senior dog food formulas often have lower calories, lower sodium, and fewer carbohydrates. They may also contain ingredients such as prebiotics or probiotics to promote your dog’s intestinal health, increased omega-3 fatty acids and other antioxidants to ease inflammation, and glucosamine to help joint health.

Does my dog need dietary supplements?

If your dog has many health problems as he gets older, I advise you to contact a veterinarian to plan a proper diet. Older pets with specific conditions, like diabetes, kidney failure, or liver disease will benefit from prescription veterinary diets to assist in the treatment of their conditions. Once your vet has assessed your dog, they may suggest certain dietary supplements.

senior dog looking at bowl of food
senior dog looking ill

Muscle & Joint Issues

If your dog suffers from arthritis or muscle and joint problems, supplementary food like Blue Pet Co Joint & Muscle help ease any pain they may be experiencing as it protects the cartilage in the joints. Although supplements are useful, they should not be used as the only treatment when helping your senior dog. If your dog is overweight or obese, a proper weight management plan is needed to ensure that they can remain healthy.

Skin & Coat Issues

If your dog suffers from skin and coat problems such as excessive itching, scratching, red spots or blemishes, a supplementary diet of omega-3 and 6 can relieve any irritations they are facing. Supplements such as Seven Optimal Oil is naturally rich in Omega 3 and 6 and is ideal for supporting dogs who have dry, itchy or flaky skin, promoting a thick lustrous coat.

If your dog is suffering from skin issues, I suggest you visit your vet anyway as not all skin problems are diet-related.

Digestive Issues

Dogs who suffer from digestive issues will benefit from supplements rich in prebiotics, which can have a largely positive influence on the large intestine. Many senior dog food formulas contain prebiotics for this reason. Consult with your veterinarian on the most appropriate supplement for your dog.

Dental Issues

Periodontal disease is very common in older dogs and if ignored, it can become very serious, so regular mouth and teeth inspections are important. Healthy supplements such as chews like VIXEN Multi-Functional Dog Supplement Chicken help support good oral health. Of course,  brushing your dog’s teeth regularly with a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste is extremely effective in combatting dental disease.

How Often Should My Dog Take a Supplement?

This largely depends on the supplement, and what your pet is taking them for. Generally a daily supplement is sufficient, but always read the label and follow veterinary advice. Many food supplements can be taken alongside your dog’s regular meals, and other supplements are to be taken separately.

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