The Scoop on Supplements
Lifestyle Dietary supplements aren't just for humans. Learn how they can help your pet get the essential nutrients they may be missing from their diet.
If your pet is incessantly scratching hot spots, suffering from runny eyes, or sporting a dull, greasy coat, you should take a good hard look at what your pet is eating.
“Feeding your dog or cat high-quality fresh food without chemical additives, preservatives, or by-products is the surest way to achieve optimum health,” says Dr. Christina Chambreau, a homeopathic veterinarian based in Maryland.
The problem is that most domestic canine and feline diets consist of processed food. When pet food is processed at a high temperature — like most kibble is — much of the food’s natural vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids are compromised.
But the main issue for those who are concerned with pet nutrition is the high level of carbohydrates in processed kibble. An overly high carb intake — coupled with a low intake of other necessary nutrients — can cause a nutritional imbalance in pets leading to several chronic health issues.
Health starts on the inside
Incorporating dietary supplements into a pet’s nutritional regimen is a great way to address this imbalance and improve chronic health problems like hot spots, allergies, and greasy skin. But make sure the supplements are approved — with a Veterinary Health Product number from Health Canada — and that they only contain Health Canada-approved ingredients.
Many pet supplements do not include both omega-3 and omega-6, which are the two essential fatty acids that pets must obtain through their diet. Those on a processed food diet get more than enough omega-6, but not nearly enough omega-3 or a-linolenic acid, which can ultimately result in skin problems.
The best fatty acid supplements for the vast majority of dogs and cats are omega-3, -6 and -9 blends made from a combination of fish oils — such as salmon, sardine, or herring — and vegetable-derived oils like flax that have a-linolenic acid. There are several supplements on the market — such as Canadian brand BiologicVET — that contain the right fatty acids to support your pet’s overall health.
“BiologicVET supplements are carefully formulated to work to maximize the nutritional content of your pet’s diet,” says Ken Cowan, the company’s National Sales Manager.
For healthier skin and coats, for example, Cowan suggests BioSKIN&COAT — a prebiotic powder that can be easily mixed into any food and contains a natural, bioflavonoid-based antihistamine. Regular use alongside a balanced fatty acid supplement helps to alleviate allergies, supports healthy immune and hormone function, and keeps your pet’s coat shiny.
When it comes to your four-legged friend, it’s important to keep the same eye on their diet in the way you would your own. “Pet owners appreciate the nutritional value from organic, wholesome, and fresh produce when it comes to their health,” says Dr. Chambreau. “Yet, amazingly, when it comes to feeding their pets and their pets’ health, they ignore all that they believe to be true.”