WHAT ARE SUPPLEMENTS?
A dietary supplement is a product intended to provide nutrients that may otherwise not be consumed in sufficient quantities for complete health. Supplements can include vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, among other substances. Supplements are usually made from carefully sourced nutrients that are often scientifically proven and/or have a history (sometimes going back thousands of years) of providing real benefits to the body.
HOW ARE SUPPLEMENTS DIFFERENT THAN TRADITIONAL MEDICINE?
While medicine often temporary blocks or masks the problem or its symptoms, supplements focus on addressing the root of the problem, usually without the side effects that medicine has. Supplements focus on providing the additional nutritional building blocks a pet needs in order to stay or get healthier.
WHICH PETS SHOULD TAKE SUPPLEMENTS?
Supplements can be taken by any pet, whether it is for general wellness, or to address a specific issue. As many as 90% of consumers would prefer supplements instead of traditional medicine for their pet.*
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING A SUPPLEMENT?
Preventative care vs. expensive treatment- We know that if we eat well, take our vitamins and exercise regularly we will likely, live longer, healthier lives. This is the same for our pets. When we feed them properly, exercise them daily, take them to the veterinarian regularly and support their nutritional needs with supplements, then we are giving them all the tools we can to help them live long and healthy lives. This can also benefit us, by possibly avoiding or deterring long term health conditions that can lead to expensive veterinary care visits. The cost of veterinary medicine rose by 124% during the period 1980-2005 and is today the second highest source of pet spending after food. While every pet should have regular check-ups by a veterinarian, by using Supplements you can provide the extra nutritional support a pet needs, potentially avoiding more expensive veterinary care such as prescription drugs and surgery.
Keeping your pet healthy – While pet food usually provides the core nutrition that a pet needs, supplements can address specific deficiencies that may or may not manifest themselves visibly.
Provide non-medicinal solutions – Traditional medicine often has side effects that are sometimes worse than the problem that it is trying to solve. Since supplements are comprised of essential nutrients and fill nutritional gaps the animal may have, it can provide an alternative approach to maintaining and improving their health.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUPPLEMENTS AND FORTIFIED TREATS AND FOOD?
Nutritional supplements provide therapeutic levels of vitamins, minerals, and other dietary nutrients and have specific dosing instructions. They are not formulated to be used as a treat, or as food and follow specific labeling and regulatory guidelines to ensure compliance and efficacy.
Fortified food and treats may contain some of the same ingredients, but not at the same levels and can introduce more variability in how much the pet is getting. Sometimes, the levels can be so low in food and treats that the pet would need to eat an unhealthy amount of them before they would get enough of the active ingredient. With supplements, you know that a chew, tablet or capsule contains the specific amount of ingredients needed to support their health.
A fortified treat will often list an active ingredient as a percent of the treat’s weight or state that it contains a certain number of milligrams per kilogram of treat (usually stated as “xxx mg/kg” on the back label). This can feel like a lot but is usually less than you think.
For example, if a product says it has 500 mg/kg of glucosamine in its guaranteed analysis, that may seem like a lot, but if the treat weighs 5 grams (or 0.005kg), that means there is only 2.5mg of glucosamine in each treat. Hip & joint supplements often contain over 500mg of glucosamine per chew or tablet. In that example, a dog would need to eat 200 treats to get what is generally considered to be a therapeutic level of glucosamine!
ARE SUPPLEMENTS JUST FOR OLDER PETS?
No – pets of all ages can benefit from the right supplement. Reduced mobility and problems with joints is the number one condition for geriatric dogs and is the most common pet supplement. However, larger breeds are typically more prone to these hip and joint issues and can benefit from those supplements earlier in life and can help delay or prevent those issues from happening in the first place.
In addition, there are plenty of other reasons throughout their life that a pet may benefit from various supplements.
WHAT KIND OF SUPPLEMENTS ARE THERE?
There are dozens of different types of supplements, with many variations and combinations of ingredients and benefits. Some of the ones that we offer include:
- Behavior and Cognitive support – Helps the pet to be calm and focused
- Cardiovascular Health – CoQ10, omega fatty acids, and other minerals and vitamins
- Dental Health – Chews and powders that can address the underlying reasons for dental issues
- Dermatological Health – Omega fatty acids, biotin and vitamins that support skin health and keeping their coat looking great. Can also include support for hairball prevention for cats.
- General wellness – Multivitamins in different forms and for different ages
- Gastrointestinal Health – Usually probiotics as well as fiber, and prebiotics
- Immune Health – Vitamins, minerals, enzymes and probiotics known to help support the immune system
- Joint Health – Common ingredients include glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and Perna Canaliculus. It can also include hyaluronic acid, selenium, grape seed extract, curcumin and others.
- Liver & Kidney Health – highly specialized ingredients such as Astragalus Root Powder, L-Arginine, and SAMe
- UT and Bladder health – Look for cranberry, bromelain, probiotics and other specialized ingredients
- Flea & Tick – An alternative or complement to prescription flea and tick medication
WHEN CHOOSING A SUPPLEMENT-WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
There are so many supplement companies in the market place, it can be confusing to try and decide which company you want to trust with your pet’s health. We recommend looking for a few signs of high quality that are standard in the industry. This information can be found on company websites or packaging.
- NASC certified- The NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) was formed to help consumers recognize companies that are committed to quality, purity and transparency in the animal supplement world. It is a privilege to be granted their seal.
- cGMP certification - This indicates that the manufacturer is regularly audited and conforms to current Good Manufacturing practices when producing its products.
- NPA member- This means a company is in conformance with the Natural Products Association GMP Standard for dietary supplements.”
- Veterinarian formulated – When formulation is overseen by veterinarians, you are ensuring that the combination and quality of ingredients are designed to be effective.
- No corn, wheat and artificial ingredients – Since supplements work by providing nutritional building blocks, you don’t want anything getting in the way
- Pet friendly – supplements don’t do any good if your pet won’t eat them. Treat-like chews are often the most appealing to pets, though tablets and capsules can work for many pets as well.
- Satisfaction guarantee – This eliminates the financial risk of your pet not liking what you bought or the product not working.