Food & Nutrition

Nutrition supplements for active dogs

Active dog running

Even the best commercial dog foods available on the market today do not contain all of the  ingredients that are necessary to sustain the nutritional needs of your working dog.

Active dogs need an extra boost of nutrition to support their busy lifestyle. A good example of their diet should contain a high-quality meal consisting of 40% – 45% fats and close to 50% protein.

In addition, active dogs should take extra supplements. Below is a list of four supplements to add to your dog’s diet.


Regular, intense exercise increases the amount of free radicals and oxidative damage in the body. That is why it is beneficial to provide your dog with a daily dose of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are necessary to every dog’s diet, especially if you have an active dog. The power of antioxidants works to block the harmful effects of free radicals, therefore reducing their numbers. Antioxidants are also said to help strengthen blood vessel walls and improve circulation.

Antioxidants are acquired by eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in colors. Some examples are grapefruits, grapes, broccoli, peas, carrots, and dark green vegetables. If your dog is not into eating fruits and vegetables, he can still obtain antioxidants by taking supplements.

Most supplements also include vitamins C and E, flavonoids, and carotenoids such as lycopene, beta-carotene, and lutein. Some even contain amino acids, the building blocks of cells. Dosage will vary according to your dog’s weight.

Vitamins and minerals

Increased exercise demands more vitamin C and B-complex. Vitamin C combats stress and helps support the immune system, while B-complex vitamins promote healthy skin, muscles, and blood.

Fruits and vegetables, as well as organ meats (kidney and liver), are high in vitamins and minerals. But for finicky dogs, you may need to give them vitamin and mineral supplements in chewable tablet form. Small dogs should take 50 mg of Vitamin C per day and 500 mg for large dogs. B-complex vitamins should contain 4-5 mg of niacin for a dog weighing 35 lb.

Probiotics and enzymes

Probiotics and digestive enzymes aid in proper food digestion. They also prevent your dog from acquiring stress-related stomach problems such as diarrhea and nervous vomiting. These two supplements are best when given in tablet form.

Omega-3 fatty acids

These essential fatty acids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, Omega-3 fatty acids prevent and cure skin problems and decrease arthritic stiffness in dogs. Excellent sources of Omega-3 include cod liver oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil, and animal sources.


Once your dog reaches adulthood, he has no need for carbohydrates in his diet, although he is able to absorb this nutrient if eaten. Less carbohydrates in the adult dog’s diet creates better performance. Therefore, minimum amount of carbohydrates is required for the working dog or any dog that participates in any kind of activity that lasts for more than two minutes.


Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks for hormones, tissues, and enzymes. This nutrient provides energy and helps develop muscle mass for extra size and strength. Keep in mind, however, that too much protein in your dog’s diet can lead to excessive protein breakdown. A busy dog should have a diet that includes high-quality protein, enough to provide for muscle and structural repair.


The main source of energy for intermediate athletic dogs comes from fats. This nutrient contains about twice as much energy as carbohydrates and protein provides. Adding more fat to your dog’s diet is the best way to increase his energy and strength. A diet high in fat is more appealing to your dog while at the same time providing him with better endurance. Therefore, it is very important to supply him with adequate amount of essential fatty acids along with saturated and unsaturated fats.


A hard-working dog normally loses more water during laborious activity so it is very important to provide him with an ample supply of water to keep him hydrated. This is even more important when your dog is under extreme temperatures (both hot and cold weather).