With ample health and vitamins available for humans, what is good for our canine companions? So I went to the people who are most informed on what vitamins your dog needs, the AKA, and ASPCA.
What Are Vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds necessary to sustain life. Most are found naturally in food. Nutrients obtained from food used by an animal as a source of energy and as part of the metabolic machinery necessary for maintenance and growth. It is important to know, that as dogs need supplement’s as we do, they require a different dosage than us.
Vitamin A is the vitamin in carrots responsible for good vision. This fat-soluble vitamin is also responsible for growth, fetal development, immune function, and cell function.
The B vitamins are a group of vitamins that play an important role in your dog’s health.
• Thiamine helps regulate energy and carbohydrate metabolism and activates ion channels in neural tissue.
• Riboflavin, B12, and niacin help facilitate enzyme function.
• Vitamin B6 is especially vital. This vitamin is responsible for glucose generation, red blood cell and nervous system function, hormone regulation, immune response, niacin synthesis, and gene activation.
• Pantothenic acid helps with energy metabolism.
• Folic acid plays a role in amino acid and nucleotide metabolism and in mitochondrial protein synthesis.
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant. It scavenges potentially harmful free radicals in the body and can help reduce inflammation and cognitive aging. Dogs can actually synthesize vitamin C on their own in their livers, but in some cases supplementation may offer health benefits.
Vitamin D, or the “sunshine vitamin,” allows your dog’s body to balance minerals like phosphorous and calcium for healthy bone growth. Without it, your dog would not be able to develop properly or maintain healthy muscles and bones.
Vitamin E is one of your dog’s defenses against oxidative damage. This fat-soluble vitamin is also essential for cell function and fat metabolism. Deficiencies can lead to eye and muscle degeneration and reproductive problems.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin instrumental in activating your dog’s blood’s ability to clot.
Choline is a necessary component of the phospholipid cell membrane. It supports healthy brain and liver function, and is occasionally used as part of a treatment plan for pets with epilepsy.
Are Supplements Necessary For Dogs?
Your dog gets his vitamins from dog food. Commercial dog food diets labeled “complete and balanced” are specially formulated to contain all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your dog needs.
Dogs fed a homemade diet, may require supplements to ensure that they are getting enough with their meals. However, these vitamins should be given to match the diet, according to veterinary nutritionist Susan Wynn, DVM.
Are Risks Involved?
Yes. Vitamins are vital to life. However, something so essential could also be potentially dangerous in large quantities. Such as too much vitamin A can cause dehydration, joint pain, and can even harm your dog’s blood vessels. In addition, there are very few studies that have tested the long-term safety of dog vitamin supplements, and some supplements contain other ingredients, like herbs, that can interact with certain medications. First work out a nutritional plan with your veterinarian best suited for your dog and his needs before administering any supplemental.