Dogs need vitamins just like humans. However, they need the right amounts. It’s not possible to make your dog “extra healthy” by giving them more vitamins. Certain supplements (such as high doses of Vitamin C) can prove deadly to dogs if they receive more than the recommended amounts per their weight and breed.
Here’s a list of some of the most important vitamins and minerals required for canine health:
- Vitamin A: It’s needed for proper growth, warding off doggie colds and proper cell function.
- Vitamin B(s): This group of vitamins includes; thiamine for metabolism, B12 for enzyme production, gut health, and brain function, B6 for manage glucose, nervous system function, and hormone regulation, folic acid for metabolic and protein-related work, and pantothenic acid for metabolism.
- Vitamin C: Nature’s antioxidant that reduces inflammation and related problems. Some dogs might need supplemental Vitamin C in addition to the amounts their body produces naturally.
- Vitamin D: Dogs that don’t get enough sunlight for naturally-produced Vitamin D may need supplements. It’s an essential vitamin for bone growth and muscles.
- Vitamin E: This vitamin is a fat-soluble vitamin that is crucial for cell function and metabolism.
- Vitamin K: Dogs need this vitamin to help them to create blood clots.
- Choline: The dog’s liver and brain need this to function properly.
So you get it. These vitamins are essential, but where should they come from? Your dog’s pet food will include all of these essential nutrients if the packaging says “complete and balanced” designation. That simply means the food has the formulation of minerals, vitamins, fats, protein and carbs that’s set by regulation.
The trick is finding a dog food that supplies these, and uses the most wholesome ingredients, while providing optimal levels of meat and veggies that growing dogs crave.
Avoid dog food brands that use a lot of processing, as each step in the production process can strip vitamins from the food. You should also be very careful about prepping your own dog food, unless you’re advised to do so from the vet and understand how to balance the right vitamin supplements.
Pick a high-quality dog food that’s formulated with vitamins sourced from the right ingredients that are easily digestible and bio-available to the dog’s system. You should never give a dog a human-formulated vitamin, especially a multivitamin that contains a number of minerals and vitamins they don’t need and cannot process.
Remember that dosages matter a lot, so rely on your veterinarian’s recommendations for exact dosages that take into account your dog’s weight, genetics, and current health. Don’t base dosing off your friend’s dog that’s around the same size as your pup. You also cannot self-diagnose the dog’s issues and decide to give them a supplement or vitamin as a “fix.” You won’t address the underlying problem and could potentially add new health worries.