The nutritional necessities dogs require to maintain optimal health have been well documented for decades, and along with the “health revolution” amongst people we’ve seen flourish in the last few years, pet owners are more concerned than ever with what they’re putting in their dog’s food dish. Dog food brands adhere to strict quality standards set by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), an organization that wasn’t around before 1990, meaning long gone are the days unrecognized animal byproducts are part of the ingredients list.
Because such standards are commonplace, commercial dog foods have become a staple in our dogs’ diets. Extensive testing is done to ensure nutritional value is present both before and after processing, and other characteristics like digestibility and the adequacy of content are subject to feeding trials before ever making it out of the factory. What does this mean to the average pet owner? We can assure our pets are eating a quality product full of the essential vitamins and minerals responsible for things like skin and coat condition, bone and joint health, immune system status, digestive track status, energy levels, and even behavioral brain functions like stress levels.
However, even with strict standards in place, just like people dogs can experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies with similarly negative effects. Food stuffs can only provide a certain amount of nutrients, so this is where supplements for animals are introduced. As a responsible pet owner it’s advised you become familiar with the warning signs and how certain deficiencies affect particular bodily functions – only then can you provide additional support for your animal.
Skin & Coat
Perhaps one of the easiest signs that your dog’s nutrient intake is out of balance is the dulling or loss of fur. Omega-6 and omega-3 are two essential fatty acids responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of hair strands, EFAs for short, and simply put, EFAs are the building blocks of fat that can be broken down and transported through the bloodstream. Skin cells have an especially high turnover rate, meaning they’re replaced much more frequently than other cells in the body causing them to require more resources. It’s understood that omega-6 is slightly more important than omega-3 for dogs, so they should be supplied in a ratio of 3 to 1. Somewhat conveniently, omega-6 is more naturally occurring in most dog foods. This means the only supplementation you really need to provide is omega-3, which is recommended to be distributed at 175mg per kg of your dog’s weight.
Like most dietary supplements, start out slow and assess how your dog reacts. It’s much safer to gradually increase due to the risks associated with an overabundance of omega-3 acids, such as vomiting and diarrhea. You’ll also be increasing your dog’s caloric intake, so you may need to adjust the overall diet to account for the extra calories.
Glucosamine HCL, methylsulfonylmethane, and chondroitin are three hard to pronounce nutrients that are usually provided by your dog’s body in adequate amounts, and are in charge of keeping the structure and function of joints in working condition. As your dog begins to age, or perhaps suffers an injury, they may require more of these nutrients than is naturally available in their bodies. Supplements can supply this demand.
While it really depends on your dog’s weight, anywhere between 1000-1500mg/day of glucosamine, roughly 1000mg/day of MSM, and for chondroitin, 800mg/day will do the trick for animals hovering 25-50kg. Anything less requires that you cut back on these amounts. We recommend you consult a veterinarian for more information on your specific dog.
Much like people, dogs can experience stress from the things around them. Riding along in the car, being approached by strangers, or listening to the cracks of thunder can all cause anxiety and nervousness. Valerian and chamomile are two mild calming agents that’ll mellow out your dog in taxing situations, providing them with a relaxed state of mind. Therapy, with the aid of these supplements, can completely modify a dog’s behavior long term for the better.
Up until now, we’ve discussed several ways to provide additional nutrients in the event that your dog’s body requires more than is currently being produced either naturally or by its diet. But what if you suspect your dog is getting all the nutrients it needs but still suffers from deficiency symptoms, even after supplementation? One possible answer is that their body isn’t able to fully utilize everything you give it. Much like the food chain and the passing of energy down an ecosystem, our bodies are never able to absorb 100% of the material we put into it – this applies to dogs as well. This is where Dr. Willard’s Pet Products can help.
Dr. Willard’s has been used by people and animals for over 40 years as a nutrient and supplement enhancer because of its ability to better transport food and nutrients through the bloodstream to the cells that need them. Testing has shown that subjects drinking Dr. Willard’s Water® have little to no undigested nutrients in their urine or feces which means their bodies absorbed far more of the vitamins and minerals needed that were initially ingested. Less waste indicates the body is running much more efficiently all while performing those same bodily functions at or above the level they were before.
Dr. Willard’s Vibrant Pet Water Drops are specially formulated for use on pets and livestock. This product provides a natural solution for improving your dog’s overall hydration, assimilation of nutrients like the ones mentioned previously in the article, and digestion as well showing to reduce stress reactions. Dr. Willard’s Rejuvenating Skin and Coat Spray has shown to stimulate fur growth and maintenance, as well as treat skin disorders like hot spots, scrapes, burns, and cuts. Your dog will be healthier, feel smoother, and be less prone to experiencing stress, all while requiring less food due to the increase in efficiency.
Dr. Willard’s has been heralded as a whole-body tonic for pets, and we have 40 years’ worth of customer satisfaction and results to show for it. We’ve been featured in publications such as the Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care, the Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog, and the Whole Dog Journal.
Dr. Willard’s stands tall behind our Pet Product line, and we encourage anyone looking to improve the overall health of their companion to give it a try.