In today’s fast paced world, we look to improve our lives and save time with prepared foods, and many look to improve the nutrition we may be missing by using supplements. We also may have an activity or an affliction that requires us to add more of something to our diet, or avoid certain things.
Those same reasons also apply to our pets. Prepared diets are often regarded as nutritionally sound, but may be lacking in the things that can make life better. And like with us, there are supplements you can buy for your pets to address these additional needs. There are also foods that you can prepare yourself that contain what your pets need, from natural source.
The most common supplement we see sold for pets is Glucosamine. Yes, I take Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM and Vit C every day myself. Like many pets, I have joint issues, and this group of nutraceuticals helps. Available in pills, treats, powder and liquid forms, it is easy to find the dosage and delivery method that works easiest for you. Treats and pills are easy to administer, but carry the largest price. Liquids and powders are less expensive, and are usually just added to the food as a top dressing. Watch the dosage though. There are many “Joint Support” treats out there that have minimal amounts of these compounds. Make sure you get what you pay for.
Omega’s are another big additive, both for people and pets. Omega 3 balance is important for proper skin/coat condition. Many foods purport “Healthy Omegas” yet have little or no Omega 3’s, or only Omega 3’s from plant source. The best Omega 3’s (EPA, DHA) come primarily from fish or krill. If the food doesn’t have these, you can supplement with a simple squirt or pump of them onto the food. No need for fancy gel caps like we take, most dogs and cats love the fishy flavor. Omegas do more than make for a better coat, they can also address other issues, including heart health, joint issues, allergies, autoimmune and even slow the rate of certain cancers. Many food list the Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio on their bags, ideal ratio of 6 to 3 is between 5-1 and 10-1. Another supplement for heart health is CoQ10, my Zoe improved dramatically when we added it to her diet.
Many foods contain natural nutritional supplements, and the raw feeding movement has been working using these to make the incredible benefits of raw feeding even better. Products that are receiving accolades for human nutrition are also finding their way into pet nutrition. Things like coconut oil, turmeric, antioxidant rich foods like blueberries or cranberries, super-greens, kelp, yogurt, kefir, and even kale are finding their way into our pet’s diets. With a little research, you can come up with a recipe that addresses your concerns while giving your pet optimal nutrition.
Many holistic vets will include education on diet in their regular consultation, helping you create a diet that best fits your pet’s needs. These recommendations won’t normally include a convenient kibble as a complete solution, so some prep work will be necessary. But trust me, a little time spent putting together a better diet will improve your pet’s health, and once you see those results, it might get you looking at improving your own diet as well. A win/win, really.