Health Wellness For Dogs

December 4, 2020

As humans, we’re increasingly taking care of our health and wellbeing in holistic ways – and now, it’s the same when it comes to our dog.

Subsequently, a growing market of pet treatments, therapies and supplements are now available meaning our pampered pooches have never had it so good.

“Dog owners consider their dogs as members of their family,” says veterinarian Dr Trish Santos-Smith.

“This phenomenon has been called the rise of the fur baby and people are spending more money on health care, diet, doggy day-cares and other services such as grooming.”  Dr Santos-Smith notes that, while the wellbeing industry for dogs is growing as a whole, there are some trends that are proving to be a howling success. Here we explore a few.

Research has shown the benefits of probiotics for improving and maintaining our gut health. So, it makes sense that they can be just as beneficial to dogs.

“An imbalance of good and bad bacteria can occur in the gut which can cause diarrhoea,” explains Dr Santos-Smith.

“Probiotics help to balance this out and the prebiotics help to ‘feed’ the good bacteria in the gut and reduce gastro-intestinal symptoms in dogs.”

Dr Santos foresees that using yeast as a probiotic, instead of bacteria, will soon become more common.

“If bacterial probiotics are being taken in conjunction with antibiotics, the probiotic won’t be as effective because antibiotics can kill beneficial bacterial,” she explains.

“Yeast, on the other hand, is not affected by antibiotics so can be used in cases where dogs are taking them.”

Just like us, dogs can be affected by a number of skin conditions, most commonly itching and dry skin. But, a growing number of solutions are on hand to help with these, making for a happier pooch.

“There’s a big market in natural shampoos and conditioners which help keep dogs’ skin moisturised and healthy,” says Dr Santos-Smith.

“Balms or creams that have omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are proving popular as they help nourish the skin and reduce any inflammation.”

And, because beauty comes from within, Dr Santos-Smith notes that dog multivitamins are similarly increasing in popularity, with ingredients such as silica, chia seeds, flaxseeds and biotin supporting healthy skin, a shiny coat and strong nails.

In addition to fresh, healthy food, many owners are now giving their dogs supplements to boost their health. The most common of these supplements support joint health.

“Joint conditions such as arthritis, cruciate ruptures and hip dysplasia are common conditions,” says Dr Santos-Smith.

“Supplements can help delay the onset of joint issues and also provide anti-inflammatory effects to reduce pain and improve mobility.”

Research backs this up, with a study published in The Veterinary Journal , finding that dogs treated with glucosamine-chondroitin sulphate showed less pain and more mobility after 70 days of treatment.

“Joint supplements can also reduce the need for other drugs or replace them completely,” says Dr Santos-Smith. “They’re less likely to cause side effects like those caused by common medications for joint conditions.”

As a dog behaviourist, Lara Shannon is seeing growing numbers of pet parents seeking help for doggie emotional issues.

The most common are fear-based aggression or reactivity, barking, anxiety and destructive behaviour including chewing and digging.

“People want to understand their dog’s feelings and behaviours better, so they can handle them in situations where they may be anxious or aggressive,” says Shannon.

“A professional can help assess whether the dog’s lacking critical mental and physical stimulation and suggest training or treatments.”

Popular treatments on the market include pheromone sprays, natural calming drops, tablets and herbs, thundershirts, remote treat dispensing cameras, long lasting chews, interactive toys and calming music.

“Knowing how to address a dog’s issues makes for a happy owner and a happy dog,” says Shannon.

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