October 7, 2016 | Erin | 10 Comments Our dogs can live a long, happy life if they are properly cared for. Preventative measures mean not only a better quality life for our canine friends, but it can also help cut down on veterinarian expenses. Conditions that affect us as we age can also result in older dog health problems, such as cancer, arthritis, and cataracts. Monitoring your dog’s energy can tell you a lot about how your dog is feeling. Things to look for include: Obesity Depression Poor quality diet Diabetes Lack of nutritional support Liver issues So what does my dog need to be in the best health possible? Regular vet care – preventative measures can make an illness easier to treat Exercise! – Help maintain your dog’s weight and health and is a good time to just hang out with your dog High-quality dog food – the benefits to your dog’s health are significant and include a good weight, a healthy heart, and a longer life Natural nutritional supplements Medicinal drugs can have side effects that can be harmful. Natural supplements, on the other hand, have fewer side effects and can fight disease and improve health. Many supplements are known to benefit a dogs’ health. What Can Supplements Help Your Older Dog With? Prevent obesity Manage arthritis Fights allergies Improves digestion Reduces gas Corrects itchy skin Supports a healthy immune system Improves energy Reduces stress A pretty impressive list, don’t you think? You may think that your older dog gets all the nutrition that he needs from his food, but too often that is not the case. Many commercial dog foods available barely meet the minimum standards to be considered a healthy food. For a dog whose diet consists a lower quality food, the intake of vitamins and minerals would be insufficient and his health would be less that optimal. What Supplements Will Help My Dog? Coconut oil – My personal favorite, coconut oil contains lauric acid which fights viruses and bacteria and even has cancer preventing properties. Dosing can start at 1/4 tsp daily and gradually increase to 1 tsp per day per 10 lbs of weight Olive Oil – Helps with cognitive functions, healthier skin, and coat and supports the immune system. Olive Oil can be mixed with the dog’s food, beginning with 1/4 tsp and increasing to 1/2 tsp per 20 lbs Curcumin – Improves brain power, joint health and has anti-cancer properties. Comes in a small concentrated supplement that can be mixed with food. Start with 5 mg per 20 lbs of weight and gradually increase to 20 mg per 20 lbs Glucosamine and Chondroitin – Relieves pain in arthritic dogs and improves joint health. Superior support for the bones of older dogs or dogs that are prone to hip dysplasia. Consult dosing instructions on bottle as different concentrations are available Vitamin C – Prevents urinary tract infections, promotes healing and bone health. Not to be given to dogs that have, or are at risk for, oxalate bladder stones. Can give 625 mg daily to small dogs, 2,500 mg for medium sized dogs and 5,000 mg daily for dogs that weigh over 100 lbs Fiber– Supports a healthy digestive and elimination system which in turn promotes better absorption of nutrients. Dogs can safely take Metamucil, a powdered fiber. For small dogs, mix 1/2 tsp into their food or water twice daily and 2 tsp for larger dogs, twice daily. Now that we know how to enhance the health of our older dogs, we know what actions that we can take to help them live longer lives and to reduce vet bills. I appreciate all comments and please feel free to ask any questions that you may have or share your experiences with the health of your older dog.