Most people aren’t familiar with the benefits of SAM-e for dogs, but it is becoming increasingly popular amongst pet owners in the know. But what is SAM-e? What does it do? Which version of the supplement is right for your dog? And does it work?
SAM-e is a supplement that helps the liver to create more vital antioxidants which fight against liver damage. The liver cleanses and detoxifies the blood, so it’s important to ensure it is functioning properly.
Like humans, many dogs are also prone to liver problems and pet owners have reported real improvements when using SAM-e.
While liver support is the number one benefit of SAM-e for dogs, it is believed that SAM-e can also help in other ways – including protecting bones and joints, increasing cognitive functions and helping to control pain.
Does SAM-e Work?
This is the $64,000 question. Ask most pet owners who’ve used it and they will say yes, absolutely. However, at Pet Care Education we like to see claims supported by scientific evidence and there hasn’t been enough clinical research carried out yet to prove anything conclusively. The evidence of the benefits of SAM-e so far are mainly what pet owners report.
That said, SAM-e is prescribed by many vets and the feedback we’ve had from dog owners suggests it does work. Hopefully more clinical trials will be carried out soon to prove provide scientific proof of how effective SAM-e really is for dogs.
The key thing to know is that SAM-e is safe to give to your dog. There are no major side effects if given in accordance with the guidelines on the packaging. We know there have been a few reports of vomiting but this is rare and if it happens you would just stop giving the supplement.
There are several different versions of the supplement and we’ll be looking more closely at each. All these supplements can be found in some good high street pet stores or bought directly from Amazon.
A Complete Guide to SAM-e for Dogs
How does SAM-e work?
SAM-e is the abbreviated term for S-Adenosylmethionine (which is why we just call it SAM-e!). It is a chemical made naturally in the body from a food-derived amino acid called methionine. Even though SAM-e is made in the body, many dogs with poor liver function benefit from an extra booster of it in supplement form to help with the liver, brain and joints.
SAM-e is an intelligent substance. Once it reaches the system, it undergoes transformative processes which convert it into antioxidants. One of these powerful antioxidants is glutathione which helps to cleanse and protect the cells in the liver.
If the liver is not functioning as well as it should then it produces less SAM-e, which means less glutathione antioxidant is produced. Less of this antioxidant means even more of the liver cells get damaged, which means less SAM-e is produced… and so on in a vicious circle.
The idea of using a SAM-e supplement is to help the liver protect itself by allowing it to produce more of the glutathione antioxidant.
Getting these glutathione levels up can make a huge difference in liver function and health and may even help encourage cells to heal and repair themselves. As an additional benefit SAM-e also helps with promoting anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving antioxidants.
Is it right for my dog?
SAM-e has been recommended for various forms of liver disease in animals. These include:
- Hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver)
- Hepatic fibrosis
- Toxicity from non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS)
- Copper Storage (and other breed specific liver diseases)
SAM-e could also be useful in helping support the liver of pets that are receiving long term treatment for epilepsy and other diseases where the liver has to metabolize the medication.
There are other reported benefits of SAM-e for dogs.
Protects the bones and joints
Joint health is something many dogs have troubles with. SAM-e is a fantastic supplement to give to dogs with joint issues such as osteoarthritis. SAM-e helps to reduce inflammation and helps the keep the tissue surrounding the joints strong and healthy.
Supports cognitive function
SAM-e is often prescribed to dogs who have cognitive issues such as depression. A sharp, healthy brain will help your dog to ease into his or her later years. SAM-e is great for brain health and cognitive function because it helps to synthesize choline in the body, which is an important macronutrient for brain health.
Helps to control pain
SAM-e has analgesic properties, which means that it helps to relieve pain. Together with its anti-inflammatory and joint-supporting abilities, SAM-e is great at relieving osteoarthritic pain which can be debilitating for dogs.
Because SAM-e helps to prevent damage to cells we have found it has also been recommended for other conditions including:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Cushing’s disease
- Some anemias
- Some heart conditions
There hasn’t been any research into how beneficial SAM-e is for these conditions but hopefully there will be soon.
Is Denamarin the same as SAM-e?
Another popular liver-support supplement for dogs is called Denamarin. It’s a common confusion among consumers and pet owners; is Denamarin the same as SAM-e? Denamarin does contain SAM-e, but it is paired with another ingredient called Silybin. Silybin is an antioxidant, which also helps with liver support. You can find out more about Denamarin here.
How to give your dog SAM-e
Most SAM-e supplements come in the form of tablets, which must be taken on an empty stomach, an hour or so before food. The tablet needs time to break down in the stomach and the SAM-e to be ingested. We all know dogs don’t like taking tablets so one trick is to wrap the tablet in a small treat or piece of food. Please don’t break the tablet. It has a special coating which helps protect the SAM-e from stomach acid.
Fortunately for dog owners SAM-e also comes in powder form, which is easier to give. The powder supplements can be mixed into pet food for a (hopefully) traceless dose.
You need to take a bit of care about how you store the SAM-e as it is very easily damaged by moisture or extreme temperatures. The best advice is to store it in a child proof container at room temperature – kitchens and bathrooms are not great places for storing SAM-e. If the tablets are in foil packs, then only take the tablet out of the foil when you are ready to use it.
SAM-e product supplement reviews
There are many SAM-e supplements designed for pets, each with different features, pros and cons. Some are in tablet form, some are chewable and some are even powdered. Some supplements have added active ingredients such as B vitamins and zinc, while others have SAM-e as their sole active ingredient.
MAXXI SAM-e Liver Supplement for Cats and Dogs is a powered supplement which can be added to your pet’s food. This supplement contains added nutrients and vitamins to provide pets with ultimate system support.
This SAM-e supplement comes in powder form, which is a great feature for dogs who just cannot tolerate swallowing capsules or pills. The powder is designed to be sprinkled onto, or mixed in with your dog’s food. Most dogs don’t seem to have a problem with this, but some dogs know when something unusual has been added to their food and refuse to eat it.
As well as SAM-e, this powder supplement also contains artichoke, Choline and Inositol. These ingredients have been chosen because they support the liver and brain.
For SAM-e to be effectively absorbed into the system, it requires the help of B vitamins. B vitamins have been added to the MAXXI SAM-e supplement to assist with fast and effective absorption.
- Does not need to be taken on an empty stomach (add powder to food)
- Contains B vitamins for SAM-e absorption
- Fast absorption
- Supports healthy brain function
- Supports healthy liver function
- Some consumers have commented that their dogs refuse to eat their food when this product is added to it. While this is not a fault of the product or company itself, it does show that not all dogs will tolerate a powder being sprinkled on their food and may do better with capsules
Azendus Pet SAM-e tablets are a gentle, natural and easily-absorbed source of SAM-e for pets. Ideal for pets with sensitive stomachs as they are coated with natural, non-plastic, plant-based ingredients.
One of the best features of this product is the source of SAM-e used. Azendus uses Butanedisulfonate, which is a natural SAM-e. Some SAM-e products do not actually contain natural SAM-e, and contain other ingredients which can reduce the effectiveness of the active ingredients.
These tablets have been formulated with a natural, enteric coating which prevents moisture from reaching the SAM-e. This ensures that the SAM-e remains potent and effective, without becoming degraded or diluted.
- Supports liver health
- Coated with a plant-based, natural coating
- Gentle on stomachs
- No synthetic colors added
- Comes with a 180-day, 100% money back guarantee
- Easy, 1-capsule a day dosage (or 2 for very large dogs)
- Not all dogs can process capsules, depending on the dog and the casing used. Some consumers have noted that these capsules do not break down in their dog’s system and remain intact in the stool. In such cases, a powder formula may be better
NutralifePet SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) 100 Mg – Liver Detox & Joint Support – Double Pack (60 Tablets)
Nutralife Pet SAM-e tablets are small, easy-to-swallow and ideal for dogs and cats. Each tablet contains 100mg of SAM-e.
Not all pets are great at swallowing tablets, especially cats. Tablets must be small enough for cats to safely and comfortably swallow, which makes these tablets from Nutralife a suitable choice.
No other active ingredients have been added to these tablets, they let the SAM-e work as the first and only key ingredient. This allows the SAM-e to retain its effectiveness and potency when being absorbed into the pet’s system.
Creaky, sore joints plague cats and dogs as well as their owners. Nutralife Pet SAM-e supports healthy joints as well as supporting the liver.
- Small tablets for cats and dogs to swallow easily
- Recommended by vets
- No interfering ingredients
- Supports liver health
- Supports joint health
- The recommended dose is one tablet per 10lbs, which means that very large, heavy dogs require a large dose, using up the supply quickly. This requires re-purchasing and hikes the price up
Vitality S Adenosyl 225 is a tablet-form SAM-e supplement for cats and dogs, specifically medium to large dogs. This supplement does have added active ingredients but they have been carefully chosen for their supportive health benefits.
These chewable tablets have been formulated with extra ingredients to work alongside the SAM-e content. Antioxidants quercetin, L-taurine and licorice root extract have been added to help fight free-radical damage.
There are 5 B vitamins in these chewable tablets (vitamins B3, B5, B6, B1 and B2) which assist the body in absorbing and processing the SAM-e.
- Chewable tablets
- Contains added antioxidants in the form of L-taurine and licorice root extract
- Contains B vitamins for optimal absorption of SAM-e into the body
- Supports liver function
- Supports joint health
- Boosts energy
- Some consumers have noted that these pills are too large and too hard for their dogs to chew. The size and hardness has proved hard to disguise in food as well. It depends on the individual pet and what they can tolerate
Pet MD SAMe Plus S-Adenosyl for Dogs 225 MG Hepatic Liver Supplement and Cognitive Support – 60 Count
Pet MD Sam-e tablets are full of active ingredients which support your dog’s liver, muscle repair, metabolic system and joint health.
As well as SAM-e, these tablets contain amino acids which assist with protein synthesis and muscle growth. Strong muscles are crucial for your dog’s mobility, especially as he or she ages.
Dogs can be prone to zinc deficiencies which is a serious issue. These tablets contain zinc to keep your dog’s levels topped up. Zinc is an antioxidant which helps with metabolic support.
Like a few of the other supplements included in this list, these tablets contain B vitamins which assist the body in absorbing and processing the SAM-e.
- Recommended by vets
- Contains added amino acids for muscle strength and repair
- Contains added B vitamins for SAM-e absorption
- Contains zinc for antioxidants and metabolic support
- Supports liver function
- Supports joint health
- Although they are designed to be chewable, some consumers have noted that their dogs cannot chew them due to the tablets being too hard
- Some consumers have commented the smell of these tablets is strong and unpleasant
As ever, if you’re unsure or want detailed advice about your pet’s specific needs talk to your vet. It may also a good idea to get a set of blood work done to test your pup’s liver levels and function, as this will give you an idea of what he requires in terms of added ingredients.
The liver is such an important organ (for all of us!), so it’s crucial to give it all the support we can. If SAM-e supplements are as effective as people claim then they are one of the best things you can give your dog to keep their liver healthy. You can feel great in the knowledge that you are giving your dog a supplement which will not only support his liver, but also his brain, joints and overall health.