Natural Supplements for Dogs

By Satavisha Ghorui



The 21st Century is here. Keto diets and intermittent fasting are all the rage, whilst health-conscious adults take multivitamins every day and pay attention to their dietary choices. But what about vitamins, minerals, and a good diet when it comes to your dog?

From a nutritional perspective, for human bodies to be healthy, the diet must include all essential nutrients which one needs to survive. A canine’s diet is no different! Your furry friend requires nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, good fats, vitamins, and minerals in just the same way as we do. For such purposes, essential canine functional superfoods come in handy, since they contain the vitamins and minerals that help your dog fight diseases, boost energy, and maintain overall good health.

According to W. Jean Dodds, DVM, “The functional effect of a food is only as good as the sum of its ingredients. Functional superfoods [have] the most beneficial effects on health: they reduce chronic inflammation and promote healing; are powerfully antioxidant, antimicrobial and antitumor; and are even believed to delay aging.”

For the majority of canine caregivers, providing your companion with market-available dog food seems like it would make the most sense. Such food is certainly convenient, and – regarding high-quality food made by companies with proven track records of ingredient integrity – it also provides their furry friends with a wholesome diet. However, there are many factors in commercially available pet-food that one must consider before assuming that these foods can provide your canine with a “complete and balanced” diet.


What are some of the specific vitamin and mineral requirements for Dogs?

“All dogs are of the species Canis familiaris and as such have very similar nutritional needs,” reminds Dr. Gary Richter, award-winning vet and member of Rover’s Dog People Panel.


Vitamin requirements for Canines:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) for metabolization of carbohydrates and activation of ion channels in neuron tissues
  • Vitamin B6 for the generation of glucose, proper functioning of the RBCs, nervous system, and immune response, along with hormone regulation
  • Vitamin K for activation of clotting factors in the blood, the health of bone protein and other proteins
  • Riboflavin and Niacin (vitamins B2 and B3 respectively) for the proper functioning of the enzymes
  • Folic acid for metabolism and protein synthesis


Macro-minerals for Canines:


Milk, yogurt, tofu, sardines with bones, raw bones, Bok choy, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.


All animal tissues, eggs, fish, milk, etc.


Spinach, broccoli, green beans, tofu, tomato juice, beans, whole grains, seafood, etc.

Sodium and

Fruits, vegetables, milk, grain, etc.


Microminerals for Canines:


Spinach, broccoli, yogurt, beef, poultry, whole grains, vegetables, etc.


All protein foods (meats, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and milk), etc.


Red meats, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs, legumes, etc.


Iodized salt, seafood, dairy products, kelp, etc.


Seafood, meat, whole grains, brown rice, vegetables, etc.


Seafood, nuts, whole grains, seeds, legumes, etc.


Nuts, whole grains, leafy vegetables, etc.


When should you use vitamin supplements for your canines?

Canines with particular health and wellness concerns, especially senior members who are physically weaker and need good dietary supplements for the continued functioning of their body’s health, will benefit heavily from vitamin and mineral supplements.

Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, can help reduce inflammation and help aging friends with memory problems. Additionally, dogs living on homemade meals may also require an intake of external supplements to balance out their diets. It is advised that one consult a veterinarian regarding any questions or dietary advice for their dogs.


How to choose dietary supplements for your dog?

Other than consulting a vet on the proper choice of vitamin and mineral supplements for the canine, one must also note that ingredients of some herbal supplements can interact with existing medication. This can lead to excess consumption of vitamins for some dogs.

If your canine friend is under a completed and balanced diet, there is probably no need to introduce external supplements in his/her diet. One can always integrate fresh fruits and vegetables to boost healthy and natural nutrition. However, if your canine is demonstrating behavioral or health issues, then getting your friend checked by a vet for any vitamin deficiency and dietary issues would be a good idea.


Some general tips for choosing vitamin supplements for dogs:

  • Choose brands that have commissioned clinical studies of their products and have confirmed expertise.
  • Read product labels carefully to ensure quality and safety.
  • Look for a “lot number” on the product. It indicates that the company uses quality control checks.
  • Vitamin supplements are just that – supplements. They are not medications to “cure” ailments.
  • Do not give human supplements to dogs, as they may contain ingredients unsuitable or harmful for canine health.


What are some recommended vitamin and mineral supplements for canines?

Over-the-counter supplements are primarily for the prevention of diseases and maintenance of the good health of your furry companion. To address a health concern, however, one must opt for supplements prescribed by your vet to ensure maximum benefit.

Packed with essential nutrients, vitamin supplements for dogs offer a variety of benefits, starting from support to joints of the body, help in metabolization and digestion, maintenance of healthy skin, and a lush coat of fur, among others. These supplements also come in soft, tasty chewable forms that dogs will love to eat!


Here is a list of some common but important supplements you can provide your canine with:


PetHonesty’s 10-for-1 Multivitamins with Glucosamine

These multivitamins are specially formulated to support your furry friend's mobility, digestion, energy, and skin health in a potent, high-concentration formula that will seem like a treat!

Pros: Formulated with 18 nutrients for optimal health; improves 10 aspects of dog's health; highly concentrated formula

Cons: Contains some artificial flavours; can be expensive for higher doses (1 chew per 25 pounds body weight); some dogs do not tolerate oil well


 Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

Made from wild-caught Alaskan salmon, this omega-3 fatty acid supplement is loaded with EPA and DHA to nourish your canine's skin and coat while supporting numerous other aspects of health.

Pros: Rich in DHA and EPA, this easy-to-administer liquid comes in a handy pump-bottle and adds natural flavour to food that dogs love.

Cons: Pump can sometimes leak and make a mess; some dogs do not tolerate oil well.


Purina Pro Plan FortiFlora Canine Probiotic Supplement

Sold in a 30-pack box, this incredibly easy-to-administer probiotic health supplement for dogs yields predictable results! This probiotic is formulated to support your canine's digestive health and help maintain a healthy microflora balance in its digestive tract.

Pros: easy-to-administer powder, with one box being a full month's supply; contains essential vitamins and antioxidants; veterinarian-recommended

Cons: Somewhat more expensive than similar options; only contains one strain


Zesty Paws’ Cranberry Bladder Bites

Loaded with 200mg of Cran-Max cranberry concentrate and an assortment of organic ingredients, these cranberry-flavoured bladder bites can help to support kidney, bladder, urinary, and gastrointestinal health.

Pros: Powerful organic ingredients that are formulated to promote kidney and bladder health; contains 200 mg cranberry and no artificial flavouring or preservatives.

Cons: Some dogs dislike the cranberry flavour; some concerns about palm fruit oil as a major ingredient



Feeding our canine friends with natural or external health supplements is a great way to ensure that their body receives the broad spectrum of nutrients required for optimal health. One must remember, prevention is always better than cure. Preventing the development of any kind of health concerns by introducing essential vitamins and minerals in your dog’s dietary regime can benefit heavily in the long run!