As a pet parent, you want to ensure your baby is getting all of the nutrients he or she needs to live an energized, happy, healthy, and full life. Your pet requires the same essential nutrients as we do for healthy bones and joints, digestion, vision, energy, immunity, stress support, cellular health, and longevity.
Some pets may not always get all the nutrition they need from diet alone. This is when pet vitamins and supplements can be helpful, but it’s important to know when they may also be harmful — and when your pet may not need pet supplements at all.
If your four-legged love is eating a well-rounded diet and meeting their daily needs for essential nutrients (including protein, carbs, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals), then it’s likely a pet supplement isn’t needed. However, if there are gaps in their nutrition, a supplement can be helpful to meet their daily needs and keep their health on track.
With a vast sea of supplements for pets to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know what to look for on the ingredients label or which type of supplement to choose. From a general standpoint, it’s always recommended to choose a holistic and natural pet supplement. This is the best way to eliminate some common concerns about pet supplements on the market.
What Are “Holistic” Pet Supplements?
While many people use the words “holistic” and “natural” interchangeably, the term holistic means to view a person or pet as a whole being — not just their isolated parts or symptoms. (We’ll get into how the word “holistic” applies to a healthy pet supplement in a moment.)
For example, there are veterinarians who take a holistic approach to pet care (called holistic vets). This means they won’t just treat your pet’s symptoms — they’ll look at the bigger picture of their health in terms of stress, environment, diet, exercise, and any other factors to determine the root cause of why the symptom is there in the first place.
That said, vets who take a holistic approach will also typically use natural treatments, such as acupuncture, and harness the power of nutrients from whole foods to improve pet health. Surgery and drugs are often the last resort, not the first go-to solution.
A holistic pet supplement is more or less of the same definition. It will be formulated to contain only natural ingredients (usually sourced from whole, human-grade foods) to support your pet’s entire system.
Supplements for pets share the same concerns our supplements do, in that they don’t have to be tested for safety or efficacy to be sold. This means that what your pet is actually ingesting may not match what the supplement nutrition label says. They can also contain traces of contaminants, such as lead or mercury.
For example, four out of six pet joint health supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin tested by Consumer Lab failed to meet quality standards. One brand contained far less glucosamine and chondroitin than what was stated on the label, while another brand contained so little of those key ingredients that it would “likely provide no benefit”. (1)(2)
Another fact to consider is that pet supplements are even more tricky to test for effectiveness. This is because there’s no way to truly know if your pet is feeling better. While you can monitor your cat, dog, or horse’s health, they can’t actually let you know if they’re feeling more energized, less achy, or if their vision seems sharper.
This is where holistic pet supplements can be supportive. Rather than targeting a specific concern, holistic pet supplements offer vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients from whole food sources to supplement your pet’s diet and fill in nutrition gaps. Many holistic pet supplement brands also conduct their own testing for purity and safety. In most cases, they have this information readily available on their website or can provide lab testing results upon request.
Choosing a Holistic Pet Supplement for Dogs and Cats (Look For These 6 Essential Nutrients, Plus A Pet-Friendly Superfood)
Just like us, every pet’s needs will be different depending on their age, current state of health, activity level, and diet. Animals need the same six essential nutrients we do to support all body functions: proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, vitamins, and minerals.
Your vet will be able to recommend the best supplement for your cat or dog based on their health history. Here’s a general overview of the essential nutrients to look for in a holistic pet supplement and why they’re supportive for your pet’s health:
B Vitamins: For energy and metabolism support and to help digest proteins and fats.
Vitamin A: To support vision (including night vision), immunity, and a healthy, shiny coat.
Vitamin C: To help support system balance and promote collagen production for healthy bones, joints, and hips.
Vitamin D: Dogs don’t need nearly as much vitamin D as we do, but small amounts can help maintain calcium balance (for healthy bones and teeth), vision, skeletal muscle health, and immunity.
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids: To support cognitive function, heart health, a shiny coat, immunity, and joints.
Probiotics: If your pet experiences digestive distress or regularity, adding small amounts of probiotics to their diet may help restore balance to their gut microbiome.
Bonus Ingredient: Chlorella (A Cat and Dog-Friendly Superfood)
Chlorella is a green algae that contains a plethora of essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It gets its vibrant green color from a plant pigment called chlorophyll, which is also found in broccoli, green peppers, spinach, leafy greens, and any other green vegetable you can think of.
Chlorophyll is an excellent nutrient to give your pet as it contains the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. Nucleic acids promote cellular repair and regeneration, which supports your pet’s entire system as they age. As an added bonus, chlorophyll is also believed to have mild breath freshening benefits — which every dog and cat could undoubtedly benefit from.
Pet supplements aren’t always necessary, but can be helpful to fill nutrition gaps as needed.
When shopping for healthy pet supplements, keep in mind key ingredients like vitamins A, C, D, and all B vitamins which are all supportive of your pet’s cellular health, digestion, bones, joints, and teeth, immunity, and a shiny coat. If you’re looking for a holistic pet supplement recommendation, Rejuv-A-Wafers: a Superfood Treat for Dogs and Cats contains all of these nutrients, plus the pet-friendly superfood, chlorella.
As a holistic pet supplement, Rejuv-A-Wafers are made from Chlorella, Lecithin, Eleuthero, and does not contain sugar, artificial flavorings, colors, or preservatives.
Since each pet’s nutritional needs can vary, always be sure to consult your vet before adding a new supplement to your pet’s routine.