If a food is labeled ‘complete and balanced’, there is theoretically no need to add supplements to your dog's diet unless they are prescribed by your veterinarian. If you are feeding a home - prepared diet, you will be adding numerous supplements to your dog's daily diet in precise measurements.

One argument for giving nutritional supplements to a dog is the thought that the dog is not actually metabolizing the vitamins and minerals contained in the pet food (which is potentially true of foods that have not undergone feeding trials).

Another argument is that the nutritional guidelines developed by the AAFCO are minimums and that few studies have been performed to determine optimum levels of nutrients. Supplementation, therefore, is thought to be necessary to give a dog more appropriate levels. Some also argue that certain supplements serve as nutraceuticals — that is, nutrients that are prescribed at certain higher levels to treat or prevent disease. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, might be given to boost a dog's immune system, reduce inflammation from arthritis, and/or prevent disease. Joint supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroiton sulfate, are frequently given to prevent, halt, or perhaps even reverse some of the damage from such joint diseases as arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Whether your shepherd needs nutritional supplements is a determination that should be made with the help of your veterinarian.

4.1. Antioxidant Supplements

They provide very bright prospects for increasing the quality and length of your shepherd's life.
  • Bioflavonoids - help to decrease allergic reactions, asthmatic attacks and have anti-cancer benefits for your dog.
  • Green Tea - decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer and help protect the blood vessels nourishing your dog's heart and brain.
  • Lutein - protect your dog's eyes and may reduce the risk of cataracts.
  • Melatonin - acts to normalize sleep patterns. It also protects your dog's brain and has been used successfully with cancer therapy.

4.2. Nutritional Supplements for Bones, Joints & Cartilage

  • Glucosamine - vital to protecting the health and integrity of your dog's bones, joints and cartilage. It helps to decrease joint inflammation and pain, promote cartilage repair, aid healing of damaged joints, increase mobility in dogs with arthritis and hip dysplasia.
  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) - a natural source of sulfur that works along with Glucosamine to help protect the health and integrity of your dog's bones, joints and cartilage.

4.3. Essential Fatty Acid Supplements

They are vital to brain health and help to preserve mental clarity. They decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia in dogs, cats and people. Fatty Acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

4.4. Amino Acid Supplements

  • Glutamine - the major energy source for the cells that line the digestive system. It strengthens your dog's natural defense system - immune system. Glutamine also has many anti-aging effects. It helps to preserve memory and to prevent the harmful effects of Cortisol, the hormone that is responsible for accelerating the aging process in people and in your dog.

4.5. Digestive Enzyme Supplements

They help your shepherd's body to breakdown proteins, fats and carbohydrates in his food so they can be absorbed and utilized. They improve the efficiency of digestion so your pet's body can utilize the nutrients essential for energy production and ultimately for life itself. They help the body to recover from disease and promote restoration of good health in your dog. Enzymes
are useful to reduce pain and swelling after exercise or trauma and help speed up recovery rates. Enzymes support your dog's immune system thereby enhancing his ability to ward off disease and infection. They have been also been used effectively in cancer therapy for people and pets.
  • Papain - enzyme that has aspirin-like effects to decrease swollen, painful inflamed tissues in your dog.
  • Bromelain - enzyme found in pineapple stems that inhibits the spread of lung cancer.

4.6. Benefits and Cons of supplements

Veterinarians generally tell us that, if you choose a premium dog food or a dog food that says that it is “complete and balanced”, you are probably providing everything that your dog needs and your dog won't need to take dog supplements or canine vitamins. However, there are some exceptions to this: old dogs, sick dogs, overweight dogs, dogs with vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Generally, supplements have positive effect on overall health, healthy skin with smooth glossy coat, strong bones and hip, strong paws and nails, muscles tuned for long and healthy life, strong and healthy teeth, clear and sharp eyes, calm temperament.

1 comment:

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