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Does Your Dog or Cat Need Supplements?

By Brenda Valen, BS, CNC,CNHP

For most pet owners, myself included, our pets are more than just companions, they are part of the family. And like any other family member you want to do the very best you can for them. The best food, the best toys and the very best health care. Today, just as with us humans, part of the very best in health care can and frequently includes the best supplements. Our dogs and cats can benefit from supplements not only for a specific issue but as a preventive measure as well. But what type of supplements are best periodically verses as an ongoing addition to the diet?

Here are some helpful tips in relation to some types of supplements which may benefit your furry family member.

#1 Probiotics: You may take probiotics yourself, but did not think that your dog and cat could also benefit from these good gut bugs. Just like us, both cats and dogs have many different strains and thousands of beneficial bacteria in their digestive system. Also, just like us, the digestive system can be a root cause of health issues around their body. Feeding your dog and cat a probiotic formula that is specific to them on a regular basis can help keep their digestive and immune system healthy.

#2 Multi-Vitamin: Depending on your pet’s health status and food sources they could benefit from getting extra vitamins and minerals in their diet through supplementation. Especially if you feed a raw food or limited food diet or make your pet’s food at home. This may surprise you but in each of these cases, although the food quality might be better, it does not provide all the needed vitamins and minerals for optimum health. Kibble and canned food, although in all aspects dead food, must be fortified with a vitamin and mineral complex, required by the Animal Association of Feed Control.

#3 Joint Support: Most pet owners may incorrectly think that only dogs exhibit joint discomfort but cats do as well. It is never too early to incorporate a joint support product into your dog or cat’s daily regime. Look for one that contains glucosamine, boswellia and turmeric which can help increase flexibility and comfort and help prevent joint issues as they age.

#4 Omega Oils: Yes, just like probiotics, both dogs and cats can benefit greatly from the addition of Omega-3 from fish oils into their diet. These oils can offer many health benefits from cardiovascular support to joint mobility support to skin and coat support. Most pets love the addition of fish oils into their wet food.

There are other pet supplements that can be more species and condition specific – such as urinary support for cats who tend to have a lot of UTIs or dogs who have liver issues. These supplements can be very helpful for your pet for the extra support they need in these situations.

Brenda Valen, BS, CNC, CNHP
Gulf Coast Nutrition