Not surprisingly, the number one New Year’s resolution is to improve health and wellness, and oftentimes we turn to supplements and vitamins in hopes of staying healthy or preventing illness. Similarly, as the pet industry continues to grow, sales for pet supplements are on the rise. But in an unregulated market with so many options, it’s hard to know what’s best for your furry friend.
Begin by purchasing pet supplements from reputable companies in original packaging, and the best place to do so is likely your local veterinarian’s office. “Veterinarians stand behind their products as well as the research it took to produce them, so purchasing vitamins and supplements through your pet’s vet is ultimately the safest choice,” explains Dr. Stephanie Waters-Lemma, DVM. “If ordering online, check that the product has good reviews from several other pet parents, and don’t fall for the prettiest label or clever slogan.”
It’s important to note there may be a varying amount of an ingredient within a product when it is not made by a reliable company. For example, not all CBD products are equal. When possible, check if the supplement includes responsibly sourced safe ingredients. If you’re unclear as to what that includes, look for the National Animal Supplement Council’s (NASC) yellow seal which identifies responsible suppliers that maintain ongoing compliance with rigorous quality requirements. And of course, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian for advice.
Another issue to keep in mind is allergies. “Animals that are food allergic and on special diets need to avoid certain supplements that contain possible allergic ingredients such as proteins, etc., that could ruin their food trial,” says Waters-Lemma. “Additionally, oral medications or supplements could cause GI upset in a sensitive dog, so starting any new product should be monitored by the owner carefully for any vomiting, diarrhea, and decrease in appetite.”
Some of the more popular purchases among pet owners include omega supplementation such as Welactin, which may keep your pet from scratching dry skin, as well as probiotics which can aid in both GI health and overall balance of the body (stress, allergies, etc.).
And while supplements may be a good fit for your pet, remember that one of the best ways to make sure they receive the proper amount of nutrients is through a healthy balanced diet. According to Waters-Lemma, “a fully balanced ‘grain’ diet from a reputable brand is optimal on a daily basis for our beloved pets. This will keep them on a palatable and balanced diet without having any long-term vitamin or mineral deficiency.”