Puppies’ rapid growth and developing body means they need nutritional support that food alone may not provide. The best supplements for puppies provide your puppy with the building blocks they need to grow into happy, healthy adults. They can even help prevent or diminish certain conditions, like joint issues!
The best puppy supplements should include:
- Glycosaminoglycans for their anti-inflammatory properties and joint lubrication
- Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy joints, heart, skin, and kidneys
- Vitamin C for its immune support and antioxidants
- Calcium for healthy bones
Keep reading to find the answers to all your puppy supplement questions, including:
- Do puppies need vitamins? Are supplements good for puppies?
- How can giving a puppy vitamins now help them later in life?
- What are the benefits of puppy vitamins?
- Can puppies have joint pain?
- 3 Puppy Supplement Ingredients for Optimal Puppy Growth and Health
- Which supplements are safe for puppies?
- When should I start giving my puppy supplements?
- How often should I give my puppy a supplement?
- How long does it take puppy supplements to work?
12 minute read
Bringing your new puppy home is, paws down, one of the most magical experiences. Puppies are so full of life and energy that it’s hard to imagine them any other way. But the truth is, they grow up quickly, so it’s very important to start your puppy off on the right paw.
What you feed your puppy and what supplements you decide to give them will directly affect the dog they grow up to be. Their nutrition, for good or bad, helps or hinders their health for the rest of their life.
PLEASE NOTE: Before beginning any supplement program to help your dog with a specific problem, (like low energy or dull coat, for example) talk to your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t a more serious underlying medical problem responsible for the issue. Supplements provide supplemental support for your dog’s body, mind, and immune system, but they are not intended as a replacement for a veterinarian’s care.
Supplements can help give your puppy a better life, but finding the right supplement or multivitamin for your puppy can be really challenging. Keep reading to find out the answers to all of your puppy supplement questions.
Do Puppies Need Vitamins? Are Supplements Good for Puppies?
The answer is yes and yes!
Of course, you want the best for your puppy, and you buy healthy and nutritious food for your new furry family member. Or, you might even make your puppy’s food in your own kitchen!
However, that’s not always enough to cover a puppy’s specific nutritional needs.
This is especially true for pet parents who prepare homemade diets for their puppies. Although homemade whole food diets are sometimes recommended, most pet parents don’t have access to all the specific vitamins their dog needs to make their food nutritionally complete.
In fact, the same is true of human food! You may try to eat a healthy diet but may decide to take a supplement to close the gap between what your food supplies for nutrition and what you need to remain optimally healthy.
We’ve all seen how quickly a puppy can grow. They get bigger seemingly overnight! That rapid growth means they need a lot of the right kind of nutrition, and puppy vitamins help them get those important vitamins and nutrients.
But why wouldn’t a regular commercial puppy food be enough for our little bundles of fluff? And what specific problems and conditions can a puppy supplement help with or prevent?
Flaws in Some Commercial Puppy Foods
Many puppy foods are primarily designed to provide your puppy with energy and calories above all else. Of course, that’s very important, but these foods may not be specifically designed to help your puppy develop properly.
In fact, if your puppy’s food is too high in fat, it can actually cause them to grow faster than they should, which can lead to skeletal and joint problems.
How puppy foods are made creates another problem. Most commercial puppy foods are made at very high temperatures. This is particularly true of dry kibble. Because of this, many of the added vitamins and minerals in the food become less effective at giving your puppy the nutrients they need.
High-quality puppy supplements are a great way to bridge the gap and give your growing pup the nutritional boost they need. Also, it’s always a good idea to speak with your veterinarian about your puppy’s specific nutritional needs to make sure they are getting everything they need to grow up healthy.
A puppy’s developing digestive system also needs assistance. For example, unlike adult dogs, puppies cannot regulate the amount of calcium they absorb from their food.
If your puppy is having occasional digestive issues, nutritional deficiencies can be at fault. Besides making them more susceptible to upset tummies in general, puppies with deficiencies are more susceptible to parasites, which cause even more digestive problems and nutritional deficiencies.
After your veterinarian has eliminated possible medical causes like infections or parasites, a quality puppy multivitamin can help soothe your puppy’s digestive issues by correcting the nutritional deficiencies that can cause them, while its anti-inflammatory ingredients like vitamin C can help calm down the irritation.
PLEASE NOTE: If your puppy is experiencing serious or severe digestive symptoms, it could be a sign of a life-threatening medical emergency. Take your puppy to your veterinarian immediately.
We often associate allergies with springtime and hay fever, but our dogs can have allergies too! Allergies can start in pups as young as 8 weeks, but they more commonly appear when the puppy is about 6 months old.
To be clear, we are not talking about sudden, severe allergic reactions, which require a veterinarian’s care. We are talking about milder, ongoing allergies that can include skin allergies and food intolerances.
In addition to identifying and eliminating what’s causing our pup’s allergies (if possible), supplements that soothe inflammation can help.
How Can Giving a Puppy Vitamins Now Help Them Later in Life?
How a puppy physically grows plays a huge part in their health later in life. If a puppy does not have the vitamins it needs to form a strong and healthy body, it can lead to many problems when they are adults. A prime example of this is how a puppy’s bones and joints form and grow.
It’s estimated that 1 in 5 dogs will experience joint problems in their lifetime, and that average even increases for different breeds.
As many dog parents know, certain breeds – especially large breeds – are prone to bone and joint issues. German shepherds, for example, can develop hip dysplasia. Problems with cruciate ligaments are common in Newfoundlands. Rottweilers can develop problems with their ankles or knees.
Paying close attention to your dog’s nutrition while they are still a puppy can alleviate, or even avert, many of these problems. While no one can change a puppy’s genetics, giving your puppy the best vitamins and nutrients will help its growing bones and joints develop in the best possible way.
What Are the Benefits of Puppy Vitamins?
Here are some of the truly paw-some benefits to puppy multivitamins:
- Supplying the building blocks for your puppy’s joints, including cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and bone cells
- Helping to soothe stiff and aching joints – something often experienced by young and growing dogs
- Boosting your puppy’s immune system and promoting general well-being
- Aid in digestion, a common problem among puppies
- Promoting your puppy’s cognitive development
- Supporting healthy skin and coat
As mentioned above, these aren’t just short-term benefits. Nutritional support during puppyhood helps grow strong and healthy bones which means strong and healthy adult dogs.
Can Puppies Have Joint Pain?
Most people associate arthritis and joint pain with senior dogs, but puppies can have joint pain too.
Just like our kids can have growing pains, a puppy’s growth spurts can cause joint pain for them. While joint issues commonly affect large breeds, they can even affect small pups.
One pet parent told us about her small pupper, Zuzu, who was born with luxated patellas. This means her knee caps didn’t stay in place. If you think this sounds painful, you’re absolutely right.
Doctors give this condition a rating of 1 to 4 to indicate the severity of the condition. Before she was even a year old, poor Zuzu already had knees at 3 and 4. Early arthritis was a real risk to this young pup.
Thankfully, a combination of corrective surgery and regular joint-supporting supplements has her running around and living her best life.
How to Find the Best Supplements for Puppies
So which ingredients should the best supplements for puppies contain?
There are certain building blocks that every great puppy multivitamin should have – things like omega-3 fatty acids for healthy joints, heart, skin, and kidneys, vitamin C for its immune support and antioxidants, and a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin like Green Lipped Mussel.
How those vitamins and minerals are obtained is important. Making sure the ingredients used are safe, pure, and easily absorbable is key.
There are three major ingredients that contain all these building blocks while also being uniquely suited to support your puppy’s growth and development.
- Green Lipped Mussel
- Vitamin C
Green Lipped Mussel
Green Lipped Mussels are native to and harvested only in New Zealand. They are an incredible source of all major types of glycosaminoglycans, which are responsible for this ingredient’s anti-inflammatory and joint-lubricating properties.
In addition, Green Lipped Mussel is extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and proteins. It is linked to a wide range of health benefits including joint, heart, eyes, skin, bone, and brain health.
For puppies, Green Lipped Mussels are a critical ingredient to provide structural integrity support for joints, ligaments, and tendons while easing joint pain and inflammation common in growing dogs. Only the very best supplements for puppies contain this unique ingredient.
Aquamin is a unique, natural multi-mineral made from the red algae Lithothamnion calcareum. It is only harvested by a single manufacturer off the Northwest coast of Iceland.
During this plant’s lifespan, it accumulates minerals from the seawater. The plant’s cell walls store these minerals, as well as carbonate salts. It contains calcium and magnesium as well as 72 other trace minerals.
Aquamin is very different from other mineral sources. Washing and milling are the only treatments the plant receives. This simple way of processing means your puppy is getting all these life-enhancing minerals from a single, natural source.
However, it doesn’t matter how many minerals are in an ingredient, if your puppy can’t absorb them. And that’s where Aquamin shines. It is very bioavailable, which means that your puppy will be able to absorb and use its nutrients easily.
For puppies, Aquamin’s most important benefits are that it preserves bone structure and strength, facilitates bone mineralization, stimulates anti-inflammatory activity, and calms inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
Most of us think of taking vitamin C when we have a cold, and there’s a good reason for that. Vitamin C supports our immune system and has antioxidant properties.
Unlike humans, dogs can actually produce their own vitamin C. However, stress or illness can deplete their natural vitamin C reserves.
It’s not always anxiety or fear that causes stress – though puppies can definitely experience those feelings. Stress can include physical stress, such as the physical stress put on a puppy’s body when it’s growing rapidly.
By providing vitamin C in their multivitamin, your puppy is sure to always have this important vitamin at their disposal. The best vitamin C for puppies should come in Calcium Ascorbate form, which makes it highly absorbable as well as gentle on their young, sensitive digestive systems.
For puppies, vitamin C’s most important benefits are that it promotes a strong immune system, protects the body from free radicals formed through the metabolism, helps with collagen formation essential to healthy joint growth, and acts as an antihistamine that helps fight inflammation and other allergic reactions.
Which Supplements Are Safe for Puppies?
With pet food recalls popping up in the news time and again, pet parents may be understandably concerned about where their beloved family member’s food and supplements are coming from. You need to feel sure that the company making your puppy’s supplements is held to strict standards of quality and is worthy of your trust.
When Should I Start Giving My Puppy Supplements?
We recommend waiting to give your puppy any supplements until they are 6 months old.
Before they are 6 months old, puppies get all the nutrients they need from their mother’s milk and then from high-quality puppy food. After 6 months old, puppies start growing at an amazing rate, and then they need the added boost of specially-formulated puppy supplements to help their developing muscles and bones.
You can continue giving them puppy supplements until they are 18 months old, at which point they can graduate to adult dog supplements. This gets your puppy off to a great start and gives them the best chance at a healthy and happy life.
How Often Should I Give My Puppy a Supplement?
Even the best supplements for puppies can only help if your puppy gets them regularly. Always make sure to follow the dosage instructions on your puppy multivitamin carefully.
Getting a puppy to take their vitamins can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Often, just acting as if the vitamin is a treat can have the desired effect.
To make this easier, most supplements are flavored to make them tasty and appealing to the puppy palette.
If you have a picky puppy, however, there are tricks you can try. Disguising their supplements can work wonders. One way is to grind it up (if it’s a chewable tablet) and mix it into some wet food.
How Long Does It Take for the Best Supplements for Puppies to Work?
Supplements are not the same as medicine, and they will not change your pawsome puppy overnight.
It will usually take a minimum of a month to see changes in your puppy. After that time, you can expect to see benefits like consistent energy, healthier poops, healthier skin, a more vibrant coat, digestion improvement, and allergy improvement.
The Tail End
Puppies bring so much happiness to our lives that it’s only natural that we want to return the favor. By making sure we give them the right combination of healthy food and supportive supplements, we can ensure our little bundles of fluff have the best possible start to a long, happy, and healthy life.