Are you wondering if you should give your dog a multivitamin? The answer is yes. Here are ten vitamins for dogs.
Dogs are like humans in a lot of ways. In order to live a happy and healthy life, dogs need to eat well, exercise and socialize.
And, just like humans, dogs also need to make sure they're getting the right vitamins and minerals in their diet in order to live a long, healthy life.
But, what vitamins and minerals do dogs need in their diet? And, if your dog is already quite healthy, do you really need to give them supplements?
Check out this guide to learn about the top vitamins for dogs.
What Are Vitamins?
First things first, what exactly are vitamins?
In the simplest terms, vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary for sustaining life. Most vitamins are found naturally in food, and, just like humans, animals need vitamins in order to grow and maintain and a healthy lifestyle.
You're probably already familiar with most of the vitamins that humans and animals need. These include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B (Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, riboflavin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, biotin)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
While humans and dogs both need these vitamins, it's very important to remember that dogs need them in different amounts than humans do. This is why you should never buy a human multivitamin and feed it to your dog, as this will make them sick.
Does My Dog Need Vitamins?
You just went to the vet and found out that your dog is as healthy as can be. So, do you really need to give your dog vitamins?
If your dog eats well-balanced, quality dog food, then they typically do not need extra supplementation. Most pet food companies are aware of the vitamins and minerals that a dog needs, and so they add these to the food for us.
In fact, adding extra supplementation to your dog's diet if they don't need it can actually do more harm than good. This is because too much of a certain vitamin will throw off the delicate balance of a dog's system.
For example, fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K cannot be easily eliminated from the body. This can lead to a toxic buildup in the body.
However, there are certainly instances where your dog could benefit from extra supplementation. These include:
- Your dog has been diagnosed with a mineral or vitamin deficiency and their condition would benefit from supplementation
- Your dog eats a home-prepared diet: Typically, this diet won't have all the essential nutrients that a dog needs, so you'll need to add a multivitamin for dogs to your home-cooked food
- Your dog is eating very little or will only eat foods that are of poor quality. Whether this is because your dog is sick or extremely picky, a multivitamin can help ward off any deficiencies
Top Vitamins for Dogs
So, if your dog doesn't have a high-quality diet and needs extra supplementation, what vitamins do they need?
Here are the best vitamins for dogs:
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in carrots, turnip greens, pumpkin, eggs, fish oil, liver, sweet potatoes, and spinach.
This vitamin supports immune and cell function, helps with growth, and helps with fetal development. It's also important for skin and eye health, (remember when your parents told you to eat carrots for better vision?) and weight loss.
B vitamins play a very important role in your dog's overall health. Here's what the different B vitamins are good for:
- Thiamine: This helps to regulate energy and support a healthy metabolism
- Riboflavin/B12/Niacine: These vitamins help facilitate enzyme function
- Vitamin B6: This vitamin helps to generate glucose, improve red blood cell and nervous system function, regulate hormones, build up immune response, and synthesize niacin
- Pantothenic Acid: This vitamin helps with energy metabolism
- Folic Acid: This vitamin helps the body metabolize amino acids and it aids in mitochondrial protein synthesis
B Vitamins are found in whole grains, beans, liver, green vegetables, nuts, spirulina, dairy products, and nutritional yeast
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation in the body. It also helps support healthy aging.
While dogs produce Vitamin C on their own in their livers, sometimes, extra supplementation is needed. Vitamin C is found in fruits, vegetables, and organ meats.
We all know Vitamin D as the vitamin that we get from sunshine. For dogs, Vitamin D is essential for balancing minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D also helps ensure healthy bone growth.
Without enough Vitamin D, your dog won't be able to properly develop. This vitamin is found in egg yolks, fish oil, beef, cottage cheese, dairy products, and liver.
Vitamin E is found in plant oils, leafy green vegetables, wheat germ, seeds, bran, liver, and whole grains.
This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that is also essential for skin and eye health. If your dog is deficient in Vitamin E, they can suffer from reproductive problems as well as muscle and eye degeneration.
Vitamin K is found in leafy green vegetables, cabbage, milk, liver, and fish. This vitamin is extremely essential because it activates the ability to clot blood.
Vitamin K also helps keep bones strong.
Last but not least, we have Choline. Choline is found in dairy, meat, fish, spinach, beets, and wheat.
Choline helps support healthy liver and brain function, and it's also occasionally used to help treat epilepsy in dogs.
Essential Minerals for Dog
In addition to the above vitamins, dogs also need certain minerals to live a healthy life.
These minerals include:
Calcium and Phosphorus
These minerals are found in broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, meat, fish, and eggs. They help with muscle growth, blood coagulation, and nervous system function.
Too much calcium and phosphorus, however, can cause bone deformities, fractures, and abnormal growth and development.
Sodium, Chloride, and Potassium
These minerals are found in grains, fruits, and vegetables. They help with cell balance, muscle function, and nervous system function. Chloride also helps with the production of stomach acid.
Too much of these minerals can cause hair loss, muscle weakness, dehydration, and, in rare cases, paralysis.
Magnesium is found in whole grains, leafy vegetables, and nuts. It's essential to dogs because it helps with calcium absorption as well as muscle and bone development.
Sulfur is found in fish, meat, and eggs. It helps dogs build strong hair, skin, and nails.
Iron is found in fish, poultry, red meats, eggs, and legumes. It helps dogs oxygenate red blood cells and produce energy. It also helps with immune system function.
Zinc is found in yogurt, spinach, beef, broccoli, poultry, vegetables, and whole grains.
This mineral aids in healthy skin and hair and helps to boost the immune system. It also aids in the digestion of protein.
Iodine is found in iodized foods, dairy, seafood, and kelp. It helps dogs produce the thyroid hormone which is essential for a healthy metabolism.
Selenium is found in meat, seafood, brown rice, whole grains, and vegetables. When paired with Vitamin E, selenium can help build a healthy immune system.
Copper is found in nuts, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and seeds. Coper promotes the body's use of iron and helps promote healthy bone growth.
How to Choose a Dog Vitamin
As you can see, there are many vitamins and minerals that are essential to your dog's health.
If you're not sure about what vitamins and minerals your dog may need in addition to their regular diet, you should speak with your veterinarian. Not only will they be able to tell you what vitamins and minerals to choose, but they'll also be able to help you with dosage recommendations and choosing a reputable brand.
In some cases, your vet may even recommend supplementing your dog's diet with fruits and veggies instead of taking a vitamin.
Bottom line: feeding your dog a healthy diet is the best way to ensure that they get the right vitamins and minerals for their bodies. But, if you suspect that your dog needs vitamin supplementation, speak with your vet, and never give your pet human supplements.
Vitamins for Dogs: Wrap Up
Now that you have this guide handy on vitamins for dogs, you should schedule an appointment with your vet to discuss supplementation options for your dog.
And, if you liked this article, be sure to check back in with our blog for more tips and tricks for keeping your pets healthy.