Nutrition for Cognitive Health

Nutrition for Cognitive Health - Vetster

The human-animal bond is a profound and mutually beneficial relationship, and it’s probably one of the reasons you became a veterinarian. We’ve long known that pets reduce stress levels in their human companions, but they too can experience stress and anxiety. Stress impacts quality of life for pets, but also affects their health. Stress diarrhea is just one example of a common manifestation of stress that nearly all owners face at some time during their pets’ lives, so they’re eager for information on how nutrition, probiotics, and supplements, can reduce stress. Pets experiencing age-associated cognitive decline and seizure disorders may also benefit from nutritional therapy.

Let’s take a closer look at how the cognitive health of pets can benefit from special diets, probiotics, and supplements, while also highlighting the convenience of VetsterRx as a solution.

Understanding the impact of stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety are more common than you might think. Anxiety in some form is behind as many as 70% of behavioral disorders in dogs. Feline stress commonly manifests as behavioral changes including litter box issues and decreased social interaction. Dogs and cats exposed to stress may also show:

  • Aggression
  • Overgrooming/excessive licking
  • Appetite changes
  • Compromised immune function
  • Hair loss and skin issues
  • Stress colitis in both dogs and cats
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Feline lower urinary tract disease
  • Aggravation of preexisting conditions

Owners are looking for information on recognizing the signs of stress in their pets and how they can relieve it.  Expand your virtual practice by being ready to discuss this and the role nutrition plays in a well-rounded approach to maximizing cognitive health.

Scientific studies supporting nutrition-based approaches:

  • A placebo-controlled study carried out by Purina showed supplementation with a proprietary probiotic reduced anxiety. Dogs taking the probiotic showed lower salivary levels of cortisol, decreased reactivity, and engaged in less barking, jumping, spinning, and pacing.
  • Cats taking the same probiotic also appeared to help cats cope more favorably with stress.
  • A diet supplemented with polyphenols, prebiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids was shown to improve the profile of metabolites linked with canine anxiety.
  • Antioxidants, anxiolytic agents, and probiotics all show potential for relieving stress in dogs and cats, providing diverse options for nutrition solutions.
  • Supplementation with alpha-casozepine shows potential therapeutic benefits for cats and dogs experiencing fear and anxiety.

And the list goes on.  The bottom line is it’s important to consider nutritional support for pets experiencing stress and anxiety, and including supplements, probiotics, and therapeutic diets helps you meet client demand for a holistic approach.

The role of nutrition in managing canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD)

Receiving a diagnosis of CCD is heartbreaking, but probiotics, therapeutic diets, and supplements may help slow its progression and improve quality of life for affected dogs.

With emerging research suggesting that the mind-gut relationship plays a role in cognitive health, probiotics like those listed above for anxiety may indirectly benefit dogs with CCD.

Therapeutic diets for CCD typically include increased levels of:

  • Medium-chain triglycerides
  • Antioxidants
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • B vitamins
  • Phosphatidylserine

Supplements also show promise for use in managing dogs with CCD

  • Phosphatidylserine is thought to improve communication between brain cells.
  • Ginkgo biloba is believed to enhance blood flow to the brain.
  • L-carnitine may improve mitochondrial function, which decreases with age.
  • S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may support cognitive function and improve behavior in dogs with CCD.

According to the 2015 ACVIM Small Animal Consensus Statement on Seizure Management in Dogs, a medium-chain triglyceride-based diet developed for CCD was also shown to decrease seizure frequency in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.

VetsterRx makes it easy for you to search for nutrition solutions that support the cognitive health of your patients.  Type in keywords like “behavior”, “calm” and “brain or brand names like Zylkene to find the therapeutic diets, supplements, and probiotics you need.

The big picture

Pet owners looking for convenient ways to supplement their pets’ in-person care for cognitive health love the convenience of virtual care. As a Vetster veterinarian, you are in a perfect position to share information about:

  • Environmental enrichment
  • Mental stimulation tactics
  • Therapeutic diets
  • Supplements
  • Probiotics

VetsterRx offers a convenient solution for veterinarians and pet owners alike.  When it comes to implementing nutrition-based solutions for cognitive health in pets, convenience is key.  Pet owners can easily access the diets, supplements, and probiotics you recommend through VetsterRx. Regular check-ins provide ongoing support and adjustments to the treatment so you and your clients can work together to achieve the best outcomes.

Your role in supporting the human-animal bond and pet well-being is crucial. Nutrition-based solutions to help reduce stress, anxiety, and cognitive decline in your patients are at your fingertips on Vetster, so stay informed about the latest scientific findings so you can help reduce stress, anxiety, and cognitive decline in your patients.

The Vetster Editorial Team is comprised of seasoned writers and communicators dedicated to elevating stories about Vetster, pets and their owners.
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