Vitamin and mineral supplements are typically not needed for pets already on an appropriate, well-balanced diet. Vitamin and mineral supplements should be approached as just that – a supplement that goes above and beyond your pet’s basic dietary needs. Supplements are best used for preventative care and to therapeutically treat disease.
Supplements for Pets
Your pet’s gastrointestinal tract is already loaded with bacterial organisms. These bacterial organisms have an enormous role to play in keeping us and keeping our pets healthy. They aid with digestion, they support our immune system, and frankly, we could not live without the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract. Imbalances in our own natural bacterial flora or those of our pets can cause problems.
Probiotics are a bacterial supplement that are administered orally. Taking a probiotic can help rebalance normal bacterial flora and restore good health. They can also help maintain good health and prevent underlying conditions like inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, and digestive issues. All of these things can often be prevented by supplementing your pet with a probiotic supplement. If you’re looking to get started with supplements for pets, probiotic supplements are the best place to start as they have proven preventative properties.
Omega fatty acids
Omega fatty acids for dogs and cats are mostly usually supplemented as some form of marine oil – often fish, krill, or mussel oil. These oils are incredibly important to maintain health. They support our cells, skin, immune system, and digestion. There’s an enormously wide range of conditions that omega fatty acids can be beneficial for. The only reason not to give omega fatty acids to your pet would be if they have a known sensitivity, such as an allergy to fish. If you know your pet has sensitivities, consult with your veterinarian before you selecting a product.
Another supplement worth talking about is glucosamine or some of the compounds that come with it like glucose. These compounds are the building blocks of cartilage. Cartilage is a key component in the health of your pet’s joints. Cartilage lines the area where the bones come together and form a joint, helping everything glide together. As the cartilage wears away, you wind up with bone rubbing on bone and inflammation and pain and ultimately arthritis. Glucosamine can be very beneficial to help provide the animal with the constituents that they need to help repair damaged cartilage. Glucosamine is very widely used in veterinary medicine for both dogs and cats to help arthritic animals. While isn’t proven that glucosamine has definitive preventative properties against arthritis, there is no harm in giving your pet a glucosamine supplement. They are generally very well tolerated and easy to administer – they are available in many forms like chewable treats and flavored powders.
Supplements for Pets: The Bottom Line
A good regimen of supplements may help you avoid the necessity of having to use pharmaceuticals for your pets; the goal here is preventative care. If we can keep our pets healthy and feeling good using natural supplementation and we can avoid putting them on prescription medications. If we have to move on to things like anti-inflammatory medications and steroids later that’s just fine, but starting with natural supplements is always a good idea and may even allow us to use lower dosages of those pharmaceuticals. So one way or the other it’s a good idea to go ahead and start to look at supplementation for your pet.