Many people take supplements or vitamins. And more and more, they are also likely to give them their pets.
As many as a third of US dogs and cats may receive vitamins or supplements. The most common are multivitamin supplements, that support the arthitic joints, and fatty acids to reduce pouring and improve the coat of shine, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association. Pet owners also give probiotics to relieve digestive problems or antioxidants to fight the effects of aging, such as cognitive dysfunction.
In the growing population of aging, overweight dogs, market dogs supplements are expected to increase by 37% to 2012, reaching $1 700 000 000, according to packaged facts, a market research company.
Veterinary Nutritionist Susan Wynn, DVM, sees many clients in their practice near Atlanta who give her dogs vitamins and supplements. “They will come full of suitcases,” he says.
But do dogs need these vitamins and supplements? And are they even safe? Experts say that some work, others do not, and some are not necessary and may even be harmful to dogs.
“Most people do this because they want, not because it is necessary,” says C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, a professor of veterinary clinics in Ohio State University of veterinary faculty.
Does my dog need vitamins?
Most dogs can be a complete and balanced diet – including the necessary vitamins and minerals – commercially-processed dog food in accordance with the FDA. Dogs fed by a homemade diet may need supplements. “It is absolutely critical, but it should be done to match the diet, ” says Wynn. “You can’t just create a meal and give your dog a vitamin. ” Check with your veterinarian or nutritionist’s help to determine what, if anything, is needed.
Is there any danger in giving my dog vitamins?
Possible. If the animal already eats a balanced diet and gets excess portions of some vitamins and minerals, they can be harmful, according to the FDA and veterinarians.
Too much calcium can cause skeletal problems, especially in large breeds of puppies; Too much vitamin A can damage blood vessels and cause dehydration and joint pain. Excess Vitamin D may ask the dog to stop eating, damage the bones and cause muscle atrophy.
Should I check with my vet before supplementing?
Absolutely, doctors say. Symptoms that look like arthritis, such as a weak rear end, may be a neurological problem instead. Poor coat may indicate skin, metabolic or hormonal problems.
“Do not assume traditional medical procedures, especially if it is a living or organ-threatening disease of your pet,” says Dawn M. Boothe, DVM, MS, PhD, Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory director at Auburn University College, veterinary Medicine. “Make sure you stick to Standard care and use supplements as they were meant for, supplements. ”
The ingredients of some dietary supplements, such as herbals, may interact with other medicines taken by the animal. Your veterinarian can also assess whether your pet needs extra.
“If they eat a complete and balanced diet and they are healthy and have no problems, they don’t actually need supplementation,” says Wynn. He recommends fruits and vegetables for pet owners who want to give extra nutrients. In addition, it restricts its recommendations if the dog is healthy.
“We want to use things that are safe for the long term,” says Wynn. “Probiotics are suitable for this account. This is probably all I would recommend. ”
Who regulates dog vitamins and supplements?
The FDA monitors animal supplements. The A2008 report from the National Research Council, a scientific research unit of non-profit national academies, confirms that there is little information on the safety of pet supplements.
The National Animal Supplementary Council is addressing some of these concerns. The Council sets out the labelling guidelines, the need for reports of adverse incident to the problems with supplements and examines certain products to check whether or not there is a amount of the substances mentioned on the label. This group also needs its members-about 90% of industry-to adopt new standards of manufacturing by June 2010.
But “The quality of these products is a major, major concern,” Boock said.