Pet supplements for dogs and cats

Pets with ownerIf you’re anything like me (a cat owner of over 30 years) you may not have ever considered pet supplements for dogs and cats, it’s not something I was ever aware of.

My cats became older and slower as they aged and I had avoided giving them pills of any kind if I could help it as I valued my fingers and our relationship too much.

Since joining Animed Direct, I’ve come to realise I’m behind the times and it’s apparent that dog owners in particular are really good at recognising the need and benefits of supplements for their dogs, and although some cat owners are also aware, the use of supplements isn’t anywhere as high as the level of dog owners.

In this blog I explore the choices and benefits of pet supplements available for both cats and dogs.

What can supplements help with?

Pet supplements can be given long-term to support a range of health conditions or as temporary assistance at certain times of your pet’s life or at particular times of year.

Specialist, and high quality diets will have tailored recipes to help with many conditions. Some are generally available, others need to be recommended by your vet. These diets will contain supportive mixes of vitamins, minerals and oils, but you do have the choice of offering additional supplements to your pet’s diets to help support your pet.

Supplements can help in a variety of way, such as helping to offset the effects of some drugs. cut down on upset tummies or allergic responses, manage some seasonal itching or simply manage a unique event in their life, so it’s worth knowing what’s available to help.

NOTE: We recommend that you always discuss the addition of supplements with your vet first, to ensure its ok for your pet.

Pet supplements can help with a range of aging, common conditions and medical ailments including:-

  • Stiff joints / poor mobility /arthritis
  • Itchy / Sore skin
  • Digestion / Stomach upsets / Healthy gut bacteria /Absorption
  • Calming
  • Coat condition
  • Dental health
  • Hairball relief
  • Aging brain function /alertness
  • Nail / Claw health
  • Heart health
  • Pregnancy / lactating support
  • Immune system support
  • Post surgery support
  • Urinary tract / bladder health
  • Support of Feline Herpes Virus
  • Liver /Kidney/ Pancreatic function

It is known that some drugs, particulary non-steriodal pain relief, can affect the organs such as the liver, so using a recommended supplement alongside prescribed drugs can help balance out the sometimes damaging effects.  Supplements can be used to help prevent problems, which I’ll come onto later.

Pet supplement presentations

Luckily (for cat owners especially), supplements are being made in a variety of methods/presentations, which makes it easier to give pets a boost. If one way doesn’t work, there’s a few presentations to try:

  • Capsules which can be broken up and sprinkled on food
  • Flavoured oils which are poured onto food
  • Tasty chewies which have the appearance of a treat
  • Tasty pastes (some are in syringes for easy squirting into pet’s mouths)
  • Flavour-coated tablets
  • Pellets that mix into their usual food
  • Powders / granules which can be given on food or treats

Does your pet need supplements?

Each pet is unique, but there are some common signs that would suggest a supplement could help.

Joint and mobility supplements

These are one of the most popular range of supplements and if you have a middle-aged or older pet, large breed pet, it’s worth considering whether joint & mobility supplements may help.

Just like us, being of a larger size can seriously put stress on joints, so a mobility and joint supplement can really help. Again, aging can bring Arthritis with joints less able to move freely. Joint supplements are packed with oils to help with joint lubrication and reduce friction.

Signs of mobility issues in dogs include:

  • Less eager to go out for walks
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Reluctance to walk far
  • Generally less slower and mobile

Many supplements receive fantastic owner reviews stating their pet is back to its old self with a renewed spring in their step so they’re obviously having a positive effect.

It’s harder to gauge with cats as they’re usually asleep during daylight hours but try to observe them when they’re out, are they jumping around less, walking slower etc. It might be worth trying a supplement to see if there’s a noticeable improvement in their movement.

NOTE:- Keep an eye on your pet’s weight – helping your pet either lose weight or preventing it from becoming too heavy, will help enormously with joint issues (and their overall health in general).

Joint supplements can also be used preventatively in younger pets through helping to protect the joints as they age.

This is especially true for dogs that may have a predisposed condition because of their breed or size, such as hip and elbow problems.  Giving a supplement can help ensure the joint is protected against wear and tear potentially reduce the likelihood of painful conditions appearing at an early age.

Skin and coat

Another popular range of supplements are for skin conditions and coat appearance, sometimes used seasonally, some longer term.

The correct diet has been proven to be a main factor for skin and coat condition, but there are a wide range of supplements available that can provide specific skin aliment support, or general, glossy coat/fur condition if you decide you don’t want to change your dog or cat’s food.

Digestive/stomach health supplements

As with skin and coat, this range offer long-term support for ongoing tummy troubles or for one off support for an upset tummy.

Calming supplements

Don’t worry, these supplements won’t sedate your pet. Instead they’re designed to make pets feel comforted and calm by using pheromones or other natural calming ingredients. Both work differently, so if one type doesn’t work for your pet try the other.

It’s easy to identify that pets may need help to deal with stress on big events such as Fireworks Night and New Year’s Eve, but there are many other times when a calming supplement may help too:-

  • Visitors to your home
  • Holiday changes in routine or visits to catteries/kennels
  • New additions to the family (human or pets)
  • Car travel
  • Vet visits
  • New home/moving house
  • Parties or large gatherings at your home
  • Multi-cat households

Calming supplements (for cats and dogs) are generally given for a shorter time to help pets at specific times. Some may work almost immediately, others may need to be given a few days in advance. Take a look at individual product details and allow time for them to take effect.

Supplements for your pet

Now I’m personally more aware of the range of supplements available, I’m certainly going to be mindful of health/age and seasonal events that I may be able to support my own pet with, and I’m glad to see such a choice of presentations that make administering a whole lot easier.

When it comes to your pet, as mentioned before, if you’re considering supplements for long-term health conditions, do talk to your vet first, then visit our dog supplement and cat supplement pages to see the range we have available for you.