Dog Nutritional Supplements

There are a large number of dog nutritional supplements available on the market today, but many pet owners are unsure of whether to give their dogs one or more of these supplements. Many supplements are not approved by the FDA and are not included as part of a veterinarian's recommended medicine program. Fortunately, due to the strict regulations governing the quality of commercial dog food, most pets do not require nutritional supplements. However, it is important to recognize when your dog may benefit from such an addition to his normal diet.

The primary way to ensure that your pet's dietary needs are met is to provide him with a high quality brand name food that is appropriate for his weight, age and overall health. Dog foods are formulated to meet all of the basic canine nutritional needs, and most dogs will remain healthy without any additional supplements.

When Your Pet Does Require a Supplement

There are several physical warning signs that you may notice in your dog if there is something amiss with his diet or if his nutritional needs are not being met. Keep an eye out for changes to the color or texture of his fur, and take note if he develops oily or scaly skin. Dogs that have a dietary imbalance also tend to have drastic fluctuations in weight and may display behavioral changes or loss of energy. These are all potential signs of a nutritional imbalance, although they are also symptoms of a variety of different health conditions and diseases that aren't related to diet whatsoever, so it is best to have your veterinarian examine your pet upon detection of any of these symptoms.

If you and your vet determine that your pet is not receiving all of the nutritional elements that he needs to remain healthy, the best option is to change his food. Work with your vet to monitor your pet's reaction to the new food.

Types of Supplements

If your pet still displays any of the warning signs listed above after you have attempted to adjust his food intake or type, a nutritional supplement may help. Dogs are generally carnivorous animals, and they require a diet heavy in protein and fat. They also require a smaller percentage of carbohydrates and fibers, but otherwise there are very few additional components of a standard dog diet. Commercial nutritional supplements exist to augment each of these types of food. Before purchasing one and feeding it to your dog, however, it is crucial that you work with your vet to determine exactly what his deficiency is.

Dogs with certain medical conditions and diseases may begin to react poorly to standard foods, and they oftentimes require a modification of the normal canine diet. There are a number of specially formulated dog foods available for pets suffering from some of the primary conditions of this type. You may also formulate your own pet food with the assistance of your veterinarian as a nutritional reference. Ensuring that your dog receives all of the necessary nutritional elements that he requires will help to preserve his health over the long term.