Pet owners might be familiar with the importance of supplements. We use them to get the necessary amount of vitamins, minerals, and other elements necessary to improve our overall health. However, human supplements are not the same as animal ones.
Different species have unique dietary requirements, and some ingredients found in human supplements can be fatal for dogs or cats.
Are these supplements really necessary? Could they even be harmful to your pets? What are some efficient ways to care for your pet’s central nervous system?
Supplements Are Very Common
We are used to thinking about supplements in positive terms. Humans use these supplements to ensure a healthy lifestyle, and because we are so used to them, we usually don’t think twice before giving our pets some supplements.
A study published back in 2006 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimated that two-thirds of pet owners (the study was limited to cats and dogs) stated they purchased their pet’s supplements from a veterinarian.
Most pet owners reported giving their pets multivitamins and fatty acids to help with their overall health. Nevertheless, not every pet owner surveyed confirmed if they had consulted with their pet’s veterinarian if the supplements were necessary.
More often than not, people will consider giving their pets supplements without any clinical signs of an illness and without knowing much about the brand they buy from.
The Tough-to-Swallow Pills About Supplements
Regrettably, animal supplements don’t enjoy the same oversight that human ones have. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has different regulations regarding animal supplements, and unfortunately, there is still a grey legal area where some companies offer supplements that don’t perform as promised.
Also, as our understanding of animal dietary requirements advances, the industry changes.
Supplements are, by definition, supplementary to your pet’s usual intake of required minerals and vitamins. Your primary concern should be to ensure your cat’s or dog’s proper nutrition.
There’s still a lot we need to figure out about cats’ diets, but we do have a much better understanding of dogs’ dietary needs. If you have a healthy dog, you could continue to feed them any reputable commercial brand of food and be confident that they’re getting everything they need.
If you want to follow a more natural and organic diet avoiding processed food, you should consult with your dog’s veterinarian about what constitutes proper nutrition for your pet.
Some supplements have positive effects on dogs. Consider that Omega-3 fatty acids can help your dog’s coat look shiny and healthy. Some antioxidants like Vitamins C and E can help reduce inflammation and memory problems in aging dogs.
Still, we will join other colleagues in warning that you should always consult with a professional veterinarian about your pet’s health status. There just isn’t sufficient research on the long-term effects of these supplements on your pet’s health.
Choosing the Right Supplement to a Healthy Diet
Our first recommendation is that you should consult with a veterinary specialist about the dietary supplements your pet needs. Keep in mind that these supplements should not be the sole focus of your attention.
You should also be careful about the products you buy. It would be best if you find a brand that specializes in one area. Some companies claim to have one-size-fits-all solutions that lead nowhere. Instead, manufacturers focusing on one area tend to commission clinical studies that support their health-improvement claims.
Do some research on the brand that catches your attention. Look for quality-control check indicators such as a lot number and label information summarizing health benefits. You could also check the National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements to corroborate the information.
Are There Supplements for Neurological Disorders?
Managing any disorders with your pet’s central nervous system (CNS) is challenging. Some supplements you could consider as a means to prevent neurological disorders include those with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You may find some commercial products like turmeric contributing to these antioxidant properties.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also presumed to have positive effects on cognitive functions, but you should always consult with your pet’s healthcare provider before making a choice.
Remember, there is no substitute for a healthy diet, only supplementary items that can help your pet. Make sure to include sufficient sources of protein in your dog’s meals to help with their health and avoid the rapid onset of neurological disorders.
What Good Dog Nutrition Looks Like
What should I feed my dog might be a question as old as time itself when it comes to veterinary care. In our profession, we want to ensure pet parents know how to care for their dogs, starting with proper nutrition so their loved ones can grow and live happy lives that aren’t as dependent on specialized neurological veterinary help. Nutrition plays an essential role in the best possible quality of life for your dog.
Technically speaking, dogs evolved as carnivores. However, their classification as omnivores is more accurate. You’ll be happy to know that your dog can meet their nutritional needs by eating a combination of foods, as they can digest them and obtain their full nutritional value.
In the case of dogs, the matter of the source is not as important as the fact that your pet obtains the proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fats they require.
Good dog nutrition is built on these six pillars:
- Sufficient water intake (yes, this is especially true for those hot summer months here in California).
You should take your dog to a veterinarian to determine what your pet’s specific needs are because all these parameters change with age, breed, and more. One helpful parameter to determine your dog’s dietary needs is their weight.
Your trusted vet neurologist can provide you with a more accurate recommendation, but based on your pet’s lifestyle, you can use a simple formula to determine your their caloric requirement:
30 x weight in kg (or pounds divided by 2.2) + 70 = daily caloric needs
The Bottom Line
There are no magic veterinary supplements for brain health. Neurological disorders can occur due to several reasons. Some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to brain function problems. You can learn more about dog breeds and their common medical issues to know how to plan to care for your beloved dog.
Identifying signs of neurological disorders in dogs and cats is certainly challenging, so if you notice minor behavioral changes, you could consult with a veterinary neurologist like our own vet neurologist, Dr. Gorgi, to clear any concerns.
Make sure to always consult with a veterinarian about what diet works best for your pet, what supplements they can safely ingest, and how to keep your pet as healthy as possible.
Here at BrightCare, our veterinary team loves helping pets be as healthy as they can. If you are in Mission Viejo or feel like taking a drive, you can set an appointment online to get the specialized help your pet needs.