As the number of people taking supplements continues to grow, so does the number of people providing supplements to their pets. In fact, nearly one-third of pet owners are currently providing pet supplements to their canine and feline friends to improve the quality of their pets’ lives, as well as increase their longevity. It’s understandable we want nothing but the best for our four-legged friends and it only makes sense that our furry companions can benefit from a little supplemental nutrition, just like us humans do.
However, choosing the right supplements for your pet can be overwhelming since the market is flooded with a myriad of brands and different supplements, promising miraculous results. The good news? You don’t have to be a veterinarian or an animal nutritionist to know which pet supplements are worth your time and money, and most of all – safe for your pet.
Get the facts on everything you need to know about pet supplements and how to choose the ones that are safe and right for your pet with our comprehensive, all-in-one guide.
Never worry about caring for your pet again!
First Things First: What are Pet Supplements?
Basically, a pet supplement is anything you feed your pets to enrich their normal diet. A supplement is a concentrated ingredient that is added to the diet for nutritional or therapeutic benefits. Examples of supplements include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, botanicals, and enzymes.
Dietary pet supplements are substances added to a food, usually to make it nutritionally complete and balanced. Therapeutic pet supplements, also called nutraceuticals or animal health supplements, are taken orally to provide a health benefit, either for the prevention or the treatment of disease.
Types of Pet Supplements
Pet supplements have become more and more popular, and for good reason! They help ensure your pet has everything it needs to live a long, healthy, and comfortable life. But, not all supplements are created equal. Supplements come in all shapes, colors, and sizes – just like our pets. Much like humans, each pet has unique needs that may require different essential nutrients to ensure their wellness is in peak condition.
Some common types of supplements are listed below:
- Skin and Coat Supplements
- Digestive Supplements
- Muscle Supplements
- Calming Supplements
- Pet Allergy Supplements
- Multivitamins and Supplements for Overall Wellness
Before choosing a specific type of pet supplement, keep in mind what benefit you’re trying to provide your pet with. After all, you and your vet know what’s best for your love bug.
Pet Supplements for Dogs & Dog Vitamins
If you are considering providing your canine friend with pet supplements to help improve their overall health, you’ve come to the right place.
Are supplements necessary for dogs?
There are a few reasons to add specific nutrients to a dog’s diet. The first is to compensate for a known or suspected deficiency of the nutrient in question. Dogs with particular health and wellness concerns may also benefit from quality pet supplements. Supplements can be extra helpful for senior dogs or dogs eating homemade meals.
Are vitamins safe for dogs?
Yes. But, you can have too much of a good thing. Dogs fed an appropriate diet should not require vitamin supplements unless recommended otherwise by a veterinarian. It’s important not to give extra vitamins with the thought that you are creating a super healthy dog. Keep in mind that excess of a certain mineral or vitamin can be just as harmful as lack of it.
What supplements do vets recommend for dogs?
Fatty acid supplements, like Immunopet, are known to help reduce inflammation, which is why most veterinary dermatologists recommend them for almost any inflammatory skin condition. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are joint pet supplements recommended for extra-big dogs, aging cats and dogs, and any creature predisposed to arthritis. Vets will also often recommend a probiotic supplement for a pet struggling with digestive problems, and vitamins if it’s lacking any nutrients.
How do I choose a Dog Supplement?
Keep on reading! Follow our guide below to find the right type of supplement for your tail-wagging friend.
Pet Supplements for Cats
What about our feline friends?
Should Cats Take Supplements?
The same rules apply to our purry feline friends: the use of supplements is usually not necessary if you are feeding a balanced and complete diet. Your cat may need a pet supplement if they have a medical condition. Cats that are pregnant and nursing may also develop nutritional deficiencies that require supplementation, and older cats can benefit from pet supplements, as well.
What Supplements Do Cats Need?
Nutrition is a particularly nuanced issue and speaking with a veterinarian can help guide you in whether a certain health supplement is right for your cat.
Assessing Pet Supplements: How to Choose The Right Supplements for Your Pet
The amount of supplements available for your pet has grown rapidly over the last 10 years, meaning it has become increasingly difficult to know which one to choose (or if your pet needs one at all). So, being a responsible pet parent means you need to do your homework on exactly what makes a good and safe pet supplement. But, how can you tell the real supplements apart from their snake oil cousins? The secret is research – a well-informed pet owner results in a healthy, happy pet.
To supplement intelligently, you have to understand exactly what is in each pet supplement you feed your animals and have compelling reasons to feed it. There are certain golden rules that can help you find the best supplement for your pet. You want a supplement that is:
Full of active ingredients
Always try to find pet supplements with as many active ingredients as possible, like ImmunoPet. These ingredients are responsible for the physiological effects that provide benefits and are the basis for health claims. You want each item in your pet’s supplement to serve a clear health purpose.
Free of fillers
What many consumers don’t know is, in addition to vitamins and minerals, pet supplements also contain many unnecessary ingredients. This means you should steer clear of ingredients like binders and added flavors, which primarily serve as fillers and aren’t natural. Instead, opt for all-natural pet supplements, like ImmunoPet, whose 100% natural, vegetable-derived components ensure that your four-legged companion is safe and allow nature to do its job for your pet’s health.
You want your pet supplements bioavailable, so your pet could actually use all the nutrients. Few pet supplements have been specifically designed to be absorbed and retained by the dog or cat’s body, so they ultimately get destroyed by the pet’s stomach acids. ImmunoPet capsules are enteric-coated, which enables them to avoid destruction by the harsh stomach conditions. It also contains cellasate – a unique component designed to facilitate retention and absorption at the cellular level.
Safe & Effective
Finally, choose a supplement that’s been reviewed and approved by a regulatory body or veterinary authority. This can help ensure the pet supplement you’re feeding your furry companion is both safe and effective. Choose brands with confirmed expertise that have been on the market for a long or the ones that have commissioned clinical studies of their products. Also, read labels carefully to ensure quality and safety. ImmunoPet is a member of the Canadian Low-Risk Veterinary Health Products Program #NN.J05K. Very few products carry this certification. Before picking any supplements for your pet, it’s best to consult with your vet, taking your pet’s medical history and present state of health into account.
Pet Supplement Regulation
Who regulates pet supplements?
Most animal health supplements are considered “drugs of low regulatory priority” and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If the product is intended as a source of minerals and vitamins for a non-human food chain animal (dogs, cats, and horses), it is classified as a nutritional supplement and regulated by the FDA. However, some classes of animal products come under the jurisdiction of other individual Federal or State government agencies. Most states follow the recommendations of AAFCO.
Regulation gray area
The regulation of animal supplements is quite a confusing arena. Since many natural health products and supplements are not considered pharmaceuticals, they are not regulated and therefore do not have to meet the same strict requirements. This leaves it up to the consumer to become informed about the integrity and ethics of the manufacturer to provide assurance that a pet supplement is effective and safe.
The Ultimate Pet Supplements FAQ’s
We’ve put together an overview of some of the common questions pet owners have about pet supplements and nutrition, to keep you in the loop.
Where to buy pet supplements?
You can buy pet supplements online, or in your vet’s office. However, always do research before buying one – use our handy guide to choose the right supplement for your pet.
How should I introduce a new supplement to my pet?
Do your homework and choose the supplement that’s right for your pet’s needs. Don’t overdo it – start small, then add more if they’re well-tolerated and/or if recommended.
Why would I need a supplement if my pet is eating a healthy, balanced diet?
Today’s pet foods do an admirable job of providing balanced nutrition, but certain animals may be lacking nutrients due to their medical condition, age, or breed. Supplements can help bridge the gap and help promote better health.
Are human and pet supplements the same?
No. Supplement dosages and ingredients can be very different for animals. Additionally, some of the natural ingredients routinely used in human supplements can be toxic to animals, even though they have no adverse effects on humans.
Are pet supplements suitable for both dogs and cats?
Some supplements can be taken by both cats and dogs, but most are specifically formulated for one or the other. Check the label when in doubt.
Are pet supplements made for life-long use or should I just use them once in a while?
Many supplements are for temporary use, to get through a condition or other health issues, but some supplements are just a great idea for daily health maintenance. Ask your veterinarian for advice.
How to avoid common mistakes with pet supplements?
Over-supplementing is a big no-no! Always make sure you adjust the dosage according to product guidelines, and your pet’s age, weight and other needs. Specific nutrients also need to be fed in a proper ratio to another nutrient, while mixing certain herbs with certain medications can produce very dangerous results. Learn more about safe medication here.
What should I look for on a pet supplement label or package?
When choosing a pet supplement, it is important to know what’s in the product. Every package should have the name and contact information of the manufacturer. It should contain information about the product’s contents, ideally with some sort of a minimum analysis of the active ingredients. It should also contain information about any inert or carrier substances that are present, such as milk, sugar, whey, and vegetable or animal proteins. For herbal products, the label should also include the Latin name of the plant, a harvest date or an expiration date, and the number of active constituents.
All Natural Pet Supplements: Choose Wisely
As a responsible owner, you should take the time to study different options that are available for your pet, instead of just picking up the first attractive product you see at the supermarket. Not even cats have nine lives, so it’s important to give your pets the best life you can. Feeding your pet a well-balanced diet that contains all essential nutrients in the right proportions is key. Regular checkups with the vet will help you determine when and if supplements are needed.
With a little due diligence, you can enhance the health of your pet in a safe and effective way by sourcing high-quality pet supplements from companies that care for your pets just as much as you do, like ImmunoPet.
Jack was born and educated in Ireland and U.K. He has a varied education, mostly in engineering projects. Since then he has worked with a number of major companies with interests in various parts of the world. His personal interests include athletics, cross country skiing and especially long distance running. Jack has competed in many running events and some at an international level, including many marathons. He has always had a keen interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. More recently he has specialized in the areas of health and supplements, with a special focus on the immune system.