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Has your dog transformed into a canine couch lounger lately? Is he begging more to put his head in your lap while you binge-watch TV than to go on a walk around your block? Or, is he snoring on your bed instead of sprinting after a tossed ball in the backyard? Sounds like your dog could use a healthy energy boost. Fortunately, healthy energy boosters for dogs come in many forms. Read on!
1) Create a Snowy Obstacle Course in Your Backyard During Winter
Cara Armour, a certified professional dog trainer and dog agility instructor, lives in Bolton, Massachusetts, a place with a reputation for snow and lots of it. But she provides energizing, safe workouts for her three Boxers, Debbie, Walter and Phoenix, by carving out wide paths in her backyard using a snowblower.
“When we get heavy snow, I make a large figure-8 for them to run and play [in] without getting injured by trying to romp in tall snow drifts,” Cara says. “The figure-8 design allows them to playfully chase each other without bumping into each other.”
2) Dish Up Clean H2O
Never underestimate the power of hydration. Dogs with access to plenty of clean water tend to maintain healthy body temperatures, sport hydrated muscles and joints, produce healthy poops and flush out bacteria that may trigger urinary tract infections. In my household, I also add a dental preventive called Oratene in their water bowls every day to help fend off tartar buildup. You can find Oratene here ($23.99, Chewy).
3) Heap on the Blues, Greens and Oranges
Boost your dog’s immune system and pump up his digestive system by topping his meals with blueberries (loaded with antioxidants), steamed green beans or kale (packed with vitamins A, C and K) plus canned pureed pumpkin (not sugar-filled pie filling) that contains good levels of soluble fiber as well as carotenoids to maintain a healthy digestive system. Rotate these suggested toppers with each meal to add variety to your dog’s diet.
4) Never Underestimate the Power of Amino Acids
Supplements containing L-carnitine and taurine benefit a dog’s heart, brain and eye health, plus convert fat to energy. (Check with your vet for dosage.)
“Being overweight directly impacts a dog’s ability to do the things he loves to do,” says Rebecca Rose, a biochemist whose InClover company offers BioVibrant, a supplement containing taurine and L-carnitine. “L-carnitine helps to support healthy weight by converting fat to energy, and taurine is good for overall heart health and acts as a good detoxifier,” she says.
5) Factors in Your Dog’s Age
As dogs age, some are prone to mobility issues that zap their once pup-like energy. Some pet parents give supplements containing glucosamine when their dogs become seniors. Unfortunately, according to Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Dr. Justine Lee, who is board-certified in emergency critical care medicine and toxicology, that may be too late to be effective.
“Glucosamine only works when your body has healthy cartilage,” Dr. Lee says. “It acts like a cartilage protector. But by the time a dog has osteoarthritis, he may not have any healthy cartilage and so it is too late for the glucosamine to be effective.” Dr Lee says “Instead, start your dog on glucosamine at a younger age, like 4 or 5, when he has healthy cartilage and can benefit from receiving the glucosamine supplement.”
6) Treat Your Dog to Sunlight
Studies show that dogs, just like people, can suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) if they do not receive adequate exposure to sunlight. This can cause them to become depressed, act lethargic and lose healthy appetites. Be extra vigilant during winter months when there is less sunlight and during steady days of rain by timing walks before the sun goes down and breaks in rain showers. Treat your dog to natural Vitamin D by locating his bed by a sunny window or under a skylight. Talk to your veterinarian about the possible benefits of purchasing an artificial sunlight lamp to use indoors for your dog.
7) Study Up on Your Supplements
Work closely with your veterinarian in choosing supplements and their dosage to boost your dog’s energy and overall health. And, prepare to scrutinize product labels.
“Always ask for a certificate of analysis and if a supplement company cannot provide it, run the other way,” says Dr. Lee, who is also known as VETGirl. “Without this certificate, the product could contain impurities, pesticides or heavy metals. You may just be buying olive oil.”
Rebecca, who is based in Boulder, Colorado, adds, “A reputable company will be happy to share the steps they use to hand select the best ingredients and will have a Supplier Code of Conduct and audits conducted by independent third parties.”
Support with Supplements
Talk to your veterinarian about adding a supplement (and dosage) to give your dog a health boost. The below supplement examples focus on different areas of the body and are available from chewy.com and other pet retailers and/or veterinarians.
- MYOS Canine Muscle Formula – $47.99/6.35 oz and $84.99/12.7 oz
- Winpro Allergy Chews for Healthy Skin & Coat – $29.99
- Dasuquin Advanced Joint Health Supplement – $59 — $66
- Vetericyn ALL-IN Dog Supplement (Puppy, Adult and Senior formulas) – $39.99
- InClover Canine Fresh Digest – $21.99 — $47.99
- ProDen PlaqueOff Powder – $22.70/60g