As dogs get older, they may start to develop certain age-specific medical conditions—they move with difficulty, are in pain when they get up, have matted fur, suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and many others. There are many types of supplements on the market, and it can become overwhelming to choose the right product for your beloved four-legged friend.
In this article, we will discuss the best supplements for older dogs. We will address each supplement separately, with ingredients, advantages, and disadvantages. Let’s dive in!
A Glance at Our Winners (2023 Update)
|Best Overall||Zesty Paws Senior Advanced 11-in-1 Bites||
|Best Value||PetHonesty Hip + Joint Health Soft Chews||
|Premium Choice||Nutramax Cosequin Hip & Joint Chewable Table||
|Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets||
|PetHonesty Digestive Probiotics Soft Chews||
The 10 Best Supplements for Older Dogs
1. Zesty Paws Senior Advanced 11-in-1 Bites – Best Overall
This is a supplement specially created for older and senior dogs that can help restore some of their vitality. With a delicious chicken flavor and very soft texture, you should be able to administer them to the pickiest dogs or those with dental problems.
Zesty Paws Senior Advanced 11-in-1 contains healthy ingredients, such as curcumin, chondroitin, glucosamine, coenzyme Q10, fish oil, vitamin A, B complex, C, and E, methyl sulfonyl methane, cranberry concentrates, and others. This cocktail of active ingredients helps with joint problems, reduces oxidative stress, and strengthens the immune system and intestinal flora.
These supplements can also help the kidney, urinary bladder, liver, heart, and brain to function better.
We think this is the best supplement overall as it covers a wide range of medical conditions and is made with natural ingredients.
2. PetHonesty Hip + Joint Health Soft Chews – Best Value
These supplements are specially created for owners who want their dogs to have healthy bones and joints and for dogs with joint problems to improve mobility and restore their zest for life. PetHonesty Hip + Joint Health contains glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM, omega-3, vitamin E, eggshell membrane (as a source of collagen), powdered cellulose, sweet potato, tomatoes, and others. Glucosamine helps stimulate new cartilage growth and protects the cartilage in the joint, while chondroitin sulfate helps keep the joint lubricated, ensures shock absorption, and supports the tissues lining the joint.
It has chicken flavoring and is suitable for all breeds of dogs of all ages. It does not contain corn, soy, or wheat and is non-GMO, which means it is produced without genetic engineering.
These ingredients have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory role and help the locomotor system function properly by reducing inflammation and stiff joints associated with daily exercises. For this reason, this is the best supplement for older dogs for the money.
3. Nutramax Cosequin Maximum Strength – Premium Choice
Dogs that are less active, show no interest in daily activities, have difficulty getting up or lying down, have a stiff gait, and have joint pain can show improvements if they are given these supplements. Nutramax Cosequin Hip & Joint Maximum Strength Plus MSM contains only three ingredients—glucosamine hydrochloride, sodium chondroitin sulfate, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). Glucosamine has been shown to be safe for long-term use, so a joint supplement containing glucosamine may be useful as an early intervention for dogs susceptible to osteoarthritis, such as large and giant breed dogs.
Chondroitin inhibits cartilage degradation and promotes the production of cartilage components. Combined with glucosamine, they can reduce inflammation and help prevent the destruction of joint cartilage.
Thanks to the active ingredients, these joint supplements for dogs can help maintain mobility, reduce pain and inflammation, encourage the growth of new cartilage, and prevent cartilage degradation.
All in all, it helps to reduce joint inflammation and supports cartilage health.
4. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets FortiFlora Powder
The good bacteria that populate the intestinal flora essentially contribute to the health of the body’s immune system. Probiotics are made up of good bacteria and yeast and have many benefits for dogs, including reducing excess gas, helping with healthy digestion, supporting the immune system, helping reduce bad breath, preventing digestive problems and vomiting, improving your dog’s general well-being, and many others.
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets FortiFlora Powder Digestive Supplement contains live microorganisms and antioxidants and does exactly these things, especially helping to remedy gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea. It is a good-tasting powder supplement for dogs that can be added to their regular food. It can be used on any breed of any age, including senior dogs.
5. PetHonesty Digestive Probiotics Soft Chews
If the intestine is affected, the intestinal flora may die, which in turn causes the large intestine to stop working as usual in dogs. Affected dogs often suffer from diarrhea and nausea. They also lose their appetite and gradually lose weight.
If your dog struggles with certain gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and gas, then PetHonesty Digestive Probiotics could benefit them because it helps to repopulate the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. It also helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
These supplements contain 1 billion colony-forming units (CFU) of probiotics per serving and pumpkin. They are duck flavored and do not contain soy, wheat, corn, or harsh preservatives, and are non-GMO.
6. Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil Liquid Supplement
Fish oil is rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and has many benefits for your dog. Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil Liquid Skin & Coat Supplement supports skin, fur, joints, heart, and eyesight health. Salmon oil also promotes a general state of well-being.
Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in protecting the cardiovascular system of dogs. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon oil reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels and the clogging of the blood vessels. Fatty acids also help with good blood circulation and ensure better tissue oxygenation.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and joint pain, restore joint mobility, and slow down the degenerative processes due to aging. Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil comes in a liquid form, which is easy to administer—simply add as many pumps as are necessary for your dog’s weight to their food. It is suited for all dogs, including seniors.
7. NaturVet Digestive Enzymes Plus Probiotic Powder
These digestive enzymes can have many benefits for the gastrointestinal tract of dogs. This includes optimized food breakdown throughout the gastrointestinal tract, supporting the health of the digestive system and, implicitly, the liver, and reducing the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. They can also help to restore muscles after intense efforts.
By combining digestive enzymes with probiotics, NaturVet Digestive Enzymes Plus Probiotic Powder Digestive Supplement facilitates food transition, helps a sensitive stomach, and reduces flatulence.
This supplement is in the form of a powder, which you can add to your dog’s food. It is suited for any dog breed of any age, including senior dogs.
8. NaturVet Senior Wellness Hip & Joint Advanced
NaturVet Senior Wellness Hip & Joint Advanced contains glucosamine, MSM, vitamin C, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, chondroitin sulfate, and other active ingredients. All these ingredients will help your dog move and walk better, restoring their mobility. These supplements are formulated for senior dogs but can also be used in dogs over 1 year old that have difficulty walking, painful joints, and difficulty getting up or lying down.
NaturVet Senior Wellness Hip & Joint Advanced also supports the optimal functioning of the hips and joints and maintains the health of the cartilage and connective tissues.
9. Zesty Paws Advanced Vision Bites Soft Chews Supplement
We all know that when our beloved pets age, various medical issues can occur, and visual impairment and dermatological problems are among them.
Zesty Paws Advanced Vision Bites is a supplement that is beneficial for senior dogs with vision problems. It contains cod liver oil, vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and many other active ingredients. Cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids that have an antioxidant role.
This supplement also helps support eye function in senior dogs, helps with itchy skin, promotes skin and fur health, and supports the immune system.
10. Pet-Tabs Vitamin-Mineral Dog Supplement
These vitamin-mineral supplements can complete your dog’s diet and their nutritional deficiencies by providing them with 18 essential vitamins and minerals. Also, Pet-Tabs Vitamin-Mineral Dog Supplement can help your dog if you feed them a raw diet. They taste like meat and can be given as is or crumbled over your dog’s food.
Although they are full of essential vitamins and minerals, these supplements contain some unnecessary ingredients, such as corn syrup, sugar, and wheat germ (which are often used as fillers). Therefore, it is recommended to have this aspect in mind if your dog suffers from diabetes or obesity.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Supplement for Older Dogs
What to Consider When Selecting the Best Senior Dog Supplements
As your dog gets older, they go through a multitude of changes. Therefore, in order to ensure your pet’s well-being, it is essential to adapt their diet according to their nutritional needs.
Along with normal changes such as a slow metabolism or less active immune system, senior dogs also have other health problems such as osteoarthritis, visual impairment, skin problems, or kidney problems. These aspects make your dog’s diet occupy a vital place in their care, but supplements should not be neglected either.
Talk to your vet about your dog’s lifestyle. Do not add supplements to your pet’s diet if they are not recommended by your vet. Although offering supplements is done with good intentions, without your vet’s recommendation, they can make your dog sick. For example, diabetic dogs should avoid supplements that contain sugar.
When you decide to give your dog supplements, look for those that are made from natural ingredients and don’t contain sugar and fillers.
If your dog suffers from a specific condition—for example, if they have joint problems—focus on supplements designed specifically for joint health. If you just want your beloved four-legged friend to have an energy boost and an increased appetite, then choose supplements that contain vitamins and minerals. For skin and coat problems, fish oil supplements are the most recommended.
What Makes a Good Product for Senior Dogs?
Senior dogs need certain nutrients to help them with the health problems that come with aging. These nutrients include:
A good product will contain all of the above and will not contain sugar, corn syrup, or filler ingredients. Sugar can contribute to weight gain and lead to obesity, which in turn can lead to diabetes. Also, too much sugar in your dog’s diet will lead to digestive problems (soft stools or diarrhea).
If your dog has a specific problem (e.g., joint problems), you can choose supplements that contain high concentrations of the key ingredients, as those can help improve their condition.
What Should I Do If My Dog Refuses to Take Supplements?
Usually, supplements have a pleasant smell and an attractive taste for dogs. However, sometimes dogs do not like the smell and refuse to eat them. If your dog is among the picky eaters and doesn’t want to take supplements, you have a few options:
- Slather the pill with peanut butter or make a pocket in a small piece of cheese or meat and give it to them.
- Purchase pill pockets—these are delicious treats with a pocket to place the pills.
- Insert the pill directly into your dog’s throat with your hand.
- Choose powder or liquid supplements that can be mixed with water or added to your dog’s food.
Giving your dog pills can be a real challenge, but don’t get overwhelmed because once you learn how to do it, it’s fairly easy. Here’s what you need to do (be careful not to get bitten!):
- Hold your dog’s head from above with your non-dominant hand (for dogs with short muzzles). For dogs with long muzzles, you will hold their jaw between the thumb and middle finger of the non-dominant hand.
- Lift your dog’s jaw.
- Gently place your dog’s upper lip over their teeth while you open their mouth with the non-dominant hand. If your pet tries to bite you, they will then bite themselves.
- Place the thumb of the non-dominant hand on the roof of your dog’s mouth.
- Hold the pill between your thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand.
- Use the middle finger of your dominant hand to pull the mandible down.
- Release the medicine as close to the base of the tongue as possible.
- Quickly close your dog’s mouth and massage their neck under the chin to activate the swallowing reflex.
If none of these methods work, try other brands of supplements until you find one that your dog will tolerate.
It is difficult to find the best supplements among so many options. According to our reviews the best overall senior dog supplement, Zesty Paws Senior Advanced 11-in-1 Bites, combines quality with affordability and provides your senior dog with all the nutrients they need to lead a healthy life. If your dog suffers from joint pain but you are on a low budget, then the best value supplement, PetHonesty Hip + Joint Health, can help your dog regain their mobility. Also for joint problems, Nutramax Cosequin Hip & Joint Maximum Strength Plus MSM restores the mobility of dogs with locomotor problems, and is recommended by many veterinarians.
Featured Image Credit: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock