Supplements are a great way to improve your pet’s life without having to change their entire diet or add time to your routine. The majority of supplements are made to be added to your pet's meal and require little-to-no time at all. Some even come in treat form to make treat time even more rewarding.
Supplements can be rotated in and out of diets by necessity or can become a staple in your routine. Often we get stuck using one supplement in particular. Branching out and swapping what you use can increase diversity in treatment.
All mammals maintain a system of vitamins and nutrients that we replenish through our diet. While most pet food diets are formulated to be "complete and balanced" those vitamin and minerals can degrade over time, and depending on how the food is stored/served, can degrade even further. Many pets need an additional boost in their diet.
It can be difficult to determine exactly which vitamins and minerals your pet's diet needs. Multi-vitamins are made to cover the scope of the most common vitamins needed to help their body replenish its stores.
Observe any symptoms, how long they have been going on, and keep a record of things you have tried to help narrow down the selection process. If you try one supplement and it does not work, make a note of the changes you saw in your animal (physically and/or behaviorally) for future reference.
Supplements are designed to help your pet utilize their body to the fullest. There are supplements designed for daily use or to be added as-needed to the diet.
When Should I Add A Supplement?
We often think of supplements as being limited to before or after surgery, getting over an illness, or weaning off prescriptions. While these are all awesome times to utilize them, supplementing your pet's diet can help prevent many common medical issues.
Senior animals, in particular, can benefit from supplements to their diet. As their body ages, it needs a bit more help replenishing the body with nutrients. Hip and joint problems are also much more common in older dogs.
Supplements can be used at any time to keep your pet as healthy as possible!
Many animals suffer from the same types of ailments. Below are some of the most common illnesses or issues that animals face, and the supplements that can help.
Hip and Joint Issues
Many animals, particularly older pets, are prone to hip dysplasia, arthritis, and joint inflammation.
The common ingredients found in products designed to help them rebuild their muscle strength are:
- naturally found in the cartilage between joints
- helps the body rebuild joints, tendons, and ligaments
- can help prevent joint breakdown and pain
- one of the building blocks of cartilage
- helps to lubricate the joints
- often works in tandem with glucosamine
- found naturally in bully sticks, and esophagus chews
- helps connective tissue repair joints
- CBD derived from hemp plants can help the body reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation
- can help to slow arthritis from spreading
- for more information on medical CBD, check out our article on how hemp can help your pet
Whether it is due to a food switch, a round of antibiotics, or a sensitive stomach, many animals have digestive upset at one point or another. Check out our article going a little bit deeper into digestive issues. Here are some of the common solutions that can help:
- we have thousands of probiotics already living in our gut, which help to break down food and act as our bodies natural antibiotic
- by adding extra probiotics to food, it can help the body replenish and help your pet get the most nutrition out of their food
- 80% of the immune system is located in the gut, by building up probiotics, you also build up your pet's immunity
- help grow probiotics in the gut
- while probiotics can be added to any pet's diet, prebiotics can help harmful bacteria as well and should not be added to every pet's meal
- enzymes and probiotics work together to identify and break down food particles
Anxiety (social and separation)
Anxiety can cause behavioral issues such as chewing, marking, and other destructive tendencies. Separation anxiety may not come with physical side effects, but keeping our pet's mental state balanced is important.
Most calming products work for hours at a time and can be administered as needed. Whether in treat, liquid, or even diffuser form, here are some of the most common calming product types.
- by replicating the pheromones that pets emit naturally,
pheromones help replicate animals' natural sense of calm
- collars/diffusers/sprays can be used to ease your pet into new situations, or keep the peace in a multi-pet household
- by replicating the pheromones that pets emit naturally,
- there are many different types of herbal remedies that can help soothe pets' nerves
- most often a blend of flowers and herbs is used, such as chamomile, lemon balm, valerian root, and echinacea
Skin and Coat
Skin issues can arise for multiple reasons--our pet's diet being one of the most prominent. Hot spots, dry/itchy skin, and dull coats are common symptoms.
Omega 3’s and 6’s
- these fatty acids are utilized by the body for more than just a shiny coat, they help with cognitive function as well
- Omega 3's are not naturally produced by the body, but are found naturally in fatty fish, eggs, and flaxseed
- the most overlooked element when helping a pet's skin is the moisture content of their diet
- skin is the largest organ and is the last to get any water, so the body must have extra in order to deliver any nutrients out to the skin
- add water to their food to ensure they are getting enough moisture in their diet
When deciding on a supplement, it is important to take a look at the active ingredients and dosage amounts. They will vary depending on your pet's size and need.
Don't Fear The Freezer
Frozen supplements are a great and easy way to add fresh goodness to your dog or cat's diet. Simply thaw them out (on the counter or in the fridge) and you are ready to go! Frozen supplements can be added as a topper, separately, or as a treat on their own.
Here are some of our favorite frozen supplements (and their benefits)!
Fermented Fish Stock (frozen)
- Fish bone broth and fermented sardines
- It has a huge list of medical benefits some of which include: joint health, hypothyroidism, liver detox, digestion health, skin and coat, diabetes, immune boosting, kidney/renal issues
- Great as a topper for picky cats!
Goat Milk (frozen raw or dehydrated)
- A universal small animal milk (perfect for puppies and kittens!)
- Great for aiding in digestion
- Helps when switching to a raw diet
- Put it on top of your wet food or re-hydrate raw with it
- Pour it into a bowl on its own
- Helps to build the immune system
Green Juju (frozen)
- Made in Seattle with local produce
Buffalo bone broth base
- natural source of gelatin (great for the stomach and joints)
Fresh vegetables that have been juiced for optimum absorbability
- Anti-oxidants that help boost the immune system
- Turmeric for anti-inflammatory properties
- Can be added to raw, kibble, or wet food
- For smaller dogs, chop it into smaller pieces and save in an ice cube tray
There are a huge number of options when it comes to choosing the right supplement for your pet. Pets on Broadway is here to help.