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A Pet Owner’s Starter Guide to Pet Vitamins and Supplements 

Keeping your pet healthy is an exciting but challenging feat. It’s enough to pay close attention to what your pet eats by carefully curating a healthy diet. But sometimes, your pet needs a little bit of a booster in the form of pet supplements. 

Before giving your dog vitamins, the key is understanding what these supplements can do and when they are needed. Browse through this starter guide to know the basics of keeping your cat or dog healthy with supplemental vitamins. 

Let’s begin by learning how important vitamins are to your pet’s system.

What do vitamins do for your pet’s health?

Like humans, our pets need various nutrients to maintain optimal bodily functions and receive enough energy for daily activities. Part of these vital nutrients is vitamins. 

Vitamins are necessary to trigger and manage different chemical reactions in your pet’s body, such as metabolism and bone growth. These nutrients also aid in your pet’s different systems, like the immune and urinary systems. 

While they do need other types of vitamins, dogs normally won’t need food items with vitamin C because they can produce that nutrient in their livers. 

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about cats. Since they are inherently carnivores, their bodies cannot naturally synthesize vitamins and minerals. They would have to resort to getting these nutrients from what they eat.

Luckily, commercially canned pet food and snacks contain several vitamins and minerals. Below is a summarized table of all the vitamins your pet needs.

VitaminBenefits
Vitamin AHealthy eyes and skinOrgan formation and functionImmune system boost
B vitaminsHealthy skinCell respirationCell membrane supportEpidermal cell growthProtein synthesisRed blood cell production
Vitamin CBone and joint health (collagen production)Immune system boostRelief for allergic reactionsAntioxidant
Vitamin DPreventing cytokine productionBone health (calcium control)
Vitamin EAntioxidantImmune system boostRed blood cell productionFat metabolism
Vitamin KProper blood coagulation

What are pet supplements for?

As you grow older, you become more cautious about your daily intake to remain healthy. For example, you might be currently taking some pills to reinforce your immune system, or you may be taking multivitamins to improve your overall well-being. The same goes for our pets.

A pet supplement is exactly what its name suggests: an additive component regularly taken to counter a certain health problem, fill nutritional gaps, and enhance your cat or dog’s health. These pills can be added or mixed into your cat’s or dog’s food.

Contrary to popular belief, several pet supplements are available to address specific pet needs:

  • Vitamin supplements: A vitamin supplement is the most common type of pet supplement. Pet owners can purchase vitamin-specific supplements or multivitamins containing plenty of vitamins and minerals to boost their pet’s well-being.
  • Probiotics: These supplements contain good bacteria. Probiotics are used to counter gastrointestinal problems and maintain a well-functioning digestive system. 
  • Coat supplements: Fatty acids like Omega-6 and Omega-3 are commonly found in these supplements. As the name indicates, coat supplements focus on giving your pet healthy skin and coat. These also address shedding and other fur issues. 
  • Joint supplements: Arthritis and other joint problems are common in senior dogs and cats. To address these issues, veterinarians recommend giving supplements containing minerals such as glucosamine and chondroitin to your pets.
  • Anxiety supplements: Our pets can also experience troubling mental distresses like anxiety and stress. Because of this, calming supplements with melatonin, chamomile, and other muscle-relaxing ingredients are given to our furry buddies.

Does your pet need a vitamin supplement?

Despite the many apparent benefits, some pet owners are still skeptical about giving supplements to their animals, and rightfully so. A recent study on the subject matter suggests that there is still a lack of proper regulation and quality control on animal supplements. 

The issue of testing through sufficient clinical trials has also been a prevalent problem for pet supplements. Do animal supplements actually do more harm than good? 

Veterinarians advise only giving supplements to your pets when they absolutely need them, meaning only when your pets are presenting symptoms of alarming health issues or show signs of a vitamin deficiency. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to bypass supplements. 

Most wet cat and dog food provide all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for your pet’s diet. If your pet regularly and properly eats, it won’t need to receive supplements to address health issues. 

In fact, giving them excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals can actually put your pet’s health at risk. Taking supplements when not needed can lead to vitamin poisoning and cause vomiting, constipation, and even kidney failure. 

Before purchasing a cat or dog vitamin supplement, remember to visit a veterinarian or check with an animal nutritionist.

How would you know if you need cat or dog supplements?

So how exactly would you know if your pet needs supplements? As always, check with a veterinarian or nutritionist first. Keep a keen eye on your pet’s physical form to see if they exhibit any alarming symptoms. 

Here are some common pet health issues and their symptoms to give you a headstart.

Arthritis and Joint Problems

Developing a few joint and bone complications is inevitable, especially for older cats and dogs. If your pet refuses to get up, move, and walk lately or limps and yelps when touched, your pet might be experiencing a common animal ailment called arthritis. 

Arthritis generally affects the shoulder, knee, and hip joints and may be caused by joint deterioration or an untreated injury in the affected area. Your pets may also contract this disease genetically. 

Vets recommend supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for pets with arthritis and other joint problems. These compounds lessen the inflammation caused by arthritis and relieve the pain your pet may experience.

Supplements with fatty acids and turmeric may also enhance joint health. 

Urinary System Issues

Problems concerning the urinary system are also prevailing ailments among animals. Issues such as urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder and kidney stones, and bladder inflammation commonly develop because of genetics or as a possible result of another disease.

Pet owners can detect such issues by simply observing their pet’s habits. Similar to humans, pets may urinate less or more frequently and have pungent-smelling urine because of urinary problems. Pets may also experience discomfort in the abdomen area.

Owners are advised to visit a veterinarian for an immediate check-up. Unlike humans, animal urinary system issues progress rapidly and may lead to more serious complications if untreated. 

To remedy such issues, wet canned food is recommended for affected pets. This increases the moisture in their system and aids in their urinary tract. The composition of a cat’s or dog’s diet will also depend on the urinary stone type. 

Supplements containing minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, D, and B complex are also recommended. Dietary tablets with fish oil can also prevent kidney diseases from developing.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is just as prevalent in pets as in humans. Diabetes commonly occurs in older pets but may also affect pregnant animals. 

This disease is due to insufficient insulin in your pet’s system, which leads to the accumulation of glucose. Abnormal amounts of glucose spill into your pet’s blood and urine, which can also affect the water levels in an animal’s system. 

This complication manifests in an animal’s unusual urinary habits, such as frequently drinking and urinating. Other disease symptoms are loss of appetite, recurring related issues such as skin and urinary infections, and weight loss despite eating frequently. 

While physical manifestations may quickly point out the ailment, veterinarians do blood tests to confirm it. Once diagnosed with the disorder, you are advised to give certain doses of insulin to your pet to control the glucose in their system.

Dog and cat owners should give their precious pets supplements high in manganese, magnesium, potassium, taurine, and zinc. These minerals can help with metabolism and solve deficiencies in a pet’s system. 

Vitamins B6, B12, C, D, and E are also helpful in preventing diabetic complications and improving glucose tolerance and regulation.

Ear Infection

It may not seem like it, but an ear infection can do severe damage and give your pet excruciating pain if not tended to immediately. These infections may have various causes, but the most common are mites, excessive moisture, different allergies, or an obstruction in the ear canal. 

Your pet may exhibit clear discomfort by scratching the area or shaking their heads to remove the irritant. Their ears may also be red and inflamed, and yellow or black foul-smelling discharge may ooze from the organ. 

Depending on the cause and severity, your pet may undergo surgery, therapy, and other medical procedures to remove the source of the infection and treat the issue. The veterinarian may recommend giving your pet medication to control the infection.

Supplements containing fish oil reduce inflammation, while vitamin C and D tablets and probiotics boost an animal’s immune system to prevent future infections. 

Final Thoughts

Pet supplements and vitamins are important health boosters for your furry friends. However, it’s crucial to remember that supplements are only helpful when needed. Hopefully, this starter guide made you understand their use and importance. 

Learning about dietary supplements could make you realize that you aren’t ready to handle and care for a pet just yet. In that case, you might be better off with an alternative. Try Perfect Petzzz! 

With Perfect Petzzz, you won’t have to worry about your pet’s nutrition (or accidentally overdosing and poisoning your pet with vitamin supplements.) We offer a wide selection of life-like stuffed animals created with handcrafted synthetic fur, making them soft and ready for unlimited cuddles! 
Check out our products and purchase the animal plushie of your dreams!

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