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Should Dogs Take Supplements?

Eric Bittman dog health dog supplements pet nutrition

It's no mystery why we take supplements. The body is a complicated mechanism that fights every day to preserve its own well-being. Therefore, the body needs plenty of nutritional support that foods canít always adequately provide. Because of high starch content, bleaching and over processing, many foods donít contain enough minerals to adequately support the body. A
deficiency of just one or more nutrients can leave the body vulnerable to disease. Furthermore, we must acknowledge that we each have biochemical individuality, so our bodies require different things depending on our age, environment, activity level and genetic makeup. The same goes for our pets.  Every dog and cat is unique and requires specific increases in nutrients for many reasons.

Also, our pets demand for certain nutrients fluctuates. Vitamin B is great support to the body during stressful periods and additional zinc is a helpful nutrient for many breeds; such as, huskies. No matter how well a diet is formulated, there are always nutrients, which are not in the diet.  The body knows what it needs and it has its ways of communicating these things to us. It is up to us to pay attention to our animal's behavior as well as their appearance to make sure they're getting all the nutrients they need. For instance, is your cat sleeping more than usual these days? Or does your dog have less of an appetite? Perhaps they need supplements. It doesn't hurt to try supplements to see how your pets respond to them. You may see a drastic change in their mannerisms or their appearance. When we give our pets supplements in conjunction with healthy well-balanced meals, their bodies intelligently draw what they need from the supplements and allocate them properly. Rather than taking a specific vitamin or mineral in calculated amounts, herbs deliver many nutrients in various amounts to the parts of the body that require it. 

Dog Running on the Beach
Photo Courtesy of cairnsunlimited.com

Chose a dog supplement that contains the rather unusual Ester C (Calcium Ascorbate), which is non-acidic, rich in calcium and other minerals and better absorbed than regular Vitamin C. It is usually not added to dog foods because it was once thought that dogs donít require C because they manufacture it in their liver.

This way of thinking about dogs is archaic because we must now consider the way dog's eating habits have evolved from years of domestication. Out in the wild, dogs ate prey that had intestines filled with grasses that contained C. Now at home, they eat the foods we give them and they occasionally take a bite out of the neighbor's lawn. Now, it seems as if dogs arenít getting enough C. Vitamin C, considered a vital antioxidant, supports the bone, teeth and gums, blood vessels and the immune system. Nutritionists consider it a conditionally essential nutrient, meaning that it is needed in higher amounts during certain times in the animalís life such as sickness, separation anxiety, stress from shows, visits to vets and confinement due to long distance trips.

Just like humans, it is recommended all supplements be taken along with plenty of exercise and proper diet.
 


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