Soft Chews: A Tough Pill to Swallow

20th Dec 2014

If you need to give your pet a serious supplement, avoid soft-chew formats.

Anyone who has owned a cat or dog has most likely given it medication at some point in its life – and everyone knows what a headache that can be.

Owners are very familiar with their crafty pets gobbling up whatever yummy thing the pill was wrapped in and then spitting the pill on the ground, or not eating their dinner when a dosage has been crushed and mixed in it. Even prying open jaws to tuck the medicine far back in their mouths is not foolproof – some pets will kindly throw it back up for you.

For these reasons alone, the availability of soft-chew vitamins and medications for pets has increased.

Gummy vitamins and soft-chew supplements have been popular for humans for several years. According to “Gummy Vitamins – Gummy Bear Vitamins for Kids” by Vincent Iannelli, M.D., squishy vitamins are a top choice for kids because children love to eat them. The format is fun, and some are even flavored with popular candy tastes like Jolly Rancher Sours.

Soft Chews vs. Chewables

But Iannelli cautions readers on the makeup of soft-chew supplements:

“Keep in mind that not all multivitamins have the same number of vitamins and minerals as others. For example, Centrum Kids Chewables Multivitamin has 23 different vitamins and minerals, but some other multivitamins, especially gummy vitamins, only have 14.

"Also, while a chewable multivitamin might have 100 percent of the daily value for many nutrients, such as vitamin C, a gummy vitamin might only have 30 to 50 percent per serving.”

A Much Smaller Amount of Active Ingredients

The same holds true for pet supplements, unfortunately.

Healthy Dogma was looking into making soft-chew supplements as a convenience option until this surprising fact came up.

To keep gummies and soft-chew medications held together, manufacturers have to make them in a 80/20 ratio: 80% binder and 20% active ingredients.

When we realized pets wouldn’t be getting even close to as much benefit with soft chews as they get with our hard-chew wafers or powders, the squishy format quickly lost its appeal.

Should You Avoid Soft Chews Entirely?

Truly, there is nothing wrong with the soft-chew format except its lack of potency compared to other formats. But if you really need to make a difference in your pet’s issue, look for powders, pills or chewable tablets.

Still Easy to Give to Pets

That’s not saying you will have to be in for a fight when treatment time comes: Powders are specially formulated to be appealing to dogs (crushed pills can have an unpleasant taste, which is why pets may avoid that method), and chewable wafers come tastily flavored.

Seeing the benefits your dog reaps from the potency of powders, pills or chewables will make you forget there even is another option.