What are Pet Supplements?
Pet supplements generally refer to complementary pet food products that offer additional nutrients or functional ingredients, as well as snacks or treats.
Types of Pet Supplements:
- Products that offer additional nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements often in powdered or liquid form. These are typically fed alongside a diet that is not complete (e.g. home-made food, commercial pet food that is not complete).
- Products containing functional ingredients (offering a wide range of health benefits, available in a whole array of dry, moist, or semi-moist formats)
- Snacks and treats used for training or simply bonding between the owner and their pet.
What are functional ingredients?
Often referred to as nutraceuticals, these components can offer specific health benefits if they are consumed on a regular basis as part of your pet’s diet. Depending on the use and the species of the animal, the components could belong to prebiotics, probiotics, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, or some vitamins and minerals.
Do Pets on 'Complete Meals' still require Supplementation?
The answer is yes and no. In general, if you are feeding your healthy pet a ‘complete’ meal from a reputable brand, additional supplementation is not required unless it is to treat a specific ailment.
Your pet has different nutritional needs at different life stages and lifestyle (active vs sedentary) also plays apart. Many pet food manufacturers produce foods designed to meet the nutritional requirements for “all life stages", which means that food is formulated to meet the dietary needs of a puppy/kitten and is inappropriate for adult and senior dogs. If you think about it simply, a kitten will not have the same nutritional needs as a senior cat. If you are feeding your pet for “all life stages” or incomplete meals, additional supplementation will be required for your pet.
In certain scenarios even pets on commercial complete and life stage appropriate meals can benefit from additional supplementation. For example, long haired cats or dogs require slightly higher essential fatty acid intakes to maintain optimal skin health and hair quality.
Supplements can also be used to treat specific ailments that your pet may be suffering from such as arthritis from old age, cancer, digestive issues, heart murmur, stress, loss of appetite, kidney and liver issues.
Supplementation to treat specific Ailments:
Natural Herbal Supplements
Similar to TCM that some of us rely on to treat common ailments like colds and fevers, supplement manufacturers like NHV Pet Products offer a full spectrum of herbal blends crafted from organically grown or ethically wild crafted herbs that is condition focused and can support over 150 different pet health ailments from Cancer to Cushing’s to heart and digestive issues, thyroid problems and more.
Glucosamine is commonly fed to pets to help protect the joints to prevent or slow progression of arthritis. These work to increase lubrication within the joint as well as repair cartilage. They will not eliminate arthritis or correct any structural abnormalities but they can help support the joint functions. Such supplements are generally recommended for older or senior cats/dogs.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Another widely used dietary supplement that has many functions and is a great additive to many foods is omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are a powerful anti-inflammatory for the skin and joints and can help support the function of multiple organs.
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, they balance the internal environment to prevent disease and promote health. They perform task such as helping to break down food, making nutrients and vitamins, fighting off potential pathogens and strengthen immunity.
Studies have also shown that probiotics have the below benefits for your pet:
- Manage yeast and support the immune system
- Prevent anxiety
- Reduce stress
- Affect mood and emotions
- Improve diarrhea and food allergies
Examples of good probiotics include Because, Animals Omega & Probiotics Sprinkles, Fera Pet organics Organic Probiotics with Prebiotics for Dogs & Cats, Furment series of Posbiotics and Protexin Pro-Kolin Pet anti-diarrhoea paste.
Hopefully this article has been informative enough to help you better understand the need and use cases for Pet Supplements. To see more curated and good quality pet products, do visit our online store that specializes in Pet Supplements here.