- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Let Us Not Forget Man's Best Friends, Supplements For Our Dog & Cat
When we think of naturopathic medicine and supplementing diets, we often see this mainly in human terms. We must not forget our four legged friends, who have a special place in our homes and in our hearts as well. Even though we may have covered the basics, such as a nutritious dog or cat food, as well as making sure they go to the veterinarian on a regular basis to get their needed shots. We also take care of our pets by making sure that our pets go to the groomers so we can be sure that they are free from flees and clean.
We may think we have our entire basis covered, but what about supplements. Do our dogs and cats need supplements, like we do? Believe or not, there are not enough nutrients and our pet’s food, even the best brands, to cover all our dog’s or cat’s nutritional needs. Then we must ask ourselves, what supplements do you give to your dog or cat? You can’t just go into your cabinet and give them a handful of yours, without truly addressesing your pet’s unique physiological needs. Dogs have specific needs and so do cats. Therefore addressing your pet’s supplemental needs correctly is important in caring for your pet.
Supplements for Dogs
According to Delicious Living Magazine, there are five supplements that are essential to meeting the need of our canine friends. They are the following:
- Antioxidants: Dogs can develop liver, heart and kidney disease, due to the use of such necessities as flea and tick products, and antibiotics. There are also harmful pesticides and chemicals in most commercial dog foods, the air and water your pet drinks contains pollutants as well. A good combination of vitamins of for dogs are vitamins E and C taken together to prevent inflammation, and these are beneficial for your dog’s joints, skin, and the heart. These vitamins provide your dog with an anticancer effect. If your dog is sixty pounds or more, you should give him 400 IU of vitamin of E, and 500 mg of vitamin C twice a day. If your dog is smaller give him less, in proportion to your dog's size.
- Fish Oil: To help relieve itchy skin and allergic dermatitis, as well as keeping your dog’s skin healthy. It is recommended that you give your dog 150 mgs of combined EPA and DHA fish oil. Fish oil has the added benefit of delaying arthritis in dogs that are prone to the disease. Therefore, if you want your dog to have a shiny coat and be agile, even if he is an older dog, make sure they get their daily serving of fish oil.
- Glucosamine: Larger breed dogs are more prone to mineral imbalances, and this can cause developmental problems in the growth and strength of their bones, cartilages, ligaments, and tendons. Glucosamine helps the joint fluid to become an effective lubricant. For larger dogs 1000 mgs daily is suggested, and a lesser dosage for smaller dogs, in proportion to the dog’s size.
- Coenzyme Q 10: For older dogs, who have poorer heart health due to aging, it is recommended that we give them 30 to 60mgs of CoQ10 twice daily, in proportion to the dog’s size.
- Chinese Herbs: Certain Chinese Herbs can extend the life of an older or very sick dog. Suggested Chinese Herbs for pets are ginseng, Tang Kuei (Angelica sinensis), astragalus, lycium berries, and Ling zhi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum). If you want to give these herbs to a younger dog, it is best to consult your veterinarian.
Supplements for Cats
- Enzymes: As your cat ages, his ability to absorb nutrients weakens. Supplementing your cat with enzymes can help slow down aging in your cat, and enhance your cat ability to absorb the nutrients in her food. One can obtain special digestive enzymes for cats at most cat product retailer.
- Glucosamine: Supplementing your cat with Glucosamine helps prevent the onset of arthritis. Like dogs you should administer the Glucosamine in proportion to your cat’s size.
- Probiotics: Probiotics such as Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus are often recommended for aging cats to aid with digestion and help remedy digestive ills. It is advisable to check with your veterinarian or local pet retailer, as to how much to give your cat.
- Antioxidants: To protect our feline friends from free radical damage that can lead to cancer and heart disease it is wise to give your cat antioxidants. Cats need vitamin A for healthy eyesight, maintaining healthy skin, proper digestion, for the repair of body tissues and to aid in bone and teeth formation. Cats also need vitamin C for the production of collagen, maintaining healthy skin, to promote the healing of wounds, fractures and scar tissue, to strengthen blood vessels and to support the thymus gland. Cats also need mixed carotenoids. Mixed carotenoids which is the substance that give plants their colors aid your cat by keeping her vision sharp and helping her to avoid cataracts. Your cat also needs vitamin E, which aids your cat by protecting his red blood cells, maintains healthy membrane tissues, and helps supply oxygen to your cat’s blood.
- Fish Oil: Like dogs your cat also need her Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. Fish oil helps to keep your cats coat shiny and helps promote joint and vision health.
- Taurine: Because cats cannot manufacture their own taurine, they need to obtain this amino acid either through their diet or supplementation. Insufficient taurine can lead to central retinal degeneration and blindness. Cat should consume about 1000 mgs of taurine for per 2.2 pounds of food. A diet high in protein should supply an ample amount of taurine, although it may be wise to supplement your cat with an additional 300mgs, if your cat seems to be deficient in this vital amino acid.
Choosing the Right Supplement for Your Pet
One must first be aware that animal supplements are not covered by the same regulatory requirements as human supplements.
- Products bearing the NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) seal have been inspected by NASC employees and are usually up to standard.
- Identify a Lot Number: This means that the company is careful about its manufacturing practices.
- Look at the labels: Check the ingredients to know if the supplements are in the correct proportion to your pet’s size and needs.
- Look for quality products: As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. This hold true for pet supplements as well. So choose products that have a good reputation, even if they cost a little more. Your pet will thank you.
One may wonder, are pet supplement worth the bother. That depends, if you’re satisfied with just feeding them scraps or a commercial pet food, then maybe your pet is just one of those very healthy pets that can survive on anything. On the other hand, if you want your pet to live longer, and be in better health it may be worth the extra trouble.
Here are some links for information on pet supplements: