There are many supplements on the market these days for both dogs and humans. Are they all necessary? Is it possible to give your dog too many supplements? Is there such a thing as overdosing on a supplement? What about mixing medications with supplements? We know you have questions, and we aim to provide answers. After all, you just want to do what’s best for your dog.
What is a supplement?
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
“The law defines dietary supplements in part as products taken by mouth that contain a ‘dietary ingredient.’ Dietary ingredients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals, as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet.
Dietary supplements come in many forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, energy bars, and liquids. These products are available in stores throughout the United States, as well as on the Internet. They are labeled as dietary supplements and include among others
vitamin and mineral products
‘botanical’ or herbal products—These come in many forms and may include plant materials, algae, macroscopic fungi, or a combination of these materials.
amino acid products—Amino acids are known as the building blocks of proteins and play a role in metabolism.
enzyme supplements—Enzymes are complex proteins that speed up biochemical reactions.”
So a supplement is adding something natural that the body needs which may be lacking in your dog’s normal diet. Supplements are generally considered safe and do not require a prescription.
Medication, on the other hand, is specifically formulated to treat specific problems via ingredients that are not considered dietary. Medication may have side effects and should be given to your dog under the supervision of your veterinarian. While there are some over the counter medications that you can safely give to your dog (like Benadryl), most medications for your dog will be prescribed by your veterinarian.
Is it safe to give my dog multiple supplements?
Since there are many different types of supplements, you may be wondering if you need to pick which one you think will benefit your dog the most or if you can combine more than one for maximum effect. You do need to check the ingredients of each supplement.
Some vitamins and minerals can cause problems in high doses. While calcium is important for bone growth, for example, too much calcium can cause skeletal problems, especially in large breed puppies. Too much vitamin A comes with the risks of blood vessel damage, dehydration, and joint pain. Too much Vitamin D can cause anorexia, muscle loss, and bone problems. Even so, it takes very high levels of any of each to cause problems.
The biggest takeaway here is that you don’t want to give your dog more than one variety of the same type of supplement. Pick one of each type of supplement and stick with it. It is generally safe to combine different types of supplements, however, such as giving a multivitamin along with omega-3 and glucosamine, as long as ingredients don’t overlap much.
What about mixing supplements with prescriptions?
You should always talk to your vet before giving your dog supplements if he is taking any medication. Supplements can affect how a medication works and vice versa. Some supplements may be contraindicated with your dog’s medication – that means that combining the two could have very negative side effects.
When in doubt, ask your veterinarian which supplements your dog might benefit from and which supplements you may be able to skip.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional.
(H/T: Dr. Peter Dobias, Dogster, WebMD Pets, Whole Dog Journal, Merck Veterinary Manual)
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