Nutraceuticals can be categorized as Dietary Supplements, functional Foods or Medicinal Foods. The founder and chairman of the Foundation of Innovation in Medicine, Dr. Stephen DeFelice, coined the term "Nutraceuticals" in 1989 and defined it as "food, or part of food, that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease."
The nutraceutical industry in the United States is about $86 billion and continues to rise. With more than 40% of the American population using alternative medical therapies including nutraceuticals, pet parents are encouraged to do the same for their pets. Plus, consumers who are dissatisfied with the high cost of drugs and conventional healthcare and have poor or failed therapeutic outcomes, have turned to alternative methods for medical treatments. Since nutraceuticals are made from herbal or botanical raw materials and are considered by the population to be safer, it's no wonder why pet parents are giving them to their pets.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSEAH) defines "dietary supplement" as having the following criteria:
Examples of dietary supplements:
Just like humans, it’s always a good idea to give pets a daily multivitamin such as Super VitaChews Soft Chews, Soft VitaChews for Cats, RX Vitamins Onco Support Powder & Supplement for Pets or NaturVet Brewers Yeast. Multivitamins benefit the immune system, plus many organs in the body including the eyes, liver, heart, and kidneys.
Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are a few minerals you can be giving your pet. Puppies and large breed dogs benefit greatly from calcium, which can be found in Osteo-Form Calcium-Phosphorus and Vitamin Supplement, to help promote healthy bone growth and even aid the healing of fractures.
Probiotics such as Probiotic Chewys G.I. Tract Supplement for Dogs, NaturVet Digestive Enzymes with Probiotics Tablets, and NaturVet Digestive Enzymes Plus Probiotic, not only aid in digestion, but can also normalize bowel movements and strengthen the immune system.
Functional Foods are foods that provide the body with nutritional benefits that may reduce the risk of disease or promote optimal health.
Examples of functional foods:
Medicinal Foods are foods that promote and improve health, such as:
Every pet has his or her own special needs, and it’s hard to know which nutrients are helpful to pet health. Therefore, pet parents considering nutraceuticals may find it daunting to choose what may be right for their pet. Below is a list of popular nutraceuticals; however, we always recommend consulting with your veterinarian before giving to your pet.
Antioxidants: Although it may seem odd to give pets antioxidants, they are very beneficial for every pet because they help prevent and fight disease, and protect against harmful free radicals. Proanthozone, Marin for Dogs, Be Well for Dogs, Be Well for Cats and Super Pure Omega 3 all work to strengthen the immune system and improve organ function.
Whole Food Supplements: Many commercial pet foods may not contain the proper nutrients pets need. Adding a whole food supplement that is completely natural like Be Well for Dogs or Be Well for Cats, can replace nutrients and give your pet that extra pep in his or her step.
Homeopathic Products: Homeopathy is growing rapidly in the pet industry, and many common pet ailment symptoms like worms, anxiety, and hot spots are quelled with homeopathic ingredients. Unlike conventional medicine, using homeopathic ingredients found in pet products like, HomeoPet Wrm Clear, HomeoPet Anxiety Relief and HomeoPet Hot Spots can help alleviate symptoms without potentially negative side effects, which many pet parents find truly beneficial.
Whether you are new to nutraceuticals, or you have been giving them to your pet for a while, dietary supplements like the ones mentioned above, aid in the overall wellbeing of your pet and can help reduce the amount of medications used, some of which can potentially cause long-term damage in your precious pet.