Supplements shouldn’t be thought of as optional. Perhaps they should be called “complements” because they contribute important natural whole-food nutrients not often found in packaged and homemade diets.
The option is considering which ones to use at different stages of your pet’s life. Talking with your vet, herbalist, or other pet professional is one way to get recommendations. We also encourage you to read up on various supplement ingredients to learn for yourself what might be a good choice for your pet.
Tip #1 – Start slow. When first adding a new food supplement we suggest you start with one-fourth (even less for cats) to one-half the recommended dose and gradually increase the amount. Most animals adjust easily to the full dose within one week. Cat’s can take longer because they are closer to their wild cousins and are much more sensitive to changes in diet. If your pet is digestively sensitive to new foods you should also go more slowly.
Tip #2 – One at a time. When planning to start several new supplements it’s a good idea to start one at a time, waiting a week or two before starting each additional supplement. This gives your pet’s body time to adjust, especially older bodies that aren’t as adaptable to big changes. The exception might be when your pet is experiencing an acute imbalance that needs strong, quick care.
Tip #3 – Make it taste good. Trying to add supplements to plain dry food can be a challenge. While most dogs accept new additions to their diet with little complaint, cats can be a little trickier. Including canned, home-cooked, or raw foods is a good way to ensure that your pet is interested enough in the food to disregard any strange new addition. You can also mix supplements with applesauce, yogurt, cottage cheese or another dense, moist food.
Tip #4 – Mix it up. You’ll always be more successful if you mix supplements up into the food rather than just sprinkling them on top.
Tip #5 – Meatballs and other tasty treats. If you really get stuck have a supply of meaty extra food that you can make into a one-bite ball of goodness. Get creative. Eventually your pet will get used to the new flavors.
Tip #6 – Observe your pet. Not every supplement agrees with every pet. If your pet has digestive distress or any other problems, even after starting slow, stop feeding the supplement. It’s never a bad idea to call the manufacturer with your concerns and questions, as they are the best experts on their product.