About twice a year I like to reevaluate what I am feeding my pets to make sure I am providing them with the best possible pet nutrition and dietary supplements for their current health status and life stages.  After my trip to Orlando for the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) I decided to make a few changes.

Wedding Dog Frank

Frank is a large breed dog and, as such, he’s more prone to arthritis. Nutrition can play a big part to help keep arthritis at bay

Frank is my 5-year-old Labradoodle and his biggest issue is that he is a touch chunky.  As you know keeping a pet at his ideal body condition is the best way to help him live a long and healthy life.  Frank had been eating Ideal Balance Slim and Healthy for the last six months.  Unfortunately eating just two measly cups per day he was just not losing any weight.  I decided to switch him to the Hill’s prescription weight loss diet called Metabolic.  This diet was developed with Hill’s neutrogenomics technology that affects gene expression to help with weight loss.  The best part for Frank is that he now gets to eat three cups a day!

My two older little dogs, Lilly and Sparkle, were eating Science Diet Small and Toy Breed Age Defying 11+ and have been doing great on it.  I decided to switch them to Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Small Breed Formula.  I have noticed that at 14 years old Sparkle is starting to show her age both physically and mentally.  I believe that pet owners vastly underestimate aging changes similar to human dementia in pets.  If there is anything I can do to help keep my little guys mentally sharp as they age I would like to do it.I have also decided to get more aggressive with dietary supplements.  I attended an interesting lecture at NAVC that said we shouldn’t wait until our pets get problems to help support them with nutritional supplementation.   For example many people wait until their dogs are showing signs of arthritis before starting a joint supplement.  Instead we should be more proactive and strive to protect the cartilage before it gets damaged.

pet nutrition

Lilly and Sparkle are now seniors and have special pet nutrition needs

I know that Sparkle is prone to arthritis from the knee surgery she needed to correct her luxating patellas when she was two years old.  Frank is a large breed dog and keeping his joints healthy is vital to his quality of life as he ages.   I have started my dogs on Dasuquin Advanced.  In addition to glucosamine and chondroitin, that are the staples of any joint supplement, this formulation also contains avacado/soybean unsaponifiables, Boswellia extract, Curcuma and MSM.  These additional compounds have been clinically shown to help decrease inflammation, repair the cartilage and provide antioxidant protection.Finally I have recommitted to giving an omega-3 fatty acid supplement daily.  The omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fish oil are helpful with every body system working to support organ function and decrease inflammation.  I use the Catalyst Soft Chews, these are less messy than fish oil and my dogs love the taste.

So we will try this regime of food and supplements and in a few months I will reassess.  I am a firm believer of preventative medicine and that nutrition is a vital component of keeping pets healthy.  My main goal is to keep my dogs healthy and happy for the entireties of what I hope are very longs lives.  Next week I will discuss what my two senior kitties are eating.

Ashley Gallagher, DVM

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