When Shouldn’t You Give Your Dog Supplements?

Proper care for your dog ideally requires that they feed and exercise adequately. You should also regularly visit your vet for monitoring or treatment. Depending on its health, you may need to supplement your dog’s diet mostly using dog multivitamins. However, you should approach and use them with caution. Below are a few situations in which your dog shouldn’t have supplements.

1. Without Veterinary Approval

You shouldn’t supplement your dog’s diet without approval. Doing this exposes your dog to various health risks. For instance, there’s a significant risk of overdose. Some options, like vitamins A and D, accumulate in the body, potentially becoming toxic if given in excess. Vets are best placed to provide guidance on safe dosage levels for your dog.

You shouldn’t give your dogs supplements if it is on treatment. Some supplements interact with the dogs’ medications negatively, further compromising your dogs’ health and the effectiveness of the medications. Similarly, supplementing your dog without a professional diagnosis of the nutrient deficiency won’t improve their condition.

Dog supplements are also not manufactured equally, so feeding your dog without approval exposes them to serious quality and safety issues. Some supplements contain impurities or are incorrectly dosed. Vets can recommend reputable products that meet the required safety and quality standards.

2. Pregnant or Breastfeeding Dogs

Dogs have different diet needs during this period, so you shouldn’t carelessly add supplements to their diets during this period. Even though they need supplements, giving them without veterinary guidance exposes your dog and her puppies to risks.

The demand for proteins and calcium increases during pregnancy, and they also need energy to support the growth of their puppies. Using supplements without knowing your dog’s unique nutritional needs causes imbalance and potentially harms your dog.

Some products also contain vitamin D and calcium in excess, making them harmful to dogs during this period. Dogs can develop skeletal abnormalities if they overfeed on these nutrients. Some supplements also threaten fetal development. You should consult a vet who understands your dog’s nutrient needs.

3. When a Balanced Diet is Sufficient

You shouldn’t supplement your dog’s food when their balanced diet is sufficient. Even though they help address diet deficiencies, dogs that receive a nutritionally complete diet don’t need them. Most high-quality dog feeds have all the necessary nutrients.

These diets are designed to ensure dogs receive enough nutrients to meet their activity levels. Including supplements in an already balanced diet can lead to nutritional excesses, which adversely affects the dog. For instance, excess vitamins disrupt the dogs’ natural balance and cause toxicity.

4. Young Age

Puppies or young dogs have unique nutritional requirements. They are also in a critical growth phase, which means their bodies require certain nutrients in precise proportions. While introducing supplements at this stage may sound like a great idea, it can actually cause more harm than good. 


Supplements offer valuable support for your dog’s health needs in various situations. However, they should be used carefully. For starters, dog owners should use them under the guidance of a vet. You should also evaluate your dog’s current diet before using supplements.

Brenda Thompson

Brenda Thompson is an expert in dog behavior with over a decade of experience, and she is also passionate about working with cats and birds. In addition to contributing pet content to petdogplanet.com, she is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. Brenda received her Bachelor of Science in Biological and Biomedical Sciences & Philosophy from Colorado College in 2014. She has taken classes in writing and remote animal behavior consulting, as well as courses on how to manage aggressive dogs and litter box issues. In 2016, she obtained her dog behavior consulting certification and joined the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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