Veterinarians often recommend supplementing a pet's diet with a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals or amino acids to improve their health.
The foundation for a pet's nutrition is a well-balanced diet. In our article on selecting nutritious food for your pet, we detail essential requirements such as:
- diets based on your pet's life stage (nothing meant for "all life stages")
- diets with an AAFCO statement (tested or formulated to be nutritionally complete)
- portion control (obesity is the #1 most-diagnosed condition in pets in our area)
- not raw or grain-free
If you've got that covered, there are still reasons pets might need nutritional supplementation.
We need to state clearly here that this article is meant to give more information on supplements that have been specifically recommended for your pet by their veterinarian, for three reasons:
Many items that claim to provide benefits that seem to fit your pet's needs are poor in quality or simply have no controlled studies or research to back up their claims. A good example of this is the many CBD products on the market that claim to help with a wide range of human and pet complaints. The truth is there have been no studies to show they produce the benefits they claim. We just don't know enough yet.
Without a Degree in Veterinary Medicine, we are not qualified to diagnose our own pet's conditions. Sometimes we guess right, but sometimes not, and that's a big gamble. Your vet will be happy to approve supplements that "can't hurt and might help" or supplements that we know provide actual results for pets they've examined.
Not all brands are created equal. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, meaning they do not undergo the same testing for quality and efficacy as pharmaceutical and food products do. This is why it is particularly important with supplements to be choosy with brands, and to take your Veterinarian's recommendations or gain their approval of a supplement first.
Supplements we routinely recommend:
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements
Fatty-acid supplements are usually derived from fish oil. There is strong evidence that they aid in cell growth and can improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. They are very safe (very low risk of side-effects) and widely available.
• CVS Fish Oil concentrate capsules (small dogs and cats)
• Trader Joe’s Molecularly Distilled Omega-3 FAS – Odorless (large dogs)
In our article on joint care, we go into more depth about the essential elements to supporting your pet's mobility including weight loss and encouraging regular "low impact" movement. In addition, joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin are frequently recommended for our patients.
Probiotics are quickly becoming a preferred first-line defense and treatment to ensure gut health. Balancing gut flora by providing additional colonies of active bacteria and yeasts can help restore gastrointestinal comfort and prevent bad bacteria from causing GI distress.
• Vet Visbiome - 112.5 CFUs for small dog and cat; 225 CFUs for large dog
Daily Kitty Supplements
Two probiotic and nutrient combinations formulated just for cats that might be recommended if your kitty displays anxious behavior (Calm Care Fortiflora) and in kitties who get the sniffles from time to time and can use an immune-boost (Imuquin).
OTC flea preventatives
We strongly recommend the prescription-only Revolution topical (and Revolution Plus for cats) or Simparica Trio for dogs. These products provide protection from fleas, heartworm, roundworm, hookworms, ticks and tapeworm. However, if you are not in a position to invest in these products or your doctor has prescribed additional treatment to cover heavy infestations of fleas, you may need an alternative. There are over-the-counter products we do NOT like, so we want to steer you towards the ones we DO like:
It's important to follow the dosing amount and schedule on the label or specifically recommended by your Veterinarian. If you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org