Do you take nutritional supplements (vitamins, herbs, etc.) for your health? Have you wondered if your pets might experience the same benefits that you have found with your use of supplements? Many people report improved health and less need for medicines when they give their pets dietary supplements.

The articles and blogs that you will find under this category will help explain to you the applications and uses, as well as any potential problems or adverse interactions that might occur by giving your pet supplements.

Nurse Your Pet_51Although the goal of this category is not to sell you specific branded products, often there are significant differences between products containing the same supplements, such that one product will work well, and the other, not so well. In those cases where there is a specific brand that people have been using successfully, then this column will mention that product by its brand name, not just by what it contains. We want you to make good decisions, but don’t want to appear as though we are selling you stuff. The only thing we offer on this blog-site is accurate and effective information that can help your pet, and we offer that at no charge to you.

Animal supplements are not as controlled as pharmaceutical drugs, in terms of manufacturing quality, nor in consistency of dosages from one bottle to the next. In some cases, organizations like Consumer Labs (www.consumerlab.com) have analyzed supplements purchased from the shelves of health food stores and have found that many of them haven’t met label claims. This means that they say their product contains a certain amount of a supplement, but when analyzed it was found to have less of that than stated on the label. This could be a reason why a supplement doesn’t work for your pet.

This column will guide you through the “jungle” of the pet supplement marketplace to help you know what to look for in a reputable product that meets label claims, and how to figure out how much your pet will need of a product so you can estimate how much that product will cost you for your pet over a month’s period of time.

Another word for animal supplements is animal “nutraceuticals”. This is a new term coined specifically to define this category that isn’t a drug, and technically isn’t a food either. More like nutritional pharmaceuticals or “nutraceutical”. The official definition of nutraceutical is:

A [non-drug] substance which is produced in a purified or extracted form and administered orally to a patient to provide agents required for normal body structure and function and administered with the intent of improving the health and well-being of animals.

Nutraceuticals encompass a wide range of supplement types. Below is a list:

  • Amino acids and Protein (Glutamine, Carnitine, Arginine, Whey protein, soy protein)
  • Vitamins (vitamin D, vitamin E, etc.)
  • Oils such as fish oil. Flax seed oil, lecithin, coconut oil
  • Minerals (zinc, selenium, calcium, magnesium)
  • Herbal compounds and extracts (milk thistle or turmeric)
  • Antioxidants (vitamin C, cranberry juice, green tea)
  • Probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus, etc.)
  • Enzymes (digestive enzymes, proteolytic enzymes)

Dosages for nutraceuticals are usually based on the weight of your pet, so its important to know how much your pet weighs in order to figure this out. Some products don’t clearly state on their labels the exact amount of nutraceutical that the product contains for each dose (capsule, tablet, liquid volume, soft-chew, etc.)

The label of a good product will state plainly how much of each ingredient is contained in a serving size. The serving size may say that the amount of nutraceutical is contained in 1 capsule. Or it might say that the serving size is more capsules. For example, lets say the serving size is 6 capsules. This means that each capsule contains 1/6 of the amount stated on the label. This way you can figure out how many capsules (or other dosage form) your pet would need for a single dosage.

If you count the number of capsules present in the bottle, you can figure out then how long the bottle will last your pet when you give them the correct calculated dosage. This will allow you to know how much to budget for your pet’s monthly nutraceutical supply.

Combined with a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, nutritional supplements can really help your pet stay well or help it better manage whatever ails it.

Editors Note: Dr. Silver is a nationally-recognized expert in animal supplements, and a veterinarian who has used animal supplements successfully in his holistic practice for years. Dr. Silver will offer his sound advice on these pages, to help you know which supplements to choose for your pet, and how much and how often you need to be giving these supplements for best effect.

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