Posts Tagged: dog supplements

How to evaluate the effectiveness of dog supplements

Dog supplements

Billions of dollars are spent each year on nutritional supplements for our pets.  Unfortunately, due to lack of regulation, many of these dog supplements are a waste of your money and may be dangerous to your pet.

Pet supplements, also known as nutraceuticals, are nutritional supplements that claim to provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of diseases.  The most common dog supplements used in veterinary medicine include:

  • Glucosamine
  • Fish oils
  • Probiotics
  • Multivitamins
  • Milk thistle
  • S-adenosyl methionine (SAM-e)
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Coenzyme Q
  • Azodyl

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not regulate what goes into nutraceuticals.  All of the above products have been proven  to not cause any harm so any manufacturer can make their own product without further FDA regulation, unless a new dietary ingredient is being added to their product. [Tweet “The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not regulate what goes into nutraceuticals. “]

Laboratory analysis of some dog supplements have shown that many of these products are mislabeled and can contain impurities like heavy metals, bacteria and mold that are dangerous to your pet’s health. These products can even be indigestible and therefore, not effective.

How can we evaluate the effectiveness of a nutraceutical?

  • Pricing:  Typically, you get what you pay for.  Cheaper products often contain lower quality ingredients that may not be as effective.
  • Verification of ingredients:  The USP Dietary Supplement Verification Program page provides a list of manufacturers who voluntarily submit their products for verification.  Verified products will contain a USP seal of approval.
  • Ingredient list:  The pet supplement you are purchasing should be listed as one of the top ingredient in the product.  The amount of active ingredient also varies from product to product.
  • Efficacy:  Does the dog supplement do what it claims to do?  Ask your veterinarian which dog supplements they recommend. 
  • Manufacturer reputation:  What type of research has the company invested into their product?  What other organizations are they affiliated with?

Dr. Anna Coffin recommends using veterinary labeled dog supplements.  They have been used by many patients and thus proven effective and are often formulated in tasty chews or treats that your dog is sure to enjoy.  Ask your veterinarian what dog supplements they recommend.

If you have an Ask Dr. Anna question you would like answered, please post them in the comment section. Stay up to date on all the latest by subscribing to my blog.  Also “like” me on Facebook.

Dr. Anna was born and raised in Guthrie, Oklahoma. As a teenager, Dr. Anna found her beloved pet dead on the side of the road left to die without any help. That was the moment she decided to become a vet and vowed to help other people and their pets. After a few years of practicing in New Hampshire, Dr. Anna became homesick and decided to return to Guthrie to be with her parents and five other siblings. Family and friends are a major part of our lives which is why we treat our clients at Guthrie Pet Hospital as family.  Dr. Anna and her husband do not have children but are very proud pet parents and therefore, treat every four legged friend as part of the family.

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