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PetSmart GNC Pets Facebook Live Chat

April 12, 2011 -

PetSmart hosted a live one hour pet supplement Q&A with Mark Finke, PetSmart’s Director of Merchandising Technical Services and resident pet nutrition expert, and GNC’s Sudipta Veeramachaneni, Scientist Technology and Product Innovation.

Mark has more than 20 years of experience in nutrition, diet formulation, product development and regulatory issues for food and treats for dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, fish and reptiles. He oversees the product development and quality assurance of all of PetSmart brands.  Sudipta has a PHD in Nutrional Biochemistry.  In addition to their own team, GNC also worked with a veterinarian to help develop GNC Pets.

Check out the full Q&A below. Want more information? You can access information about the new GNC Pets line anytime on our PetSmart GNC Pets or visit your local PetSmart to speak with an associate.

*Please Note:  Any question with an answer in italics was received after our chat ended. 

Weight Issues

Liza P. So I have a little dog on the pudgy side, what vitamins do I give her without depriving her nutrients? We have started our daily work outs she is a great walking buddy.

PetSmart GNC: @Liza In addition to cutting back the dog's food, we recommend a multi-vitamin supplement to ensure your pet is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs.  

Nancy K. I have 2 pugs one of which is underweight and one of which is fat. I have to limit the food for the sake of the fat one. I tried feeding them in separate rooms and they don't eat. They like to share. They won't eat if they are apart. Is there anything I can give my thin pug to help him put on a couple pounds? I'd love to just feed him more but it never works out. Thanks

PetSmart GNC: @Nancy - Try a high calorie booster gel. It will provide extra calories for your thin pug.

Cleveland G. What would you recommend for an overweight cat for diet supplements???

PetSmart GNC: @Cleveland - We would recommend you talk to your vet about a weight control diet as we don't have a specific supplement for this.

Sharon H. I have a Russian Blue cat who is overweight. Can you recommend anything to help her shed a few pounds and also something to help with shedding and dander?

PetSmart Dr. Finke: @Sharon - We recommend talking to your vet about a weight control diet to help your cat lose weight.
GNC: @Sharon - Try the skin and coat soft chew, which can help with coat health.

Nancy M. I have 2 yorkies that are overweight. Even though they are registered, they are very big. Probably weighing 12 lbs. They will be 3 in March. I feed them Royal can I get weight off them?

PetSmart Dr. Finke: @Nancy - we recommend talking to your vet about a weight control diet for your Yorkies.  

Joint and muscle health

Monique S. My little girl has luxating patella of the right knee, is there an oil I can apply topically or a supplement that can help her with this? P.S. I already started her on a diet to help reduce the weight her legs have to carry.

PetSmart Dr. Finke: @Monique - This is a medical issue and we recommend discussing this with your veterinarian.

Erik B. I have a year old pug. Are there supplements out there that can help my pug handle the cold weather? Her hind legs get stiff even when she's outside in the cold for a few minutes. Thanks!

PetSmart Dr. Finke: @Erik - It sounds like the pug gets cold easily, so we would not have a supplement for that. Perhaps, a jacket? :)

Tami S. I have an 8 week old Choc Lab and want to know what kind of vitamins I need to give her for her joints and skin. We just lost our 2 yr old Black Lab to a blood clot in his lungs. I want to start this little puppy out with a chance of a long health life. We named her Faith!

PetSmart GNC: @Tammi - Congratulations on your new addition! We recommend a puppy multivitamin.  Remember, the best thing you can do for Faith, is make sure she grows at a normal rate and does not become overweight

Amanda L. I have a 3 year old lab who has already torn one ACL and Meniscus, his vet said he needs to be on some type of joint suppelement. He also needs to lose about 10 lbs. Any suggestions?

PetSmart GNC: @Amanda Try the Ultra Mega Hip and Joint supplements to support joint cushioning and mobility in conjunction with the veterinary recommendation of weight loss.

Jolynn P.  Can you overdose a dog on glucosamine? If they take the GNC supplement, can they also have treats with glucosamine?

It will depend on the total amount of glucosamine provided by the pet supplements and the treat.  If you have questions talk to your veterinarian.


Austin F. Does it strengthen their immune system?

PetSmart GNC: @Austin - Multi-vitamins contain vitamins and minerals that play an important role in supporting the immune system.  

Older Pets

Allicia O. I have a 14 yr old dog. She is getting thin and is getting VERY picky on her foods. What kind of vitamins can I give to her for her age??

PetSmart GNC: @Allicia - We have a senior multi-vitamin supplement available in a chewable tablet and liquid form.  

Anita H. What would you recommend for my 13 year old feline from your GNC Pet line?

PetSmart GNC: @Anita - We recommend a senior cat vitamin. If she has specific needs, other supplements may be appropriate.  

Chacho L. I too own a senior dog, 10years plus. What kinds of vitamins should he take?

GNC has multivitamins designed especially for senior dogs, you can choose between a chewable tablet or a liquid. 

Chrissy V.  My dog is somewhere between 10 and 14 years old. He is a mixed breed of Dachshund and something else and should weigh around 20lbs but his diabetes has made him lose weight so he is barely 15 lbs. The last few years have been hard on him. He was... diagnosed as a diabetic and is on insulin and is having problems with his joints. So we've been giving him the GNC hip and joint supplement. He also is refusing all dog food. So with our vets help we are home cooking for him and added GNC's multivitamin for seniors. We were also suggested to give him an additional calcium supplement. I hate giving him so many pills. Is there a supplement that contains all of these?

GNC’s Superfood Complex Plus Joint Health is a powder supplement that can be added to food. It contains a multivitamin with several nutrients including calcium. In addition, it contains chondroitin for joint support.  If your vet recommends additional calcium, GNC also has a calcium supplement that includes vitamin D. Sudipta are you sure this has enough calcium.  Most multi-vitamin/mineral supplements supply only a small amount of the calcium a dog needs.  If so I’m okay with the answer if not we need to clear that additional calcium is necessary. 

Dustin M. Dr. Finke: I have a soon to be 9 year old Husky mix named Shadow, she is my buddy, I have had her since 7 weeks, over most of her adult life she has been right around 50-55 lbs over the last 2 years her wt has gone up to around 80 lbs and is currently at 75, she is on the Royal Canin Mobility diet w/d for her joints 1/2 cup per feeding am/pm. she is maintaining but not losing weight, she is on the optimum wellness plan at Banfield.....any ideas?

As you are aware, weight loss is not easy, but that should be your primary goal assuming your dog has no other medical issues.  Feeding controlled amounts of a light or weight loss formula would be your best approach and then add a hip and joint supplement. GNC has Hip & Joint Supplements for senior dogs, in chewable tablets.  They come in both peanut butter and beef flavors. Be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian however. 

Patti B. My cat 13 year old cat has thrown up weekly, but a she isnt skinny. I change her food, she won't eat it for days, gets used to it, and start throwing up again. She is a good weight, no hair loss or anything. Any ideas??

We recommend that you talk to your vet about your concerns.  


Laura M.  Sorry I missed the chat. Do you have, a suggestion for storms? The one thing I found had no effect.

GNC has several Relax products for cats and dogs. These products contain calming blends and are great for use during travel, separation and environmental stress. We offer tablets, liquids, gels and soft chews for dogs. For cats, we have a gel, a liquid and a soft chew. Give them to your pet prior to a storm.  

Claudia M. Hello... I have a 2 years old pit bull... Since he was 1 1/2 we bring him "girlfriends" and he only plays with them... People say it is because we treat him like a child.. Actually he is our little boy since we don't have kids... And he sleeps inside the house etc etc etc.. Any idea? We really want to be grandpas.

Please consult your vet. 

Kristin H.  I have an 18 lb male rat terrier I want to start giving melatonin for attitude. What is the recommended dosage and protocol (increases, etc.) for this?

GNC’s products do not contain melatonin. However, GNC does have several Relax products infused with calming blends.  

Melissa K. I have a 8 year old golden and he is always itching, licking and biting himself is there anything I can give him or put in his food to help him? Also, he is shaking his ears more often, is it possible he may have an ear infection? What can I use to help his ears?

PetSmart Dr. Finke: @Melissa - We recommend visiting the vet to make sure there isn't an underlying issue (an infection) in your dog's ear.

GNC: @Melissa - We recommend Fish Oil Advantage supplement to help support a healthy skin and coat.  

Deborah D. My 9 year old male cat is chewing fur (large clumps at a time) off of my 3 year old female cat (both fixed, always lived together). Excessive grooming/behavior problem?

Please consult your vet. 


Gail M. I have two Weimaraners that have seasonal allergies. I give them fish oil with their food now but is there anything else that I could use or should be using?

PetSmart GNC: @Gail - We recommend trying the seasonal support product. You could also try the immune formula that has anti-oxidants to help support the immune system.  

Lillian T. I have a pregnant dog do I need to give her vitamins to help with the growth of the puppies and also I have a pug who is allergic to soy what kind of food is the best for him and does he need vitamins to help with that?

A healthy diet and an exercise are important to support your pregnant dog.  To be sure the mom and her puppies are getting the nutrients they need make sure you are feeding a food that is complete and balanced for all life stages (check the label to be sure).  Als,o GNC has several multivitamins for adult dogs, that can help supplement your dog’s diet. Talk to your vet about a meal plan for your pug. If you are concerned that your pug may not be getting the nutrients he needs, a GNC multivitamin can further help provide essential nutrients to support your dog’s health.  

Health Issues

Judy H. I too have a dog (springer spaniel) who has epileptic seizures and is on Epiphen and Epileze, are there any supplements that may help him? He is a very active and very fit 3 year old.

We recommend that you speak to your vet for further advice.  

Kat E. My cat, Stochie, has suffered from multiple conditions since he was 3 months old. He is on a special diet through my vet for urinary health. He has relapses of crystals building up and chronic UTIs. My problem is my cat gets so bored of his... food that he will do anything to sneak a taste of anything left out, including my dog's food (which I have to feed at specific times to prevent), which defeats the purpose of the food. Our vet does not carry treats that I could give him. Would the GNC urinary health treats for cats benefit my cat and would they be safe for him to have?

GNC currently does not have any products that are designed for urinary health. Talk to your vet about using supplements to help Stochie.   

Christine L.  Hi, I have a 4yr old dachshund/chihuahua mix who is 10 pounds. Within the last 2 weeks we have been 2 the vet twice because he is having a lot of discomfort. Turns out he has a lot, lot of gas in his stomach and is having trouble getting it out. Any suggestions?

Try GNC’s Gas-Less. However, since there are several reasons why a dog experiences gas, we recommend that you continue to work with your vet to address this.  

Tiffany L. My 8 yo Golden Retiever has epilepsy that is treated with an anti-siezure med. Do you offer a supplement(s) that would improve his chances of avoiding even more seizures? He is otherwise VERY healthy and fit.

PetSmart Dr. Finke: @Tiffany - Because this is a medical condition, we recommend speaking with your vet about any further treatment.  

Patty D. Well since no one is talking, I’ll ask a question. My dog takes 500mg glucosamine & 400 mg chondroitin & a 325 aspirin daily. We just found out he has diabetes so he is on insulin injections. Is there anything else u can recommend he take vitamin wise? He is 11, a tad overweight but losing some, otherwise a very happy dog.

PetSmart Dr. Finke: @Patty - The first priority is that your dog loses weight, so we recommend talking to your vet about weight loss and if any other supplements are warranted.  

Monique S. My chihuahuas shed excessively & it gets all over my clothes, bed linen, etc. Is this normal or is there a shampoo, supplement, or something I can do to limit this. It's such a headache!

PetSmart GNC: @Monique - In conjunction with regular grooming, we recommend a Skin and Coat Health supplement or we have a shedding formula you can try.  

Food Related

Kristina H. My dog doesn't really like his dog food. Is there any recommendations with the supplements that we can give him to get the proper nutrients he needs?

PetSmart Dr. Finke: @Kristina We recommend feeding a multi-vitamin to ensure your pets get the vitamins and minerals with their food.  

Vince O.  I have a 3 year old black lab with a ton of energy. She is thin and fit. My question is: I was mixing Nutro Ultra food with Rachel Ray's veggie food. My dog loves the Rachel Ray much more. I may only feed her that. Are you familiar with Rachel Ray's dog food? Will it give her all the nutrition she needs?

Please talk to your vet about specific concerns pertaining to your dog’s food. 

Lara R. My dog eats chicken that I cook, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower. I also give her kibble when she will accept it. Should I be giving her a certain type vitamin? Or is she getting enough nutrition? I tried PetCo's brand and she spit it out.

If you are concerned that your dog may not be getting the nutrients it needs, talk to your vet for more information. GNC’s multivitamins provide several (but not all) essential nutrients and are a great way of supplementing your dog’s diet. 

Amanda R.  I heard vegetables can be a good healthy snack for dogs. What kind of vegetables?

Baby carrots are an excellent snack for dogs.  Most dogs enjoy eating them and they are a good source of beta-carotene and fiber. 

Tami B. Hi Dr! I have two Saint/Newfs, I feed them home made food... They get a stew of chicken, oats, brown rice, peas and carrots... I also give them a supplement of Marine fish oil and glucosamine. They also eat cheese, apples and bananas for snacks.  Question:  Am I forgetting anything?

It is very important to ensure that your dogs are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals they need. GNC’s multivitamins provide several (but not all) essential nutrients and are a great way of supplementing your dog’s diet. 

GNC Supplements

Jolene L.  Are supplements like multivitamins for children that you would give everyday?

PetSmart GNC: @Jolene - It depends on the pet supplement whether or not you will give it everyday. For example, a multivitamin is given daily. Be sure to check the product label for appropriate dosage.  

Michele F.  I have my pet on a non GNC probiotic... what is the difference between their capsule and your chewable? I have him on it since he has a very sensitive stomach.

Since we do not know what probiotic your pet is currently on, we cannot determine how it’s different from GNC’s probiotic. GNC’s Probiotic Formula provides 2 billion probiotics per chewable tablet in addition to prebiotics, fiber that helps to support the growth of probiotics. It’s available in a convenient, beef flavored chewable tablet.  

Elizabeth F.  I work for PetSmart and was wondering why all the GNC vitamins look exactly alike? It's hard to tell the difference between them.

We have two tiers of multivitamins, a GNC ultra mega line and a GNC mega line. We differentiated between the products using different colored caps and different colored text for the product name. The GNC ultra mega line has green colored caps with the name in green on a silver background.  

Jolene L. When would you give your dog supplements?

PetSmart GNC: @Jolene - This depends on the need. For example, supplements may be considered if your dog is stiff when getting up, overly active, is older than 7 or has a lackluster coat.  

Chacho L. what kind of vitamins are recommended for small dogs?

PetSmart GNC: @ Chacho - All the vitamins we sell have dose recommendations for small dogs.

Jolene L.  So I see you have a fish oil advantage supplement and a puppy multivitamin what other supplements do you have?

We have an extensive line of products for cats and dogs. For dogs, we have pet multivitamins for major life stages, hip and joint health products, skin and coat products, fish oil, digestive health products, calcium, immune health products, calming products, milk replacers, weaning products, etc. we also offer multiple flavors and multiple delivery forms, i.e. tablets, chews, liquids, gels, etc which allows pet parents to choose the option that works best for their pet. 

Meghan A.  I have a 3 year old boston terrier what do you recommend?

Try GNC’s multivitamins which contains essential nutrients for dogs. 

About the Experts

Mandy Z. Is Dr. Mark Finker and Sudipta Veeramachaneni veterinarians? What is their experience with pet supplements?

PetSmart @Mandy - Dr. Mark Finke is PHD pet nutritionist with more than 20 years experience. Sudipta has a PHD in Nutrional Biochemistry. GNC also worked with a veterinarian to help develop GNC Pets.

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