Best Supplements and Joint Supplements for Senior Dogs
Natural Supplements and Remedies for Senior Dogs
Dexter The Dog is eight! Just before Dexter’s sixth birthday, I wrote an article on Natural Care for Aging Dogs. Today, I wanted to dedicate this article to supplements for senior dogs or foods for senior dogs.
As our dogs age, their bodies go through a lot of changes. Aging changes the function of their organs. Vital organs such as heart, kidneys, and lungs begin to lose some of their function, or may function abnormally. Cells and tissue begin to change, too. Connective tissue, epithelial tissue, muscle tissue, and nerve tissue all begin to change.
As a dog’s body starts to go through the aging process, you may notice things like joint pain; cognition difficulty; lack of energy; mood shifts; and dryness of the coat, nose, and feet. Although these may all be part of the normal aging process, we can still play a proactive role in our senior dog’s health to help him age gracefully, be more mobile, and feel less pain, or even be pain-free.
With Dexter’s neurological condition, I’ve been trying to play a proactive role in preventing or managing inflammation, one of the culprits causing his “bad days.” I’ve also focused on improving cartilage for a possible weakening of his trachea. Besides feeding Dexter real foods with support, he’s also been on a regimen of “supplements.” I quote supplements, because if I can find it in a real food way, it’s always better. Dexter receives regular bone broth, chondroitin through real foods, green-lipped mussels, kelp, spirulina, omega-3 fatty acids (primary fish source), foods high in antioxidants and CoQ10.
Because Dexter must be on some pharmaceuticals to help with his disease, I also focus on supporting his immune system, detoxing, and liver support. Two other supplements that make it into our rotation are milk thistle and Standard Process Canine Immune System Support. A few years back, one of his quarterly checkups showed a decrease in his kidney function. I added RX Renal Canine and AminAvast. I am happy to report that his kidneys have been functioning perfectly ever since. I continue to provide these two supplements daily.
To be clear, I do work with Dexter’s team of veterinarians when choosing the best supplements and foods for Dexter. I want to make sure nothing conflicts with each other, and that the doses meet Dexter’s needs.
I spoke with two veterinarians, Dr. Mary L. Cardeccia and Dr. Judy Morgan, about their go-to supplements for senior dogs. Below is their roundup.
Top Recommended Supplements for Dogs
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids-Both Dr. Cardeccia and Dr. Morgan suggest essential fatty acids, especially omega 3s. Dr. Cardeccia explains, “Our dogs’ bodies can’t produce omega 3 fatty acids, so we need to give it in supplemental form, whether fed in whole foods, or using some sort of concentrated oil product.” She continues to say, “EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, acts to decrease inflammation, and as such could contribute to management of arthritis, skin/allergy issues, and improve coat and skin. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is important for brain and eye development, and together with EPA act as signals to decrease inflammation in cells.” Dr. Morgan also states that omega 3 fatty acids are, “essential for cardiac, joint, and brain/nerve health. I usually dose at 30 to 40 mg per pound of body weight (back off if stools soften).”
- Antioxidants-Dr. Cardeccia is a big fan of various forms of antioxidants, “such as vitamin C and vitamin E, CoQ10, curcumin (turmeric), grape seed extract, silymarin (milk thistle). Antioxidants are molecules that gobble up toxic free radicals before they can harm healthy cells and tissues, and as such reduce oxidative stress and DNA damage.” Dr. Morgan says, “Blueberries are awesome!” She continues to inform us, “CoQ10 is anti-inflammatory and offers cancer protection. Dose anywhere from 1 to 10 mg per pound of body weight.” Dr. Morgan also recommends turmeric fed as Golden Paste. She also suggests milk thistle, “2 to 5 mg per pound body weight if there is any liver enzyme elevation or any chronic medication usage.”
- Probiotics- “Not only do these aid in digestion but can aid in immune system function as well,” explains Dr. Cardeccia. Dr. Morgan suggests dog parents use a high-quality source, and the CFUs should be in the billions
- Coconut Oil/Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)– Dr. Cardeccia explains, “As dogs age, they will often start to have cognitive issues, and MCT can contribute to focus and mental performance, as well as having a beneficial effect on the immune system.” Dr. Morgan adds that coconut oil helps with gut health, coat, energy, and is anti-inflammatory.
- Glucosamine/Chondroitin– Dr. Cardeccia explains the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin in senior pets. “Glucosamine and chondroitin can improve the health of joint fluid. There are many products available which provide these compounds, often combined with MSM, vitamin C, selenium, etc. One way to get this would be to supplement with green-lipped mussel, which is a natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, glycosaminoglycans, omega 3 fatty acids, as well as amino acids, minerals, and carbohydrates.” Dr. Morgan also recommends the use of green-lipped mussel as a “natural source of glucosamine/chondroitin for joint health, hyaluronic acid for eye, skin, and joint health, trace minerals zinc and manganese needed for tendon/ligament health and coat health.”
- Colostrum– Dr. Morgan recommends the use of colostrum to help support the immune system.
I’m happy to say that Dexter has been getting pretty much all of the suggestions above. 🙂 We have yet to add colostrum, but it’s been on my to-do list for some time. I guess I need to get moving on that! I’ve been researching brands of colostrum, and I may be putting that research into high gear. I do add turmeric on a very occasional basis.
Don’t wait for your dog to start showing signs of aging—start his natural supplement routine today!
Are you proactive with your dog’s health care? Tell me in the comments.
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