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Why the pet supplement industry is taking off & what pet owners are buying

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

In the last decade, the popularity of buying dietary supplements for pets has skyrocketed.

These pet supplements span a range of products including dog and cat vitamins, fish oils, probiotics, and CBD for pets. The demand for these products is only going up.

According to an analysis by Grand View Research, the pet supplement industry will reach $1 billion by the year 2027.

Why are so many people supplementing their pets’ diets? Pet owners are more invested than ever in maximizing the health of their pets. They’re more than willing to pay for the assurance that their furry friend has everything they need to live a long and comfortable life.

Pet supplements can bolster our pets’ health by providing benefits and nutrients they may not get from their regular diet. Some of the benefits pet owners see from supplementing their pet’s diets are improved cognition, better digestion, and decreased anxiety, to name a few.

You may be wondering what dietary supplements are right for your pet and how to choose the best ones.

Here are some pawTree-approved pet supplements to consider:

Multivitamins for dogs

Like humans, dogs need a range of vitamins and minerals to achieve optimum health. If your dog is eating commercially prepared food, he’s probably getting all of the nutrients he needs. All foods that are AAFCO approved are complete and balanced, so claiming this on a package is a low bar to cross. Homemade, home cooked, or raw diets need to make sure all required nutrients are provided in the proper amounts and ratios.

On the other end of the spectrum, a serious enough vitamin deficiency could result in side effects such as weight loss, lethargy, excessive thirst, and joint disease.

Here are some essential vitamins a dog needs in his diet and what they help with:

  • Vitamin A –– helps with growth in puppies, vision, and immune function

  • B vitamins –– (biotin, folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, B-6 and B-12) helps with metabolism, the nervous system, and healthy blood cells

  • Vitamin C –– helps with cognitive function

  • Vitamin D –– helps with healthy bone and muscle development

  • Vitamin K –– metabolizes calcium in the bones, helping to prevent blood clots

  • Choline –– helps support healthy brain and liver function

  • Glucosamine –– helps with joint support and arthritis

Of course, for the same reason we don’t let children make off with the whole jar of gummy vitamins, too much of a certain vitamin can be dangerous for pets. For example, an excessive amount of vitamin A can cause dehydration and joint pain.

Here’s a tip: When deciding how to supplement your dog’s diet, it’s important to remember some dog food already contains important vitamins. For example, the pawTree Real Chicken & Oatmeal recipe contains supplements of vitamin E, vitamin A, Thiamine, and B12, to name a few. So it’s wise to check your dog’s food and see which vitamins he may already be getting.

A multivitamin is, however, a great supplement to a homemade or a raw pet food diet to make sure your furbaby is getting the nutrients they need.

Supplements for cats

Though the principles behind dietary supplements for dogs and cats are similar, cats may benefit more from certain supplements.

For example, cats are prone to suffer from arthritis by age 6. A daily supplement containing glucosamine (a naturally occurring compound found in shellfish) supports healthy joint function and improves mobility. For a good cat-specific glucosamine supplement, check out our joint support plus chew for cats.

Fish oil supplements

Fish oil supplements for dogs and cats come with a long list of benefits. And they all begin at the cellular level.

Fish oil is composed mainly of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) fatty acids. You may have also heard them called omega-3 fatty acids. The ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids is important. Most pets’ diets have plenty of omega-6 fatty acids, so the higher the ratio of omega-3 fatty acids the better. pawTree’s ratio is guaranteed to be at least 14:1 or more. At certain times of the year, wild caught Alaskan salmon and pollock contain more of these antiinflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and so the 14:1 ratio could be even higher depending on the batch.

The reason these omega-3s are so important is that they make up cell membranes throughout the body. The cell receptors in these membranes are responsible for queuing hormone production that regulates blood clotting, the contraction of artery walls, and inflammation.

So, what are the obvious benefits of supplementing your pet’s diet with fish oil?

Here are just a few:

  1. Treats and prevents heart disease

Fish oil can prevent a heart condition in dogs and cats called atrial fibrillation where the heart develops an irregular rhythm. It’s also an anticoagulant that can prevent blood clots from forming in cats with heart disease.

  1. Improves dry skin and coat

Fish oil is known for encouraging healthy skin and beautiful, shiny coats. For pets with allergies, it also relieves itchy skin by decreasing production of cytokines, which stimulate inflammation.

  1. Improves brain functioning

Fish oil supplements increase learning and retention in puppies and improve cognitive functioning and memory in older dogs, according to a 2012 study by Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Because fish oil cannot be included in shelf stable dog food, the only way to access its benefits is through a supplement. If fish oil was added to sterile dog food, it would turn rancid when exposed to air, light, or moisture.

It’s important that the fish oils you give your pets are formulated specifically for animals by a reputable provider. PawTree’s salmon oil drops for dogs and cats is a daily chew created with your dog or cat in mind.

Probiotics for dogs and cats

If your dog goes through a stressful period due to travel, illness, or malnutrition she may experience an imbalance in her gut microflora. These healthy bacteria are responsible for digesting food, preventing disease, and promoting overall health.

When pets have symptoms like bad gas, loose stool, or a sensitive tummy, it may be the result of an imbalance in gut bacteria.

Gastrointestinal issues are among the most common reasons people bring their pets to the vet. A dog and cat probiotic can help restore the natural balance of good bacteria and help your furry friend maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

Like fish oil, probiotics are one of the few nutrition sources that cannot be included in dog food. If probiotics were added to dog food, the food would no longer be sterile or shelf stable because it would contain millions of live organisms.

Dog and cat probiotics can also help prevent an imbalance in gut health. However, most healthy pets are able to maintain the appropriate balance of gut flora on their own. Talk to your vet about what your fur kid needs.

CBD for pets

CBD is the pet supplement growing the most in popularity over the last 10 years. Even so, there are plenty of us out there who haven’t heard about its benefits. Here we’ll answer some commonly asked questions about CBD where it concerns our pets.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the two main active ingredients in the cannabis plant (of which both marijuana and hemp are derivatives). The other ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydrocannnabinol (THC). THC is what causes the high from using marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, does not cause a high and has a range of potential health benefits for both humans and animals.

CBD products made for animals are usually made from hemp, which is a species of cannabis with less than 0.3% naturally naturally occurring THC. As you may recall from my earlier posts about labeling, the FDA requires the label to say “less than 0.3% naturally occurring THC.” The pawTree products are independently tested for levels of THC and are only used if the level is 0%. The FDA doesn’t allow labels to say “0% of THC” so the best they can do is claim “less than 0.3%.” It can be tough to wrap your head around! Working with a company who has high integrity is critically important when it comes to purchasing CBD for your pets.

What are the benefits of CBD for pets?

CBD promotes overall vitality, especially when it is combined with other naturally occurring and nutrient-rich substances like flavonoids and terpenes, the combination of which is known to have a therapeutic effect.

For example, PawTree’s CBD Mega formula includes added ingredients such as passion flower, valerian root, and ginger root. These collectively help to calm your pet, promote relaxation, and help with digestive issues and nausea.

CBD is sometimes called the “magic pill,” but not for anything crazy. 😉 Simply, CBD can help pets with an impressive range of ailments including:

  • Anxiety

  • Aches/Occasional Discomfort

  • Stiff/Sore Joints

  • Food Allergies

  • Seasonal Allergies

  • Itching from Fleas

  • Itching (Other)

  • Hot Spots

  • Red/Irritated Skin

  • Itchy/Smelly Ears

What should I know about choosing a CBD supplement for my pet?

When choosing a CBD supplement for your dog or cat, make sure it’s guaranteed low in any contaminating THC (less than 0.3%). This will ensure your pet gets all the benefits of CBD without the psychoactive effects of THC.

Discuss with your veterinarian if CBD is right for your pet. Some pets have a higher sensitivity to even <.03% traces of THC sometimes present in cannabidiol supplements.

Your pet’s health is something pawTree doesn’t take lightly. Luckily, it has never been easier to bring home the love. Check out pawTree’s line of health and wellness products, specifically and thoughtfully made for your dogs and cats.


About the Author

Kristi Diaz MD

Kristi is a retired anesthesiologist who loves helping people take good care of their pets.


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