It’s that time again. Now that the New Year is upon us, we’re making resolutions to improve our diet, get more exercise, and take better care of our families—but sometimes we forget about our four-legged family members. When it comes to giving our pets the nutritional support they need to enjoy long, healthy lives, where do we start?
I’d like to start by introducing my own four-legged family members, each with very different nutritional needs. There’s Buddy, our 10-year-old rescue dog with diabetes, a history of abuse, and a post-fractured pelvis that was never repaired. We also have Mister, a 1-year-old “spit and fire” Chihuahua. Dixie is an 8-year-old toy poodle who thinks she’s a Rottweiler and likes to rule the roost when she’s not playing with rocks and balls in the backyard. And then there’s blind-as-a-bat Buffy, our 6-year-old adrenal-stressed poodle who my daughter calls her “beautiful blue-eyed baby.” Last but not least, there’s George, an 11-year-old, 100-pound Golden mix who spends his days chasing and playing with little Mister and is the kindest dog you’ll ever meet. Yes—5 dogs!
The Power of Whole Food Supplementation
Just like my pets, your dogs and cats have their own unique nutritional requirements, and it’s up to us to give them what they need. “Rover” and “Boots” aren’t out scavenging and hunting for food like their ancestors once did. Instead, many cats and dogs today are fed the same processed pet foods—which are full of synthetic vitamins—for 12 or more years. This clearly isn’t a varied diet, and it can’t be expected to meet their distinctive nutritional demands at different stages of life. Your playful kitten grows up to be a mellow cat. Your puppy starts off demanding and full of energy, but pretty soon he’s an unpredictable, high-maintenance adolescent and eventually an eager-to-please, self-assured adult. Until finally one day that puppy you remembered is a mature senior who has slowed down to a comfortably lazy pace. Yet no matter what stage of life our pets are at, their diets will have some nutritional gaps—and they’ll depend on us to fill in those gaps with supplementation.
But how do we go about giving our pets the nutritional support they need? My best recommendation is the Standard Process (SP) Canine and Feline line of supplements. These veterinary formulas are made with whole food ingredients, including organ tissues and extracts, and add the kind of food animals are meant to eat back into their diet.
Now, let’s determine what specific nutritional needs are associated with what stage your pet falls into, starting with young pets from 6 weeks on up. Puppies—and kittens for that matter—may be a vision of cuteness, but they’re also a big commitment! They rely on us for shelter, love, and all of their nutritional needs. During this stage of life, they’re growing fast and their immune systems are developing. For the next two years, it’s imperative to support the increased demands placed on their young bodies and immune systems. I give Mister, our 1-year-old Chihuahua, a combination of SP Canine Whole Body Support and Canine Immune System Support. (For cats, I recommend Feline Whole Body Support and Feline Immune System Support.) Keep in mind that as these young animals grow, their dosages must be increased—and this is especially true of large-breed dogs. Make sure you weigh your growing pet every couple of months, and adjust the dosage accordingly.
The onset of adulthood differs by breed, but the average is about 2 years of age, give or take a year. At this stage of life, dogs and cats become confident, knowledgeable companions, and they need both nutritional support and exercise. As Dr. Tom Cameron, DVM for Standard Process, says, “Every animal that is breathing should be on a multivitamin.” We give our own adult dogs, Buffy and Dixie, the Standard Process Canine Whole Body Support as a multivitamin because it contains whole food and organically grown ingredients that are combined and concentrated at a low temperature to preserve their nutritional value. Why is that important? Because only a combination of these whole foods—not just a single component—can provide the minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and micronutrients your pet needs to build a nutritional foundation and maintain optimal health throughout his adult life. The multivitamin goes a long way toward completing that nutritional gap we talked about earlier.
At this stage in their lives, we tend to give our pets treats to show how much we love them. This can lead to trouble not only with weight control but also the onset of disease. There’s no doubt that our pets love treats, and they really don’t care if the treat is healthy or not. So before you grab the Snausages, consider some healthy alternatives. Try Standard Process Tuna Omega-3 Oil for a healthy coat, Calcifood wafers for strong bones and teeth, and Lactic Acid Yeast wafers to support both the acidification of the GI tract and healthy intestinal flora— indicated for pets with excess intestinal gas.
Senior Pets, Active Lives
Now we come to seniors like our own 11-year-old Golden mix, George. Most pets enter their golden years between the ages of 7 and 10, with the general rule of thumb that the bigger the dog the shorter the life span. However, age is not a disease. In fact some of my favorite testimonials have come from the owners of senior pets. They say things like: Rover is climbing the stairs better. He’s chasing the ball again. His coat feels softer, and he’s eating better. The list goes on and on. Granted, there’s no way to avoid age, but as each system in the body slowly begins to fail—including the liver, thyroid, adrenal, endocrine, and kidney, as well the immune system—we should consider a combination of products to meet their specific health needs. The diseases we see in older pets include arthritis, kidney failure, and heart failure to name just a few. Yet we can help our senior pets maintain active, healthy lives by supplementing their diets with Canine or Feline Whole Body Support in conjunction with a full range of SP veterinary formulas, including Renal, Cardiac, and Musculoskeletal Support for both dogs and cats. These supplements can help your aging pet’s body rebuild and repair while supporting remaining healthy cells.
Supplementing your pet’s health doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s our dogs’ favorite part of the day! They all gather around and bounce back and forth in anticipation of their “treat.” Maybe, just maybe, they somehow know these supplements keep them healthy. Or maybe they just love the taste of real food with living enzymes. Whole Body Support is uniquely formulated for both dogs and cats, and it makes an excellent nutritional foundation to support all systems at all stages of life.
Whether your four-legged family member is a spunky puppy or kitten, a mature adult, or a laid back senior, he needs optimal nutrition to maintain optimal health. And in return, he’ll give your family a lifetime of joy.