Pets benefit from extra supplements to their normal pet food diet just as we do. In order to ensure that your dog or cat is in the best healthy, you can choose foods which are chock-full of these essential nutrients, or feed them supplements in addition to their regular diet. Here are some of the most essential.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are not naturally produced by dogs or cats and so must be added through their food. Pet food generally has plenty of Omega-6 fatty acids (coming from vegetable oils and animal fats) but less Omega-3s. Good sources are in fish oils, such as cod liver oil.
2. Digestive Enzymes. These are used to break down foods, allowing them to be absorbed and used by the body. Food which isn’t properly broken down can lead to inflammation, allergies and other chronic health problems, and so digestive enzymes are particularly important for older pets. They are naturally produced by the pancreas, but production slows down with aging.
3. Antioxidants. Antioxidants are naturally consumed through a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, but less so through commercial pet foods. Good antioxidants to look out for in your pet food choices include Vitamin E, carotenoids such as beta-carotene, and flavanoids such as Vitamin C.
4. Probiotics. Just as with humans, probiotic products can have health benefits, as they keep the normal bacteria in the gut balanced and healthy. Cats in particular often suffer digestive problems, such as hairballs, diarrhoea, vomiting and constipation, and so could benefit from a supplement of probiotics.