The 9 Best Supplements for Puppies, According to a Veterinarian
There's a seemingly endless amount of pet supplements on the market, so when it comes to finding the best supplements for puppies, it can feel like you're going down a rabbit hole. But are supplements even necessary for puppies?
"Most dogs will not need any supplements until they are fully grown," says Sara Ochoa, DVM at Senior Tail Waggers and Whitehouse Veterinary Hospital in Whitehouse, Texas. "However, your younger dog may sometimes benefit from supplements. For example, if your puppy has developed parvo or has another health issue, there are supplements that will help strengthen their immune system."
Here, we've rounded up the best veterinarian-approved supplements for puppies, featuring everything from multivitamin supplements to anal gland supplements. If you're interested in introducing a certain supplement into your puppy's diet, check with your vet to see if your pup needs it, and ask for dosage recommendations.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Purina FortiFlora Probiotics for Dogs ($31)
- Best for Large Breed: PetHonesty Hemp Mobility Duck Flavored Soft Chews Joint & Mobility Supplement for Dogs ($40)
- Best Immunity: Vet Classics CAS Options Extra Strength Immune and Antioxidant Support ($53)
- Best Cardiovascular: VetriScience Laboratories Vetri Cardio Canine ($28)
- Best Omega: Zesty Paws Omega 3 Alaskan Fish Oil Chew Treats ($27)
- Best Multivitamin: VetriScience Canine Plus MultiVitamin for Dogs ($12)
- Best Calcium: Pet Tabs Calcium Formula Supplement ($19)
- Best Urinary: VetriScience Laboratories Bladder Strength Tablet for Dogs ($16)
- Best Calming: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Calming Care Probiotic Dog Supplement ($52)
Best Overall: Purina FortiFlora Probiotics for Dogs
Best for Large Breed Puppies: PetHonesty Hemp Mobility Duck Flavored Soft Chews Joint & Mobility Supplement for Dogs
Best Immunity: Vet Classics CAS Options Extra Strength Immune and Antioxidant Support
Best Cardiovascular: VetriScience Laboratories Vetri Cardio Canine
Best Omega: Zesty Paws Omega 3 Alaskan Fish Oil Chew Treats
Best Multivitamin: VetriScience Canine Plus MultiVitamin for Dogs
Best Calcium: Pet Tabs Calcium Formula Supplement
Best Urinary: VetriScience Laboratories Bladder Strength Tablet for Dogs
Best Calming: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Calming Care Probiotic Dog Supplement
What To Look For
It can be difficult to find the best supplements for ourselves, nevertheless for our puppies. However, there are a few ways you can differentiate between what to add to your cart and what to leave on the shelf.
As you look for a supplement, Ochoa says to "look for any third party testing to make sure that what [the company claims] is in the product is actually in the product." A high-quality product will have a seal of approval from the National Animal Supplement Council.
Because supplements aren't regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, pay careful attention to the ingredients in a particular supplement. "Some packages say that they have supplements to help with certain medical conditions, but there are not any ingredients in the package that will help with that issue," Ochoa explains. "For example, I have seen joint supplements say they will help with joints and mobility, and there is nothing in there that actually helps with joints. It is more of a treat that tastes good, and there are not any real supplements in the treats."
She adds, "Make sure that you are actually getting what you think you are and are paying for."
Keep in mind the dosage form you'll need, too, as supplements can come in tablets, capsules, liquids, and powders. Jamie Whittenburg, DVM at Senior Tail Waggers and owner of Kingsgate Animal Hospital in Lubbock, Texas, suggests picking the form that will be the easiest to give to your dog. "No supplement, no matter the quality, will work if your dog won't take it," she says.
Because supplements aren't regulated, Whittenburg recommends researching any potential option and looking for peer-reviewed published studies that demonstrate their efficacy. She suggests searching on Google Scholar or the National Library of Medicine to learn more. If you'd really like to do some digging, she says you can reach out to the manufacturer to see if they follow the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines and are approved by the U.S. Pharmacopeia, Underwriters Laboratory, and NSF International.
"Your vet sees hundreds of pets a month and has both the experience and the knowledge to guide you in your choice," she says. "There are skin supplements, joint supplements, immune boosters, cancer fighters, energy supplements, coat and hair supplements, eye supplements, liver supplements … you get the idea. No one company makes all of those, but your vet will know the best brands in each category."