There are a wide variety of pet supplements available today. Your pet may benefit from one or several, but choosing which supplements may benefit your dog or cat can be confusing. This guide can help you make more informed choices.
Build On A Solid Foundation.
A complete and balanced diet is the foundation for healthy pets. Start by feeding your pet a premium quality pet food, high in nutritional value and void of preservatives and chemical additives. For more diet related information, see our Pet Centered Nutrition brochure.
While not a substitute for a high-quality diet, recent research suggests supplements deliver extra benefits for pets.
Considerations When Selecting Supplements.
A good supplement should:
Provide a Detailed Guaranteed Analysis. Supplement companies must stand behind what they guarantee on their label. Though other claims might be made about different ingredients, the only ones that matter relate to what’s in the guaranteed analysis.
Include Whole Food Sources. Many experts believe vitamins from whole food sources are better absorbed than their synthetic counterparts.
Be Palatable. The best supplement in the world doesn’t do any good if your pet won’t eat it!
To ensure optimal benefit and select products best suited for your pets’ needs, partner with your veterinarian and the pet nutrition experts at PetPeople.
Derived from shellfish and animal cartilage, glucosamine and chondroitin have proven to show significant improvement in easing the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. A therapeutic dose is considered to be about 50 mg/kg, or about 1000 mg/day for a 50 lb dog. Unlike pain killers which simply mask the pain, glucosamine and chondroitin address the disease process itself.
Glucosamine can help increase cartilage production and reduce inflammation. It may also aid in the rebuilding damaged cartilage.
Chondroitin aids in keeping cartilage tissue from dehydrating and assists in cushioning impact stress. It is thought to help the body to repair damaged cartilage and help restore joint integrity. It may also help protect existing cartilage from premature breakdown.
Many owners feel they see improvements in their pet’s energy level as well as skin and coat health from multivitamin supplements.
Pets that May Benefit from a Multivitamin
Senior Pets. Older animals tend to absorb fewer vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. Multivitamins can bring vitamin absorption to proper levels.
Canine Athletes. Like human athletes, dogs that participate in agility, flyball, herding, or police/ protection put a higher level of stress on their bodies and may benefit from a multivitamin.
Overweight Pets. When you cut back on food, you’re also cutting back on vitamins and minerals. A multivitamin can make up for lost vitamins without increasing calories.
Ill or Recovering Pets. Pets who don’t feel well may lose their appetite. A multivitamin can boost their vitamin/mineral intake they lose from decreased food intake.
How to Select a Vitamin.
Less is more when it comes to supplements. It’s best to choose one complete supplement rather than combine several to avoid over supplementation. In cases of severe over supplementation, vitamin toxicity may occur, particularly with fat-soluble Vitamins A & D. Matching needs and benefits is the key.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Skin & Coat Supplements.
For years, pet owners and veterinarians have given omega-3 fatty acids to improve skin and coat health. More recently, research has shown that fatty acids have additional benefits, including controlling inflammation and reducing allergy symptoms and joint pain.
Conditions Improved Through Fatty Acid Supplementation
Inflammation. There are many diseases that create an inflammatory response in the body, and these fatty acids have shown to decrease many of these disease symptoms.
Dull and Dry Hair Coat. Haircoats which are dull, dry, and brittle often improve with omega-3 supplementation. Decreased shedding is another welcomed result!
Allergies and Autoimmune Conditions. These conditions occur when the immune system over-reacts. Fatty acids can lessen the harmful effects.
Arthritis. Research is showing that omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA, may be helpful in reducing the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.
Other Inflammatory Diseases. Colitis, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis may respond to the anti-inflammatory effects of certain fatty acids.
Yeast Infections. Fatty acids have been shown to slow down the growth of common yeast infections in dogs and cats.
Cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to slow the development and metastasis of certain cancers. Caution — Omega-6’s, on the other hand, have been shown to stimulate tumor development.
Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that live in your pet’s digestive tract. They are the first line of defense against potentially harmful microorganisms your pet ingests. Probiotics can help with a wide range of health problems including:
- Digestive problems
- Chronic diarrhea
- Skin problems
- Chronic ear infections
- Food intolerances
- Excess gas
- Yeast infections
- Inflammation of gastrointestinal tract
- Dietary change or poor diet
- Exposure to a pathogenic virus or bacteria
- Stress due to changes in environment
- Compromised immune system
- Prescribed antibiotics – remember, they kill all bacteria, good and bad
Probiotics and Prebiotics.
Prebiotics are a specialized form of fiber often known as FOS. They naturally occur in foods such as chicory, asparagus, artichokes, garlic, honey, and oats. Prebiotics “feed” probiotics and help them thrive. Supplements that contain both prebiotics and probiotics can maximize results.
Best Omega-3 Source.
Fish body oil is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s available as a liquid or capsule. Caution should be used with cod liver oil. Although a good source of fatty acids, it can contain high levels of Vitamin A, which if over-supplemented, can lead to toxicity.