What Kind of Vitamins Does My Dog Need to Stay Healthy?

Dog owners would agree that these canine pals are some of the most rewarding animals to take care of. But taking care of dogs requires patience and knowledge on your part because simply giving them the right kind of food and the exercise they need will not always be enough for the furry babies to stay healthy. They actually need some sort of supplementation for their diet.

If you are talking about supplementation for dogs, you have to make sure that you are giving them vitamins. But you have to judicious when you are selecting the right vitamins for your dogs because they do not have bodies that are similar to that of humans. You need to know what kind of vitamins dogs need and the right dosage if you want them to stay as healthy as possible.

Do dogs really need vitamins?

First off, the one question lingering in your head right now is whether or not dogs really need vitamins to stay in perfect health. Well, it really depends on the dog and on what type of diet you feed it. In most cases, if you rely heavily on commercial dog food, there is a good chance that your dog already receives the optimum vitamins and minerals it needs to be in good health. 

However, there are some types of dog food (the cheaper ones) that basically are just calories and macronutrients and do not contain any vitamins. In some cases, there are also dog owners who rely on homemade food for their dogs by putting together scraps of table food. While that type of diet might be delicious for your dog, it might not have the right balance of macronutrients and vitamins for your pet canine. And if you are someone who does not follow a healthy diet and relies heavily on fatty and sugary foods, there is a good chance that your dog also has the same kind of diet.

In such cases, you will certainly need to supplement your dog with the right kind of vitamins and minerals to complete a diet that is otherwise healthy and nutritious. If you look at the statistics, about a third of the dogs in the United States actually receive vitamins and minerals to supplement their diet. In other words, there is an increasing number of pet dogs that require vitamins, probably due to how poor their diet is.

So, if you are giving your dog the right kind of commercial dog food that already has plenty of essential vitamins and minerals, you probably do not already need to give your pet vitamins. But if you rely heavily on cheap dog food and on homemade meals made out of table scraps or cheap meats, you may want to provide vitamins and minerals for your dog.

Are there any side-effects to a diet supplemented with vitamins?

As they say, there is always something as too much. The same can said about dogs and the vitamins you give them. Simply put, there are possible dangers and side-effects to a diet that is supplemented with vitamins. But such harm is only risky if you are already giving your dog enough vitamins and minerals in its regular diet. Only healthy dogs with a healthy diet are prone to the dangers of taking in too many vitamins.

In dogs that are already getting enough calcium, giving them more will only lead to problems in their skeleton. Meanwhile, too much vitamin A can possibly lead to issues such as joint pain, dehydration, or even damage to the dog’s blood vessels. There is also a possibility for your dog’s bones and muscles to weaken if you are giving your pet too much vitamin D.

So, what does this mean? It simply means that there really is something as too much. You should never give your dog more than it requires. Only give the dog vitamins and minerals if it is not getting enough from its regular diet. And when you are giving your pet canine vitamins and minerals, always make sure that you check the label and look at the required dosage. Better yet, ask your vet if your dog requires vitamin supplementation and always make it a point to know the dosage.

Essential vitamins for dogs

If you are planning on giving your dog vitamins as a supplement to a diet that does not give them the required vitamins and minerals, you can look at the following types of vitamins and minerals that are essential to your dog’s health:

Vitamin A

You may remember vitamin A as the vitamin that your parents tell you about to eat if you want to maintain good eye health. That is why they always tell you to eat carrots, which is high in vitamin A. It actually has the same effect on your dog as vitamin A helps maintain your dog’s vision even as it ages. Other than that, vitamin A is fat-soluble and is good for keeping your dog’s immune system healthy while also improving cell function and overall growth.

B vitamins

There are plenty of types of B vitamins that are good for your dog’s overall health in the same way as we humans also require several types of B vitamins. Here are the good B vitamins that play a big role in maintaining your dog’s health:

  • Riboflavin and vitamin B12 are good for facilitating enzyme functions in your dog.
  • Thiamine and pantothenic give your dog more energy as it helps in regulating how carbohydrates are metabolized into energy.
  • Vitamin B6 is one of the more important B vitamins for your dogs because of how it affects glucose production, red blood cell health, hormone regulation, and immune and nervous systems functions.
  • Folic acid helps in metabolizing amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.

Vitamin C

You might recognize vitamin C as the vitamin that you take if you want to keep yourself healthy and safe from all sorts of illnesses such as flu and colds. This vitamin is abundant in citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. Because this is a very powerful antioxidant, vitamin C also works like a charm for your dogs. It is effective at attacking free radicals and in reducing inflammation to make sure that all sorts of toxins are flushed out. This vitamin is also responsible for facilitating your dog’s aging process as it may be able to halt some signs of aging to give your canine pal a bit more years in its lifespan.

Vitamin C is actually a vitamin that dogs naturally produce in their livers. However, if you are not providing enough nutrients to your dog, it might not be able to produce enough vitamin C. That is why there might be a need for you to supplement its diet with more vitamin C.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the type of vitamin we get from the sun’s rays. It helps facilitate calcium absorption or metabolism while balancing out the phosphorous and calcium levels in your dog. This is essential for maintaining bone and muscle health in dogs. Without it, your dog will certainly end up with weaker bones, poor joints, or even deformities.

Your dog can get plenty of vitamin D if you let it out once in a while to bask under the rays of the sun. But supplementation may be needed if it is difficult for you to give your dog its much-needed sunshine, such as when there are no available parks in your area or if you have no backyard. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is responsible for helping your dog’s body metabolize fat and in facilitating cell functions. It is good for fending off oxidative damage, and the lack of it can lead to long-term health problems such as muscle degeneration and issues with your reproductive health.

How to incorporate vitamins in your dog’s diet?

Now that you know how important vitamins and minerals are to your dog’s health, here are some of the ways you can use to incorporate them into your furry friend’s diet:

Rely on commercial dog food that is complete in terms of nutritional value. Check the label of the dog food and see to it that it contains the essential vitamins and minerals your dog needs to function well and stay healthy.

  • Go for whole foods and not of that processed junk if you are thinking of providing table food for your dog. Whole foods such as meat and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. They are just as good for your dog’s health as they are for you.
  • Avoid preparing your own homemade dog food that lacks essential vitamins and minerals. A lot of homemade dog foods are merely empty calories that have no nutritional value whatsoever.
  • Read up and make sure that you are actually knowledgeable in the types of vitamins your dog needs and in the types of food that contain such vitamins and minerals. This dispenses the need for you to go to a vet or to a pet nutritionist.
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Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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