Confessions of a Supplement JunkieMar 03, 2020
There are several possible reasons for my supplement addiction:
- As a marketer, I am open to being sold.
- I'm obsessed with keeping my dogs as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
- I believe every diet needs a little extra.
- I kinda just love playing "chemist" with my dogs.
Like all of us, my dogs have presented different challenges that needed to be addressed. I enjoy having conversations about supplements and food regarding our dogs as well as ourselves as I'm always learning, and researchers are constantly coming up with new products.
All of that said, listen up: I AM NOT AN EXPERT. I AM NOT A VET. Do NOT just take what I share below and run with it without doing your own research! If I've learned nothing else, we have to be our dogs' biggest advocates, but we have to do that from a position of education.
Disclaimers behind us, buckle-in for this is a loooong post as I walk through all the goodies I use. I've provided links so you can do your research. I look forward to continuing the discussion over on Facebook and learning more from each of you (keep it positive, peeps or I will block you #sorrynotsorry).
I've always known that inflammation is a major enemy and shows up in all sorts of sneaky ways. I feed mostly raw, mostly grain-free because I have a goal of reducing that. Plus, Karma and Indie are Lyme-positive so inflammation is a real threat. That said, I let the dog tell me what they need, so today I have a mix in my house.
Moxie was raised on Kirkland and, to this day, prefers kibble. Dry. Just dropped in a bowl. Plain. Like a stray cat. (It kills me!) I have her on Verus today, which contains rice, and she also gets a raw pattie (more on that in a minute). I'm sure this post will push a lot of buttons, and I know the mixing kibble and raw is something you're not "supposed" to do. However, Moxie has the gut microbes to digest both, and it works for her - quite well. As a matter of fact, following her spay, her tummy is happier than ever. I also used Verus for Indie when she was a momma, as raw and babies are just not things we mix.
Indie and Trip are on dehydrated raw by Addiction and raw patties. Because I love a good road trip, I like having the flexibility of the dehydrated, and I have tried most of them, always landing back on Addiction. They have so many proteins to rotate through, and their poop is smaller than say, Honest Kitchen, which tells me they are using what they are fed instead of pooping it all out. When I want to cut back on protein (like when Indie gets a UTI), I will use a veggie-only Honest Kitchen, but I prefer Addiction, which Amazon happily sets at my front door.
These days I'm feeding K9 Kraving for raw because my bestie owns a kennel, and her distributor gets us the bigger boxes. (Hey, that stuff ain't cheap!) I love their particular patties as there seems to be less water in them, so when the patties thaw, they are easier to use. I also love Darwin's for quality, choice, and delivery convenience, but the dry ice shipping is bucks-up.
One thing I learned long ago is to look at our dog's nutrition on a weekly or even monthly view, similar to our own. Our every meal isn't perfect, but if over the course of a week we get all our nutrients, we are doing well. Same with our dogs. I mix it up, I switch brands, I look at the big picture.
For joint support, I use a few different products (separately). Some are easier for traveling; some go on sale, whatever. And all of my dogs, ages 3 to 9, get something. Each of the following has things the other doesn't have, hence the rotation.
Springtime's Longevity is a longtime favorite, and it doesn't hurt that it keeps my girls from killing the grass in my yard. I am a fan of the included bee pollen for allergies, they always have specials, and they ship fast. Longevity is a powder which, of course, does not mix with Moxie's dry kibble, so that can be a "thing" for her.
Nature's Farmacy's PhotFlex is amazing, especially for performance. Hyaluronic Acid makes this one stand apart for me. For chews, I give Vetri-Science GlycoFlex3, which is a dog-favorite because my dogs think it's a treat (I don't argue).
For Indie, I've discovered a new-ish product that was first developed for horses and is used for the elite horses (think Olympics) across many disciplines. It's an injectable (IM) called Summit, and it has a load period similar to Adequan. It's pure Chondroitin, and I've seen a huge difference in Indie! Like she wants to play agility again. She's been on it now six weeks, and it's the only thing I've changed and WOW! It's also nice because you can just buy it and skip a trip to the vet. Adequan didn't do anything for her, yet it worked miracles for Karma, so I'm still a fan, but just not for this dog. (Also, I can't get it at Costco anymore - ha!)
Speaking of Indie
I know I'm not alone in working to keep my veteran not only comfortable but thriving. So there are a few other things Indie gets mixed into her meals.
Standard Process Ligaplex I is for additional skeletal support. I use it daily but switch to Ligaplex II if I have a soft tissue "thing" for any of the dogs. While some SP products are hard to get (psst, try eBay), these are available on Amazon (see a theme?).
Indie also gets Formula CV by RX Vitamins for Pets. We added this after Indie developed her syncope following her bloat surgery (that's a super-long story!) for a little extra support for her cardiovascular functions.
I have come to like Thorne's CurcuVet-SA150, which is basically the "magic" part of turmeric. I once did the whole "golden paste" thing, but this is easier, and I can add it if she does a little too much.
But wait, there's more. I also give Indie Sprintime's Astaxanthin, which is some sort of super antioxidant. Hard to know when an antioxidant is working, but I feel good about it - LOL.
As I mentioned, Mox is DM-At Risk, so she gets a B-Complex by Thorne daily to support nerve function, plus I think it is helping with her anxiety a bit (it does for people).
Nature's Farmacy makes other goodies that I usually "stock." Their Probiotic paste is a must-have for travel and the upset tummies that can occur. I also have used their Perk Me Up paste, and I regularly use their electrolytes when it's Berner-hot (you know, when I still have a jacket on but they are panting). Another thing I like for traveling is their Nutri-Stix for immunity support (yes, they will take it all week during our national specialty).
Indie is intolerant/allergic to salmon oil, so instead, I use coconut oil (antioxidant, too) and Springtime's Skin & Coat oil. They do slightly different things, but this is where I just throw something in depending on my mood. I also add Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) sometimes both in their food as well as on their coat as a final rinse to add shine.
I'm obsessed with Vitamin C. Ever since I learned it could help with pano with Karma, I use it for bone support as well as immune support. Trip was on it for a year to support bone growth, and I add it during recoveries of all sorts.
A Few More
I mentioned Indie's syncope earlier. By definition, it is "unexplained," and when the cardiologist finally acquiesces and calls it a syncope, you go with it. Anyway, I'm going to try adding dehydrated beets, which is supposed to be good for circulation and blood flow. Not sure if I'll be able to prove or disprove their effectiveness, but it should make for some interesting poop.
As a finding in some bloodwork we did with Indie, there was a marker that could be an early indicator of renal or kidney issues. For that, I like Vetri-Science Chews or RX Vitamins Renal Support. Again, it's tough to prove that something is working, but I toss it in just in case.
I give my dogs yogurt for all its good probiotics, but I only provide a separate probiotic if needed since I believe the gut needs to do its thing, and we can over-do the support. I buy a human one by PB8, and we share - ha.
If you have girls, at some point you need to build coat, and for this I love InFlight. It's a powder, and it's magic.
Even with all of this ^ I'm sure I forgot something - Oy! Philosophically, I try to find holistic and organic solutions whenever possible. I have run the Nutri-Scan test on all my dogs, and it helped solve issues in each case.
Happy to continue the discussion over on the Facebook page!
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