Why Starting Supplements Early is Good for Your Dog

Why Starting Supplements Early is Good for Your Dog

Why Start Early?

Pets of any age can benefit from a supplement being added to their diet.  Certain health conditions can be mitigated or may be prevented simply by providing a supplement to a younger pet before symptoms develop. One way to ensure that your pet lives a long healthy life is by adding supplements to their diet early in life.

Important Factors

It is essential to consider several different elements prior to administering supplementation. Each pet is unique and therefore has different supplemental needs based on factors such as  age, breed, size, behavior, and health history, to name a few.

  • The specific breed or mix of your pet. Certain breeds are at an elevated risk for certain health conditions, such as chronic skin, coat, or digestive issues. For these breeds, a skin and coat supplement or digestive health supplement could help prevent or alleviate these conditions.
  • The size and weight of your pet. Different sizes and types of pets may need various types of supplements to meet their needs. Larger pets and pets that are overweight are typically at a higher risk of developing arthritis at an early age. These pets may benefit from  joint supplementation at an early age.
  • Your pet’s age. Older dogs are known for developing osteoarthritis. This is a common degenerative condition that affects the mobility of the joints. A joint supplement could help alleviate some of the symptoms related to arthritis. As dogs age, their immune system becomes impaired which makes them more susceptible to certain conditions such as allergies. An allergy supplement would help regulate an overactive or otherwise poorly functioning immune system.
  • Your dog’s activity level. Pets who are more active place more stress on their joints. Over time micro-tears develop in weight-bearing ligaments like the cranial cruciate, often leading to a partial or full tear. Administering a supplement would help maintain the health of the joints and ligaments thus preventing and reducing the severity of a tear.

When to Start

Supplements can be a great addition to a pet’s daily diet and beneficial for those  who may not get all the nutrients they need from their diet. Dogs can benefit from supplements at all stages of life. Young pets need help with cognitive development and growth. Adult pets could benefit from supplements to help them recharge and recover from injuries properly, maintain overall health, and improve energy levels. Elderly pets often need inflammation relief, preserving overall joint health, and help restoring or maintaining body functions. 

While some supplements can be beneficial at different stages of life, certain supplements should be avoided unless advised otherwise by a veterinarian. Joint supplements should not be given to young pets as it can cause the bones to grow too quickly compared to the surrounding musculature. Pet parents should consult with a veterinarian on the appropriate time to give supplements to their puppy. Research recommends that dogs should not start any supplement until over 12 weeks of age.

Other Considerations

The quality of pet supplements can vary significantly between brands due to the source of the ingredients and the manufacturer. Reputable manufacturers will provide detailed information about the product on the label or on a package insert. Check to be sure that the supplements you are considering have a Certificate of Analysis (COA) with at least one veterinary testing company. This certifies that the supplements have been tested with at least one laboratory for safety and ingredient quality.

In addition, a proper healthy diet and regular exercise are essential factors for your pet’s overall health. All supplements should be a part of a healthy and holistic lifestyle. Depending on your pet’s condition, supplements may be a great way to boost their health. Combining holistic health approaches, such as using supplements along with daily physical therapy sessions, can keep your pet on track to living a healthy, happy life. 

Consulting a Veterinarian

You should always consult your veterinarian prior to giving your pet any supplementation especially if you are unsure which one’s to give your pet. They can also advise you on when to add them to your pet’s diet. It is best to  ask your veterinarian whether certain supplements are safe and effective options for your pet and their specific situation. Your vet may have extensive knowledge and experience regarding supplemental uses and your pet’s specific medical history.