Apr 14, 2018

Wherever you shop for items for your dog and cat, you are bound to come across a myriad of different vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements (known as nutraceuticals) to aid in the health of your pet.They all claim to be helpful, but how to choose what is actually needed and what brand does one choose?

Unlike prescription medication, nutraceuticals are not reviewed and approved for safety and effectiveness by the FDA. Therefore, as a pet parent, it is important to do your due diligence.

Fortunately, there is some helpful guidance for consumers. The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) was established in 2001. This is an independent, non-profit organization, which allows nutraceutical companies to voluntarily have their product go through a rigorous review for quality and assurance. When one sees a NASC quality seal label on a product, you can trust it came from a reputable company. For a complete list of NASC products visit:

The top four supplements that I recommend most often include:

1.Omega Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA have been shown to combat harmful inflammation throughout the body. It aids in learning, helps treat arthritis, allergies, memory, eyesight, cardiovascular disease and many more conditions. The best sources of DHA and EPA for pets are oils from fish and algae, other sources seem not to be as bioavailable in pets as in humans.

In addition to improving digestive health, probiotics have been proven to enhance the immune system and prevent many diseases. I recommend a veterinary formulation containing at least one billions CFU’s (colony forming units).

3.S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe)
Most commonly recommended for older patients, this is an anti-inflammatory supplement used primarily with liver disease, cognitive decline, mood and arthritis. It is recommended to only use special veterinary formulations of SAMe, which are proven to be properly absorbed. These products have special coating that prevent stomach acid breakdown.

4.Joint Supplements
Not just your glucosamine and chondroitin anymore. These days you will see products that have other ingredients such as boswellia, turmeric, hyaluronic acid, uc-II cartilage, msm, green-lipped mussel and vitamin E.

Nutraceuticals are a great way to improve your pet’s health and even reduce your pet care expenses down the line, but don’t overdo it. One can inadvertently overdose their pet on a supplement due to lack of information. Hillcrest Animal Hospital is here to offer expert advice and therapeutic dosages based on a pet’s weight, age, breed and medical condition.

Dr. Michelle Mayers