Are supplements needed?

Over the years I have used supplements from time to time but not really noticed much difference in the dog. More recently I’ve given salmon oil to one of mine who had a dry, flaky skin and poor coat. It didn’t seem to make an awful lot of difference either.

These days there is a tendency for the higher end dog food companies to add things like glucosamine, chondroitin etc etc. Personally, I don’t care for additives like this because there is (as far as I know) no proof that they are of benefit although I understand that green lipped mussel has a better write up. Many foods also contain added omega oils which are proven to be good for joints so I have no objection to that.

I have come to the conclusion that if the dog is fed a good diet there isn’t any need for supplements and I would go as far as to say that they could be harmful. For instance, if someone is topping up with oils and the food already has these, it just gives the liver extra work to do to break down and eliminate them.

I would imagine that it is a multi-million pound industry but what do you think about supplements? Do you give any and if so, which product/s do you buy and why?

I feel much the same insofar as, they shouldn’t be needed if diet is adequate. The only time I would consider it is if there was an indication of deficiency.

There is so much confusion over correct ratios of this and that, that you could probably never get it right anyway. Best just to try and find the most balanced way of feeding and hope they are getting what they need.

I have used primrose oil for myself, however and did find that they made a difference. Once the symptoms improved, I stopped taking them and tried to eat more foods with sources of omega fats in.

Totally agree. A good, balanced diet should rule out the need for supplements. If there are any signs of deficiencies, then a change of food would be the first port of call rather than topping up with supplements. Having said all that, there are a few cases when I do recommend them. The supplements that tend to benefit the most dogs include:

Omega oils are essential for all sorts of bodily functions and yet a lot of foods contain fairly limited amounts. Some foods have some added but since they are added before processing and since heat can destroy omega oils, there’s no guarantee that they are still there in the finished product. Good sources include fish oils, whole linseed or linseed oil, evening primrose oil etc.

For dogs with joint problems, devils claw can work wonders and has been shown in a few studies to be just as effective for arthritis sufferers as many prescription medicines. It is, however, quite pricey and so is almost never found in complete foods. Green lipped mussel extract can also really help.

Raw garlic (a small amount each day) is a great natural way of deterring ticks and fleas.

There are also a number of other supplements that I might suggest for more specific conditions or circumstances but most dog owners will never need to worry about them.

Every supplement seems to have as many advocates as critics and what works for one dog might do nothing for another. If you’re interested in any particular supplement, make sure you get the right dose and then give it a try for a month or two. If you can see some positive effects then great, keep going. If not, drop it. Either way, make sure you post your findings on this forum!

Since I have an aversion to using chemical wormers and flea treatments unless they are absolutely necessary - I do of course use them when they are - and a desire to do all I can to avoid using them, the Little Cav gets 1 teaspoon of diatomaceous earth and 1/2 teaspoon of Billy No Mates (a herbal flea & tick deterrent) in his feed each day.

I send a poo sample off for a worm count every 2 months, and so far all have come back completely clear and I’m yet to find a flea or tick on him in spite of the fact that we walk through fields of sheep most days.

I’m also a great believer in probiotics at times of stress - both digestive stress, such as a change of diet or recovery from a bout of diarrhoea, and emotional stress - and also following antibiotic treatment.

I don’t use any other supplements myself, but a neighbour has recently started giving Yumove to her elderly lab and it has helped him tremendously, I could see the difference myself within a couple of weeks.


I gave my dog yumega pre and probiotics when he was on antibiotics for an extended period. I carried on giving them after he’d finished the antibs until they had gone. Within a few days he was having problems pooing it was like rabbit droppings and the smells, you didn’t want to be near him ;D I gave him extra sweet potato for fiber but after a week still no change, put him back on them and no problems since

For me supplements can be helpful especially when remembering dogs are in an unnatural environment. Firstly, I would always recommend a good food but as dogs live in human homes and central heating etc can sometimes cause rapid changes in a dogs needs and can cause itchy dry skin. We’ve had good success with our Ch Cresties (hairless and powder puffs) using starflower oil (also known as Safflower oil or thistle oil) also we have used Cold Pressed Flax oil - been hearing a lot about coconut oil recently but not tried it yet.
Re natural flea repellent - Neem Oil has been recommended and you can get this in shampoo form

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I think it entirely depends on the dog and food given. My dogs have always been on a decent quality food (currently Platinum/Naturediet/Forthglade), but with one of them if I do not give her Kelp 2-3 times a week she will eat anything out in the garden or on walks, soil/feathers/animal droppings, anything. Give the extra minerals in the kelp powder and this scavenging stops immediately. Forget the kelp for a week or two and she will start scavenging.

A salmon oil and crill oil combo is a great supplement to be added to food for itchy skin and a healthy looking coat.

Dogs suffering with achey joints, struggling with long walks could benefit from using a food supplement. My dog is really old and I wish I had started using a supplement earlier may have given the poor old dog more of a chance. Find one which contains hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin to help aid joint support and repair.

Pro Pooch have started a new line- its great -its a powder so easy to add to food and no need to wrestle a tablet down your dogs neck :o haha

Supplements for dogs are the same as for humans, they really can make you feel better. Same goes for dogs. Worth a bash in my opinion. Thanks for reading :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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The great thing about dogs is they have no concept of placebo effect. If you give a dog a supplement and you see an improvement in something you know it’s the supplement working. If no change then you know you’re wasting your money on that one and try something else.

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Raspberry leaf is sometimes recommended for bitches in whelp to ease labour. I haven’t used it on my dogs though. These days I tend not to give supplements as the dogs get a good diet and I hope that it is sufficient. However, I have been giving Yumega Itchy Dog to the one who has had skin problems. Have tailed it off now and she is fine at the moment so will be discontinuing it when the bottle is empty. It has been useful though.

Thank you. I have used good quality salmon oil in the past but with my particular dog I found that Yumega Plus was very effective and suited her better. However, I have a feeling that the improvement is probably also due to a change to cold pressed food early this year. Fingers crossed but she is currently doing well and no itching. They have a tin of sardines in tomato sauce between them once a week, added to their usual food and it’s a great favourite.

Yes supplements are neeeded, even if you give a good balanced diet sometimes you might be missing somethings your dog may not have.

Below is a image of good supplements for senior dogs.