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K9 Supplements 101

Updated on June 22, 2020
Kelly Ward profile image

Breeding and training German Shepherds since 2010. I craft a regiment to help dogs reach their genetic potential.

I have been feeding K9 Supplements to my dogs since 2012. I am very passionate about their usage and benefits. I have tried many different methods over the years and have come to a practice that works for my dogs and the German Shepherd Dog. I am a distributor of the products I use since I believe in their high levels of efficacy.

The subject of nutrition and holistic health care has become a very popular topic for dog owners. Just like feed, there are many supplements to choose from. People often contact me regarding diet and supplements. By the time we start to have conversations about diet and supplements these owners are confused. They have tried multiple different feed and supplements and they find nothing is working.

My first point that I discuss with dog owners is to relate supplements to their own diet. My first question is, “Do you take any supplementary vitamins?” I mostly receive yes to this question. Most dog owners tell me they take a daily multi-vitamin and then possibly a few additional vitamins. For example, women often take a daily dose of Iron to supplement the natural loss in their body.

My next question is, “Why do you take these additional vitamins?” The most common answer is, “Because I don’t get enough of x in my diet.” The x could be a variety of items such as: fiber, iron, vitamin D, calcium, etc. So, let’s relate this to your dog, “Are there nutritional areas that are not not supported enough in their diet?” This is a very practical and relatable approach from yourself to your dog.

From here, I often continue with more uncovering needs with questions:

  1. Do you know or do you suspect a nutritional deficiency?

How to figure this out? You might observe behaviors such as loose stool, diarrhea, or other stomach or “gut” issues. From there this is a conversation with your dog’s Veterinarian and can be learned with blood testing or a full panel of testing.

When a dog is deficient in a certain nutrient, and begins to receive the optimum dosage of that nutrient, the health will markedly improve. Sometimes, correcting a deficiency of even a very small nutrient will make improvements in dogs that already seem fairly healthy.

Quick Areas of Improvement:

Coat & Skin: has a better sheen to it, a little bit of dandruff might go away, a greasy coat will turn nicer. Coat and skin tell me a lot about a dog’s nutrition and health.

Agility & Movement: the dog will have better quality of life and movement around their home and yard. Daily movements such as running, jumping, or playing in the yard without pain and better quality of life is a win for everyone.

In other cases, a dog owner might know that the diet he feeds is deficient in a certain nutrient, and he supplements rather than changes the formulation of the diet. For example, dogs who are fed a diet based on raw meats and vegetables, but who don’t receive fresh ground bones, are more than likely to be deficient in calcium. This a one of the benefits to feeding raw or your own diet to your dog, you know exactly what is the ingredients and the areas you need to supplement.

2. Are there areas where you need to optimize nutrient levels or use preventative measures?

For example, my dogs are canine athletes and require an optimization of joint support. This is optimization and a preventative measure. It has been medically proven as well as I have experienced it myself, that levels of joint support will help prevent and can help healing injuries. I have partnered with my Veterinarian on this practice and has worked tremendously for my dogs. Joint support being levels of: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and Green Lipped Mussel in my dog’s diet. Yes this is a mixture of synthetic and natural dietary supplements, this topic will be covered in a future article.

My last area of discussion I cover with dog owners is, “Are there problems with supplementing my dog’s diet?” My reply to that question is, “Of course, there can be problems with anything!” Problems can be associated around: over supplementing, imbalances, negative reactions, and long-term effects. But, there are quick ways to prevent any of these problems.

K9 Supplement Best Practices:

  • Partner with your Veterinarian. If your Veterinarian does not have extensive knowledge about diet or supplements- research for one that can help.
  • Partner with a breeder or other experienced trainer with your dog’s needs.
  • Ask questions and research! Use social media and other online tools in a positive and educational manner. You can find lots of groups and helpful people willing to share their knowledge.
  • You know your dog. Watch and observe physical and mental behaviors.

© 2020 Kelly Ward

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