When to supplement your dog or cat

By: Rebecca Rose, InClover founder and product developer

If you take a supplement or two because you care about your health, does it make sense to do the same for your dog or cat? Many pet parents and veterinarians are saying “yes” to functional and issue-targeted supplements. Lisa Sanford of Brandenton Florida is one of those pet parents. “My 13-year-old Catahoula (Boris, now retired from flyball) is acting like a puppy again because of Connectin joint supplement. He brings me toys again to throw for him and springs around. He is my ‘heart’ so this means the world to me!”

The primary categories of pet supplements include those for joint health, skin and coat health, GI tract health, dental health, weight control and UT health. Too often, pet parents think there is nothing they can do when their dog or cat shows signs of a health challenge. But, our pets don’t need to suffer, and discomfort does not have to be a part of the aging process. Supplements go a long way in helping pets feel better and stay healthy and active at all life stages. Even with complete diets, supplements serve an important role in maintaining health and wellness and managing health challenges.

Demand for supplements continues to rise. Simmons Market Research Bureau says approximately 17 percent of pet owners give their cats and dogs some type of supplement. These numbers are growing by more than 15 percent per year.

Four Things To Look For When Selecting a Pet Supplement

To be sure you are providing a high quality supplement for your fur kid, ensure they have these four characteristics and ask questions of your pet supplement manufacturer.

1. Quality. The product displays the NASC quality seal on the label. This shows an attention to quality systems and adherence to adverse event reporting. Manufacturers should also have standard operating procedures, lot numbers that offer full traceability of the product from creation to one year past the “best by” date and a complete catalog of retention samples of every product.

Contact the manufacturer about a product or consistency concern and ask them to compare the retention sample. The answer you get is telling.

2. Thoughtful Development. There is a toll-free phone number on the package and the product developer is available to you or your veterinarian to answer questions.

Ask why particular ingredients were included in the product.

3. Efficacy. The manufacturer should be able to supply scientific evidence to support their supplement.

Ask for white papers or abstracts on the product.

4. Safety. Above all, you want to ensure anything you give to your pet is safe. Supplement producers should adhere to strict policies and practices to do everything in their power to ensure a safe product.

Ask for an overview of your supplement company’s adverse event reporting procedure and all serious adverse events that have been reported on the product.

Make your dog’s coat to GLOW like an AKC champion

By: Rebecca Rose, InClover founder and product developer

This time of year brings dry, itchy skin for our four-legged family members. Combine this with the hectic season, and we are pining for an effective yet easy way to make them more comfortable. Now, help is here in the form of a tasty soft chew called Glow. After more than three years of research, Glow is the first complete solution for skin and coat. Let me take you through my thought process in developing Glow and the four important steps to a comfortable dog and shiny coat…

I started the search for a more effective and easy-to-give skin and coat supplement with the green, sometimes slimy, microscopic plants in the ocean called algae. Algae are the source of omega-3 fatty acids. You may think of adding a squirt of fish oil as the answer to dry skin problems, but it is actually the algae that the fish eat that are the source of the beneficial omega-3s. Depending on the temperatures of the water fished, the contamination levels in the water and the type of fish, the quality of the omega-3 in fish oil varies greatly. The algae, on the other hand, make a very high quality form of omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. DHA is the longest chain omega-3, so it is the form that is easiest for the body to put to use. The algae used for Glow are grown in clean, stainless steel kettles and harvested at just the right time for their pure, consistent DHA content.

We know that even the most pure DHA omega-3s do not get to the root of your dog’s discomfort: itching. For that, we turned to biotin and zinc.  These powerful ingredients add the critical repair step necessary for a sleek and comfortable dog. Electron microscopy of skin cells and hair follicles demonstrate the importance of nourishing the body from the inside out.

The last key ingredient in Glow is the whole fresh egg, shell and all. Egg is called nature’s perfect protein for good reason. Egg provides whole food nourishment with 13 natural vitamins and minerals. Egg also gives Glow the great taste that dogs crave.

With Glow, you can give the four key steps of perfect skin and coat nourishment in one tasty soft chew:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  2. Biotin
  3. Zinc
  4. Whole Fresh Egg.

Glow soft chews are the easy way to get your dog soft, shiny and comfortable like a show dog.

Give your dog the gift of Grin

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80 percent of dogs develop gum disease by the age of three years. Common signs of poor oral health include bad breath, excessive drooling, loss of appetite due to oral discomfort, and teeth discolored by tarter build-up. Bad breath is often the most obvious sign, and products with natural breath-freshening ingredients, such as anise and chlorophyll, can improve that condition. However pet parents can help their beloved companions enjoy optimal dental health by focusing on the cause of Fido’s offensive smells, in addition to relieving the more noticeable symptoms.

Keeping your dog’s teeth clean from plaque build-up plays an important role optimal dental health. Chewing is a natural form of tooth cleaning and most dental health products available for dogs are based solely on the abrasive action of chewing something. Having dogs chew a product that holds together well enough to clean the entire tooth can help prevent dental problems. Newer, chewier formats are beginning to emerge to do this, as well as allow active ingredients to adhere to the teeth and go to work.

In addition to chewing, more complete dental products add active ingredients to go to work on what causes poor oral health in dogs. One such natural ingredient is green tea. Research from the past decade has demonstrated that a number of substances in green tea can support tarter reduction in multiple ways. Green tea has been shown to kill the bacteria that cause dental caries, inhibit the activity of the bacteria that live below the gumline, and block the attachment of germs to the teeth. Polyphenols in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties, so they reduce gum disease, also known as gingivitis. Finally, green tea helps fight off the erosion of tooth enamel.

Keeping your dog’s breath fresher starts on the inside. Poor digestion can often be a factor leading to bad breath. A natural ingredient pet parents will find in more complete dental products is the digestive aid FOS (fructooligosaccharide). FOS is a prebiotic that feeds the naturally-occurring bacteria of the dog’s digestive tract, helping to relieve bad breath. FOS is found in some digestive aids for pets.

Pet parents have a number of tools to help their companions maintain good oral health as he or she ages. Breath freshening, chewing, tarter-control, and digestive support will all contribute to healthier teeth and gums. In addition, kisses from your pet will smell much better!

Grin dental health soft chews are available at your favorite independent pet store and include chlorophyll, anise, green tea and FOS in a chewy format.

Supplement Needs for Older Dogs and Cats

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

Because our senior dogs and cats are unable to make the digestive enzymes necessary to absorb and digest key nutrients, it is important to supplement their diets with a high quality digestive enzyme product. Look for a supplement with key plant based enzymes such as protease, amylase, cellulase and lipase. Make sure that your supplement does not have fillers such as lactose, rice hulls or animal digest that may cause digestive issues. If the supplement has the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) benchmark of quality seal, you can feel good about the quality that has gone into the product.  

Start supplementing your pet’s digestive system today, you will notice the difference in decreased amounts of  stool, change in stool odor, color and consistency.  Your pet will feel more vibrant!

Preventive care and supplements

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

Remember your grandmother’s saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” We all know she meant that if we take care of ourselves, we’ll stay healthy and avoid seeing the doctor.  The same is true for our pets. Instead of apples, however, a good diet, exercise and supplements will keep pets healthy and may reduce vet visits.

A quality food is the first step to better pet health. A good food can give dogs and cats more energy, a healthier skin and coat, better digestion, and more fully developed muscles.  When a good diet is combined with regular exercise, pets will more likely maintain a healthy weight, reducing chances of obesity and the health issues that accompany it.

Supplements also help dogs and cats remain active, vibrant and healthy. In Clover’s premium, natural supplements help support the most common health concerns that lead to trips to the veterinarian.

  • Joint Health: Connectin – complete formula showed results in 15 days*
  • Digestive/Immune Health: OptaGest:  4 enzymes plus prebiotic
  • Dental Health: Grin Daily Treats with green tea for tartar control

*data on file

When Diet May Not Be Enough – What to Look for in Supplements

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.