Supplements. We’re all familiar with that word. By definition a supplement is something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.
Should you be adding supplements into your pets diet? I can’t answer that for you. Do I? Yes. As with anything else, you should do your research and use your best judgement about what is best for your pet.
With my own supplements I go through a 5 step thought processing when deciding on a supplement. Questions 1 through 3 help me determine if I should add something into my pet’s diet. Questions 4 and 5 help me determine what supplements are best for my dogs diet.
1. Does my pet need this?
2. What benefit will it provide to my pet?
3. Is this supplement the best one to solve a problem or complete a benefit?
4. What else am I adding to my pet’s diet with this supplement?
5. Is there a natural route to take to achieve a goal?
Does my pet need this?
The answer to this should be yes. If your pet is having joint problems, then you would use a supplement to confront those issues. If your pet has itchy skin, there are supplements you can add to that. When my dog has itchy skin, I first try to rule out different allergies. It could be seasonal/environmental or an allergy to food. By ruling those obstacles out first I can avoid adding something additional into my dogs diet that he may not need.
What benefit will this provide to my pet?
Sometimes our pets do fine without supplements. In this case you don’t need to add anything. But, maybe you want to. You found this awesome immunity boosting supplement that you think your pet could benefit from. Maybe you want to make your pet a bit shinier or a bit softer. Adding these supplements isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I refer you to the next question.
What else am I adding to my pet’s diet with this supplement?
In my opinion, this is the most important question you can ask yourself. Two words: inactive ingredients. Inactive ingredients are the other ingredients that are in a supplement that are not addressing or treating an issue. It’s what else is in the powder used to deliver the treatment to your pet’s system. I look for supplements with no inactive ingredients, or if necessary few (or healthy) inactive ingredients.
This requires being a conscious consumer and flipping the bottle over and reading what you are actually giving your pet. Why add corn, soy, and wheat into your pet’s system if your feeding a good food to keep it out!
Is there a natural route to achieve this goal?
Without sounding like a total hippie, this is often a question I ask myself. Yes, sometimes the “medicine” avenue cannot be avoided and I am a huge supporter of modern science. However, for dogs with a sensitive stomach I am for more happy to see them eating canned pumpkin or goat milk then being given pro-biotics full of unnecessary ingredients. A little bit of research will help you decipher the world of natural supplements, or a stop into your local pet store should be able to get you started.
Here is a list of supplements I have used and that I often recommend to people.
I believe pumpkin to be the best kept secret of the pet industry. Seriously: upset tummies, loose stool, constipation, and dhiarreah. It’s all about the fiber in the pumpkin! I use plain canned pumpkin from the grocery store. My dogs get it fairly regularly in their diets. Whenever I am doing a food transition, I always add pumpkin.
The Honest Kitchen: Perfect Form
This digestive supplement from The Honest Kitchen goes a step further to help pets that have digestive issues. With no inactive ingredients, this dehydrated supplement is easy to use and good for your pet. The ingredients are: Papaya leaf, plantain leaf, slippery elm, pumpkin seed, pectin, papain and fennel. Together these herbs and other ingredients work to regulate the digestive system, aid in diet change, and help to clear up loose stool.
Raw Goats Milk
I am convinced raw goats milk is magic. It is unpasterized, not processed. You can usally
buy it frozen from your local pet store. I always recommend putting puppies/ kittens, elders, and sick pets on it to give their immune systems a boost. If a dog has been diagnosed with cancer, this is one of my first recommendations. The benefits are endless: increased immunity, increased appetite, and to assist in weight gain. My own dogs get raw goats milk in their food a few times a week. *If you have an overweight dog, use with caution as it can put weight on your pet!
Green Lipped Muscle
If your dog has joint problems this is some seriously good stuff. I give my dog freeze dried green lipped muscles a couple of days a week. He does not have any joint problems and is still young, so this does the trick as a maintenance supplement for now.
My cat on the other hand, is an old man. Sometimes he struggles to jump up onto my bed. I put him on Annamaet “Endure”. I cannot speak more highly of a joint supplement. The ingredient panel is beautiful and it also helps to regulate the digestive system. With only five ingredients (Psyllium Husk, Green Lipped Mussel (Freeze Dried), Glucosamine HCL, Chondroitin Sulfate (Shark), Vitamin C), I have no qualms about adding it into my pet’s diet. While it is formulated for dogs, I reached out to the company and they recommended a pinch a day.
Salmon or pollock oil are great to help aid in itchy/ dry skin. A lot of pets, just like people, get dry itchy skin during the winter months. Some pets have it all the time. These fish oils are a great wait to help combat that in a natural way.
As with anything else, you should confirm with your vet before starting your dog on a supplement. These are some of the regular supplements I choose to use with my pets. They may not be right for yours.
What supplements do you use for your pets? Have you ever read the ingredient panels before?