The trend these days for humans is to eat healthy food, free of chemicals. It's no surprise they want the same for their pets, opting to naturally boost their health or treat an ailment. For cats there's a variety of options. Still, veterinarians generally don't recommend natural supplements unless cats are sick. Supplements are meant to treat deficiencies.
Glucosamine is sold over the counter and by veterinarians as a supplement to commercial pet foods. It's known to be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis. This additive can also prevent further joint damage and build healthy cartilage. Studies have shown that pets suffering from bowel disease or bladder disorders respond favorably to glucosamine. This supplement has three forms: glucosamine hydrochloride, glucosamine sulfate and N-acetylglucosamine. Of the three, research has shown that glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulfate are more effective.
Milk thistle has been used for centuries as a liver tonic. Its ingredients are known to aid the immune system. It contains a powerful antioxidant and is known to support another antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione, which is stored in the liver, declines naturally over time, and its depletion speeds up the aging process. Veterinarians suggest adding this supplement to your cat's diet on occasion. There is experimental evidence that long-term ingestion of high doses of milk thistle will eventually suppress liver function. Pet owners can find milk thistle in capsule form in most pet stores.
Probiotics help your furry friend keep a healthy digestive and intestinal tract. Known as the good bacteria, probiotics attack the bad bacteria in a cat's body that can lead to urinary tract infections and intestinal infections. A plethora of probiotics are available for purchase at most pet stores. Many name brand cat foods now even make food containing probiotics.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, are known for the ability to keep your cat's coat shiny and prevent shedding. They also play a major role in healing inflammation in the skin, joint, intestines and kidneys. These supplements also aid in heart health and fight high cholesterol. Some cat foods contain both of these fatty acids, while others only contain omega-6. Be sure to check your pet's food contents before deciding whether to add this supplement to his diet.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Crystal Owens is the managing editor at a Northern Virginia newspaper with more than 10 years experience in journalism. She has worked as a reporter in Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Georgia, covering various topics from crime to politics to health care. She studied communications at the University of North Florida.