Why do people use natural pet supplements over veterinary drugs?

Natural pet supplements over veterinary drugs?


Veterinary Surgeons in the UK can only use natural pet supplements if they are given before or alongside conventional treatments. Pet owners must have a consultation with their Vet when their pet is ill for a diagnosis to be made. You can then discuss with your Vet if natural supplements maybe of benefit to your pet. When I was a Partner at Alder Veterinary Hospital in Liverpool, I used both conventional and alternative therapies on my patients. I generally found that pet owners preferred natural pet supplements, especially for chronic conditions such as arthritis or atopic dermatitis over conventional veterinary drugs.    

As pet owners, we all want the best for our furry friends. We want them to live long, healthy lives filled with joy and vitality. However, when our pets fall ill or begin to age, we often find ourselves faced with a difficult decision: should we opt for traditional veterinary drugs or consider natural pet supplements? While both options have their merits, an increasing number of pet owners are leaning towards natural pet supplements. But why is this the case? Let us delve into the reasons.

The Rising Cost of Veterinary Drugs

One significant factor that influences a pet owner's decision is the cost of veterinary drugs, consultations, and prescriptions. Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable increase in the price of these medications. This can be attributed to several factors such as inflation, increased research and development costs, and changes in market dynamics.

For many pet owners, these rising costs can be prohibitive. Veterinary practices are private companies, and they have their own innate costs that they must meet before they can make a profit. Having owned a Veterinary Hospital for 23 years I fully understand these costs. Plus, 20% of a pet owners bill goes to the Government in VAT. A single visit to the Vet can result in high medication costs alone. When you add in consultation fees and follow-up visits, it is easy to see how quickly these expenses can accumulate.

In contrast, natural pet supplements are often more cost-effective and can be extremely effective. They provide an affordable alternative for those who find themselves struggling with the high cost of veterinary drugs.

The Appeal of Natural Pet Supplements

Beyond affordability, there are several other reasons why people opt for natural pet supplements over traditional veterinary drugs.

Firstly, natural supplements are perceived as being safer than their pharmaceutical counterparts. They are made from naturally occurring substances such as herbs and minerals that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine. This means they typically have fewer side effects compared to synthetic drugs.

Secondly, natural supplements work by supporting the body's innate healing processes rather than merely suppressing symptoms. For instance, a supplement might boost your pet's immune system or improve their digestive health rather than just masking pain or discomfort.

Thirdly, once your Vet has advised a natural pet supplement you can buy them online without repeat consultation or prescription fees from your Vet. This saves you a lot of money.

Lastly, many pet owners appreciate the holistic approach that natural supplements offer. They are designed to promote overall wellbeing rather than just treating a specific ailment. This aligns with a growing trend towards preventative healthcare and wellness, both for us and our pets.

Common natural pet supplements

Natural joint supplements for dogs and cats are commonly used for long term osteoarthritis treatment. They usually contain glucosamine, chondroitin, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory herbs such as Boswellia serrata and turmeric. Dogs need glucosamine for the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans (GAG). These compounds are found in cartilage, ligaments, ligaments, and synovial fluid. Chondroitin is the GAG found in all joint cartilage. Recent research has shown that Boswellia serrata is a potent natural and safe anti-inflammatory that is very good for joint pain in dogs. Drug anti-inflammatories for joint pain can have many side effects, unlike Boswellia serrata.

Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely popular because many processed pet foods do not contain enough of them, and they have so many health benefits. Indications for Omega 3 supplementation include cardiovascular health, neurological support, improved skin and coat condition, joint support, dry flaky skin, hair loss, a dull coat, sensitive skin and itching or scratching.

Milk thistle has been shown to help lower elevated liver enzymes and to help protect and regenerate the liver.

Milk thistle

Fibre supplements containing probiotics, prebiotics and bentonite clay can help improve the gut microbiome, the Gut-Brain Axis, the immune system, and mop up intestinal toxins. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome (community of bacteria). Prebiotics are fibres such as galactic-oligosaccharides (GOS) and Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) that provide nourishment to help maintain probiotic levels.

How the Veterinary Profession has changed

Almost two-thirds of households in the UK own a pet, with the number of pet owners having increased significantly during the Covid 19 pandemic. Households are under strain from rising costs of living. Figures suggest that the cost of vet services has risen faster than the rate of inflation.

The ownership of vet practices has changed in recent years. Independent practices accounted for 89% of the UK veterinary industry in 2013 which fell to approximately 45% by 2021. In some cases, a single company may own hundreds of practices. There is a debate within the veterinary profession that this may have decreased competition and therefore, maybe prices.

The Power of Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure. This adage holds true in pet care as well. By providing your pet with natural supplements, you can help prevent health issues before they arise. I always advise pet owners to feed their pet a raw food diet. There is increasing evidence that it is safe, can have many health benefits and even decreases your veterinary fees through fewer veterinary visits.

Many natural pet supplements are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your pet needs to stay healthy. These include antioxidants to combat free radicals, omega fatty acids for skin and coat health, probiotics for digestive wellness, and much more.

By incorporating these supplements into your pet's diet, you can help maintain their health and vitality in the long term.

Making an Informed Decision

While the benefits of natural pet supplements are clear, it is important to remember that not all supplements are created equal. Quality can vary significantly between brands, so it is crucial to do your research before making a purchase.

Furthermore, while natural supplements can be an excellent addition to your pet's healthcare regimen, they should not replace veterinary care entirely. Always consult with your vet before starting any new supplement regimen for your pet.

JP’s Natural Pet Supplements

For all of the above reasons dog trainer and behaviourist Justine Shone and I set up JP’s Natural Pet Supplements 2 years ago. We give dog behavioural and veterinary advice and sell our own range of natural pet supplements. Please, visit our website


In conclusion, the rising cost of veterinary drugs coupled with the perceived safety and holistic benefits of natural pet supplements have led many pet owners to consider these alternatives. However, it is essential to make an informed decision based on your pet's specific needs and circumstances. With proper research and consultation with a trusted vet, you can find a balance that ensures your furry friend enjoys a happy and healthy life.



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