Modern commercial pet foods are a great boon to pet owners but can fall short of providing optimal nutrition. High heat and long storage times required for processing deplete nutrients. Unregulated “by-products,” low-quality protein sources, and refined grains, commonly added for economic reasons, lower the bioavailabilty, or bottom-line nutritional usefulness of the products.
Veterinarians are increasingly recognizing that nutritional supplements can lead to better health and resistance to disease in pets. A targeted program of supplementation may mean the difference between your pet thriving and merely “getting by.”
Diet is one of the cornerstones of robust health. Nutrients from food bolster your pet’s natural defenses against germs, environmental pollutants, and stress. Deficiencies in the diet often bring on health problems or prolong illness. Notwithstanding the fact that you should always consult with your veterinarian about any known or suspected medical problems, it’s very possible that if your pet suffers from a chronic lack of energy, dull coat, finicky digestive system, or susceptibility to infections, it may be due to inadequacies in your pet’s diet. Since many off-the-shelf pet foods are lacking in one or more nutritional aspects, it makes sense to look at pet supplements as an “insurance policy” – a guarantee that each day, your companion gets a complete nutritional package. Even if your pet is healthy and free of health concerns, consider dietary supplements as a means of adding back vital ingredients such as enzymes and helpful bacteria that are lost in highly-processed diets.
Older animals may benefit from antioxidants that fortify their immune system, probiotics that help with digestion and metabolism, and other supplements specifically formulated for senior animals.
There are several categories of supplements that can promote better health for your pet:
Vitamins: organic compounds that are essential to your pet’s growth and development and day-to-day life-support functions.
Minerals: such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium are required for your pet’s bone growth, nervous system, muscular system, and ability to assimilate nutrients.
Enzymes: these body workhorses are involved in a variety of basic biological processes, including cell creation and repair, conversion of food to energy and regulation of body chemistry.
Probiotics: “good bacteria” that fend off harmful bacteria and aid digestion.
Each of these nutrient groups works synergistically with the others. Supplements can contribute to your pet’s overall health, vitality, and longevity, but they are supplementary to a healthy lifestyle that should include regular veterinary checkups, a premium diet, plenty of exercise, stress reduction and prevention measures, and emotional support. Supplements are most effective when integrated into a holistic program of optimum health for your pet.