Whether you keep animals as pets for pleasure or for working purposes, keeping them in the very best of health is always foremost in our minds. To help you keep your favorite animals healthy there are a range of animal health supplements, specially formulated, to keep them both healthy and happy. Exactly how long people have been using animals to work for them is lost in the mists of time; however, the phenomena of keeping animals as pets stretches back over 10,000 years. During that time it has been more than established that having animals, particularly pets, around us can be beneficial to our own health, reducing stress levels and even aiding us in our recovery from illnesses. So there’s double the reason for keeping your pets and animals healthy too.
Vitamins in animal supplements.
Quite simply, the rules for giving any animal a vitamin supplement are the same as for humans. If the animal has a good well balanced diet and eats well, they are probably getting all the vitamins that they need. However, also like humans, having a low dose animal vitamin supplement will not harm them and could well compensate for any vitamin deficiency they have, and that we are unaware of. However, having said that some animals do not need some vitamins as they make all the vitamins they need from the food that they eat. Vitamin C, which pets like cats and dogs can produce themselves from the food they eat, is the classic example here. This is why it is important to make sure you give your pet a specially formulated vitamin supplement that is for animals, rather than simply using an ‘off-the-shelf’ one intended for humans. Vitamin C aside, there are other vitamins which, when given as a supplement, can be highly beneficial in the treatment and prevention of some conditions.
Vitamin supplements for cats.
Below are two examples of vitamins that can be particularly beneficial health supplements for cats:
Vitamin A – good cell structures in the body requires a good supply of this vitamin, which can be a problem for cats. Cats are known as obligate carnivores, which basically means that they don’t naturally eat any plant foods. Unfortunately vitamin A is produced when enzymes break down carotenoids that are made by plants. I’m sure you can already see the catch here, vitamin A is obtained from plants – but cats don’t eat plants. Cats would naturally get around this by eating other animals that do eat a lot of plants – lets say mice and rabbits; in effect getting their vitamin A second-hand through their carnivorous diet. The good new for some cats is that eating other animals livers are a rich source of vitamin A for them. However, if your cat is one of the fussier ones that are not too fond of liver – then having a health supplement rich in vitamin A will help to develop good body cells and healthy eyes and sight.
Vitamin B – or more specifically vitamin B3, niacin, cannot be produced naturally by cats and so is another vitamin they have to get ‘second-hand’ from other foods that they digest, again animals that had already produced it from the food they ate. Vitamin B3 is essential in the breaking down of protein and, given your cats totally meat diet, it is absolutely essential to digest its food that a cat is getting adequate vitamin B3. Vitamin B3 is another substance that accumulates in the liver of animals – especially pigs; so if your cat has an aversion to liver, pigs in particular, then he or she might need a vitamin B3 health supplement.
Healthy treats for your dog.
We all like giving our animals and especially our pet’s treats – and I guess just about all dog owners are the absolute worst at this? He or she does something right, or that amuses us, or is just there for us and – out comes the biscuit or chocolate treat. We know we shouldn’t – but we always do! Well perhaps you can still give your dog a treat – but make it a healthy dog treat. Healthy dog treats are specially formulated to act as food supplements for your dog and yet be appetizing and different enough for your dog to see it as purely a treat. Various highly specific preparations are available as well as more generic ones, so if you think you need to feed your dog health supplements, why not see if you can combine them with some doggy treats.
Stiff joints and arthritis in your pet.
It’s a sad fact that as our pets and working animals get older, just like humans, their joints will stiffen and they’ll become less mobile; even developing arthritis in some cases. Whilst arthritis is very difficult to treat once it has set in you can help to protect your favorite animal from the onset of stiff joints and arthritis, or at least delay the onset them. Stiff joints and arthritis are caused by damage to the cartilages and the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints. Adding an animal supplement of glucosamine, chondrotin and MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) to their diet will help to protect the cartilages from damage and keep the synovial fluid in peak condition – both of which will reduce the risk of you pet animal developing stiff joints or arthritis, if not even give some relief to there symptoms. Both cats and dogs can be susceptible to these two conditions, which can be quite distressing for their owners as well as the pet itself. Some supplements that work to counter the effects of stiff joints are suitable for cats and dogs. However, buying a specialist cat or dog stiff-joint supplement is always recommended if one is available.
Essential fatty acids and animal health.
Essential fatty acids are as important to healthy animals as they are to healthy humans. Probably the single most visible sign that your pet, be it a cat, dog or even a horse, is getting enough essential fatty acids is by looking at their fur/coat. If it is shiny and healthy looking – then chances are they don’t need an essential fatty acids supplement. Oily fish are an excellent source of this nutrient, which might be fine for a cat – but not so good for other animals. However, if your animal’s coat isn’t looking quite as good as you think it should there are plenty of essential fatty acid animal health supplements on the market, such as cod liver oil extractions and other general feed supplements.
Some health supplements for horses.
If you’re a horse owner, whether for pleasure or work, you know you have an animal that is worth a lot of money and can be very expensive in vet’s bills. However, there are plenty of horse supplements on the market to help you keep your horse in the peak of condition and, hopefully, keep the visits by the vet down to a minimum. Horses can be very stoical animals and it’s not always apparent that there’s anything wrong with them, so keeping one of the many general health supplements for horses, that can be added to their feed to perk them up if they’re a bit off, might not be a bad idea. An example here would be a vitamin E supplement. Essential to your horse to aid digestion as well as recover from injury, if your horse seems unwell or lethargic a boost of vitamin E might be all that’s needed. Horses can have problems with their digestive systems and if you suspect colic - you must call the vet immediately and keep the horse upright, preferably walking and not ingesting anything. However, there are a range of horse feed supplements that are designed to help your horse have good general digestion; these will often contain probiotics, calcium and magnesium carbonate as anti-acids and special gels to move any sand that they’ve ingested.
Veterinary advice and animal health supplements.
If any condition for which you are giving your animal or pet an extra supplement doesn’t show signs of improvement in them – you should seek the professional advice of a vet.