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Top Dog and Cat Supplements

Top Dog and Cat Supplements

As more people start to include vitamins and supplements into their own health and wellness routines, many are looking to achieve similar benefits for their four-legged family members by incorporating supplement products that are specifically designed for pets.

Petco research shows that two-thirds of dog parents and one-third of cat parents currently give or have given their pets supplements. Additionally, a 2018 market report by Research and Markets reveals that the global pet supplements industry is expected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate of 5.1 percent from 2018-2026.

And as more pet supplements become available, it’s important for pet parents to understand the most common types and how they work to help with a variety of health conditions.

Do dogs and cats need supplements?

If you’re wondering whether or not your dog or cat needs supplements, the truth is, it depends. Factors such as your pet’s overall age, breed, health and nutrition come into play when deciding whether supplements needed.

Although the average healthy pet that consumes a well-balanced diet certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials likely doesn’t require a supplement, supplements—given under the guidance of a veterinarian—rarely have adverse reactions for healthy pets and can provide real benefits for pets suffering from specific health problems.

Supplements can also help guard against health issues including joint disease and anxiety.
If you are considering using a pet supplement, discuss the options with your veterinarian to avoid overuse or potential allergic reactions, because vitamins or supplement ingredients are often mixed with other ingredients to form an edible product.

3 top pet supplements: types and uses

While there seem like endless pet supplement options, there are some that are more commonly used than others.

Petco’s research indicates that the top supplements pet parents use to support their pet’s health and wellness center around the following conditions:

  • 59% hip and joint care
  • 46% skin and coat health
  • 27% stomach and intestinal health
  • 20% immune system health

There are common types of pet supplements that assist with and help prevent these health problems in dogs and cats. We’ll break them down in more detail below.

1. Pet supplements for hip and joint care

Dog hip and join supplements

If pets show signs of slowing down, or they are more reluctant to do normal activities like getting on and off furniture or participate in play, hip and joint problems could be to blame. This is often related to aging in pets, though hip and joint issues can also be a consequence of genetics. For breeds with a known risk, it's recommended that they be given supplements at a young age, before they may show signs of a health issue.

“As animals age, they are more likely to develop joint conditions,” says Dr. Shelly Ferris, Regional Medical Director of Vetco Total Care. “Hip & joint supplements with ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin can help support your dog’s joint health and help them move with more comfort.”

Supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin, or MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) can help replenish joint fluid and enhance the lubrication of joints. MSM also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease joint pain in pets.

Hip and joint supplements for pets may help pet parents avoid the need for an injection or steroid later in their pet’s life, making it easier and more convenient for pet parents. Pet supplements are very easy to administer through a variety of different oral forms, such as treats, powders, chewable tablets or capsules.

2. Supplements for pet’s skin and coat health

If you want to protect or replenish your pet’s skin and coat health, look for supplements that contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids as main ingredients. These are often found in fish oil supplements for pets.

Ferris explains that omega 3 and omega 6 supplements can help replenish natural skin oils and can help your pet produce more oils naturally which can promote healthier skin and a shinier coat. These supplements may also, “Benefit dogs with dry, itchy skin and, in some cases, those with allergic skin disease.”

3 top pet supplements: types and uses

While there seem like endless pet supplement options, there are some that are more commonly used than others.

Petco’s own research aligns with Werber’s hunch, that the top supplements pet parents use with their pets center around the following conditions:

  • 59% hip and joint care
  • 46% skin and coat health
  • 27% stomach and intestinal health
  • 20% immune system health

There are common types of pet supplements that assist with and help prevent these health problems in dogs and cats. We’ll break them down in more detail below.

1. Pet supplements for hip and joint care

If pets show signs of slowing down, or they are more reluctant to do normal activities like getting on and off furniture or participate in play, hip and joint problems could be to blame. This is often related to aging in pets, though hip and joint issues can also be a consequence of genetics. For breeds with a known risk, it's recommended that they be given supplements at a young age, before they may show signs of a health issue.

“As animals age, they lose some of that lubricant within the joint,” says Werber. “The surfaces of the joints don’t glide against each other as easily and freely and that can lead to degenerative joint disease and arthritis.”

Supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin, or MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) can help replenish joint fluid and enhance the lubrication of joints. MSM also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease joint pain in pets.

Hip and joint supplements for pets may help pet parents avoid the need for an injection or steroid later in their pet’s life, making it easier and more convenient for pet parents. “[These supplements are] now very easy to administer,” says Werber. “They are given orally as treats, powders, chewable tablets or capsules.”

well & good joint supplement

3. Supplements for gastrointestinal health

Probiotics, prebiotics and fiber all have health benefits for humans, but these supplements can also benefit a pet’s gut health as well. Cat digestive aids and dog probiotic and digestive aids can provide benefits to your pet’s overall digestive function and wellness.

Probiotics and prebiotics contain bacteria that are commonly found in a pet’s gut and can help balance out the microbes in their digestive tract.

Dr. Lance Day, a veterinarian with Vetco Total Care, also advocates the use of fiber supplements for his patients. Along with other digestive aids, increasing fiber intake through pumpkin toppers or Glandex, can help pets that may suffer from issues with their anal glands.

Veterinarians will often recommend a probiotic supplement (healthy gut bacteria) to complement another fiber-based supplement for pets who suffer from gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea, gas or irritable bowel syndrome.

However, Ferris cautions pet parents to, “Consult with your veterinarian on choosing the right digestive supplement if your pet has a chronic GI condition.”

Other popular pet supplements to consider

In addition to the main categories of joint health, skin and coat health, and gastrointestinal health, there are other vitamins and supplements on the market that aid in a variety of health and behavior issues ranging from stress and anxiety to urinary tract and immune health.
Here are some other types of pet supplements to ask your vet about:

Multivitamins: If you have a healthy adult pet who is eating a well-balanced, commercially available diet, you likely do not need to give them a multivitamin.

But some vets say that multivitamins may be beneficial for finicky pets who do not eat their full meal and are essential if pet parents prepare home-cooked food for pets.

There may also be instances where a multivitamin can help boost a dog’s immune system or provide health benefits for aging dogs. Before starting your pet on a multivitamin, speak to your veterinarian to discuss the proper balance and dosing instructions.

Urinary tract supplements: If your dog or cat is suffering from regular urinary tract infections, supplementing with cranberry-based products may help regulate the pH levels of your pet’s urine.

Many of these supplements contain antioxidants and Vitamin C to help promote bladder and urinary tract health. These supplements can be used to complement urinary health-specific diets.

Hemp Supplements: Different than CBD (cannabidiol) supplements, supplements that contain hemp can aid to soothe your pet in a variety of different ways. From calming chews that contain hemp, melatonin, Thiamine and L-Tryptophan to grooming products that mix hemp with other soothing oils and even joint sprays – hemp products are beginning to see expansion throughout the pet market. With this category growing quickly, it’s important to purchase hemp products from trusted manufacturers and retailers to ensure quality, prior to using with your pet.

Just remember, not all supplements are created equal. Pet parents should look for quality ingredients in vitamins and supplements for cats and dogs. These products should come trusted manufacturers and retailers to avoid potentially dangerous counterfeits, and pet parents should always check with their veterinarian before use.