You love your pet and you want them to be healthy and happy. So, you buy the best food available, make sure that they get regular checkups, walk them and spend time playing with and grooming them to keep them happy. But what if you could help them be even healthier simply by taking vitamins? Veterinary science and proponents of holistic medicine have found there are many ways you can add quality of life to your pet.
Research has found many minerals and vitamins that will help your pet to live a healthier and more comfortable life. However, you do not want to go purchase vitamins at your local superstore. In fact, the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) has set very exact guidelines for pet supplements. So, if you are considering adding vitamin supplements to your pet’s diet, be sure you get those that meet the following specifications:
· Are American made
· Water soluble
· Designed specifically for animals
· Backed by double blind chemical trials
· Companies should provide complete contact info
· Offer a satisfaction guarantee
· Have a full-time veterinarian on staff who is readily available
One should also keep in mind that giving your pet supplements (also called a nutraceutical) in no way lessens the need for your pet to have a healthy diet. In addition, when giving your pet vitamin supplements, studies have found that pets do better when given a small amount of several supplements rather than a large amount of a single supplement. Of course, just like in humans, some vitamins should not be mixed with various medications, so it is recommended that you do not begin a vitamin regiment for your pet without first talking to a vet.
However, if your pet seems to be need of some natural help, but you don’t know where to start, here are some commonly used supplements shown to be helpful.
Coenzyme Q10 is used to promote cardiovascular health, periodontal health concerns like gum disease, gingivitis and mouth inflammation, diabetes, digestive processes and functions of the immune system. It is found in organ meats, legumes, rice, canola oil and migratory fish such as mackerel and sardines. Pet owners should keep in mind that it is not recommended for dogs under 7 years old to be given Coenzyme Q10 supplements. Like anything, it is important that your pets be given the proper dosage. Keep these amounts, based on 30mg. capsules, in mind:
Cats: One capsule daily
Dogs: 2-50 pounds-1 capsule daily; 51-100 pounds-2 capsules daily; 101-150 pounds-3capsules daily; and 151-200 pounds-4 capsules daily.
B Vitamins are ideal for appetite stimulation and typically come in powdered form making it easy to mix into your pet’s food. While there are many B vitamins, four are commonly used in pet care.
· Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) improves a pet’s appetite, can keep seizures at bay and improves mental health. In addition, B1 is helpful for hyperactivity in cats and is a natural flea repellant.
· Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is commonly used for cats to treat the following problems: loss of appetite, fatigue and mouth ulcers.
· Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) maintains a consistent appetite, encourages healthy reproduction and
reduces risk of birth defects.
· Vitamin B12 promotes your pet’s ability to digest and absorb food. Dosage should be kept low beginning with 1 to 2 cc daily with no more than 5 cc daily.
Vitamin C is used to fight off infections, build the immune system and maintain the skin’s health. In addition, when combined with Vitamin D, it strengthens tendons and ligaments. It can be given (250 to 500 mg) twice a day for an average sized dog.
Vitamin E improves footpad health and works as a mild anti-inflammatory. Thenormal dosage is 400IU two times a day.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are especially helpful for older dogs and cats to improve joint health and surfaces. It is typically given twice daily in 500 mg doses as a proactive supplement
Milk Thistle is one of the most commonly recommended herbs by holistic vets. It is used to treat liver disease as it helps the pet’s liver remove toxins and lowers risk of bacterial and viral infections. It is often combined with zinc and manganese as these work together to help the body absorb antioxidants.
Many other vitamins and minerals can be used to add quality of life to your pet. And whether you choose to use all of these supplements or just a few of them, you-and your pet- are sure to be pleased with the results. But remember, some of the best things you can do to keep your pet happy is to just spend time with them, be sure they eat healthy foods and that they get plenty of exercise. So, go enjoy your pet-it’s good for both of you!