Navigating the World of Nutritional Supplements



Dr. Laurel Davis, Asheville’s homeopathic veterinarian, offers Stories from a Holistic Veterinarian, the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter.” With a clinic in downtown Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers animal health, lifestyle and vaccination advice for cats, dogs and their human friends across the country.

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Navigating the World of Nutritional Supplements

Asheville's homeopathic veterinarian
Sunvet Animal Wellness Clinic only carries high-quality supplements. We trust that their potency and efficacy are consistent; therefore, the treatment outcome is dependable.


In last week’s post, I generally discussed the benefits of nutritional supplements for our dog and cat companions. Now, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty! If you missed my previous post, you can catch up here: “Can Supplements Help My Animal Friend?”

When using supplements to treat patients, my top priority is to ensure that the ingredients 

included in the supplement are a mix that accurately addresses my patient’s issue.

Many manufacturers of supplements for animals use a ‘shotgun’ approach by including every vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid, or dietary substance that could possibly help a certain physical problem. Typically, there will be extra ingredients that are not needed or wanted by the patient’s body. This is why I check formulas with clinical kinesiology. This approach individualizes the treatment, enabling me to offer suggestions that are not too little or too much, but just right. I’m going to start calling this “Dr. Laurel’s Goldilocks approach”!

Sunvet Animal Wellness Clinic only carries high-quality supplements. We trust that their potency and efficacy are consistent; therefore, the treatment outcome is dependable. Many of our items are considered nutraceuticals, which means they are supplements created from whole foods and sold in medicinal forms like pills, capsules, or tablets. These powerhouses have specific medicinal or physiological benefits that go beyond plain old good nutrition. Therefore, it is important that the whole foods within are handled ethically and in a way that safeguards their nutritional value. We want our furry patients to get the maximum benefit from any supplement they consume!

If they have the appropriate ingredients for the specific dis-ease that is presented, well-made nutraceuticals are preferred over garden-variety dietary supplements. 


Because they are whole foods, their ingredients are more available to your friend’s body, both from the standpoint of absorption via the intestines and utilization by the body. Although ‘natural’ means the supplement is from Mother Earth’s natural world cornucopia of plants, animals, and minerals, it does not mean each substance is intrinsically safe.
I am a true believer that the Earth, its sentient beings, and its organic makeup hold the answer to all of our animals’ maladies. While this is true, ingesting or utilizing any of Mother Earth’s components should be well considered. Natural supplements, contrary to what many may think, are not without side effects. For example, over-use of kava kava, a plant native to the islands of the South Pacific, and often used as a dietary supplement for anxiety, may be associated with severe liver damage.
Be savvy with what supplements you choose to use for your pooch or kitty. Collect information and connect with professionals like veterinarians or animal herbalists, who can guide you in your quest to find the perfect natural supplement for your pup’s sore hip or your kitten’s weepy eyes.]

Also, let’s remember that a ‘natural’ supplement does not equal an organic supplement.


While the term ‘organic’ is strictly regulated, ‘natural’ can mean lots of different things, depending on who is using the word. Due to its strict regulation, you can trust that ‘organic’ supplements do not contain the chemicals and hormones often found in natural foods. Additionally, the use of GMOs, irradiation, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are forbidden.


When choosing to use nutritional supplements for your furry pals, it is important to seek the guidance of a licensed veterinarian. Like I said above, natural does not necessarily mean safe, and even remedies from our natural world can pose risks to our sweet little fluffernutters, if not used properly.  Some of those risks are…

  • Contraindications between different supplements that are being used
  • Incorrect dosages being administered
  • Surplus of specific nutrient(s)
  • Lack of quality assurance in many over-the-counter brands.


Here are some guidelines to help you navigate the natural supplement world for your beautiful four-legged partner:

  • Seek the guidance of a licensed veterinarian to help make informed decisions.
  • Remember my Goldilocks approach – not too little or too much, but just right!
  • If you can, go with high-quality nutraceuticals and 100% organic supplements. This way you have quality assurance.
  • Follow the dosages indicated on the supplement bottles, unless you have a qualified individual suggesting an alternative dosage.
  • Initial dosing should always be half the normal dose for at least two to three days. This will reduce the severity of any possible reaction.


If you would like to continue reading about this topic, here are three websites that provide some cross-referencing between different herbs and medications. This may help to avoid any harmful chemical or herbal interactions.


Shine on!

Dr. Laurel 


Asheville's homeopathic veterinarian

Dr. Laurel Davis is Asheville’s homeopathic veterinarian offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere. Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinicRead more patient stories.

Get to know Dr. Laurel by reading her blog.

Do you have a story about Dr. Laurel’s dog advice or how she helped your dog or cat? Please leave it in the comments below or write a Google Review.


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