Amino Acid Supplements for Canines

by Naomi Millburn
Diarrhea is a possible effect of carnitine supplementation in dogs.

Diarrhea is a possible effect of carnitine supplementation in dogs.

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If your dog consumes a nutritious and well-rounded canine diet, supplementation likely isn't necessary for him. Some dogs do have health concerns, though, that call for supplementation, such as of amino acids, calcium or other nutrients. Your veterinarian can tell you if your pet is a suitable candidate for any amino acid supplementation. Never give your pet supplementation without veterinary permission.

Look Into Taurine Supplementation

One amino acid that sometimes serves as a supplement for dogs is taurine. If your dog has heart disease, your veterinarian might suggest taurine supplementation. Dilated cardiomyopathy is a cardiac muscle disorder that often brings upon congestive heart failure in canines. Studies conducted on golden retrievers and American cocker spaniels have indicated that taurine supplementation might be helpful for individual dogs of these breeds who have dilated cardiomyopathy, according to veterinarian Shawn Messonnier, author of the "Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats."

Ask About Carnitine Supplementation

Carnitine is another amino acid sometimes recommended as a supplement for certain dogs. Like taurine, carnitine occasionally serves dogs who have heart disease. Dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy possess minimal amounts of the amino acid. Carnitine supplements aren't used exclusively in dogs with that type of heart disease, however. Carnitine also can have a positive effect on dogs who have diabetes, kidney disease, heartworm, hepatic lipidosis, kidney disease and problems with handling exercise, among others. Carnitine is thought to be useful for extremely overweight dogs. It helps promote weight loss and can help in maintenance of lean muscle mass.

Learn About Arginine Supplementation

Arginine is an amino acid that occasionally serves as a supplement in dogs. Studies have expressed marked drops in amino acids like arginine in blood from dogs who have cancer, says vet Messonnier. Insufficient amounts of arginine in the blood can potentially be extremely detrimental to dogs. Because of that, veterinarians sometimes suggest arginine supplementation for dogs with cancer. This kind of supplementation is frequently associated not only with enhancing the operations of the immune system but also with bettering the potential prognosis for dogs with cancer. Arginine specifically is linked to minimizing the expansion of tumors.

Discuss Glutamine Supplementation

Various life situations sometimes prevent dogs from being able to keep up their bodies' necessary levels of glutamine, an amino acid. If your pooch is nervous and frustrated due to undergoing chemotherapy or any surgical procedures, for example, he might be in this category. Your vet might recommend glutamine supplementation for him. Glutamine also frequently serves as a supplement in pets who have certain digestive issues -- think gastroenteritis. If you think your dog needs supplementation for any kind of amino acid, speak to your vet about it. Never offer your pet any dietary supplementation unless your vet confirms to you that it's OK.

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