By Sherry L. Granader
The supplement business is a multi-billion dollar industry for humans and when it comes to pets, the market is growing rapidly. We all want to give out furry family members the best of care, especially when a supplement might prevent a treatable disease or condition. Anything so they do not have to suffer in silence or in pain. Consider these top ten supplements for senior pets:
Just like in humans, it is important to make sure our pet is getting all the nutrients it needs to function at optimum levels as they age. Any vitamin deficiency can lead to developing all sorts of health conditions. For example, if you feed your pet a raw food diet, supplementing with a multi-vitamin is important to prevent any deficiencies in nutrients.
Prebiotics contain substances that help support the growth of intestinal bacteria. They can give the gastrointestinal tract an extra boost to populate with beneficial bacteria. There have been positive results in those dealing with kidney disease.
Probiotics puts healthy bacteria in the gut and intestines, helping to prevent diarrhea while boosting the immune system. A good quality supplement can be added to their food and always follow label directions.
4. Glucosamine and Chondroitin
The combination of the two, often combined with MSM – methyl-sulfinate methane, a green-lipped mussel extract, are the most effective supplements in treating osteoarthritis or to be used as a preventative measure. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID’s) are not tolerated well by cats and this offers another option.
5. Omega 3’s Essential Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)
A powerful anti-inflammatory that is used to prevent heart disease and lower blood lipid (fat) levels in humans, it works well for senior pets in the treatment of skin allergies, itching and supports a healthy coat. Fish oil can also help with osteoarthritis, easing the symptoms.
6. Milk Thistle
Everything goes through the liver and supporting this very important organ is vital. The active ingredient is known as Silymarin that functions as an antioxidant to prevent toxins, chemicals and pollutants from attacking healthy cells. It can improve the condition of diabetics and protect the kidneys from toxins.
Lysine is an amino acid that is used to prevent and treat Feline Herpes Virus (FHV-1) infections. The virus is quite common and symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing and conjunctivitis. Lysine interferes with the replication of the virus by blocking the uptake of arginine, another amino acid.
SAMe is a supplement that helps humans with arthritis and depression. It also works to protect the liver, often used in combination with Milk Thistle to treat arthritis. It has been shown to treat age-related cognitive dysfunction in dogs.
CoQ10 is often recommended to treat age-related cognitive dysfunction and heart disease. Your veterinarian can give the proper dosage and recommended use, if needed.
Enzymes for digestion are found in raw foods, hence the popularity of feeding your pet in this manner. They are destroyed during production of commercially prepared pet food, however it is not always necessary to supplement with enzymes. If your pet is having difficulty digesting their food, your veterinarian might recommend supplementing with enzymes to treat cancer, other diseases or as an anti-inflammatory measure.
Always check with your veterinarian first before putting your senior pet on any supplement, especially if your pet is currently on any medication. It is always a matter of balancing the urgency to cure a disease or illness with the risks and benefits of treatment.
Reviewed and approved by Dr. David L. Roberts, DVM