Just like many people today are learning that their bodies are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, we are also concerned about whether our pets are getting enough in their diets to keep them happy and healthy. Therefore, pet parents often introduce various supplements, vitamins, and medications to their pets without thinking of the long-term consequences.

Our best friend, our vet, or someone else said that it was good for the pet, so we buy it and use it – not realizing that things we add to our pet’s body can interact together and cause problems, just like in people. What’s worse is that pets cannot tell us about their side effects, so we may be completely unaware of a problem until it’s too late.

The Supplement Industry

The supplement industry is a 15-billion-dollar industry which has very powerful advertising and marketing that affects our choices. As many as 30 percent of pet parents give their pets some form of supplementation, and usually they do it on their own without talking to their vet. This can be very dangerous since even if it’s safe for you, it may not be safe for your pet. Their systems are different from ours. Since supplements aren’t regulated like the drug industry is, and often have horrific quality control, there could be issues with the supplement that you don’t know about.

Pet Food Is Nutritionally Complete

Another thing to think about is that commercial pet food today must be nutritionally complete. If you’re feeding your pets nutritionally complete commercially prepared pet food, there is no reason to offer any type of supplementation of vitamins or minerals – unless a vet has performed blood tests which show that your pet is deficient in something. One exception is supplements for older dogs for joint pain which your vet can recommend and usually provide, although you should be able to find over-the-counter products that work which are less expensive.

Drugs Interact with Vitamins and Supplements

Even though supplements are supposed to be “natural”, they can and do interfere and interact with drugs and other vitamins when combined erroneously. If your pet has an issue that you believe will be helped with a supplement, and they’re on any type of medication, always call the vet first to find out if there is an interaction with their meds, food, or vitamins.

Many Vitamins Are Toxic to Pets

Besides the other issues that have been mentioned, there are many supplements and vitamins that are toxic to pets. It depends on what type of pet you have, but before you give your pet anything that is not recommended by your medical school trained veterinarian, you may want to stop and think. It’s not worth your pet having a reaction and a problem that could have been prevented without experimenting on them. As much as you love your pet, they’re not human, and they should not be treated as human.

Buy Reputable Supplements and Vitamins That Have Been Independently Tested

You’ve likely seen the news recently with all the problems with supplements not having in them what people think is in them. Often, they’re nothing more than a gelatin capsule. Therefore, it’s imperative that you ensure that the products you buy have been tested and shown to contain exactly what the label says they contain. That information can be hard to find, so you may have to call the company and ask them.

No matter how much you want to help your pet, be aware that the vitamin and supplement industry has very little regulation on it and you don’t always really know what you’re giving your pet when you buy questionable supplements that haven’t been independently verified and tested. Your vet will have the right information to help you choose. Be sure to tell them about anything you feed your pet.

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