Chronic Illness: Nutrition and Supplements for Pets


supplements for pets

NOTE:  Please review all pet dietary supplements with your veterinarian prior to use

Our pets are part of the family, and what we feed them is just as important as what we feed ourselves. Providing proper nutrition and supplements for pets can help through illness and keep them healthy.


If your pet is going through any type of medical treatment, particularly for cancer, then it becomes even more important to feed your pet quality, nutritious food to:

Prevent weight loss

Reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Enhance the immune system’s defense against cancer

Reduce the spread of cancer as well as reduce the risk of another occurrence

Researchers have discovered that cancer cells behave differently from normal cells when it comes to their nutritional requirements for energy. A diet that is high in carbohydrates will actually feed the cancer cells at the expense of your pet. If your pet is battling cancer, avoid feeding him food from the table, or other foods that are high in carbohydrates.

Diets that are high in good fats, like Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, are much healthier for your pet, as most tumor cells cannot utilize fat for an energy source. Omega 3’s are excellent for reducing the adverse effects of radiation therapy and offer anti-cancer benefits. Moderate amounts of protein should be included, as both cancer cells and your pet need protein for energy. The amino acids arginine and glutamine reduce the toxic effects of treatments and enhance the immune system.

To help your pet in their fight against cancer, look for foods that are low in carbohydrates, high in good fats such as Omega 3 essential fatty acids and moderate in protein content. The importance of Omega 3’s cannot be overemphasized, as they have been shown to inhibit the growth of tumor cells and the spread of cancer. The opposite is true of Omega 6 fatty acids that have been shown to spread cancer in the body. Ask your veterinarian about Omega 3 fatty acids, or check your local pet health food store.


Many vitamins and minerals have been used in the prevention and treatment of cancer and other diseases. They include Vitamin C (1,000 mg – 10,000 mg) and Vitamin E (50-400 IU), which both enhance the body’s immune system. Another plant substance from Hawaii, known as Noni, is available in liquid and capsule form, and also enhances the immune system. The typical dosage of Noni is 400-500 mg twice daily; however always follow label directions or specific instructions from your veterinarian. CoEnzymeQ10 is a natural agent that supports heart function and is often used for pets dealing with cancer.

When choosing a multi-vitamin for your pet, make sure it contains the following vitamins and minerals. Multi-vitamins are a great way to keep your pet healthy and ensure they receive all the nutrients they need every day. Always follow label directions.


IU = International Units

Ug or mcg = micrograms

Mg = milligrams

Kg = kilograms

Vitamin A (500 IU) – Prevents eye and skin disorders, enhances the immune system, protects against air pollution, helps maintain skin health and acts as a powerful antioxidant.

Vitamin B-Complex (2.0 ug – 5 mg) – Maintains nerve function, skin, hair, liver, and muscle tone. Vitamin B-Complex is needed for energy production, is essential for red blood cell function and helps reduce the effects of stress.

Vitamin C (20 mg) – Enhances tissue growth and wound healing, acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, enhances immune function, reduces stress, improves heart function and helps lower cholesterol.

Vitamin E (5 IU) – Acts as an antioxidant, improves circulation, aids in preventing cataracts, helps prevent heart disease and improves the immune system.


The following are minerals recommended for daily feeding:

Calcium (50mg) – Necessary for strong bones and teeth.

Phosphorus (25mg) – Needed for bone and teeth formation.

Iodine (40ug) – Iodine is made into thyroid hormones.

Iron (1.5 mg) – Necessary for red blood cell function.

Manganese (5 mg/kg) – Necessary for digestion and required for energy production.

Potassium (250ug) – Maintains heart function and nervous tissue, and helps regulate blood pressure.

Selenium (3.5ug) – Acts as an antioxidant plus aids in immune and heart function.

Zinc (1mg) – Aids the immune system and enhances wound healing.


Below are suggested nutritional therapies for certain diseases in both dogs and cats:


Vitamin C – 500-6000 mg

Primrose oil – 1000-3000 mg

Fish oil – 500-1500 mg

Vitamin E – 50-400 IU

Vitamin A – 500-10,000 IU


Glucosamine sulfate – 250-1500 mg

Vitamin C – 500-6000 mg

Perna mussel – 300-1500 mg

Manganese – 2-15 mg

Magnesium – 24-300 mg

Zinc – 5-30 mg

Vitamin B6 – 5-60 mg


Vitamin C – 500-6000 mg

Vitamin E – 50-400 IU

CoEnzymeQ10 – 20-100 mg

L-Carnitine – 500-1000 mg

Taurine – 100-1000 mg

Fish oil – 250-1000 mg

These formulas are available at your local health food store, or from a Naturopath that specializes in herbal, vitamin and mineral support. Nutritional supplementation can help in the prevention of disease and illness to ensure your pet is receiving all the nutrients it needs to thrive. Check with your veterinarian for more information

Photo:  Courtesy of Tomi Tapio via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Sherry is a Nutritionist, Writer, National Speaker, Ghostwriter of books for Natural Medicine Doctors and an Author of 2 healthy cookbooks. She is a Nationally Certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in Pilates, Yoga, Body Pump, STEP and Aerobics with over 20 years experience. She served as the On-Air Nutritionist for QVC television in the United States and the UK and hosted her own weekly “Healthy Living” segments for PBS. Sherry is passionate about helping animals and worked with “Helping All Animals” in Palm Springs, CA. in their rescue efforts, and is a member of the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States. Her experience working as a Veterinarian’s Assistant for many years’ aids in her passion for helping animals lead healthy and happy lives. For more information on Sherry, visit or write to Sherry at - call 517.899.1451