guest author REX collective member: Sarah Swennen - Tail Blazers Copperfield
We all want the absolute best for our fur kids, but choosing from dozens of supplements can be a daunting task. I’ve always been a firm believer in prevention, but prior to working in the pet industry, I really had no idea where to begin. I wanted to know that the supplements I bought for my dog were going to have the most dramatic impact on his health.
Sadly, health problems like auto-immune disorders and cancer are becoming all too abundant in the pet population, so why not slow the progression of them or prevent them from happening at all? In my experience the following supplements can offer your pet the greatest defense against the most common illnesses facing today's dogs.
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If you were going to introduce only one supplement to your pet’s diet, this is it. It’s been said that the key to health and vitality lies in the gut and it holds true for our four-legged friends too. Probiotics rapidly increase the absorption rate of the nutrients in your pet's diet. You could be feeding the absolute best diet known to dogs, but if they do not have a healthy gut they aren’t going to be able to utilize nearly the amount of nutrients they otherwise could. Most pets, and even their owners, are significantly lacking in probiotics due to stress, poor diet and use of antibiotics.
When choosing a probiotic, it’s important to note that not all probiotics are created equal. Be sure to choose a probiotic supplement that contains a quality pre-biotic. As you know, probiotics are living bacteria and prebiotics are their food. Prebiotics help keep the probiotics in the supplement healthy before you buy it and when given to your dog can help strengthen the bacteria already existing in the gut.
It’s also important to choose a blend of pet specific probiotics with multiple strains that are the most useful in a dog’s gut. Lastly, check the number of colony forming units aka CFU. My favorite probiotics have about 30 billion CFU but I have seen some as low as 1 million, that’s a huge difference. I do believe that it does pay in the long run to spend a little extra on a high-quality probiotic; even if you give a half dose they are so much better off for it.
Recommended: Adored Beast Apothecary - Love Bugs, Healthy Gut - Mercola Pets – Complete Probiotics
I consider plankton to be a superfood for pets; it acts as a multivitamin for your dog. It helps to increase overall health, quality of life and longevity. It’s a single-celled organism which makes it highly absorbable. Plankton is very well-rounded containing, minerals, chlorophyll, amino acids, DHA, EPA, protein, carotenoids, antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins. The list of health benefits seems almost endless but to name a few: improved skin, joint, and cellular health; reduces inflammation, aids with digestion, increases energy while decreasing hyperactivity, decreases anxiety, and aids in detoxification.
Recommended: Adored Beast Apothecary – Phytosynergy
Omega supplements have many benefits from reducing shedding, to improving joint health and brain function. The most common omegas used for dogs are fish oils. When choosing a fish oil one thing to be conscious of is the potential presence of heavy metals. Fish that have shorter lifespans such as krill contain less heavy metals than fish that live longer. There are also companies like Ascenta that have their sardine/anchovy oil tested by a third party that is able to certify that the oil is in fact, low in heavy metals. Another option is to use a hemp oil supplement. Hemp oil is great because it offers the perfect ratio of omega 3: omega 6. This is ideal because if an oil is too high in omega 6 it can actually result in inflammation in the body.
4. Turmeric (active compound curcumin)
Turmeric is a go to for any sort of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the root of most major illness in pets and in people as well. Much like the other supplements, it too has many other benefits; it can help reduce damage from free radicals; improve gut health/digestion; support a normal immune response; reduce the negative effects of stress; and support comfortable, flexible movement in joints.
It’s important to note that turmeric on its own has a poor absorption rate. Feeding with a healthy fat can improve this, making golden paste is an excellent way to get the maximum amount of curcumin (active compound in turmeric). No worries it’s quick and easy to make with this recipe.
Note: It is best to give your dog golden paste multiple times throughout the day rather than in one daily dose if possible.
Recommended: Dexters - Ground Turmeric
5. Medicinal Mushrooms
I don’t want to say the dreaded ‘C’ word but… medicinal mushrooms are excellent for preventing cancer and slowing down its progression. The Turkey Tail mushroom in particular helps to turn on cells called beta glucans that will actually go after cancer cells in the body; how amazing is that? Mushrooms regulate the immune system whether it be over or under active, to help the body heal itself in the face of many potential illnesses. The health boosting effects of medicinal mushrooms are nearly endless! They help with respiratory problems, increase circulation, calm anxious dogs, improve focus, have antioxidant properties, reduce inflammation, aid in digestion, have a balancing effect on the immune system, provide healthy skin & nails (less shedding), and some even have histamine blockers to stop itching in dogs with allergies.
Recommended: Canine Matrix - Healthy Pet, Zen, Turkey Tail, Joint, Skin & Coat, MRM Recovery
Every dog is unique. If you have specific concerns regarding your pet’s health, feel free to visit the staff at the Copperfield Tail Blazers, or your local pet health food store, and they can assist you in tailoring your pup's supplement regime. An important thing to remember with supplements is to do what you can. If budget is an issue don’t be deterred! You can feed these supplements in rotation which is a great option and will still have an amazing impact your dog’s well-being. Every little bit counts!
Disclaimer: The information in this article based solely on personal experience and is in no way intended to replace veterinary advice.
Author: Sarah Swennen - Manager of the Copperfield Tail Blazers