During a nutrition consultation, I will always ask what supplements the cat or dog is currently taking. I’ve had every answer from “there are supplements for pets?” to “here’s an alphabetized list sub-categorized by supplement type”. Although the shear amount of supplements available can be overwhelming and quite frankly a put off for pet owners, I can say that there is a perfect supplement(s) for every pet. Allow me to simplify and give you confidence all in one spot.
The first supplement category I want to touch on are probiotics (prebiotics and digestive enzymes included). We all remember the Jamie Lee Curtis yogurt commercials talking about gut health and probiotics, but did you know that your cat or dog might be in desperate need of some gut help as well? Imagine that the gut bacteria are at war. If we send in more good bacteria (aka probiotic supplements) than bad, the bad bacteria doesn’t stand a chance. Some symptoms of an unhealthy gut are:
Weight Issues (over or underweight)
There are many amazing gut healing supplements; high quality pet specific probiotics are a great place to start. Not many people realize that most of your pets serotonin (the mood boosting, happy chemical) is made in the gut and not the brain. Microbes help produce serotonin in gut. It is estimated that 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract! A healthy gut can actually lead to a happier pet.
One of the other things I love about probiotics is that a recent study showed that it actually helps pets retain more water. This is especially helpful for our kitty friends who are so prone to dehydration, kidney disease, bladder stones, etc. A little extra hydration is only beneficial.
Probiotics are not all created equal and using the ones in your medicine cabinet won’t cut it, unfortunately. Your dog or cat’s gut is a far different environment than yours. Even your expensive Whole Foods probiotic is no match for a carnivores digestive system. My favorite brands are Fidobiotics “Good Guts for Mutts”, Fidobiotics “Good Guts for Cats”, Pro-Bark-Otic, and Flora4. I have many success stories with all of these and I trust them wholeheartedly.
Digestive enzymes are often added to probiotics but can also be purchased separately. Pet food is not perfect, especially if your dog or cat is on strictly dry kibble. The body, namely the vital organs, have to work very hard to break down dry matter; enter digestive enzymes! Some break down proteins, some break down starches, and so on. I HIGHLY recommend digestive enzymes for pets who are on a commercial food, especially older pets.
Eventually we’ll talk about bone broth and how incredible it is for gut health, but that will be for next time! As always, please reach out if you have any questions or you’d like to set up a consultation.
Our very own Samantha Henson is the founder of Next Generation Pet Wellness and licensed Clinical Pet Nutritionist.