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Dietary Supplements for Pets: Good or Bad?

Today, we take all sorts of dietary supplements, from vitamins and minerals to fish oil and ginger root. As dietary supplements have become conventional for us, the same types of products have been created for our pets. The question becomes, do our pets really need dietary supplements? Are they harmful in any way? Here, a Farmington veterinarian clears up some of the confusion.

Does My Pet Really Need Supplements in His or Her Diet?

Generally speaking, if a dog or cat is routinely fed a healthy, well-balanced diet and receives all required nutrition from that diet, he or she does not need dietary supplements. However, if an animal is not being fed a well-rounded diet, is in poor health, or has specific deficiencies that require additional substances to correct them, supplements may be a good idea. Talk with your Farmington vet to see if your pet has any need for dietary additions.

What Supplements Are Right for My Pet?

You should choose supplements that address the specific needs of your cat or dog. Some common supplements include ones to promote joint health, improving digestive function, and ones that condition the skin and fur. Some digestive health supplements can also provide added benefits like boosting the immune system and reducing allergies.

Many pet dietary supplements are marketed much like multivitamins for humans—supplements that promote general well-being. These products can certainly improve your pet’s health, but remember that not every pet will necessarily benefit, especially if he or she is already getting the nutrition they need from their regular diet. Always ask your Farmington veterinarian before putting your pet on a general-health supplement.

Can Supplements Be Harmful?

Due to the relatively new nature of dietary supplements for pets, extensive research into the safety and effectiveness of these products has not been completed. As such, it’s imperative that you consult your Farmington vet and do your own research before supplying supplements to your pet. Some animals might be allergic to certain substances, or they may be on medications or have pre-existing conditions that will act adversely to the supplements.

The most important thing to do is check with your Farmington vet before giving your pet any type of supplement. He or she will be able to tell you if it is potentially harmful or even necessary at all. Call your Farmington vet immediately if your pet behaves differently or exhibits any questionable symptoms after taking supplements.

 

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