1. Vitamins & minerals
When it comes to strengthening your dog’s bones, getting the right vitamins and minerals is key! Your dog should be receiving a balanced diet and eating healthily anyway, but there are some specific nutrients that are excellent for bone and joint health. The most popular mineral for bone health is Calcium and this nutrient is widely recognised as being beneficial for strong bones. But did you know there are more minerals that can greatly help?
Firstly, there is Vitamin D. This nutrient plays a number of roles in bone health; firstly it helps the absorption and utilisation of Calcium, making it most useful when used in tandem as it means you can get the most out of every bit of calcium your dog consumes. In addition to this, Vitamin D also assists bone maintenance itself, making it an excellent choice for including into your dog’s diet. Vitamin K and Magnesium also help to maintain healthy bones, so these combined are the ideal way to keep your dog’s bones strong.
Another great nutrient for your dog’s bone health is Vitamin C. This popular vitamin is known to have numerous benefits for your dog’s health and wellbeing including for their immune system, tiredness and fatigue as well as skin. But did you also know it can be beneficial for their bones? Vitamin C aids collagen formation for the function of the bones, meaning it helps to maintain their structure so is perfect for keeping them strong. Finally, another vitamin you should be adding to your dog’s diet is Vitamin E. Whilst this doesn’t directly support the bones like the others, it can still be immensely useful. This is because Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. This may sound complicated but simply means it helps to protect all cells within the body, including the bones, against damage caused by free radicals.
|Vitamin or Mineral||Benefit(s) for Bones||Food Sources Safe for Dogs|
|Vitamin C||Contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of bones||Broccoli, leafy greens and sweet potatoes|
|Vitamin D||Vitamin D contributes to normal absorption and utilisation of calcium, to normal blood calcium levels and to the maintenance of normal bones||Oily fish (such as tuna, salmon and mackerel), beef liver and eggs|
|Vitamin E||Contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress||Sunflower seeds, spinach and peanuts|
|Vitamin K||Contributes to the maintenance of normal bones||Chicken, brussel sprouts and green beans|
|Calcium||Cheese, milk (in moderation) and fish|
|Magnesium||Legumes, bananas and peas|
2. Plenty of protein
Did you know that around 50% of bones are made from protein? As a result, it is extremely important for keeping your dog’s bones strong. Getting the right amount of protein in your dog’s diet can support bone formation and maintenance. Therefore, not getting enough protein can have a negative effect on your dog’s bones and it is even said that low protein intake can affect calcium absorption, making even more of an impact on bone health.
The good news is, getting protein into your dog’s diet isn’t that difficult; there are plenty of protein sources that your dog will happily gobble down and many of dog foods contain high levels of protein. The best sources of protein for dogs include poultry such as chicken, red meats such as beef, fish such as tuna and dairy products such as milk and cheese. There is also an abundance of sources of plant-based protein including pumpkin seeds, potatoes and oats.
Every single dog requires exercise of some kind to keep them fit, healthy and happy. The amount and type will depend on your dog’s breed and age, but you should still be giving them a minimum amount of exercise per day. So what can you do with exercise to help their bones? The best way to support your dog’s bones is to keep their exercise regular and consistent. Giving your dog a walk one day and not the next may not only annoy them but also means their bones and joints are getting used one day and not the next. It is also important that you do what is right for your dog, you wouldn’t take a pug for a 5k run but you may take a labrador. Pushing them too far is an easy way to cause bone and joint complications, so keep their needs in mind.
4. Maintain their weight
Just like in humans, being overweight can cause serious problems for your dog’s bones and joints. Additional weight puts too much pressure on the bones and joints and not just makes it uncomfortable for them to move around, but can also weaken the bones over time. Additionally, your dog being overweight also has a massive number of other implications for their health, especially for their heart, so you should be keeping their weight at a healthy level not just for their bones, but also for their overall health and wellbeing. On the other hand, it is also important that you don’t do the opposite and feed your dog too little so that they become underweight. Your dog needs plenty of nutrition to keep them healthy overall as well as to keep their bones strong, so if they become underweight this can equally cause issues.
5. Bone & joint supplements for dogs
One great way to easily support your dog’s bones is through natural supplementation. Bone and joint supplements for dogs allow you to provide all the required nutrition that your dog needs for strong bones, all in a simple capsule, powder or soft chew. But what are some of the best bone and joint supplements for dogs? Firstly, you can try one full of vitamins and minerals. These are great for your dog’s overall wellbeing - just make sure they contain all the bone and joint supporting vitamins listed above!
Two other amazing ingredients you can find in bone and joint support supplements are glucosamine and chondroitin. These are both natural compounds found within bones and joints, but with age and wear and tear, their levels slowly decrease. As a result, they are needed from an external source to keep the levels up, which is why chondroitin and glucosamine for dogs is a very popular bone and joint supplement. When choosing one of these supplements, look out for glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate as these are said to be the most bioavailable form.
The next ingredient in some of the best bone and joint tablets for dogs is collagen. Just like Glucosamine and Chondroitin, collagen is naturally occurring in your dog’s bones and joints, but the levels slowly decline meaning it is needed for external supplementation. The best form of this supplement is hydrolysed collagen, as this form is more bioavailable so your dog’s body can make the most out of it. What further makes collagen so great is how it not only acts as a super bone and joint supplement for dogs but how it can also have other benefits for your pooch, including for their skin and fur.
The final ingredient to look out for when choosing bone and joint supplements for dogs is fish oils. These are full of essential fatty acid omega 3, which is known to be beneficial for the bones. The best fish oils for dogs include cod liver oil, salmon oil and krill oil so there is plenty to choose from! These can also be ideal for your dog’s health as they not only support their bones but can likewise help their joints, heart, skin, fur, vision and more, making them a truly amazing and rounded supplement for dogs.