Success With Natural Supplements

The food we and our dogs eat is far removed from "natural." Natural supplements aim to replace nutrients lost through the cooking, extruding, preserving and packaging of foods, or that are lacking because of nutrient-depleted soils.

Food-based nutritional supplements, often called "superfoods" or "food concentrates," may offer a number of advantages over synthetically derived forms. "Supplements made from foods, such as grains used in their entirety, provide concentrated vitamins and minerals, better forms of fiber and oils, and digestive enzymes found naturally in foods," said Bob Collette, DVM, a veterinary practitioner in Sylmar, Calif. Dr. Collette helped develop a supplement that contains flaxseed, dried molasses and vegetables, and healthy bacteria. Because this type of supplement is food-based, it has a decreased risk of overdosing nutrients, Collette said.

Gary Clemons, DVM, of Milford, Ohio, considers himself a "very traditional" practitioner but uses a whole-food concentrate in his practice to treat dogs with skin problems, arthritis or weight problems. "Nobody was a bigger skeptic than me, but I've seen the difference it makes." One of Dr. Clemons' patients, a Golden Retriever, was treated six times in one year for skin infections. After starting the supplement, which contains high levels of essential fatty acids, the dog required treatment for the same condition only once.

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