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Dog Magazine

Do I Need To Supplement My Dog’s Food?

Many dog owners ask us whether they need to supplement their dog's food in order to attain a level of proper dog nutrition.

If you use a good quality meat-meal based food you usually do not have to supplement your dog's ration. In fact, it is very easy to throw the formulation of some of the specialty foods out of kilter if you play with supplements.

Unfortunately, adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that is a cultural mentality handed down from the time when pet foods weren't complete and needed supplementation. Breeders often advocate supplements and many send their clients home with long lists of additives – vitamins, minerals, dairy products, oils and other lotions and potions.

Many breeders will turn an absolutely deaf ear to entreaties from veterinarians or canine nutritionists who suggest a good basic ration and a minimum of supplementation.

Supplement supporters aren't usually thinking along behavioural lines and, since they themselves rarely have difficulty house-training their dogs, don't realize that not everyone is so knowledgeable and over-supplementation can easily produce loose stools and make good control difficult for the dog. Coat conditioners, for instance, can easily be withheld from the diet until the puppy is house-trained.

The puppy doesn't need them if he or she is eating a good quality food, and (in most breeds) the puppy coat has to grow out naturally anyway. Oils and people foods, especially those high in fat (like steak trimmings) easily "oil up" the intestines and in many cases cause stools to "slide out" quite unexpectedly.

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