Health supplements are extremely popular right now. People in general are more aware of eating healthily, and that means they are more likely to supplement with probiotics, amino acids and vitamins and nutrients. Everywhere you turn, from TV to magazines, the media is full of advertisements espousing the benefits of supplements.
What’s different now than than any other time in history is that you are seeing advertisements for pet supplements. Television ads are full of beautiful images of healthy dogs running joyfully through grassy meadows, silky fur flowing in the wind, and according to the ad, it’s all because of pet supplements. Some vets are even recommending supplements for pets, through wall posters, veterinarian website ads or even verbal or written recommendations. So what’s all the fuss? Should you really be giving supplements to your pets? And are they really needed, or is it all just hype to sell vitamins? Here are the pros and cons to consider.
Con: It’s Hard to Gauge Dosage and Effectiveness
When you give your pet supplements, it’s challenging to be sure how much they ingested and how much of it was left in the food bowl. In addition, if there are some side effects like a slight stomachache, your pet can’t exactly tell you about them. Finally, how can you be positive you’re giving them just the right amount? If your pet is already generally healthy, maybe the supplements are simply being expelled by the body as “unnecessary waste.”
Pro: You’ll Feel Better
Let’s face it. Many of the things you do for your pet are really done for you. Genetically speaking, your pet would be satisfied with a mossy spot under a shady tree in the woods. But as a loving pet owner, you want to make your pet as comfortable as you can, so you provide a place of honor in your home, with soft bedding in an attractive design that’s kept fresh and laundered. You have a warm, loving nature, and you’re a nurturer. That’s why you buy the best for your pet. Giving your pet supplements will certainly make you feel better, knowing that you’re doing everything you possibly can to ensure optimal health. And being able to feel better about something is always a valid point.
Con: Some Supplements May Fall Short
Just as you would do if you were taking supplements, you’ll need to do a considerable amount of research before deciding on a brand of supplements to buy. As with pet food, some brands are not as “trustworthy” as others. The pet supplement industry is getting to be a burgeoning business, with possibly millions of dollars transferring hands. Some manufacturers will be in it for the money alone, and won’t exactly put quality ahead of profits. If you aren’t careful, you might end up giving your pet supplements that are not effective due to low quality or mislabeling; and by mislabeling it’s meant that there may be filler ingredients not listed that you wouldn’t dream of giving your pet. If you do decide to give supplements to your pet, ask your vet for recommendations, but also do your own due diligence.
Pro: Supplements Can Really Help
Our modern agricultural system has leached out many of the essential nutrients from the soil our food is grown in, according to many experts. As such, even first world populations are being shown to be deficient in one mineral or another. Animals are no different. You may be giving your pet the best pet food you can find, yet they may still be deficient. In cases like this, pet supplements really can help. Another instance when pet supplements can be very helpful is with aging pets or diseased pets. If your older pet struggles with things like poor eyesight or arthritis, supplements may help alleviate the symptoms. If your pet is suffering from a temporary condition due to an infection or disease, they could get some relief from supplements in addition to their prescription medication. Your vet will be able to help you decide which supplements your pet can most benefit from. This will ensure that you aren’t inadvertently giving a supplement that your pet doesn’t need, when they could really benefit from another kind.
Con: Supplements Can Interfere With Medication
One thing that pet owners need to be aware of is that quality pet supplements are real; that is, they do instigate changes in the body. As such, they could interfere with any prescription medication your pet is taking. This is why it’s essential that you let your vet know of any supplements you’re giving your pet. They can review any possible contraindications that may minimize the effect of prescriptions on your pet’s health. It’s a lot like when you go to your own doctor. They always ask if you’re taking anything else. But your vet may or may not think to ask about pet supplements, so you must be proactive in letting them know.
As you can see, there are many pros and cons to giving your pet supplements. As your pet’s guardian and protector, you’re in the best position to know if you should give your pet supplements. Just arm yourself with knowledge beforehand and always keep your vet informed.