Supplements: why and how
It is no secret that I am a big fan of supplementation, not just for myself, but also for my four-legged family as well. I am a firm believer that the right supplementation in the right dose in the right time can lead to tremendous health success down the road.
Let’s first go over why we need to supplement our pets, even if they are fed a balanced, species appropriate diet.
1. A balancing act of ‘Essential’ fatty acids: I want to shine the light on omega-3s because it is an essential fatty acid, essential meaning their bodies do not produce it, unlike omega-9 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids, Arachidonic Acid (AA) is not essential to supplement with because they ingest plenty of precursors for it when they eat meat, hence their body can make it. However, incorrect ratios of AA are involved in inflammation and once inflammation starts it can be a precursor to many other conditions. This is why it is important to supplement your pets with omega-3s, to offset the proinflammatory response omega-6s can catalyze. The omega-3 pathway inhibits the inflammatory effects of the AA pathway. So, the more omega-3s ingested, the less inflammation they experience. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 2:1.
Fact: Free range chicken eggs have about twice as much omega-6 to omega-3, but conventionally raised chicken eggs have 20 times more omega-6 to omega-3! This awkward ratio 20:1 is unfortunately what most western diets consist of, both for humans and for our beloved pets.
2. Not enough: Even the cleanest and most organic foods are lacking what we and they need in terms of vitamins and minerals-why? Because our soils are not what they used to be. Thirty years ago, a woman would have to eat two peaches to haver her vitamin A content met, now she needs to eat about 50! Our soils are so depleted, as a farmer myself I know this, that is why feeding supplements and fortified foods to all my animals is so important, otherwise they just simply do not get enough of what they need which can lead to a lot of problems down the road.
3. Prevention: This reason alone is why I supplement everyday. I do not want to hear a negative diagnosis to start doing something for my pets’ health. I want to start right away by preventing inflammation, which inflammation alone is a catalyst to so many conditions and diseases, boosting their immune system and making sure I give their bodies the tools it needs to do its job in the most optimal way, and that is why I supplement.
So now let’s talk about how to supplement and pick the right supplements for your pets. Always chose quality products that are backed up by the brands’ guarantees and research studies. Price is also a reflection of quality so remember that, for instance, an unlabeled ‘bulk’ type of supplement that is priced cheaper is clearly not going to give you any type of guarantee regarding purity and negative heavy metal testing. Always feel free to reach out to companies and take their response to your inquiries into consideration as well, if they are being very helpful and ‘open-book’ minded that is a good sign. For a more customized approach contact your local pet health food store to start or fine tune a supplement regime that works well for you and your pet(s), because healthy pets are happy pets!
Lucy is an avid pet mom; with dogs, cats, goats and horses to keep her busy! All of her pet 'kids' are fed a species appropriate diet with proper supplementation so she can watch them thrive. Her expertise and experience lie in nutraceutical supplementation and is a health advocate for proper diet and nutrition. Her other passions in life are schutzhund and equestrian riding.