When you bring a dog into your home, her health becomes a priority through all stages of her life. We would all like our canine friends to be playful and active as long as possible, but that becomes a challenge when your dog starts to age. Thankfully, there are many natural and holistic dog supplements readily available to keep your senior dog happy and on the move.
It can be heartbreaking to watch your dog slow down on walks in the morning or pull up short while chasing a rabbit in the backyard. When conditions like arthritis and weight gain set in as your dog gets older, pain and discomfort can cause her to become more tired, stiff, and inactive.
Because activity is such a source of joy for dogs, the loss of that type of exercise can have severe impacts on your dog’s physical and mental well being.
By implementing holistic dog supplements into your pup’s daily diet, you can improve her health and maintain some of her vitality even as she ages. Here are some important holistic dog supplements to consider for your senior dog.
The Benefits of Organic Multivitamins
Organic multivitamins are an excellent means by which to keep your dog healthy and active for many years. Although many owners believe that their dogs get enough vitamins through dog food, many of those foods do not have the right mixture or amount of vitamins. That’s why it’s a good idea to confer with your veterinarian to determine which natural multivitamins are best for your older dog.
Why are organic multivitamins so important for canines? Unlike manufactured vitamins which are often combined with chemical fillers, bound with preservatives, or diluted by coloring dyes, natural multivitamins will contain only the vitamin itself which will keep your dog healthy.
Here are the ways in which multivitamins work on your older dog’s behalf:
- Multivitamins improve the immune system. The immune system is a key component of your dog’s health as she grows old. Because it’s responsible for so many critical functions, like fighting infections, regulating essential organs, and producing blood cells and antibodies, the immune system needs to be as strong as possible. Aging dogs often have immune systems that weaken and become ineffective, and multivitamins may boost immunity during that time.
- Vitamins A and D promote more effective body functions. Vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin, impacts multiple areas of a dog’s body, including vision, teeth and bones, reproductive processes, and skin and coat conditions. The roles that Vitamin D covers involve calcium conservation for bone development, and nerve and muscle control.
- Vitamins E and C are disease-fighting antioxidants. Aside from their respective roles in fat metabolism, cell structure, and bone formation, Vitamins E and C prohibit and prevent the growth of free radical cells in the body. Free radical cells may cause chronic diseases and illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and premature aging. That makes antioxidants especially important for older canines.
- Vitamin B-complex helps support aging dogs’ body systems. Multivitamins often include a Vitamin B-complex which covers the range of important B vitamins your dog should take. The B-complex strengthens functions from amino acid metabolism to the production of energy to cells to the prevention of bladder stone formation. Most importantly for elderly dogs, B-complex assists in the growth and regeneration of neural faculties.
How Omega-3 Oil Helps Your Dog
Dogs need two different kinds of fatty essential oils, Omega-3 and Omega-6, for continued health of their nervous and cardiovascular systems. Typically, dogs get enough Omega-6 from their daily diet, but Omega-3 is more challenging to adequately supply in a dog’s food. Omega-3 oil spoils quickly when exposed to air and light, so the perfect way to make sure your dog gets the Omega-3 she needs is in an organic supplement.
The best sources of Omega-3 oil come from cod and fish, thus holistic dog supplements that include this fatty acid will source the oil from sustainable, eco-friendly sources.
Because Omega-3 oil improves cognitive function, prevents arthritis and heart disease, and strengthens kidney function, it’s a critical component to any multivitamin in your dog’s diet.
The Importance of Digestive Support
As your dog ages, her digestive systems can perform less than impressively. The food your dog wolfed down when she was a pup might not be digested as easily when she’s a senior. Older dogs can develop sensitive gastrointestinal conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
To help your senior avoid issues like bad breath, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and gas, consider a multivitamin that contains probiotics, enzymes, or fiber.
Probiotics work wonders for older dogs with digestive problems. They are a safe means by which to repopulate the gut with health bacteria that properly converts food into nutrients. Probiotics keep harmful bacteria from spreading throughout the gastrointestinal areas.
Keep the Liver Clean
Liver function is an absolute must for any healthy canine, but it’s of especial importance to an older dog. The liver regulates blood clotting, absorbs crucial fats and vitamins, regulates blood sugar, and filters toxins out of the body. Senior dogs who suffer from liver disease may benefit from a holistic supplement that contains any of the following components:
- Milk thistle – This herb is a powerful antioxidant that assists in preventing toxins from entering the liver and removing them at the cellular level.
- Burdock – Used for thousands of years, this plant extract has been used as a cleanser and blood purifier.
- Turmeric and Curcumin Extract – This herb and spice both provide anti-inflammatory properties and act as strong antioxidants.
Mobility and Flexibility is Critical
Your senior dog’s ability to move easily and with as little discomfort as possible is critical to her maintaining her physical and mental happiness. An older dog can become depressed if her favorite activities — walking, running, swimming, playing — are too painful to engage in. It may be even harder for “working dogs” who have spent most of their lives herding, mushing, or retrieving to overcome the onset of joint disease and arthritis. These dogs’ very identities are wrapped up in mobility, and to have that taken away will negatively impact the canine.
Holding back the hands of time for your dog means looking for multivitamins that also include these elements:
- Glucosamine and Chondroitin – Research shows that when used together, glucosamine and chondroitin are more effective in terms of building, strengthening, and repairing cartilage. The thickness and elasticity of a dog’s cartilage will be vastly improved, leading to more activity and less pain as your dog grows older.
- The Yucca plant – The roots of the yucca tree may reduce inflammation, pain, and stiffness in joints often associated with hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis. Any good holistic dog supplement will include yucca as a means to improve your dog’s flexibility.
- MSM – This ingredient originates in sulfur and has the powerful ability to begin the process of repairing cartilage. Aside from this important factor, MSM is also an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.
Add Years to Your Dog’s Life
With the advice of your veterinarian and taking into account your senior dog’s current health, including a holistic dog supplement as part of your dog’s daily or weekly diet can extend the longevity of your dog’s life. While there’s no stopping time, responsible dog owners can take the proper steps to make sure their older canine’s golden years are as bright as possible. Consider holistic dog supplements to give your elderly dog an extended, happy “leash on life.”