Do Dogs Need Vitamins?
When selecting and preparing a quality diet for your pet, it is important to remember that your dog’s vitamin needs can vary depending on many factors.
In 2006, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published an article stating that multivitamins, joint support supplements and essential fatty acid complexes were the most popular for reducing shedding and improving skin and coat health.
But do dogs really need extra vitamins? Is it safe to add them to your pet’s diet? All about using vitamins, we’ll tell you in our article.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds needed to keep the body functioning properly. Most of the essential nutrients are naturally found in food.
You are probably familiar with most of the vitamins the animal body needs:
- Vitamin A.
- B vitamins (biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
It is important to understand that dogs need vitamins in different amounts than humans.
Do dogs need vitamins?
Most dogs are fed a commercial diet that is completely balanced and covers all their nutritional needs, vitamins and minerals. Supplementation should therefore be discussed with your vet, who will look at your dog’s menu.
Species-specific natural diets made from homemade ingredients are very popular these days. Most animals on this diet have problems related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies or excesses:
- Hypervitaminosis A can damage blood vessels and cause dehydration and joint pain. A deficiency is characterized by flaky skin and disorders of the digestive system.
- An excess of vitamin D reduces the dog’s appetite and causes bone damage and muscle atrophy. An overdose of vitamin D leads to an overabundance of calcium. And a high concentration of calcium ions alters the action of the hormone vasopressin on the kidney tubules, resulting in renal failure.
- B vitamin deficiency can lead to nervous system disorders, stunted growth and development, affect the skin and coat, and anemia may develop.
This is why it is so important to have the number of vitamins in a natural diet evaluated by a veterinarian nutritionist and to make adjustments if necessary.
On their own, it is extremely difficult for the owner to compose a homemade diet and make it complete, because many nutrients are destroyed during the thermal processing of products or are absorbed into the body in insufficient quantities.
For example, some owners include bones in the natural diet to provide calcium to the dog’s body. But in this form, the mineral is barely absorbed, and the potential risk of injury from bones is far greater than their benefits.
How do you choose quality vitamins?
If you do decide to disregard the recommendations and introduce additional vitamins into your pet’s diet yourself, here are the criteria by which you can choose a quality product:
- Pay attention to brands that specialize in one area or have clinical studies of their products with a proven track record.
- Read the instructions and composition carefully. Most supplements have a complex, multi-component composition.
- Be careful when giving human vitamins to dogs. Some products, such as children’s supplements, may contain the sweetener xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
Vitamins like Polidex, Canina, and Canvit meet all these criteria.
Vitamin supplements strengthen the immunity of animals, prevent diseases and help improve the condition of the skin and coat. Therefore, they are necessary and important for the animal’s body. In order to correctly calculate the diet and provide the dog with just the right additional macro and micronutrients, it is best to consult a gastroenterology nutritionist.
A responsible approach to your pet’s diet is the key to his health and a strong, happy, long life.