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How do supplements for dogs work?

Have you noticed a rise in dog supplements in recent years? Lots of capsules, tablets and powders are touted as miracle products; so it can be tricky to understand exactly what the benefits of supplements are. 

In this article we'll look at what supplements do, how they benefit your dog, and which supplements will improve your dog's quality of life.

How can supplements help my dog? 

If your dog is older, or suffers from certain medical conditions, then supplements could help to ease their symptoms and aid comfort.

Common conditions where supplements are recommended include: joint pain, stress & anxiety, urinary problems, issues associated with aging and even combatting hairloss & maintaining a glossy coat.

Let's take a look at what dog supplements do and how to choose the right supplements for your pet:

How can joint supplements help my dog? 

Joint and mobility supplements provide support to aid stiffness and manage joint pain in pets. These supplements will help to keep your dog active by soothing stiff joints and aiding flexibility. 

Joint supplements can be especially helpful if your dog is older, suffers from arthritis or other mobility issues, or they are an especially active breed or working dog. 

The benefits of joint supplements for dogs

  • Aids mobility & flexibility
  • Helps maintain your pet’s quality of life by maintaining optimum joint health
  • Soothes stiff joints
  • Supports joint structure

The science bit

Vetpro Joints & Mobility capsules contain Omega-3s, Boswelia extract and Glucosamine HCL. 

• Omega-3s EPA & DHA are fatty acids that are scientifically proven to aid joints and flexibility to support a pet’s freedom of movement.  

• Boswellia is a plant extract that supports the body’s natural anti-inflammatory processes and plays an important role in maintaining smooth and comfortable joint movement. 

• Glucosamine HCL is an important building block for cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber in the joint.

Read More: Caring for an older dog - keeping senior dogs in good health

two dogs running down a track

How can stress & anxiety supplements help my dog? 

Dogs are naturally social animals, and when they form a strong bond with someone and that person goes away, it can cause fear, frustration, and anxiety. Certain supplements can reduce anxiety in dogs.

Anxiety supplements help to reduce stress, whether your dog gets anxious from separation, loud noises, travelling, vets’ visits or other stressful situations. It may also be beneficial for you and your dog to undertake separation anxiety training if they suffer from stress & anxiety. 

The benefits of anxiety supplements for dogs 

  • Promotes calm behaviour in anxious dogs
  • Helps to reduce stress
  • No sedative effects

The science bit 

Vetpro Stress & Anxiety capsules contain L-Theanine, L-Tryptophan, Passion flower extract & gamma-Aminobutyric acid, known as GABA. 

• L-Theanine, a green tea extract, has been shown to have provide a calming effect in dogs and L-Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, has been proven to help rescue stress and aggression.

• Passion flower extract has a unique ability to relax animals and reduce feelings of tension.

GABA is an important neurotransmitter, responsible for relaxing the nervous system.

Read More: How to deal with anxiety in dogs

How can urinary supplements help my dog?

As our pets get older, they can become more susceptible to conditions that affect the bladder and urinary function. A dog’s urinary system does lots of important work, such as getting rid of waste  and maintaining the right balance of water and electrolytes in the body’s cells.

Urinary supplements help to support a healthy urinary tract to keep your dog happy and healthy. 

The benefits of urinary supplements for dogs 

  • Supports the natural systems that control inflammation
  • Aids comfort in dogs suffering from urinary conditions
  • Reduces stress
  • Naturally soothes
  • Reduces irritation

The science bit 

Vetpro Healthy Urinary Tract Function capsules contain a triple action combination of N-Acetyl D-Glucosamine, Quercetin and L-Tryptophan. But how do those ingredients make for the best urinary supplement for dogs?

• N-Acetyl D-Glucosamine offers structural support to the bladder lining, which acts as a natural barrier to protect the underlying tissues.

• Quercetin is a plant pigment that is found in lots of different fruits, vegetables, and plants. It supports the body’s natural anti-inflammatory processes and is particularly beneficial for supporting urinary tract function.

L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that is found in many proteins. It is involved in the production of serotonin and has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.

Read More: Bladder infections in dogs - recognising dog cystitis and urinary tract infections

How can skin supplements help my dog? 

Your dog’s coat is vital in protecting them from the sun, keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It also stores vital nutrients and helps to keep them hydrated.

Alongside a balanced diet and regular grooming, skin and coat supplements can help relieve your dog’s symptoms if they suffer from itchy, flaky, or dry skin. The best supplements for dog's coats will contain the right proteins, fatty acids, and vitamins to support healthy skin.

The benefits of skin supplements for dogs 

  • Aids the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory processes
  • Calms sensitive skin
  • Reduces itching and scratching
  • Soothes dry, flaky skin
  • Strengthens brittle nails

The science bit 

Vetpro Healthy Skin & Glossy Coat contain Omega-3s, refined fish oils & d-Biotin to support skin and coat maintenance. But how does that work exactly? 

• Refined fish oils come from ocean sardines. Beneficial Omega-3s EPA and DHA are extracted from the fish oil during a refining process that also removes heavy metals and undesirable pollutants. 

• Omega-3s contain a high strength formula with active fatty acids EPA and DHA. These fatty acids work in the skin to aid the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory processes.

d-Biotin is a vitamin that helps to maintain healthy skin, coat and nails. 

Read More: Allergies in dogs - does my dog have allergies?

black dog wearing a red collar

How can brain function supplements help my dog? 

As our pets age, they might start to show changes in behaviour, such as disturbed sleep patterns, going to the toilet inside, and reduced levels of activity. Brain function supplements provide key nutrients to support cognitive function in older dogs, whilst benefiting younger pets in training and learning.  

The benefits of brain function supplements for dogs 

  • Aids healthy brain function
  • Aids training and learning
  • Supports cognitive function

The science bit 

Vetpro Brain & Mental Function tablets contain Ginkgo Biloba extract, Omega-3, Phosphatidylserine, & B vitamins. But how exactly do those ingredients help to aid brain function in your dog?

• Ginkgo Biloba extract is a herb derived from the leaf extract of the Ginkgo tree. It’s an antioxidant and aids the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory processes. It has been used for over 5000 years to support memory ability.

• Omega-3 from fish oil has been shown to support cognitive function. It aids the structure and function of brain cells by aiding neurotransmission. Omega-3 DHA plays a key role in supporting aged brains.

Phosphatidylserine is an amino acid derivative compound that is found in high amounts in the brain, where it contributes to cognitive function.

• A two year study showed that a mixture of B vitamins helped maintain brain health particularly in areas known to control cognitive function.​

Read More: How to clicker train a dog

golden Labrador smiling

How can prebiotic and probiotic supplements help my dog?

The intestines contain billions of bacteria, collectively called the microbiome, which helps dogs to digest food and protects them from bad bacteria and viruses. However, when there is an imbalance in the microbiome, symptoms like excess gas and loose stools may occur.

Prebiotic and probiotic supplements restore the balance in the gut and can aid with a wide variety of health conditions such as gastrointestinal problems, skin and coat health and urinary tract infections.

Pre and probiotic supplements promote long term gut health. They are especially useful for dogs who suffer from chronic diarrhoea or constipation, inflammatory bowel disease or pets who may be exposed to stressful environments, such as kennels, a house move or performing in dog shows.

The benefits of pre/probiotic supplements for dogs

  • Helps maintain normal digestive function
  • Replenishes natural balance of gut bacteria
  • Improves stool consistency
  • Reduces flatulence 

The science bit

Vetpro Intestinal Health & Recovery capsules contain probiotics (Enterococcus faecium), prebiotics (FOS), Vitamin B12 and antioxidants.

Probiotics are live, good bacteria that promote balance in the intestines.

Prebiotics act as a food source for the body’s own healthy bacteria, Vetpro can aid the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Vitamin B12 can help reduce fatigue and tiredness. This is especially helpful during recovery from an illness or bout of diarrhoea.

Need more info?

For expert advice on how to choose the right supplements for your dog, contact your local vet. 

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.