At this day and age, selecting supplements for your dog is difficult. There are so many to choose from that it makes your head spin.
While I like to keep up with new products, unless I come across something that sounds genius, I go for choices that have proven record.
Cookie’s musculoskeletal challenges
Cookie’s saga started with a diagnosis of iliopsoas injury. As usual with such things, the plot kept thickening. It’s not exactly clear what the true root of the issues is and short of doing an MRI, it won’t be. Since she’s been improving, we decided not to put her through that, at least not at this time.
We tackled her issues with a full arsenal of non-invasive options:
- laser therapy
- physical therapy
- platelet-rich plasma therapy for the knees
- some medications
- herbal therapy
- and supplements
With the exception of the Trazodone which we needed to facilitate Cookie’s healing, we used medications only temporarily during the acute phase(s).
Which supplements did I choose?
On a number of occasions, I was asked which supplements I’ve chosen for Cookie.
I like Standard Process products and the obvious choice for musculoskeletal issues would have been Canine Musculoskeletal Support. It’s a great supplement and we’ve been using it for Jasmine.
However, this time I selected Ligaplex II instead. I felt it would address the problem more directly with a focus on ligaments.
Omega-3 fatty acids
There is nothing surprising about this choice.
Omega-3 fatty acids are something Cookie gets all the time. It’s not something I have added since the problems started but I did up the dose.
As for specific products, there are a few which I like to rotate between various fish oils and krill oil. My options are somewhat limited because I can only use products that come in gel caps; Cookie isn’t fond of fishy smell or flavor.
Other oils I’m using are evening primrose oil (source of less inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids) and wheat germ oil (source of natural whole vitamin E).
According to my integrative dog nutrition course, whole vitamin E/vitamin E complex contains more than just tocopherol(s) present in vitamin E supplements and each of those compounds serves an important function.
Whole food supplements
When supplementing, I prefer whole food options.
The compounds beside tocopherols that are present in whole vitamin E work to increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of tissues, and reduce scar tissue formation, among other things.
For the same reasons, when I decided to also include vitamin C in the supplementation, I went with a whole food product as well, specifically Standard Process Cataplex C.
While vitamin C isn’t an essential nutrient for dogs because their bodies can synthesize it, there are times when supplementation is a good idea. Not only vitamin C is beneficial for immune function but it plays an important role in connective tissue integrity.
Since Cookie’s knees were deemed to have problems, I added Dasuquin as well.
Protein is important for tissue maintenance and healing.
Cookie’s diet is already high in animal-source protein but I add a bit of whey protein for good measure. Whatever protein the body doesn’t need to take care of itself, it can use for energy.
I also boosted Cookie’s source of B vitamins.
From herbals, we’ve settled on DOK’s formula.
I might have considered adding some phytoestrogens but because Cookie has already been on that for her incontinence, I just left the dosing the way it was.
That’s about what I’m adding specifically for the musculoskeletal issues.
There are other things that could be added but for now, these are the ones I’m including. Together with her diet, I think it covers her needs.
Because of the prolonged activity restrictions, Cookie started putting on some unwanted weight too, so we’re working on that. Along with dietary adjustments (more on that some other time), I also started adding L-carnitine.
The rest is all standard stuff such as probiotics.