Most vets categorize dogs older than 7 years as “seniors”. Much like their human parents, dogs are more susceptible to diseases and certain age-related health conditions after they go past a certain age. Thankfully, a lot of these health issues can be prevented or at least postponed with proper diet, exercise, and supplementation.
Losing the ability to optimally absorb nutrients is one of the many changes a dog undergoes during its early senior phase. This essentially means a senior dog needs food that’s dense in macronutrients, phytonutrients, healthy fats, and trace elements.
Older dogs are also susceptible to joint issues, which can hamper mobility and movement. Studies have shown that joint support supplements with ingredients such as chondroitin, glucosamine, and MSM can slow down the degeneration of joint cartilages and improve mobility.
There is no debating the fact that senior dogs need more care than younger dogs. Therefore, if your dog is about to become a senior member of the family, this post is for you. We reveal the top 4 supplements for senior dogs.
Essential Fatty Acid Supplement: Dry, flaky, and itchy skin is a sign of deficiency of healthy fatty acids. Young dogs do a great job of extracting healthy fats from their regular diets. However, senior pets can face a difficult time absorbing the required amount of healthy fats from regular food. This is why a quality fish oil supplement with the right ratio of Omega 3 and 6 is often prescribed by vets for senior dogs. Apart from maintaining the shine and health of skin and coat, Omega 3 is also essential for bone and brain health.
You should have no trouble feeding fish oil caplets as most dogs seem to love the fishy smell and they gobble them up pretty quickly. While most genuine fish oil supplements are good, try and find ones that declare the sources from which the oil is derived. Some fish sources have higher levels of mercury and heavy metals than others. For reference, anchovies are a pretty good source for healthy fats for dogs as they contain minimal amounts of toxins. Also, make sure to buy the healthy fat supplement from a site that sells genuine online vet supplies for dogs.
Joint Support Medication: Most pet parents don’t really think about their dog’s joint health until they see a noticeable stiffness in their movement. Studies indicate that 1 in 5 dogs, especially large breeds can benefit from joint support supplements. Joint support supplements containing ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM helps replenish the fluids in the joints. This, in turn, reduces friction and improves mobility.
Even if your dog is not suffering from arthritis or hip problems, these joint support supplements can be administered as preventives as they slow down the degeneration of joint health. Also, pairing the joint support meds with healthy fats can enhance your pet’s ability to absorb the nutrients and thus boost the effectiveness of a good joint support supplement.
Probiotics and Digestive Aids: As mentioned before, senior dogs face a more difficult time digesting and absorbing all the nutrients they get from their meals. Symptoms of poor digestion can be anything from gassiness and diarrhea to bad breath. To facilitate absorption and digestion in general, vets often recommend probiotics and enzymatic support.
Probiotics help in replenishing the number of good gut bacteria, which goes a long way into improving your dog’s digestive health.
Digestive enzymes are naturally produced by your pet’s pancreas and they help in digestion of nutrients. There are primarily three types of digestive enzymes, protease, amylase, and lipase. Protease helps in the digestion of proteins, amylase is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates, and lipase is essential for digesting fat. As dogs grow older, their pancreas fails to produce the amount of enzyme required for proper digestion. Enzymatic support supplements resupply the body with these essential enzymes and thus facilitating the breakdown of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.
Liver Support Supplements: Liver is the largest organ and it performs a plethora of bodily functions right from aiding digestion by producing bile to removing toxins. Supplements containing SAMe or S-Adenosylmethionine can improve liver function in an aging dog. Natural liver support supplements that contain milk thistle can also keep liver diseases at bay.