Pet Vitamins and Supplements

Many of us take vitamins and supplements to ensure that our bodies receive everything they need to be in the very best condition. So, you might be wondering if your pet could also benefit from additions to their daily diet.

The quick answer to that is maybe, but just like us, every pet has different needs. That means that what's right for one dog may not be necessary to another, and it could even be harmful. In this article, we'll look at whether your pet might benefit from dietary supplements, along with providing information on their pros and cons. We’ll also look at the different types of supplements available, along with details of some vet-recommended supplements.

Does my Pet Need Vitamins and Supplements?

For pets who eat a complete diet every day, chances are their dietary requirements are being met without the need for anything else to be added. However, not all feeds are created equally, and you may find that some budget brands fail to meet all the needs of our pets, whether that's a dog, cat, rabbit, or even our reptilian friends.

This means that the first thing you need to do is check out the list of ingredients on the food packet and then speak to your vet or veterinary nutritionist for their professional advice.

What Are the Pros and Cons?

Below is a list of the pros and cons to adding pet vitamins and supplements to your pet's diet:

Pros

1. Provide Essential Nutrients

When your pet's food isn't providing everything needed, then a supplement can provide the necessary boost to your companion to be at optimum health.

2. Boost to the Immune System

When your pet's immune system is compromised, they can be susceptible to a whole range of health problems. Supplements can ensure that your pet is fit enough to battle against illness and assist in a quick recovery.

3. Improve Skin and Coat

Supplements can help prevent the onset or spread of a problem, such as hotspots, dry, flaky skin, and environmental allergies.

4. Help the Older Pet

As our pets age, they often benefit from vitamins and supplements designed with their specific needs in mind. This might be to assist with joint health, inflammation relief, and to reduce cognitive decline.

Cons

1. Toxicity Risks

With some vitamins, there can be real risks to your pet's health if given at a higher level than their bodies can cope with. Too much vitamin D, for example, can cause kidney failure, which could then prove to be fatal.

2. Interactions with other medications

It's essential to check with your vet before considering giving a supplement to your pet if they are already taking medication. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by the product being labeled as '100%' natural; it can still react with severe consequences for your pet.

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3. Expense

Some supplements can be costly, and if you're giving them without any particular need being identified, then it could be money down the drain.

Types of Pet Vitamins and Supplements

Single Vitamin or Supplements

This range of products focuses on a single ingredient for a very specific application. It could be vitamin E for skin problems in dogs or vitamin B12 for cats with irritable bowel syndrome.

Multivitamins

When you want to ensure that all of your pet's nutritional needs are being met, a multivitamin can be the answer. Available in paste, tablet, and syrup form, there are even vitamin-enhanced treats to make the medicine go down a little easier!

Age-Appropriate Supplements

There are times in our pet's lives when their bodies may need some additional help. So fast-growing pups or those from giant breeds may need supplements to help develop strong and healthy bones. Meanwhile, the bodies of hard-working breeds such as hunting dogs may need extra assistance to promote fast recovery after a day in the field.

Vet Recommended Supplements

There are some supplements that vets often recommend to help our pets to be in top condition.

1. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate

This supplement is recommended for supporting joint cartilage and reducing the impact of arthritis. This research, for example, found that there were significant improvements in how much pain dogs with osteoarthritis experienced and how easily they could weight-bear on the affected joints.

2. Fatty acid supplements

This combination of fish and vegetable oils has long been used for people with skin issues, and for our pets, they can be a great way of reducing skin inflammation. Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University states that linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, is essential for all animals. When there's too little in the diet, then they can develop a whole range of issues such as poor skin and a weakened immune system.

3. Milk thistle

This herbal remedy has been used for hundreds of years, but it really comes into its own when there are problems with the liver. It's thought that it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and assists with cell repair and regeneration. Research indicates that milk thistle may also have the ability to slow down the growth of some types of cancer cells.

If you're considering supplementing your pets' diet, it's essential to know that this is an area where the product's quality matters. To get the best results, you'll need to focus on well-known brands that can provide evidence of the high-quality ingredients they use.