For dog parents, providing the best care for their fur kids is a no-brainer. A lot of times, their dogs’ health is even more important than their own. And a genuine dog-lover knows this all too well: providing for a dog’s needs can be costly, but also worth it.
Having their best interests at heart, a lot of dog owners wonder if they should also supplement their pets’ diet with vitamins. Some just go ahead and give their dogs vitamins, because of an ad they saw or because it was recommended by somebody else. But according to veterinarians, some vitamin supplements humans give to their dogs are unnecessary, and may even be harmful.
A good quality commercial dog food brand should already meet all of a canine’s nutrient needs. For this reason, it’s important that we choose a trustworthy brand and the right kind of formula for our dog’s breed, age, and level of health. If our furry pals is already on a balanced diet, supplementing with vitamins would only stress his liver and other organs, and can even lead to physical abnormalities if certain vitamins are present in excess. Under certain circumstances, however, such as if a dog is in his later years, has some health issues, or is fed a homemade diet, vitamin supplements are essential for responsible health maintenance.
So, when should you give Fido vitamins?
If your dog is fed a homemade recipe. As long as we know what kinds of healthy ingredients work best for our pup, preparing his food at home is okay. However, we may have no way of knowing the exact nutrient content of Fido’s homemade meals. Some vitamins and minerals may not be present in the right amounts, may have a low biological availability (meaning, they cannot be completely absorbed), or may be completely absent. Talking to a veterinarian or a nutritionist so they can determine what vitamin supplements canine companion might need, if any, can be invaluable. The vitamin supplements we give our pups should be the right complement to his homemade meals.
If your dog has a medical condition or vitamin deficiency. This is especially true if we have an aging dog. He might need an additional nutritional boost in his diet to help with his poor eyesight, unhealthy skin or hair, weak muscles and bones, or liver problems. Again, a veterinarian will be able to give advice with regards to the best vitamin supplement options available. Vet Organics also offers exceptional, premium, all natural supplements for dogs.
If your dog is on a low-quality or uncertain-quality commercial dog food diet. We can’t all afford the best dog food. In some rural locations, we may not even have access to higher quality kibble. In these cases, supplements are crucial. EcoDigestive is an example of a supplement formula that is wallet-friendly and will help boost our pup’s ability to digest commercial dog food as well as better absorb available nutrients.
What vitamins are essential for a dog’s health, and why?
A complete and balanced commercial formula should meet the FDA’s nutritional requirements. Some brands, however, (the cheaper ones, mostly) often use low-quality ingredients and only meet the minimum requirements. This means that the nutrients present are not completely biologically available. That means the nutrients cannot be completely absorbed upon ingestion. Dogs who are fed a low-quality formula often suffer from vitamin deficiencies.
The best way to ensure that our fur kids gets all the essential vitamins they need to stay healthy is to give them a balanced diet. So when choosing a dog food brand, always read as many reviews about it as you can - both positive and negative - and check the nutritional label. Of course, consulting a veterinarian is always a good idea.
Looking for a food change? Consider EcoEats dehydrated dog food. It’s as close as one can get to a whole food diet. Just add protein and water. It’s all-natural, grain-free, gluten-free, preservative-free, vet approved, hypoallergenic, free from by-products, and great for all life stages. Plus, it’s wallet-friendly and delicious to dogs.
These are the most important vitamins that you should look for:
Vitamin A. Just as it is for humans, vitamin A for dogs also helps promote healthy vision. Other benefits include providing support for fetal development, growth, immune function, and cell function.
B Vitamins. B6 is responsible for the proper function of the nervous system and red blood cells, regulation of hormones, immune response, glucose production, and gene activation. B12, riboflavin, and niacin facilitate proper enzyme function. Thiamine aids in carbohydrate metabolism and energy regulation. Folic acid is responsible for protein synthesis in the mitochondria. Pantothenic acid aids in energy metabolism.
Vitamin C. Helps get rid of free radicals, reduces inflammation, and maintains cognitive health.
Vitamin D. Works together with calcium and phosphorus to support healthy bones and muscles.
Vitamin E. Supports eye, muscular, and reproductive health, helps with fat metabolism and proper cell function, aids in red blood cell production, and protects against oxidative damage.
Vitamin K. This vitamin is important in blood clotting and the formation of protective scabs.
Choline. Supports healthy liver and brain function.
If Fido is eating a complete and balanced diet and is healthy, vitamin supplements may not be necessary. If we want to give our canine companions an additional nutritional boost, fresh fruits and vegetables are the best options. For a list of human foods dogs cannot have, including fruits and vegetables that harmful to their health, check out Table Scraps Pets Cannot Have Part One and Part Two.
For dogs who do have some health problems, vitamins can be a great solution. They don’t replace treatments for health problems, but can act as a preventative measure, as well as the best way to ensure they receive all the nutrients they need to fight their condition, and to live a long and happy life.
Further Reading :
- Commercial Dog Food, Pet Finder
- The Shocking Truth About Commercial Dog Food, Dog Advisor
- Can Dogs Eat Human Vitamins, The Dog People