By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

You can help your dog or cat live a long, healthy life with good food choices.  Quality pet foods lead to healthier pets. But there are situations when feeding a good food, clean water, and exercising your pet may not be enough. Some of the most common health concerns for dogs and cats can be supported with natural pet supplements.

Joint Health – Up to 25% of dogs and 1 in 5 cats experience joint discomfort. Injury, repeated physical stress on the joint, excess weight and genetic predisposition can all contribute to unhealthy joints, reducing the quality of life for the animal.  There are key active ingredients to look for in natural joint supplements for optimal results.

  • Joint Building Blocks:  Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, Hyaluronic Acid
  • Ingredients to combat soreness: Yucca, Black Cohosh, Cayenne, MSM
  • Ingredients to fight free radical build-up:  Turmeric, Ginger, Devil’s Claw, Alfalfa, Vitamin C
  • Ingredients to support healthy blood flow:  Nettle, Celery Seed

Digestive/Immune Health – 6.5 million dogs and 12.4 million cats suffer from chronic digestive problems, creating discomfort and reducing immune health. Healthy digestion leads to a strong immune system, among other benefits. Digestive supplements should contain enzymes to break down and deliver nutrients from a pet’s food to every part of the body. Situations that lead to insufficient enzyme levels include advanced age, strenuous exercise, illness, stress, processed food, genetic factors or antibiotic use.  The four key enzymes for dogs and cats are:

  • Protease for Muscle: Provides protein digestion in the stomach and small intestine
  • Amylase for Energy: Digests starchy foods to release simple sugars
  • Cellulase for Fiber: Provides dogs and cats with the enzyme needed to reduce the bulking effect of fibrous foods
  • Lipase for Overall Health: Digests fatty acids allowing the pet to absorb Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Vitamins A, D, E and K

Also, digestive supplements with fructooligosaccharides (FOS) support intestinal balance and a healthy immune system. FOS selectively feeds the beneficial, native bacteria in the dog or cat’s system.  Unlike probiotics (live microorganisms), FOS does not have to be refrigerated and is more customized to your pet’s unique system, promoting growth of bacteria already naturally present.

To find high quality natural supplements that will work well, look for products that add back what the body would naturally make if it were healthy. Compare ingredients and look for supplements that contain clinically-tested levels of active ingredients, and minimal inactive ingredients. Finally, look for the NASC Quality Seal.  This means the manufacturer has passed rigorous quality audits.

There are many common situations where a pet owner might consider adding supplements to their pet’s healthy diet; times when the pet’s own natural processes may not be able to keep up with the demands placed on its body.   Supplements that add back what the body would naturally make in a healthy state can help keep pets healthy, active and vibrant.