Normally Fido is a vibrant, high-energy four year old Vizsla who loves to play fetch, go hunting, and relax with this family but recently, he has spent more time relaxing then play. He seems dull and listless and although you took him to your veterinarian, all the tests he ran came back as normal. How can it be that veterinary medicine can not help your beloved Fido and bring him back to his normal, high-energy self?
Holistic medicine and holistic supplements for dogs is not a new concept and yet many people still believe that western veterinary medicine holds all the answers to a happy and healthy pet. This is a misconception. Many alternative medicines work just as well if not better then typical, contemporary care, because they do not interfere with other bodily functions yet supplement the animal’s own ability to heal itself.
Cautions about Holistic Supplements for Dogs
Wide ranges of holistic supplements for dogs are available through holistic veterinarians, natural pet food stores, natural human food stores, and pet stores. However, not all are created equal. Even less regulatory bodies are in place for controlling the quality of pet supplements then there is in human supplements so what the label says is not always what is actually in the bottle. Buy holistic supplements for your dog through both reputable sources and companies that stand behind their products.
If you are concerned about what holistic supplements are right for your dog, make an appointment with a holistic veterinarian in your area. Bring your dog’s latest health records from your regular veterinarian or, even better, have your vet fax them ahead of your appointment so that the holistic veterinarian can review them beforehand.
A Good Place to Start when giving Holistic Supplements to your Dog
Most disease in dogs and humans alike comes from, or is aggravated by, an unhealthy digestive tract. Chronic or occasional vomiting , diarrhea , flatulence, and constipation in your dog are all signs of digestive ill health and although sometimes we know the cause (aka you saw your dog eat something nasty but were unable to stop him), often it is a complete mystery.
Holistic supplements for a healthy canine digestive tract include:
Digestive Enzymes – as the name implies, digestive enzymes help break down food particles as they travel through the digestive tract, starting with the saliva. When not enough digestive enzymes are naturally present in the digestive system, food particles are not broken down into nutrients, nor are they small enough to be absorbed into the blood stream. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, set off an immune response causing inflammation, allergies, and chronic health problems. By supplementing your dog’s diet with digestive enzymes and ensuring that nutrients are absorbed properly, not only digestive tract health improves but all over good health abounds. As an added bonus, you will see your dog eat less grass, less feces, suffer from less gas, have a healthier coat and shed less – can you ask for anything more from a supplement?
Probiotics and/or Prebiotics – if you watch TV, you have seen the yogurt commercials that guarantee a healthier digestive tract in two weeks; that yogurt contains these useful bacteria. You see, the digestive tract contains an important balance of both good and bad bacteria and when that balance is disturbed, problems begin to develop. By supplementing your dog’s diet with the healthy good bacteria, bad bacteria is kept in check and your dog’s digestive system is able to work at peak performance.
Holistic supplements for healthy canine movement:
Essential Fatty Acids – essential because the body is unable to produce them, Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are an important part of a healthy body for both dogs and humans. However, both the canine and human diets are high in Omega 6 that is readily available in red meat and yet frightening low in Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in fish, flax, and borage. Supplementing both your diets in Omega 3 fatty acid helps to regulate pain levels, aid proper cardiovascular health, nourish skin and coat as well as the lining of the digestive tract. Omega 3 is also a vital anti-inflammatory and considering most chronic joint pain in dogs is caused by inflammation, Omega 3 is an important step in reducing pain and increasing mobility.
Joint Formulas – most joint formulas contain a variety of supplements including GLH, MSM, Omega 3, chondroitin, green-lipped mussels, and bromelain, as well as products such as boswellia, Co-enzyme Q10 and anti-oxidants that are important for senior health. Ask your holistic veterinarian for more information on these supplements.
The canine multi-vitamin
Much like humans, dogs can benefit from a daily multi-vitamin to ensure they are ingesting the base amount of nutrients required for good health. There are a range of multi-vitamin formulas for dogs and what works best for your dog may take some experimentation. Talk to your holistic veterinarian for more information on what to add to your pet’s diet.
Research your pet’s specific needs based on weight and age or, again, ask your holistic veterinarian. Too much of a good thing can be just as bad as not enough so make sure that you are not ‘over dosing’ your dog. Start with one supplement and add one a month so that you can see how each one affects your pet and whether it is making a reasonable amount of difference to their health to warrant continuing. Many people keep a daily journal that documents changes in their pet’s coat condition, digestive function, the brightness of their eyes, odor, and energy levels. This can be a goldmine of information as your pet ages!
Holistic supplements for dogs can help ensure a long, healthy life for your beloved pet. Do your research and talk to the professionals to see what products best fit your dog’s needs!