If you have pets, then you probably care very much about their health. One way to show this is by giving them the best nutritional supplements you can find. While dogs are naturally omnivores, if you’re vegan, you might be averse to feeding your pet with cruelty-free food sources. The good news is that with careful consideration, you can find the right nutritional mix that provides the nutrients your pet needs while maintaining your ethical nutritional choices.
In choosing the best plant-based supplements, a general rule of thumb is to avoid the synthetic ones and go for natural plant-based supplements. Here are three of the top plant-based nutritional sources to consider:
The delicious fruits – yes, pumpkins are technically fruits – of pumpkin plants come with a surprising number of benefits for dogs and cats. Rich in fiber, pumpkins are a great remedy for constipation. On the other hand, they can combat diarrhea by adding bulk to loose stools.
Pumpkins are also rich in several essential vitamins and minerals. These include vitamin A, which contributes to eye health, vitamin C which helps your pet fight off infections, and zinc which can improve the appearance of your pet’s skin and fur.
The flesh is not the only beneficial part of pumpkin fruits, however. Your pets can also benefit from the seeds. As they contain cucurbitin, a compound that can paralyze worms and help remove them from your pet’s digestive system, pumpkin seeds can serve as deworming agents. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in nutrients essential to your pet's health e.g. iron, phosphorus, and calcium. They can be given whole or ground up and added to your pet’s meals.
Note that not all parts of pumpkin plants are good for your pets - the stalks and leaves can harm them. If your pet accidentally ingests these parts, please get in touch with a vet as soon as possible
Hemp plants are a strain of Cannabis Sativa L. that have been used for centuries for a wide variety of purposes. Although hemp plants are a strain of cannabis, they are safe for your pets because they contain very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis plants considered to be extremely toxic to pets. Several derivatives of hemp plants are great for your pets:
As they contain all 9 essential amino acids, these nutrient-dense seeds are an excellent source of protein for your pet. They are also rich in fiber that supports gut health and they contain a perfect balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Hemp Seed Oil
As the name implies, hemp seed oil is extracted from hemp seeds and has many of the same benefits as hemp seeds. It contains several nutrients essential to your pet’s health and can benefit them in the following ways:
- Reduced inflammation
- Increased cardiovascular health
- Improved immune response
- Shinier coat and healthy skin
Hemp seed oil can be used as a nutritional supplement added to your pet’s food or it can be applied topically to soothe skin issues like sores, dryness, and itchiness.
To ensure that the hemp oil you give your pets has no harmful additives or contaminants, be sure to purchase a high-quality product specifically designed for pets like Enecta’s Premium Hemp Oil for pets. Enecta’s hemp oil comes with an anti-bite dropper that allows you to administer the oil directly into your pet’s mouth – if you so desire - and it is completely free of harmful substances like pesticides and heavy metals.
Unlike hemp seed oil, CBD oil is derived from the stalks, flowers, and leaves of hemp plants. Just like it does in humans, CBD interacts with your pet’s endocannabinoid system to produce benefits such as improved sleep, decreased anxiety, reduced pain and inflammation, and improved skin health.
3. Aloe Vera
Shown by studies to be anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antiviral, this spiky plant is a gold mine for all sorts of skin issues. It can be used to provide relief and promote healing of minor cuts and abrasions, burns, dry or cracked skin, paws or noses, and hot spots. It can also be used as a natural remedy for dandruff and ringworm infections.
Rich in vitamins A, C, and E, Aloe Vera gel is highly nutritious and can be ingested by your pet. An easy way to go about this would be to simply add a bit of the gel to your pet’s drinking water.
However, be aware that your pet should not lick the leaves of Aloe Vera plants as they can cause digestive problems and toxicity.
For full details on your pet’s nutrition, you should speak to a vet. However, supplements from these plants have well-documented health benefits for pets, and you can’t go wrong with them.