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."
It's best to consult your vet on whether adding a supplement into your dog's diet is necessary based on your puppy's individual needs. Too many supplements (including supplements in treat form!) can result in diarrhea, weight gain, or more serious issues, Ochoa warns.
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
This is Ochoa's favorite probiotic, and for good reason! "I always recommend probiotics for puppies," Ochoa says. "Puppies are always getting into the trash or eating something outside to cause them to have diarrhea." If your puppy has flatulence or diarrhea, this probiotic can help promote a healthy, balanced immune system to relieve any gastrointestinal issues.
Best for Large Breed Puppies: PetHonesty Hemp Mobility Duck Flavored Soft Chews Joint & Mobility Supplement for Dogs
Large and giant breed dogs are prone to developing arthritis or hip dysplasia, which is why Ochoa recommends hip and joint supplements like this one. "This is a great one that you can start your puppy on at an early age to help prevent issues," she says. These duck-flavored chews are formulated with glucosamine HCL, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), turmeric, green-lipped mussels, and organic hemp oil to help promote overall joint health and relieve inflammation due to everyday exercise.
RELATED: These Are the 11 Best Supplements for Dogs With Joint and Hip Issues
Best Immunity: Vet Classics CAS Options Extra Strength Immune and Antioxidant Support
For puppies who need some extra immune support, this vet-formulated supplement combines an effective mix of maitake, reishi, shiitake, and turkey tail mushrooms. Together, they can work to help support a healthy inflammatory response and promote overall health.
Best Cardiovascular: VetriScience Laboratories Vetri Cardio Canine
Some breeds are prone to heart issues, Ochoa says, so "starting them on this heart supplement early in life can help prevent heart issues or extend the time before they are seen in your dogs." This supplement helps dogs maintain a regular heartbeat, supporting cardiac strength and healthy blood flow through the heart. If you have any concerns about your puppy's heart function or health, talk to your vet for their recommendations.
Best Omega: Zesty Paws Omega 3 Alaskan Fish Oil Chew Treats
If your puppy has a dull, dry coat, Ochoa recommends this supplement to effectively nourish your dog's body from the inside out. Packed with fish oil, biotin, vitamin C, and vitamin E, these chews bring relief to dry, itchy, sensitive, and flaky skin and help make your dog's coat soft and shiny. Even better? These tasty treats support hip and joint health, immune system function, and cardiovascular activity for overall health.
Best Multivitamin: VetriScience Canine Plus MultiVitamin for Dogs
We know a multivitamin isn't a replacement for a healthy diet, but a multivitamin like this one surely has its benefits in addition to proper nutrition. "This is a great multivitamin that can even be given to puppies who are sick," Ochoa says. Made with over 25 nutrients, including omega 3s and 6s, this multivitamin tablet supports your puppy's cardiovascular system, nervous system, and immune system as well as cognitive and liver health. This supplement can be given to dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds.
Best Calcium: Pet Tabs Calcium Formula Supplement
Puppies require higher levels of calcium than adult dogs, and this calcium supplement is Ochoa's favorite. This daily tablet can help your puppy maintain healthy teeth and bones. It's flavorless, too, so you can give it to your pup by hand or crumble it and mix it in with his food.
Best Urinary: VetriScience Laboratories Bladder Strength Tablet for Dogs
This supplement is Ochoa's favorite urinary support supplement dogs of all ages can take. Made to help prevent urinary issues, this supplement contains ingredients like pumpkin seed powder, rehmannia glutinosa powder, phytoestrogens, wild yam, and soy protein to support your pup's urinary health.
Best Calming: Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Calming Care Probiotic Dog Supplement
Does your puppy show signs of anxious behavior like excessive pacing, jumping, or whining? Made with a bacterium known as bifidobacterium longum (BL999), this supplement (along with proper separation anxiety training) can help keep your pup calm. "This is both a calming supplement and a probiotic. It can help your dog who has diarrhea or maybe recovering from parvo," Ochoa says.
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."