Most humans don’t need to take a vitamin supplement, and most pets don’t, either. But Vox reports that the pet supplement industry is roughly as large as the “pumpkin spice industrial complex.” While some pets certainly have a medical need for supplements, many more are getting vitamins just because companies like to sell them. Of course I want to take the best care of my pet, we think. So we buy them stuff.
But we’re overthinking this. If your pet eats a store-bought food, that food is required by law to contain the right amounts of the nutrients they need. If they don’t eat a store-bought food, well, maybe you’re overthinking that, too. Homemade pet food recipes can easily deliver an unbalanced diet, and a supplement doesn’t necessarily fix that.
The American College of Veterinary Medicine writes in their FAQ:
If your pet is eating a complete and balanced commercially available pet food, supplements are not recommended unless specifically prescribed by your veterinarian. This reduces the chances of excesses and adverse nutrient or medication interactions.
After all, you don’t want your pet to get too much of certain vitamins and nutrients — that can be as much a concern as not getting enough. Meanwhile, some supplements contain other ingredients whose safety and effectiveness are still not well established.
The bottom line, though, is that if you’re concerned about your pet’s health or nutrition, there’s already a way to address those concerns: talk to your freaking vet. They can let you know if a supplement makes sense for your pup in particular, and they can even refer you to a veterinary nutritionist if a special diet is in order.