More and more pet parents are migrating to more natural and biologically-appropriate pet foods for their dogs and cats. This is resulting in greater health and longer lives for their companion animals. It also raises the question of whether adding a supplement to these premium foods is really necessary. The answer to that depends upon what type of food you are feeding and what it contains, since natural, premium pet foods vary considerably in type and content. Determining if you need to add a supplement to your premium pet food depends upon if you feed raw, canned, or dry food, and whether or not you have a pet with a condition requiring extra nutritional support.
Need for Supplementation if Feeding Pets Raw Diet
Feeding a properly-formulated raw food to a carnivore is feeding your dog or cat what it most appropriately should eat. Raw meat and poultry, along with proper percentages of bone and organ meat, supply a naturally correct profile of amino acids and most vitamins and minerals. Also, inherent in the raw food are enzymes and probiotics (naturally-occurring bacteria) that support digestion and play a key role in a healthy immune system. A raw food with high levels of organ meat will have plenty of natural taurine that cats must get from their diets. If feeding a raw food with these qualities, no supplements are needed.
Supplements Benefiting Pets Eating Canned Food
High-protein, low-carbohydrate canned pet foods can have all the same nutrients and moisture content as raw foods. However, due to processing steps required for safe canning, they lack the natural enzymes and probiotics found in raw foods. If feeding canned food only, it is a good idea to add a supplement with digestive enzymes plus either probiotics or prebiotics.¹
Supplements for Pets on Dry Kibble Formulas
If you are feeding a dry pet food, the need for supplementation depends upon the nutrient content of the particular kibble formula. A biologically-appropriate food for cats and dogs would be one that is high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates. One that is formulated to supply proper nutrition for all life-stages will ensure all essential nutrients are present. If that pet food also has natural digestive enzymes and probiotics or prebiotics added, no added supplements are needed. Specially-prepared probiotics and enzymes are applied to the dry pet food after the heat and drying steps. This ensures that they remain viable and active when pets eat the food containing them. They remain dormant until the right conditions for them to activate. The dried enzymes need moisture to become active, while probiotics require a source of food, optimal temperature and pH, as well as moisture to grow.²
Supplements to Add for Pets with Special Health Conditions
A good diet can help to maintain a foundation of health that helps the entire body, including the joints, but certain ingredients in high-quality foods may specifically help support joint health. Check your pet food’s ingredients for whole foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as the omega-3 fatty-acid, DHA (docosahexaenioc acid).³ Whole foods that supply natural sources of omega-3 fatty-acids include sardines (as well as other fish) and spinach. Fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants also possess anti-inflammatory properties. Some particularly joint-beneficial fruits and veggies are apples, tomatoes, kelp, and spinach.4
There are also pet food ingredients that naturally replenish the body with the joint-building substances glucosamine and chondroitin. These can be found in egg shells, egg shell membrane, and the small blood vessels and cartilage of animal ingredients. Some dogs with advanced age or joint health issues may benefit from medications or supplements containing additional glucosamine, chondroitin, or natural eggshell membrane (NEM®).
Pets with particularly sensitive digestive systems are also candidates for added supplementation. Raw pet food and some high-quality dry formulas contain digestive enzymes and probiotics. But a very sensitive dog or cat may need more in the form of a digestive supplement added to the food.
Nature’s Logic makes the only full-line of raw, canned and dry commercial pet food with no chemically-synthesized vitamins, minerals or other nutrients. Our high-protein, low carbohydrate diets are made from whole food and 100% natural ingredients. We also make supplements to support specific diets or for use with other brands of food. For more information please visit www.natureslogic.com.
1. All Food Fortifier from Nature’s Logic, http://www.natureslogic.com/products/fortifier.html