CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Multivitamins and supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry in this country. They help us maintain a healthy and abundant lifestyle. Just as we do to take care of our own bodies, vitamins and supplements can be just as beneficial for our pets.
For humans, if you are eating a well-balanced diet, vitamins and supplements are not always necessary. The same also goes for our pets.
“I would say that as far as vitamins go, if your dog or cat is eating a well-balanced, high-quality pet food, they probably don’t need a vitamin. But if you’d like to give them a vitamin, it certainly won’t hurt,” Dr. Denette Cooke of Cooke Veterinary Clinic explains.
Our dogs and cats come in all shapes and sizes, colors, and breeds. Certain breeds are susceptible to certain ailments. For example, Bentley -- as a golden retriever -- can be predisposed to hip and joint issues.
We can supplement our animals' diet to ward off these ailments.
“The bigger supplement that we see for joints would be glucosamine chondroitin, so that is something that has been proven. It was actually a veterinary product first. We used glucosamine chondroitin in veterinary medicine before they were used in human medicine,” Dr. Cooke says.
The problems start from a breakdown of joint cartilage. Supplements work to counteract that and in some cases even repair.
“The supplements give the body precursor cells that are necessary to repair and build cartilage and that’s the benefit of that,” Dr. Cooke explains.
There are vitamins and supplements specially developed to promote healthier coats, nails, and skin.
“One of the best things you can do for all of that, hair, nails, fur coat, and skin would be fish oils. Our fatty acids supplements are very important,” Dr. Cooke tells us.
Fish oils will also help reduce inflammation that can come with arthritis in our pets.
“It can be as potent as anti-inflammatory medication, so dogs that have bad joints and bad hips, fish oils can be as effective as pain medications,” Dr. Cooke explains.
Dr. Cooke says before exploring what vitamins to get for your dog, you should first speak with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to effectively balance your dog’s diet. This is especially necessary if you’re home cooking your dog’s meals.