Nutritional Supplements For Dogs

By Hungry Bark | July 30, 2020

For humans, nutritional supplements are a rising trend. With supplements for skin and nails, immune support, back pain, and multivitamins, there seems to be a supplement for everything. This trend has started to make its way over to the animal side of things as well with entire aisles at the pet store devoted to dog supplements. With all the trends in nutrition and health, it can be hard to know what to do. Are these actually beneficial for your dog and is supplementing their diet safe?

Let’s explore the world of nutritional supplements for dogs and find out if, and when, your dog needs a supplement.

Does my dog need a supplement?

Does your dog actually need a nutritional supplement? This answer varies based on the dog. Dogs who are eating high-quality commercial dog food may not need any kind of supplement. Some dogs, however, can definitely benefit from a quality dog supplement.

Some Instances Where Your Dog May
Need a Supplement:


  • They’re on a homemade diet. Homemade diets may seem like a healthier option, however, dogs on these diets may be missing out on crucial vitamins and nutrients.
  • Your dog is pregnant or lactating. Pregnancy and lactation require a great deal of energy and nutrients. A dog not getting enough vitamins and minerals while pregnant or nursing could end up with a deficiency that will have negative effects on her health.
  • Older or geriatric dogs. If you have an aging dog, they may not be as interested in food as they used to be. If this is the case, they may not be getting enough nutrients from their food. Giving a nutritional supplement for dogs to your aging canine can help keep your dog feeling youthful and active.
  • Dogs with joint problems. If you have a dog suffering from joint pain due to knee or hip problems, a joint supplement can help reduce some of their pain and slow the deterioration of the joint. Your vet may recommend this in conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy.
  • You have a dog with stomach problems. If your dog frequently suffers from constipation or diarrhea, a supplement containing probiotics may be just what they need to get their digestive system regulated.
  • You have a picky eater. A dog that is picky about its food may be suffering from gaps in its nutrition. These dogs could benefit from a supplement.
  • They experience skin & coat issues. Dogs that are itchy or prone to hotspots or rashes may benefit from a skin & coat supplement rich in healthy fats.

How do I know which kind of nutritional supplement my dog needs?

Before you start giving your dog nutritional supplements, you need to identify why you are supplementing. Nutritional supplements for dogs are formulated to address specific needs, and it is important that you get the one that will support your dog the best.

Most nutritional supplements for dogs are labeled so you will know the needs they are addressing. Always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog supplements to make sure they won’t negatively affect any pre-existing conditions your dog may have, such as kidney stones.

Skin & Coat: Your dog's skin and coat is a good reflection of her health condition. If your pets are healthy, their coats should be shiny, smooth, and their skin should be supple. Of course, you cannot resist snuggling your pet with shiny and lustrous coats. However, if your dog has dry flakey skin or a dull coat, a nutritional supplement containing fish oil or formulated specifically for skin and coat health may be what you’re looking for.

Nutrients play an enormous role in keeping your pet's fur healthy. When nutrients like fatty acids are lacking, your pet's skin may be coarse or bumpy.

Supplements rich in fish oil and fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 prevents your dog's coat from over-drying and reduces excess shedding of hair. Plus, they alleviate skin allergies and improve coat quality and shine.

Recent research has shown that fish oils or fatty acids provide benefits that span beyond your dog's fur health. They reduce inflammation and diseases like colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Fatty acid supplements also reduce the risk of yeast infections and help treat heart and joint health.

Vitamin Boost: If your dog is pregnant or lactating, or if you are feeding a homemade diet, a multi-vitamin designed for dogs is what you are looking for.

Vitamins are essential nutrients for puppies and adult dogs. Like humans, dogs need vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K, and Choline to boost their immune system, develop muscles and live a healthy life.

If your pets do not get enough vitamins from their food due to eating problems or health issues, supplements may be your best bet. Canine pets like athletic dogs, security dogs with high activity levels usually go through lots of stress. So they need vitamins to recover and maintain their activity levels.

Joint Health: Most active dogs run around the house or exercise all day. And with frequent movements and activities, their joints are under pressure. As they grow older, it's natural for these pets to develop chronic hip or joint pain and arthritis.

If your dog has trouble moving around or getting up, hip and joint supplements like glucosamine may provide relief. Originally glucosamine is an organic compound that is naturally present in connective tissues and the joints. However, as your pet grows, glucosamine levels may begin to drop.

Glucosamine is one of the widely used supplements that aid mobility and flexibility in dogs. They help to repair damaged cartilage, the rubbery and strong tissues that protect your joints.

Unfortunately, there aren't any natural food sources of glucosamine. As a result, supplement manufacturers get glucosamine sulfate from shellfish shells.

Digestive Health: Probiotic supplements are beneficial to dogs suffering from frequent diarrhea or constipation.

Probiotics are living organisms ( bacteria and yeast) that are good for your pet's health. Like humans, probiotics occur naturally in your dog's body. They inhibit the growth of other harmful bacteria, maintain balance and keep your pets in good health.

That's why probiotics are called "good bacteria"!

That's not all. Probiotics keep your pet's digestive system in perfect condition, balance belly bacteria to improve digestion, and boost their immunity against illnesses.

The most popular types of probiotics are lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and saccharomyces boulardii. Moreover, they make up key ingredients in probiotics supplements.

Anxiety: If your dog suffers from anxiety or gets anxious during certain events, a calming supplement with ingredients like chamomile and tryptophan will help keep them at ease.

Often, your dog may get apprehensive due to loud noise from fireworks or thunder. Pets also experience anxieties due to separation, change of environment, traveling, or grooming sessions. Separation anxiety is common since your pets are mostly home alone for at least two or three hours daily or more.

When your pup is in such a state of disarray or discomfort, calming aids or supplements may help to calm your pet in these tense situations. These products soothe your dogs and help to manage stress, anxiety, and fear.

What are the best nutritional supplements for dogs?

When getting a nutritional supplement for your dog, make sure you get one that is designed specifically with canines in mind. Never give your dog a supplement designed for humans, as these may contain ingredients that are dangerous to them. Look for supplements offered by brands that are easy to contact if you have a problem and who are open about where their products are sourced. Brands certified by AAFCO are held to a high standard set by a voluntary committee of veterinarians and animal nutritional experts.

Dog Supplements like those offered by Hungry Bark are perfect for meeting the needs of most dogs. There are a range of nutritional supplement chews to support everything from heart health to joint health. The Hungry Bark line of supplement chews uses only ethically sourced ingredients so they can ensure the quality of their product. They carefully follow AAFCO guidelines and in addition to this are AAFCO certified. They work closely with veterinarians to guarantee their recipes are safe and nutritious for your dog. Best of all, Hungry Bark supplement chews are flavorful and palatable, so your dog will think they’re delicious.

  • Whole Health - Multivitamin is loaded with vitamins and minerals to ensure dogs of all ages get the complete and balanced nutrition that they need.
  • Loaded with green lipped mussel, krill, and fish oil, Happy Heart - Skin + Coat & Heart Health is made to improve your dog’s wellness, cardiac performance, and give them a healthy, shiny coat.
  • If your dog suffers from joint issues, is of older age, or is a breed that is more susceptible to developing joint problems, the Move + Groove - Hip + Joint Health supplement chews provide an easy way to add glucosamine, MSM, and hemp protein to their daily diet.
  • Balanced Belly - Probiotics are a crowd favorite! These supplement chews are loaded with 1.5 billion CFU probiotics, pumpkin, and digestive enzymes to support your dog’s digestive tract. The gut really controls your dog’s overall health, so a balanced belly is essential to keep their body functioning optimally.
  • Dogs that experience anxiety put undue stress on their bodies day in and day out. Providing them with a calming supplement like Chill Chew - Calming will help add a little extra chill into their day. Calming supplements are an easy, safe, and natural way to help dogs with ongoing anxiety or those that suffer from anxiety in certain circumstances like thunderstorms, the fourth of July, or vet visits.

Nutritional supplements for dogs are an important part of keeping your dog healthy if you are aware of your dog’s particular needs - if you know there might be a nutrient gap, if they have special circumstances that require a nutrient boost, or to help with joint health. Always consult with your veterinarian before introducing a supplement into your dog’s diet to be safe, but for most dogs, a nutritional supplement will help them meet their nutritional needs, and keep them happy, healthy, and ready for their next adventure!

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