Not every senior dog needs every supplement. For example, dogs with any chronic eye condition or cataracts may benefit from OcuGlo, an eye supplement designed by a veterinary ophthalmologist. But if your older dog had normal vision, it’s a waste of money.
Joint supplements for senior dogs are an entirely different story, however. Virtually all senior dogs can benefit from joint supplements, and there plenty to choose among. The ingredients glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil, and green-lipped mussel products have long histories of safe, effective use in dogs. They can help maintain, and in cases, even increase mobility. Look for joint supplements for dogs with these ingredients that have a National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) seal on them. The NASC membership ensures, among other things, that the products are monitored to be sure they include the ingredients on the label in the amounts listed.
Fish oil has the most research-supported evidence that it works. Fish oil is a major source of the omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are shown to help preserve healthy joints and may minimize cognitive problems in older dogs.
Probiotics for Dogs
A good probiotic made for dogs can encourage a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Don’t use a human one as the microbiomes are different.
Stress Supplements for Dogs
Some senior dogs may do better with supplements for anxiety or stress. Melatonin can often help with sleep problems at night. Dog pheromone products such as Adaptil can also help older dogs who are struggling. For serious anxiety issues, discuss the problem with your veterinarian. There are anxiety medications that can help, too.
In general, remember that supplements may take time, like four to six weeks for most joint supplements, before any changes are noted. Always check with your veterinarian about compatibility between multiple supplements as well as supplements and any medications your dog is taking. Don’t overdo supplements. Too much of a “good thing” can be a bad.