Supplement Savvy—a Vet’s Perspective

Good Health Lifestyles Get Healthy

You’re probably a fan of supplements and the difference they make in your life. But what about supplements for your dog? These three tips will help you cut through the clutter when it comes to supplements for your pet.

Tip One: Holistic Vets Receive More Supplement Education.

Like many medical doctors, not all veterinarians receive training on the benefits that natural remedies can provide to their furry patients. If you’re looking for a veterinarian who has gone beyond the standard veterinary medical degree and received additional training in natural approaches, look for the word “holistic.” A holistic vet examines an animal as a whole, including the environmental, mental, physical, and emotional influences in their life. They consider alternative approaches, and that includes supplements.

Tip Two: Ask About the Company Behind the Supplements.

Reputable supplement companies are happy to talk about their practices and history. They want the public to know the lengths they go to for safety, efficacy, and quality when it comes to the products they offer. If you are considering a brand of supplements for your pet, or your vet is recommending a brand, ask questions about the company and visit their website. Any company you choose should follow current Good Manufacturing Practices—also called cGMPs. Although not mandated for animal products, it should be a requirement from your standpoint. It’s no secret that the adulteration of ingredients (not putting in the product what the label claimed) has run rampant in the pet supplement world. Make sure any product you choose is “U.S. Laboratory Tested.” This will be clearly labeled on packaging. Check to see if the supplements you are considering have the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Quality Seal. This shows that the company you are considering has met the strict guidelines of the highest-quality for companion animals as designated by this respected nonprofit trade organization. Another group looking out for the well-being of animals is the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO. They are a membership association charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal food and animal drug remedies. Be a wise consumer and insist on accountability for your beloved pet.

Tip Three: You Are Not Your Dog!

We all love our pets, but your dog has his or her own special needs. Resist the urge to give supplements to your pet based on your current needs or “just in case.” A holistic vet will be able to guide you when it comes to why your pet needs supplementation, as well as a dosage plan. The vet will also follow through on how your dog is responding to a particular supplement.

 When you and your vet are on the same page about proper supplementation, your dog reaps the benefits. Excellent care with proven supplements results in a happy, healthy pet.

Good Examples of Smart Supplementation

  • An Anxious Pet. Sadly, anxiety can wreck a dog’s quality of life. There’s a lot to put a pet on edge including trips to the groomer and vet, separation fears, a change in routine, or a personality predisposition. Look for a supplement with brain-specific compounds found in a specifically cultivated root extract of Echinacea angustifolia, which has been shown to keep a dog tranquil without causing drowsiness. A good dosage to help your pet relax is 20-40 mg.
  • Joint and Hip Stiffness. Whether from activity or aging, it’s not fun to see your dog in pain. A supplement containing highly absorbable curcumin with turmeric essential oil that contains ar-turmerone, combined with standardized boswellia, is an excellent choice to help with stiffness, and to provide support for healthy cartilage and joints.