Supplements to Support Our Furry Friends

Pet ownership skyrocketed during the pandemic. Take a look at market trends and science.

pet health dogs

Natural Grocers called it in their annual Top 10 Trends for 2022: Pet health is huge. Pet ownership skyrocketed during the pandemic. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey, an estimated 70% of U.S. households now own a pet.

When it comes to our four-legged friends, we don’t skimp. As the experts at Natural Grocers noted, pet owners are applying the same standards to their pet health as they do to their own health. This has led to increased demand for supplements that support anxiety, digestion, and joint health, as well as for allergen-free and organic pet food and treats.

To meet consumer demand, there has been a 41% increase in “all natural” pet foods launched globally, ADM reports in its 2022 Trends report. Supplements, too, and soaring: The global pet supplements market size was valued at $1.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 5.9% from 2022 to 2030, according to Grand View Research.

Supps to Keep Pets Happy & Healthy

As with all family members, it is recommended to speak with a healthcare provider—in this case a veterinarian—prior to giving pets supplements or making diet changes. That said, here are a few of the supplements that can support common pet-health needs.

Curcumin/Turmeric

Osteoarthritis affects 20% of all dogs, and while reducing the dog’s weight with a healthy diet and exercise may help relieve pain, care strategies typically involve managing pain and preserving function. Joint health supplements for pets can offer a helping hand. One option: turmeric. This spice has many potential health benefits for dogs. According to the the experts at Wild Earth: “Turmeric has been reported to help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation for dogs. This is especially true in older dogs or if your dog has any hip, joint, or mobility issues. This can help with arthritis and other inflammation-based disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).” They note that turmeric also has been used topically on dogs to help heal cuts, scraps, bruises, and other skin conditions.

Glucosamine

This building block for cartilage can help keep dogs active, playful, and healthy. “Glucosamine occurs naturally in many parts of your pet’s body including their joints, ligaments, tendons—basically all tissues containing collagen—which includes cartilage,” the experts at Wild Earth share on the company’s blog. “It has been suggested that glucosamine supplementation can promote joint health by increasing fluids within these areas allowing for lubrication between surfaces to reduce friction and help maintain elasticity, making it an excellent supplement for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia.”

 Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3s provide benefits for pets including supporting a healthy heart, brain, joints, immune system, and coat. Unfortunately, the nutrient is often lacking in pet diets. Testing can help pet owners monitor the pet’s diet. “Adding omega-3 to the pet’s diet and especially the long chain marine-based omega-3s, EPA and DHA, can balance out omega-6 fatty acids and reduce the hormone like inflammatory mediators that cause pain,” Douglas Bibus, Ph.D., Founder/CEO Lipid Technologies, LLC, has told WholeFoods. “Quality pet foods that include fish like salmon/tuna or dietary fish oil supplements, provide the daily omega-3s that our pets need to strive for.” He adds that omega-3 fatty acids can help with pet anxiety and even aggression.

One form of omega-3s for pets: Salmon peptides, which are used in pet food applications for a sustainable, easily digestible source. Another option: New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel, which is a natural source of ETA, to help relieve joint stiffness and maintain youthful mobility.

To help ensure that pets get the omegas they need, OmegaQuant launched an Omega-3 Index Test for Pets. It includes a sample collection kit that pet owners can bring to their vet to measure the pet’s omega-3 level. “There is a rising trend among veterinarians and pet owners of giving companion animals like dogs omega-3s either in fortified foods or supplements,” said Kristina Harris Jackson, OmegaQuant Director of Research. “Like in humans, the omega-3s EPA and DHA can help with health issues that have an underlying inflammatory component, but it’s important to know how to dose them. With high concentrate fish oils, for example, you need to make sure you aren’t overdoing it on the EPA and DHA, while at the same time giving pets enough to achieve therapeutic omega-3 levels. We believe this test will close the loop for pet owners and veterinarians and give them the ability to deliver omega-3s to their pets with a bit more precision and peace of mind.”

Phytocannabinoids

Cannabidiol (CBD) can improve arthritis symptoms in dogs, according to research from Baylor College of Medicine. “We found encouraging results,” said Dr. Matthew Halpert, Research Faculty in the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor. “Nine of the 10 dogs on CBD showed benefits, which remained for two weeks after the treatment stopped. We did not detect alterations in the blood markers we measured, suggesting that, under the conditions of our study, the treatment seems to be safe.” WF