The 6 Best Supplements For Senior Dogs

The 6 Best Supplements For Senior Dogs

Amy Thompson

As dogs age, their bodies undergo various changes that can impact their overall health and well-being. Senior dogs may not absorb as many nutrients from their food, and their organs, including the liver and brain, can start to function less efficiently.

To help them live a healthy and comfortable life, it's essential to provide them with the right support through natural supplements. Let's explore some must-have supplements for senior dogs that can enhance their quality of life as they age.

The 6 Best Senior Dog Supplements

1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids For Senior Dogs

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for a healthy inflammatory response, which supports immune function and healthy aging and various health benefits. They also support cell membrane health, cognitive function, and joint health.

How To Give Your Senior Dog Omega-3 Fatty Acids

While fish oil is a common source of omega-3s, it has several drawbacks, including the risk of oxidation and contamination. Green-lipped mussel (GLM) oil is a superior alternative, offering a sustainable and rich source of essential fatty acids.

GLM contains DHA, EPA, and the omega-3 ETA, which supports cartilage health and a healthy inflammatory response, making them particularly beneficial joint supplements for aging dogs.

You can provide your dog with GLM supplements in powder or liquid form. Ensure that the powdered supplements retain their oils to maximize benefits for healthy joints.

2. Probiotics For Senior Dogs

Gut health is crucial for the overall well-being of senior dogs. A healthy gut supports the immune system, which is essential for defending the body against various health issues. As dogs age, their microbiome—the population of beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms in their gut—can become unbalanced. This imbalance can lead to various problems, including digestive issues and a weakened immune system.

Probiotics can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria in senior dogs. Soil-based probiotics (SBOs) are particularly beneficial because they are spore-forming bacteria with a protective coating that allows them to survive heat, stomach acids, and most antibiotics. This ensures they reach the colon, where they can provide the most benefit. Examples of beneficial SBOs include Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus Indicus, and Bacillus subtilis.

How To Give Your Senior Dog Probiotics

Probiotics are best administered as pet supplements for senior dogs. For soil-based probiotics, a product with 1 or 2 strains and less than 1 billion CFU (colony-forming units) is typically sufficient.

Always follow the dosage instructions on the supplement packaging and consult with your veterinarian before starting any new supplement regimen.

Alternatively, you can feed your dog prebiotic-rich foods that also offer other health benefits. Some excellent choices include:

  • Mushrooms: Support the brain and nervous system, help maintain liver, heart, bladder, and digestive health, and assist in managing blood sugar levels.
  • Chicory Root: Improves digestion and helps maintain a balanced inflammatory response.
  • Garlic: Helps regulate blood pressure, supports healthy blood flow, and assists in detoxification.
  • Burdock Root: Supports liver function and maintains balanced blood sugar levels.
  • Dandelion Greens: Aid in detoxification, stimulate appetite, and support liver health.

3. Digestive Enzymes For Older Dogs

Importance Of Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are essential for breaking down food and helping absorb nutrients. As dogs age, their natural production of digestive enzymes decreases, which can lead to deficiencies. These deficiencies can affect various bodily functions, including the immune system, hormone production, and digestion.

Providing your senior dog with digestive enzyme supplements can help improve nutrient absorption and overall health, making them a great senior dog supplement.

How To Give Your Dog Digestive Enzymes

You can increase your dog's enzyme intake by feeding enzyme-rich foods like fermented vegetables, ginger, bananas, and honey. Supplements are also a convenient option.

When selecting a digestive enzyme supplement, choose one specifically formulated for dogs to meet their unique enzyme needs. Look for supplements containing pancreas, which is rich in enzymes and can help stimulate your dog's own enzyme production.

Other beneficial ingredients to look for include:

  • Papain: Helps break down proteins.
  • Bromelain: Assists in protein digestion.
  • Betaine Hydrochloric Acid: Supports protein digestion.
  • Cellulase: Breaks down fiber.
  • Invertase: Helps digest starchy carbohydrates.
  • Ox Bile: Assists in fat digestion.

It's best to give digestive enzymes with your dog's meals. If needed, you can mix the supplement with water or broth, but avoid adding it to hot food, as heat can destroy the enzymes.

4. Antioxidants For Senior Dogs

As dogs age, their bodies become more susceptible to oxidative stress, which can lead to cellular damage and contribute to the aging process. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, preventing them from causing harm to your dog's cells and tissues.

How To Increase Your Dog’s Antioxidants

Berries are an excellent source of antioxidants. Blueberries, in particular, contain anthocyanins, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and help protect the brain from oxidative stress.

Other antioxidant-rich foods include brightly colored fruits and vegetables like broccoli, apples, spinach, and kale.

Many mushrooms also provide powerful antioxidants that can benefit your senior dog's health.

5. Mushrooms For Senior Dogs

Functional mushrooms offer a range of health benefits for senior dogs. They're rich in prebiotics, which support gut health, and contain various bioactive compounds that can enhance overall well-being.

Types Of Functional Mushrooms And Their Benefits

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
  • Support Brain Health: Lion’s Mane supports cognitive function, making it beneficial for senior dogs. It helps the nervous system and can assist with spinal issues and anxiety.
  • Metabolism and Weight Control: This mushroom supports fat and sugar metabolism, helping manage weight and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)
  • Immune Support: Turkey Tail mushrooms offer robust immune support and are known for their beneficial effects on the immune system.
  • Overall Health: They are also rich in prebiotics, supporting gut health and overall vitality.
Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)
  • Antioxidant Properties: Chaga mushrooms are rich in plant-based antioxidants that help reduce free radical damage and support heart, intestinal, and liver health.
  • Immune Support: These mushrooms are beneficial for maintaining a strong immune system.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris)
  • Skin, Liver, and Kidney Support: Cordyceps are high in ergosterol, an antioxidant that supports healthy skin, liver, and kidneys.
  • General Health: They provide overall health benefits, promoting vitality and energy levels.
  • Immune Enhancement: Phellinus mushrooms enhance immune function and support cell health and detoxification processes.
  • Inflammatory Response: They are beneficial for maintaining a healthy inflammatory response.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
  • Rich in Beta-Glucans: Maitake mushrooms are high in beta-glucans and D-fraction, which support the immune system.
  • Antioxidant Properties: They are also rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
  • “Mushroom of Immortality”: Known for its extensive health benefits, Reishi mushrooms are rich in triterpenoids, ganoderic acid, and antioxidants.
  • Immune and Histamine Regulation: They help maintain a healthy immune response and support normal histamine levels.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)
  • Immune Support: Shiitake mushrooms support the immune system and help with digestion and urinary health.
  • Nutrient-Rich: They are a good source of enzymes and amino acids, which are essential for various bodily functions.

You can buy fresh or dried mushrooms, but mushroom powders are often the most convenient choice. When selecting a mushroom supplement, ensure it is made from whole mushrooms, not mycelium, to maximize the health benefits.

Follow the dosing instructions on the product, adjusting based on your dog's weight. Start with a lower dose and gradually increase to avoid any digestive upset.

6. Vitamin C For Senior Dogs

Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that supports the immune system, aids in tissue growth, and helps with the formation of calcium and iron. While dogs can produce their own vitamin C, production decreases with age, making supplementation important for senior dogs.

How To Add Vitamin C To Your Dog’s Diet

The best sources of vitamins and minerals for dogs are natural whole foods. Blueberries are rich in vitamin C and are a great addition to your dog's diet. Broccoli is another excellent source; one pound of broccoli has more vitamin C than 2.5 pounds of oranges.

Adding these foods to your dog’s diet can help ensure they receive enough vitamin C to support their immune system and overall health as they age.

Final Thoughts

As your dog ages, providing the right supplements becomes crucial to maintaining his health and well-being. Probiotics and prebiotics support a balanced gut microbiome, essential for a strong immune system. Digestive enzymes enhance nutrient absorption, while antioxidants help protect against cellular damage from free radicals.

Incorporating these natural supplements can help ensure your senior dog enjoys a healthy and comfortable life.

By adding these carefully chosen dietary supplements to your dog's diet, you can support his overall health and address specific age-related issues. Consider these natural options to help your aging canine companion live well into his golden years with vitality and happiness.


What supplements are best for senior dogs? The best supplements for senior dogs include probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and antioxidants, which can help ensure your dog's quality of life.

Do senior dogs need boosters? Yes, senior dogs benefit from supports like probiotics and antioxidants to aide their immune system and overall health, making them a beneficial component of veterinary medicine for aging pets.

How do you supplement senior dog food? To supplement senior dog food, pet parents can add probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes to support gut health, along with antioxidants to protect against cellular damage and improve the dog’s quality of life.