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Supplements for Senior Dogs and Cats

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Lindsay Butzer, DVM
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Supplements that help senior pets
Pet supplements include a broad category of items: antioxidants, vitamins, proteins, minerals, fatty acids, herbs, and homeopathics. The healthiest supplements are whole foods prepared so that vitamins are still present. For example, Be Well is a whole food supplement that is naturally high in antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Recommended supplements for aging pets
The following pet supplements may improve your pet's symptoms associated with aging:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Flower essence pet medications
  • Homeopathic pet medications
  • Calming herbs
  • Pheromones
  • Pet medications that help strengthen the liver and brain

Key facts about senior pets

  • Between 80-90% of all senior pets have arthritis.
  • Pet vitamins are just one type of pet supplement.

Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids benefit your pet's brain because 60% of the brain is fat. The cell membranes of all nerve cells, and the myelin sheaths that wrap around and insulate the nerves, contain a high percentage of fat. Omega 3 fatty acids provide the materials that produce healthy nerve cells and have been proven to positively influence mood, behavior, and learning. The best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids are flax (in Be Well), and fish oils, such as Nordic Naturals Omega-3-Pet (for dogs). Supplementing with Be Well or fish oils helps your pet's nerves regenerate and behavior to become more normal.

Flower essence pet medications
A calming medication made from flower essences is Be Serene. The drops can be given in your pet's mouth, put into your pet's water bowl, misted into the room, or misted onto your pet. Be Serene has a light, positive effect and is safe to give to pets with aging kidneys or livers.

Homeopathic pet medications
An anti-anxiety homeopathic medication is HomeoPet Anxiety Relief. The drops can be placed into your pet's mouth, or put into your pet's water bowl. As with the flower essences, homeopathic medications have a light, positive effect and are safe to give to pets with aging kidneys or livers.

Calming herbs
Calming herbs include Composure Liquid MAX and beef-flavored Quiet Moments tablets (for dogs). Composure is sweet and milky-flavored and many pets enjoy the taste. Composure and Quiet Moments contain different ingredients and some pets will benefit from one more than the other.

Pheromones
Pheromones are chemical messages that alter behavior. Humans do not smell the pheromones in Adaptil Collar for Dogs or Sentry Calming Collar for Cats but these pheromones have a calming effect on pets. The D.A.P. (dog appeasing pheromone) can help make your dog feel as though he or she is back in the nest box with his or her mother; cat pheromones can help make your cat feel comfortable and at peace like when he or she is rubbing against your leg.

Pet medications to strengthen the aging liver and brain
Non-prescription medications that target your pet's aging brain and the liver include Cholodin and Denosyl. One of the liver's jobs is to control the proteins circulating in the blood. As the liver ages, it allows proteins into circulation that are detrimental to the brain. Cholodin, Marin, and Denosyl help the brain, in part, because they promote liver cell health. As an additional benefit, Denosyl also increases mobility in pets with arthritis.

Combining supplements for your aging pet
with your veterinarian to choose the best supplements for your senior pet. In general, pets can be given homeopathic medications, flower essence medications, fatty acids, and pheromones without interfering with any other medication they receive.

Vet Tip

Fatty acids and vitamins should be given to your pet daily over a period of time in order to see improvement in overall health.

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