We are trying to stay healthy and safe during this time and are religious about taking our vitamins. Do our pets need to take vitamins as well?
Health-minded in the Heights
The good news is that most dogs and cats that are on a well-balanced pet food don’t need supplements. Pet food companies add the required vitamins to foods, taking the guesswork out of supplementation for pet owners. But, with a growing population of aging, overweight pets, the market for pet supplements is expected to soon become a $1.7 billion industry, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm.
Nutrition is king, but some supplements help
However, you may find that some pets can benefit from a daily vitamin supplement. For instance, giving a glucosamine supplement helps restore joint health and increase mobility in aging dogs. Additionally, giving your dog a fish oil supplement might help keep his skin in tip-top condition and decrease shedding, itching and inflammation.
Probiotics keep gut in check
Vets often recommend probiotics for your pet as well. Given preemptively, probiotics can help — not only keep your pet’s intestinal tract on, well, track — but also help with various ailments including eyes, nose and skin issues. The majority of probiotics are given to pets who are experiencing intestinal upset, though. By giving your pet a daily dose of probiotics, the natural balance of good bacteria and bacteria can be restored. Additionally, some vets recommend giving your pet milk thistle. Milk thistle has been shown to aid in liver function, reducing inflammation and preventing disease.
What to look for in multivitamin
So, what should you look for when considering a vitamin for your pet? Vets advise you to check the label before giving any vitamin/mineral supplement to your pet and look for the following qualities:
- Contains at least eight essential vitamins, including Vitamin A, B-complex, D, and E as well as the B vitamins. Vitamins A and E are all-important antioxidants that help maintain a healthy immune system and should also be included in the supplement.
- Vitamins and minerals should be in the correct ratio for your pet’s good health.
- Highly palatable
The bad news is that some human supplements are harmful to pets. For instance, calcium actually hinders bone formation and can damage maturing joints and cartilage in puppies. Vitamin A can damage blood vessels and lead to muscle atrophy. As always, it’s important to seek guidance from your vet when considering adding supplements to your pet’s diet.
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Pet of the Week
Meet Audrey. Audrey was bottle-fed as a kitten and lived the good life until her owner became ill and Audrey had to go back to a shelter. It was there that Audrey met another angel who adopted her and gave her the very best life. Alas, sometimes love means doing what is best for others, regardless of the pain it causes you, so when Audrey’s second mom lost her job due to the pandemic, she knew that Audrey would be safer back at the shelter. Now, Audrey is awaiting another chance at love … could that be with you? To learn more, go to www.friends4life.org.