Vitamins every dog needs for a healthy lifestyle
The use of vitamin supplements increases day by day in both humans and dogs due to many reasons. Every third dog and fifth cat in the United States is receiving supplements or vitamins.
According to a study published in the 2006 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, multivitamins commonly used in cats and dogs are to support inflamed joints, improve coat shine, and reduce shedding.
If you wonder, does my dog really need vitamins? Or what vitamins should I give my dog? OR Are there any risks associated with vitamins for dogs? Then read this post to the end.
Dogs need vitamins to maintain healthy body functions and control some complications in young and senior dogs. If your dog is eating a commercially available balanced and complete dog food, vitamin supplements are not recommended unless specifically directed by your vet.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are essential micronutrients that are required in small amounts to maintain life and normal growth. These are naturally present in food, and animals need them as they cannot be synthesized in the body.
Here are some vitamins that your dog needs for the proper functioning of his body metabolism.
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
- B vitamins (Folate, biotin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and thiamine)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is a fat-soluble and essential vitamin for the dog. It is used to balance minerals like calcium and phosphorus in the body for healthy bone and muscle growth.
Dogs cannot produce vitamin D in the body from the sun, so they need it from food or as a supplement.
Adult dog food should contain 500 IU of vitamin D per kilogram, according to the Association of American Food Control Officials (AAFCO). Liver, egg yolks, beef, and fish are the common sources of vitamin D.
Vitamin A is also known as retinoid is a fat-soluble vitamin. It helps in cell function, fetal development, immune function, and overall growth. Vitamin A is also good for vision and eye health.
It is found in various animal and plant sources, such as liver, fish oil, eggs, dairy products, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, turnip greens, and pumpkins. Puppies need approximately 1,000 IU, and their requirement increases to 5,000 IU as they mature.
Vitamin B is not a single vitamin, but it is a group of important vitamins such as folate, biotin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and thiamine.
Folic acid or folate plays an essential role in the metabolism of nucleotides and amino acids and the synthesis of the mitochondrial protein.
Biotin helps keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy. It also plays a vital role in digestion and the general growth of the body.
Niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B-12 facilitate the functions and production of enzymes in the body. Pantothenic acid has a vital role in energy metabolism.
Vitamin B-6 plays an important role in the dog’s body, such as the production and function of red blood cells, the generation of glucose, the function of the nervous system, immune response, hormonal regulation, niacin synthesis, and gene activation.
Thiamine helps regulate energy by accelerating the breakdown of carbohydrates and regulating tissue functions.
The primary sources of vitamin B are whole grains, liver, yeast (nutritional or beer), green vegetables, beans, nuts, spirulina, and dairy products.
The requirement of Vitamin B in puppies is the following:
- 1.5mg of Thiamine
- 1.5mg of Riboflavin
- 0.15 mg of Vitamin B6
- 0.5 mcg of Vitamin B12
- 13mg of Niacin
- 5 mg to 20 mg of Pantothenic acid
- 5mg of biotin
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an important antioxidant that helps eliminate free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause inflammation and aging.
Dogs can synthesize vitamin C in the body, but some need supplements to boost the immune system and mental health. Food sources of vitamin C are vegetables, fruits, and organ meats.
The dog generally needs 120 mg of vitamin C in its diet or as a supplement.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. It works as an active antioxidant and provides defense against oxidative damage. It also plays an important role in fat metabolism, cellular function, and promotes eye health of pets.
Vitamin E supplements can prevent different reproductive problems in dogs. The main sources of vitamin E are green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, seeds, bran, wheat germs, whole grains, and liver.
A healthy dog needs approx. 2 IU of vitamin E.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. It has an essential role in the initiation of blood clotting and wound healing. In the case of poison ingestion, the function of vitamin K is suppressed, which will lead to blood loss and death if left untreated.
The primary sources of vitamin K are green leafy vegetables, liver, cabbage, milk, and fish. The recommended dose for the young dog of vitamin K dose is 10 mg/ml.
Choline plays an essential role in supporting liver health and brain function. It is also a vital component of the phospholipid cell membrane. At some point, it is also used as a treatment for epilepsy.
The recommended choline dose is 1200ppm, according to AAFCO.
Does my dog really need vitamins?
When we feed our pets with commercially processed foods, they get most of the necessary minerals and vitamins. Most food companies have also labeled their food as a complete and balanced diet, but we still have to feed them additional vitamins and supplements for proper growth and development.
Commercial foods are available for all stages of life, but in puppies, large breed dogs, and older dogs, certain vitamin requirements are different. This is due to their stage of life. According the “Best Puppy Foods” guide from ThePets you need to feed a puppy a high-quality diet packed with nutritious ingredients.
Especially large breed dogs need additional minerals and vitamins; otherwise, they will develop diseases such as joint problems and hip dysplasia. If we supplement them with additional vitamins, it will help them grow quickly.
Similarly, dogs fed on home-made diets also require vitamin supplements to ensure they get enough vitamins in their diet. Vitamins cannot be supplemented in the diet, as we like; we have to contact a veterinary nutritionist to determine the appropriate dose.
Are There Risks Associated with Dog Vitamins?
Vitamins are an essential part of dog life, and we may not think that such an essential nutrient can cause potential harm when fed in large quantities.
You’ve heard about the fact that feeding too much calcium in large breed puppies can cause skeletal problems. Similarly, vitamins can also cause problems when overfed.
When we feed too much vitamin A in the diet, it can cause joint pain, dehydration, and damage your pet’s blood vessels. Similarly, giving too much vitamin D in their diet can cause kidney disease, muscle atrophy, vomiting, excessive thirst, and sometimes lead to death.
On top of that, there are only a few studies that can report the safety of prolonged use of vitamins in the daily diet. Some of the vitamins also contain other ingredients like herbs that can interact with certain medications.
To avoid these risks, you can speak to your veterinary nutritionist and make a diet plan based on your dog’s needs.
Vitamins are the essential micronutrient that your dog needs. The best way to make sure your dog gets all the vitamins is to provide them with high-quality feed, but if your dog needs vitamins, contact your vet for advice and the exact dosage.