Best Pet Supplements for Improve Health
By: Travis McDermott DVM
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In my practice as a small animal veterinarian, I am asked almost daily about which pet supplements I recommend. I often tell clients that while I believe that certain supplements are very important, the supplement game is a tricky one. Any time I evaluate a potential supplement, I want to know two things:
- Does the pet need this supplement?
- Which of the 1000s of brands that produce this supplement will give us a quality product?
The first important question is does the pet need this supplement? Most pets (the ones on a high quality, commercially prepared pet food will get the majority of their vitamins and minerals from that food. These diets are specifically formulated to be balanced with the proper ratios of vitamins and minerals. When we consider a supplement, we have to ask do they need it and if we give it, will affect the balance of the food.
When evaluating pet supplements we also have to take into account that this segment of the pet nutrition market is very poorly regulated. With any supplement, the major concerns we have are do they have the appropriate amounts of desired supplement and is it in a form that is readily usable by the pet. When I recommend supplements, I usually recommend brands that have research and a proven track record to back them up. This doesn’t mean that there are not other good pet supplements available – just that I don’t feel confident recommending them.
Here are my recommendations for supplements:
BEST SUPPLEMENTS FOR PETS
- BEST GASTROINTESTINAL SUPPLEMENT FOR DOGS: Purina Fortiflora for Dogs
- BEST GASTROINTESTINAL SUPPLEMENT FOR CATS: Purina Fortiflora for Cats
- BEST JOINT SUPPLEMENT FOR DOGS: Nutramax Dasuquin for Dogs
- BEST JOINT SUPPLEMENT FOR CATS: Nutramax Cosequin for Cats
- BEST SKIN SUPPLEMENT FOR DOGS: Nutramax Welactin Omega-3 Skin and Coat Support for Dogs
- BEST SKIN SUPPLEMENT FOR CATS: Nutramax Welactin Omega-3 Skin and Coat Support for Cats
- BEST MULTIVITAMIN FOR DOGS/CATS: A Good Dog/Cat Food
Just as probiotics can be beneficial for our digestive health, our pets can benefit for them as well. Purina FortiFlora Probiotics for Dogs and Cats is the number one probiotic recommended by veterinarians. This essential pet supplement promotes healthy digestion and intestinal microflora and also helps puppies, kittens, adult dogs and adult cats with diarrhea. It is easy to give to your pets as it is a powder and can be added to their regular food. This safe and effective formula can also help reduce gas. Use daily!
Features of Purina Probiotics
- Number one probiotic supplement for dogs and cats
- Safe for puppies, kittens, adult dogs and adult cats
- 30-ct box – for one month of use
- Proprietary capping process for stability
2. BEST JOINT SUPPLEMENT FOR DOGS: Nutramax Dasuquin for Dogs
As our dogs age we want to make sure that they are getting vital supplements to help their joints. Dasuquin MSM Chewable Tablets is the number one joint supplement brand that is veterinarian recommended. These pork flavored tabs promote your dog’s active lifestyle by promoting healthy strong joints and cartilage. This product has also been peer-reviewed to be safe and effective for your pup. Just like as we get older we need glucosamine, so do our dogs.
Features of Dasuquin MSM Chewable Tablets
- Number one joint supplement brand for dogs
- Support for active adult dogs
- Pork flavored, glucosamine hydrochloride with sodium chondroitin sulfate
3. BEST JOINT SUPPLEMENT FOR CATS: Nutramax Cosequin for Cats
When our cats age we need to make sure they are staying strong by giving them supplements for their active lifestyles. Be sure to give them the top recommended veterinarian brand Nutramax Cosequin Sprinkle Capsules. With glucosamine, manganese and chondroitin sulfate these supplements will help maintain joint health. They also uphold existing cartilage from diminishing and promote the creation of new cartilage. This supplement also helps with bladder health in cats.
Features of Cosequin Sprinkle Caps
- Maintain health of joints
- Held to pharmaceutical standards
- Proven to be effective
4. BEST SKIN SUPPLEMENT: Nutramax Welactin Omega-3 Skin and Coat Support for Dogs and Nutramax Welactin Omega-3 Skin and Coat Support for Cats
Fish oil supplementation is probably one of the most beneficial supplements for pets and humans. Welactin Omega-3 Skin and Coat Support Liquid is great for dogs and cats of all sizes. This liquid is a great source of fatty acids from wild caught fish in cold waters. Some of the benefits include healthy skin, heart, immune and kidney health and can promote healthy vision. Recent research also shows major benefits to joint health as well. No need to worry, this oil is tested for hard metals and extracted from small fish which are less susceptible to toxins. Can be taken once a day added to your pet’s food.
Features of Welactin Omega-3
- Tasty liquid that is taken with food
- Beneficial for the health of skin, heart, immune system and more.
- Quality tested
5. BEST MULTIVITAMIN FOR DOGS/CATS: A Good Dog/Cat Food
If you are feeding your pet a high quality, commercially prepared diet, you do not need to supplement with a multivitamin. The body can only utilize so much of certain vitamins – any excess is excreted out of the body. Basically, you get expensive waste in your backyard. If you are feeding a homemade diet (which I do not usually recommend), then a multivitamin can be useful. There are nutritional consultation services through places such as UC Davis College of Veterinary Medicine that will help you calculate the proper ratio of vitamins and minerals to supplement any homemade diet. I do not recommend human multivitamin for pets.