Between powders, flakes, pastes and globules: food supplements for dogs - yes or no?

Thousands of euros go over the counter year after year and new companies with (supposedly) revolutionary products flood the market almost daily.[1] They all have one thing in common: the promise of a long, happy and, above all, healthy dog's life full of play, fun, exuberant tail wagging and wild mudding.

As a responsible and loving dog owner (and of course mistress!), you naturally want to do your best to pave the way for more protection against diseases and improved physical and mental fitness for your pet into old age. Do nutritional supplements offer the best all-round care? Or should you rather protect yourself, your cold-blooded dog and your wallet from the clutches of dubious globule sellers? We explain.

We would like to be honest with you...

Facts on the table: A normal and nutritious diet with a commercial complete food usually provides dogs with all the nutrients they need. At least this is true if they are healthy. And not old. But not too young either. And mental ailments like depression or dementia should not be present either. As you can see, the range of suitable patients with four paws is wider than expected.[2]

The result: pure overload and two entrenched parties who don't want to budge an inch from their position. While pug mistress A swears by various vitamins as an additive in her pet's food, shepherd master B rolls his eyes in exasperation at the mere thought of minerals and the like. So let's first ...

Back to Basics: What are dietary supplements anyway?

In a nutshell, food supplements are vegetable, animal or synthetic additives that you trickle on top of your pelt's food bowl. From tablets and pastes to powders, flakes and globules, the nutrient-rich vitamins, fats and minerals are available in all colours, shapes, active ingredients, flavours and qualities.

We don't want to deprive you of the most important difference to medicines that you get from the vet: Food supplements are not medicines! They support your dog in various aspects of life, but should not (and must not) promise a cure for a serious illness. Food supplements are therefore not the right choice for medical emergencies - but even more so for deficiencies that cannot be covered by everyday food![3]

Food supplements: Yes or no? That is the question here!

Is your dog plagued by an increased susceptibility to illness? His movements are restricted with age? He is susceptible to stress? Or, unfortunately, he can't turn heads at dog school with his lacklustre and brittle coat? Then it is high time to have serious illnesses ruled out by a vet. A slight deficiency in your dog's nutrient supply, on the other hand, can be treated ideally from home - and this is where nutritional supplements come into play.[4]

For example, high-quality fish oil ensures a shiny, supple coat and soft, healthy skin.[5] The cartilage-protecting extract of the green-lipped mussel, on the other hand, is used for painful joint complaints. [6] At this point, we could give you endless examples of how to use the various nutritional supplements to convince you of their effect. Instead, we prefer to keep it short and sweet: Trust the opinion of all the satisfied dog owners who we have already had the pleasure of convincing of our nutritional supplements. And trust the judgement of their cold-blooded dogs - because they already click their tongues with pleasure when St. Vince & Vince comes on the table!


[1] Verbraucherzentrale (2022): https://www.verbraucherzentrale-niedersachsen.de/sites/default/files/medien/141/dokumente/22-03-30%20Positionspapier%20vzbv%20und%20VZn%20NEM.pdf

[2] Bolbecher, G. (2020): Fütterungspraxis beim Hund

[3] Schroll, S. und Dehasse, J. (2016): Nahrungsergänzungen

[4] Schroll, S. und Dehasse, J. (2016): Phytopharmaka und Nahrungsergänzungen

[5] Fritsch, D. A., Allen, T. A., Dodd C. E. et al. (2010): A multicenter study of the effect of dietary supplementation with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids on carprofen dosage in dogs with osteoarthritis

[6] Robert Koch-Institut (2008): „Oxidativer Stress und Möglichkeiten seiner Messung aus umweltmedizinischer Sicht: Mitteilung der Kommission ‚Methoden und Qualitätssicherung in der Umweltmedizin“

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