What supplements do I use? It’s different for every recipe depending on what the chosen ingredients lack! Here are some links to supplements for essential* nutrients that I typically recommend in recipes, however as mentioned each individualized recipe formulation will vary, so do not purchase these in advance as you will not need all of them. This is just for easy reference for some of the products and brands I often use in recipes and am familiar with, and use for my own dogs as well.
Most of these can be found at human health food/supplement stores, with the exception of the Animal Essentials seaweed calcium, and maybe the fish oil for pets, that you can ask your local independently owned pet food store to order for you if they don’t already have it in stock.
*“Essential” means that these nutrients must be provided in the diet, either from food or supplements. Dogs and cats can synthesize some nutrients in their bodies from other building blocks, but not the essential nutrients (that’s why they’re essential to provide to your pet). Dogs and cats have approximately 40 essential nutrients that have been identified by the National Research Council (NRC). Below are those most commonly missing in homemade dog food, when using food ingredients alone.
(I prefer to buy locally when possible, and this isn’t an endorsement of any of these online stores; they are just what I happen to use if local is not an option.)
Caution: Store all supplements out of reach of children and pets.
Not in alphabetical order:
Food sources: Raw bones (never feed cooked bones), crushed eggshells. (Dairy is not a significant source of calcium for dogs and cats. Their calcium requirement is much higher.)
- Animal Essentials seaweed calcium: chewy.com/animal-essentials-seaweed-calcium
- Animal Essentials seaweed calcium: animalessentials.com/seaweed-calcium
- NOW calcium carbonate: iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Calcium-Carbonate-Powder-12-oz
- KAL bone meal: iherb.com/pr/KAL-Bone-Meal-Powder-8-oz
- NOW bone meal: iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Bone-Meal-Powder-1-lb
Omega 3 Fatty Acids (EPA/DHA)
Food sources: Sardines, salmon, mackerel, brain. (Animal sources are more bioavailable for dogs and cats. Plants sources of omega 3s, such as ALA from flax or hemp, must go through a conversion process in the body, which is less efficient.)
- Nordic Naturals fish oil capsules for pets (90-count): iherb.com/pr/Nordic-Naturals-Omega-3-Pet-Soft-Gels-For-Dogs-90-Soft-Gels
- Nordic Naturals fish oil capsules for pets (180-count): iherb.com/pr/nordic-naturals-omega-3-pet-soft-gels-for-dogs-180-soft-gels
- Nordic Naturals fish oil capsules for pets (180-count): chewy.com/nordic-naturals-omega-3-pet-softgels
- Nordic Naturals fish oil for pets, 8 oz.: iherb.com/pr/Nordic-Naturals-Omega-3-Pet-8-fl-oz
- Nordic Naturals fish oil for pets, size varies: nordicnaturals.com/consumers/omega-3-pet
- Carlson cod liver oil, without lemon flavoring. Due to the vitamin D content, DO NOT use for pets unless instructed by a qualified nutrition professional: iherb.com/pr/Carlson-Labs-Norwegian-Cod-Liver-Oil-16-9-fl-oz
(Note: The Nordic Naturals fish oil products for humans have lemon flavorings, which you want to avoid for pets.)
Vitamin A (Retinol)
Food sources: Beef liver, chicken liver, turkey liver, oysters.
I have no supplement recommendation at this time, as liver is preferred because it provides so many other nutrients as well.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Food sources: Pork, some nuts and grains, nutritional yeast.
If B1 is needed in supplement form, I usually prefer to give it in a B-complex.
- NOW B-50: nowfoods.com/supplements/vitamin-b-50-mg-veg-capsules
- Veterinarian’s Apawthecary B-complex: animalessentials.com/b-complex-liquid-vitamins-for-dogs-cats-by-veterinarians-apawthecary
Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
Food sources: Same fatty fish as for omega 3s above, eggs, cod liver oil.
Warning: Do not use a vitamin D supplement intended for an adult human (or any supplement that contains vitamin D, such as some calcium supplements), unless specifically instructed by an animal nutrition professional or a veterinarian.
- NOW liquid vitamin D drops: iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Liquid-Vitamin-D-3-10-mcg-400-IU
- Carlson children’s vitamin D drops: iherb.com/pr/Carlson-Labs-Baby-s-Super-Daily-D3-10-mcg-400-IU
- Carlson cod liver oil, without lemon flavoring (You may want to find the 8 oz locally instead!): iherb.com/pr/Carlson-Labs-Norwegian-Cod-Liver-Oil-16-9-fl-oz
- KAL calcium citrate and vitamin D tablets: vitaminshoppe.com/p/kal-calcium-citrate-d-3-1000-iu
- VetriScience multivitamin (not exclusively vitamin D): vetriscience.com/canine-plus
Vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol)
Food sources: Plant sources such as nuts, seeds, spinach. (I always supplement additional vitamin E in pet food-homemade or commercial-for the antioxidant properties.)
- Solgar natural vitamin E liquid with dropper, 2 oz.: vitaminshoppe.com/p/solgar-natural-vitamin-e-100-iu-2-fl-oz
- Solgar natural vitamin E liquid with dropper, 2 oz.: pureformulas.com/liquid-vitamin-e-with-dropper-2-oz
- Solgar 100 IU softgels: iherb.com/pr/Solgar-Naturally-Sourced-Vitamin-E-67-mg-100-IU-100-Softgels
- Solgar 400 IU vitamin E softgels: iherb.com/pr/Solgar-Naturally-Sourced-Vitamin-E-268-mg-400-IU
- Solaray 400 IU vitamin E softgels: iherb.com/pr/Solaray-Vitamin-E-268-mg-400-IU
Food sources: Beef liver (most preferred), oysters.
I only use a supplement if the pet has a sensitivity to beef liver, or owner cannot source of beef liver. (It is available at many grocery stores in the U.S.)
- Thorne copper, 2 mg capsules: iherb.com/pr/thorne-research-copper-bisglycinate
Food sources: Seafood, seaweed, eggs.
- NOW kelp, 150 mcg iodine/tablet: iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Kelp-150-mcg-200-Tablets
- NOW kelp, 325 mcg iodine/capsule: iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Kelp-250-Veg-Capsules
- NOW kelp powder, 450 mcg iodine/tiny scoop: iherb.com/pr/now-foods-organic-kelp-pure-powder
- Pure Encapsulations potassium iodide (225 mcg iodine/capsule): pureformulas.com/iodine-potassium-iodide-120-vegetable-capsules-by-pure-encapsulations
Food sources: Beef spleen, chicken hearts, other organs.
- Solgar gentle iron, 25 mg: iherb.com/pr/solgar-gentle-iron-25-mg
One of my favorite supplements for this when needed is actually the seaweed calcium above, which supplies some magnesium and calcium, and a small amount of iodine.
- Solgar chelated magnesium, 100 mg tablets: iherb.com/pr/Solgar-Chelated-Magnesium
- NOW magnesium powder: iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Magnesium-Bisglycinate-Powder-8-oz
Food sources: Raw beef tripe, some seeds and grains, some root vegetables.
- Solgar manganese, 8 mg tablets: iherb.com/pr/Solgar-Chelated-Manganese
- Twinlab manganese, 10 mg capsules. (Discontinued.)
- Cosequin max strength, 3 mg manganese/tablet: chewy.com/nutramax-cosequin-maximum-strength
Food sources: Pork kidney, beef kidney.
- Solgar selenium, 100 mcg capsules: iherb.com/pr/Solgar-Selenium-Yeast-Free-100-mcg
- NOW selenium, 100 mcg capsules: iherb.com/pr/now-foods-selenium-100-mcg-250-tablets/813
- NOW selenium, 200 mcg capsules: iherb.com/pr/now-foods-selenium-200-mcg-180-veg-capsules/818
- Solaray selenium, 200 mcg capsules: iherb.com/pr/solaray-selenium-200-mcg-90-vegcaps/18957
Food sources: Beef, oysters.
- Thorne zinc, 15 mg capsules: iherb.com/pr/Thorne-Research-Zinc-Bisglycinate-15-mg
- Nature’s Way zinc, 30 mg capsules: iherb.com/pr/Nature-s-Way-Zinc-Chelate-30-mg