*** POST THIS WEEKEND*** Vitamins For Your Pet

Elaine Wagner believes vitamins and antioxidants are key when it comes to keeping her loved ones in shape.

"I take my vitamins, so I really see the relevance of having him take his vitamins, too."

She's talking about 11-year-old Sam. No, not her child, her dog!

Laurie Parker is also a believer. She began giving her rotweiller J.J pet vitamins after she lost a leg to cancer.

"I think that it's made a huge difference in her recovery."

Such a difference, her other pets get their daily dose, too. So why are so many pet owners signing onto supplements?

"The fad is being generated from humans and human nutrition." Dr. Bonnie Beaver is with the American Veterinary Medical Association. She says this new breed of pet care is catching on because of the proven benefits of antioxidants for us.

"They are going to make us live longer and prevent us from strokes and cancer. Then, the thought is, 'well, if it's good for people, it must be good for our pets as well.'"

Veterinarian Brian Reeves of Tyler who has been practicing vet care for 40 years says antioxidants not only slow the aging process and help our four-legged friends heal, they can actually work to fight disease.

"Well we've seen the results. Obviously the dogs and cats bodies are very similar to humans as far as the physiological process going -- you eat food drink water have enzymes, hormones and vitamins -- all those take place in out body function properly and when they get out of balance we have disease develop."

Vets often recommend a blend of five basic antioxidants for pets: beta carotene, vitamin c, vitamin e, zinc, and selenium. Several studies show antioxidants can do everything from boost a pet's immune system to improve memory in dogs with the canine form of Alzheimer's. But while vitamins offer benefits, there's also a concern. Dr. Reeves says you can give your pet too much of a good thing. Giving additional vitamins and antioxidants through supplements without consulting your vet may do more harm than good to your pet.

"They can be toxic. Just as with people working with a doctor you got to have some help as where to start and how far you can go with the over the counter thing."

Dr. Reeves believes taking correctly though -- antioxidants and vitamins for your pet is perfectly safe. In fact he encourages it. Elaine Wagner does too. She's convinced supplements are a lifesaver for Sam.

"I feel it's going to help me keep him around a little bit longer."