giving your pet a vet-recommended supplement? read this first!

Photo
Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Sep 16 2014


Even if your pet is the picture of health, your vet may recommend nutritional supplements to bolster your pet’s good health. Supplements and nutraceuticals are especially helpful for pets who suffer from specific ailments, as well, like arthritis, liver disease and chronic skin disease.

I know, I know—it’s hard enough to remember to take your own vitamins and supplements each day, so how can you possibly be expected to remember your pet’s as well? Our lives are busy, and while most of us consider our pets to be family members, that doesn’t always mean we keep up with their vitamin routines, despite iPhone reminders, Google calendar alerts or even good, old fashioned Post It notes.

For some people, the problem is reversed—they never fail on the routine of giving their pet daily meds, but have the hardest time remembering to take their own!

Those of you with the former problem, what’s a busy pet owner to do when your vet tells you that your pet will benefit from the addition of glucosamine, lysine, or omega 3 fatty acids to her daily regime? Well, you look for the easiest way to do that, right?

Here’s where your pet’s diet comes into play. You feed your pet every day anyway, so why not try to find a food that already has the supplement in question mixed into the kibble? That certainly sounds like a grand idea meant to make your life easier, but in reality, it rarely works. That’s because in order to get enough of some supplements, your pet would have to eat well more than her normal ration of food per day. While she might like the sound of that, your veterinarian will not!

Of course, this isn’t the case for all supplements. Just do your research before you go about supplementing your pet using pet food. Find out how much supplement your pet is supposed to get per day, and then find out what the supplement content is in a normal ration of food. If they match, voila! If not, you’ll have to try another option.

Supplement treats are a very popular option. Not only do they save you from trying to pill a stubborn dog or cat, but it also makes pet and owner happy—who doesn’t love to see the twinkle in a pet’s eye when they know they’re getting a treat? There are treat forms of many popular supplements, including lysine for cats who have recurrent respiratory tract infections and glucosamine/chondroitin for pets with achy joints.

The same rule applies, though, so be sure to check the dose offered per treat with what your pet is supposed to be getting. Too many treats will add to your pet’s waistline, so don’t go overboard.

If your vet has recommended a supplement, either to boost normal function or to support a pet’s medical condition, be sure to do your homework to find the best fit for you and your pet. Your veterinarian will have his or her favorite, so don’t hesitate to ask!