Do you take a daily multivitamin? You may wonder if your dog can benefit from one as well. In fact, some estimates say that around one third of dogs receive supplements.
Much like in humans, vitamins help a dog’s body to function properly, regulating everything from digestion to muscle growth. They’re crucial to maintaining your dog’s health, and a deficiency of a particular vitamin can cause health problems, which can sometimes have serious and long-lasting effects. But here’s the good news: most pups are probably getting what they need from their dog food. Most pet food manufacturers who use high quality ingredients design their food to be well-balanced, providing the right amount of what your dog needs.
In fact, supplementing can actually be harmful. Why? Because while not having enough of a vitamin can be an issue, having too much of a vitamin can cause problems, too. There are two main types of vitamins: water soluble and fat soluble. Excess water soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B1, are simply eliminated in urination, so they typically don’t cause long-lasting health issues.
But fat soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissue, so too much of these can cause serious issues. For example, dogs, particularly large-breed puppies, can suffer from skeletal problems due to too much calcium. An excess of vitamin A can cause dehydration, joint discomfort, or damage to blood vessels. And high levels of vitamin D can cause a loss of appetite, bone damage, and muscle atrophy.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Dogs
- Vitamins A and E
Vitamin A can play a role in weight loss, helping your dog burn fat more efficiently, says Nelson. Vitamins A and E serve as important antioxidants, staving off the aging process and fighting disease. These vitamins also contribute to your dog’s eye and skin health. Liver is a good source of vitamin A, and eggs are a source of both vitamins A and E.
- Vitamin B-12
This vitamin aids in cell growth and development.
- Calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D
These ingredients help strengthen your dog’s bones and teeth. Animal by-products are good sources, says Nelson. Bone meal includes these building blocks.
This mineral is essential for healthy blood, helping transport oxygen throughout your pup’s body. High-quality meat and meat by-products are a source, recommends Nelson.
This mineral supports heart health. Carbohydrates are good sources of potassium, say the experts.
- Vitamin C
Dogs and humans benefit from vitamin C in the same way: It can boost the immune system, promote healing and fight illness.