We feed our cats and dogs the very best pet foods on the market, yet many pets still suffer from common, recurring health ailments such as constipation, diarrhea and other digestive disorders, urinary tract issues, lackluster coats and dandruff in addition to less-than-stellar overall health. Why?
Even healthy pet foods don’t include many of the nutrient-rich ingredients that provide complete wellness support for our dogs and cats. Adding these missing ingredients to your pet’s diet can create a remarkable change that is quickly noticeable.
There are many supplements on the market that help reduce the symptoms and causes of individual common health problems, but few will help with all of them. Needless to say, we’ve done the research for you and have compiled this list of the five most commonly-used dietary supplements that may be of benefit to your pet.
As pets age, their joints become a bit more fragile, a bit stiffer, and simple things like walks can be tough. To help ease joint pain, glucosamine can be an excellent supplement for your older pet. Glucosamine is used as a preventative for joints, not a treatment. Once your pet is suffering from arthritis, glucosamine can only do so much to help the joints. With moderate to severe arthritis, most animals require prescription medications and other supplements to help them.
You’ll want to be mindful to avoid providing human grade glucosamine to your pets as it is harder for them to digest and not readily absorbed as compared to glucosamine specially made for animals. Be aware of the store bought diets that claim to have joint support. They do not contain high enough levels of glucosamine to be beneficial for your pet.
2. Fish Oils
This supplement is most commonly used in the treatment of skin allergies. Mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovies, sardines, herring, and trout are all loaded to the gills (pun intended) with omega-3 and are common sources of fish oil supplements. The fatty acids with the greatest health benefits are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Both are ingredients found on the labels of fish oil supplements. A high-quality fish oil can also be supplemented into your pet’s diet to give their coat a healthy, shiny glow.
3. Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle is a well known “liver herb” for people and pets. The active ingredient is “silymarin” which is actively a combination of other active compounds. Milk Thistle is used for treating liver disease, kidney disease, mushroom and other toxicities, and lead poisoning. Holistic veterinarians have used it for years to treat liver diseases of all sorts in dogs and cats. It has an excellent safety record and no known adverse drug interactions.
L-Lysine is an essential amino acid that helps your pet’s body produce antibodies, hormones, and enzymes that boost the immune system. It also helps with calcium absorption (for strong bones) and collagen production (for healthy skin). Dogs and cats with chronic viral infections have responded extremely well to L-Lysine, particularly cats who have FIV or feline herpes virus.
Probiotics are healthy microorganisms that have a beneficial effect on the body. The intestinal tract normally contains billions of “healthy” bacteria or microflora. During times of stress, disease, use of antibiotics, dietary changes or other causes, these bacteria can change leading to an unhealthy or depleted microflora. The most common symptoms of unhealthy bacteria in the gut are diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. Probiotics can repopulate the gut with “good” bacteria leading to improved intestinal health.
If you feel that your pet may benefit from any of the supplements listed above or another supplement you may have researched, please consult your veterinarian prior.
What has been your experience with supplementing your pet’s diet? Let us know by tweeting us @FetchPetCare or by leaving a comment below.