Everybody knows that vitamins and minerals are important for healthy development, whether that of animals or humans. Vitamin deficiencies are real and more common than you might think, so having a talk with your vet about what vitamins your dog needs can help prevent these issues.
In today’s article, we’re looking at some of the most important vitamins that dogs are supposed to have. We’re also noting what body processes they are involved in.
Do Dogs Need Vitamins?
This is a question that many pet owners might ask themselves, especially if they feed their dogs a commercial diet. Most pet foods out there already contain vitamins, but they might have different amounts.
Pet diets are also tailored to the requirements of dogs based on their age and the most likely pathologies they can have in accordance with that.
Is there any way a dog can have too much of a vitamin? While the answer to this question is a clear yes, it very rarely happens. Too much vitamin A can cause joint pain and can even damage blood vessels, for example.
For this reason, we suggest that the vitamin supplements you give to Fido are the correct ones. Your vet can recommend them based on your dog’s blood test results.
What Are the Most Important Vitamins for Dogs?
All of the following are involved in essential body processes:
You might have heard that carrots are rich in this type of vitamin and that humans are supposed to eat them regularly to make sure that they have healthy eyes. The same rule applies to pet nutrition.
Not only is vitamin A important for eye health, but it’s also involved in a very high number of processes, such as organ growth, fetal development, and the way your dog’s body functions on a cellular level. Vitamin A also supports the immune system, which means that it prevents some types of infections.
This antioxidant is perhaps one of the most important vitamins that dogs need in order to remain healthy. For a very long time, it was said that administering B vitamins and vitamin C in infection would promote healing. Although there haven’t been enough studies performed in this sense, vitamin C is considered anti-infectious as it has an amazing capability of decreasing inflammation.
Long-term supplementation also aids with alleviating symptoms of cognitive disease, which tends to affect senior dogs, especially after the age of 10.
On a positive note, did you know that dogs can actually synthesize vitamin C on their own? Humans are among the few species on the planet that aren’t capable of doing so, which is why they have to get it exclusively from food and supplements.
Sick and stressed animals can always benefit from vitamin C supplementation.
This nutrient is essential when it comes to calcium and phosphorus absorption. If your dog’s body wouldn’t be able to secrete vitamin D or receive supplementation, calcium would never be absorbed into their bones, so they would lose their teeth or develop rickets.
The good thing is that most dogs’ bodies make their own vitamin D by being exposed to the sun. Like people, though, they might need supplementation during the winter.
This fatty vitamin makes it possible for your dog’s body to be protected against oxidative stress. Vitamin E deficiency is linked to a variety of health complications, such as muscle degeneration, ocular pathologies, as well as a loss of fertility.
It also ensures that your dog’s cells work properly and it is largely involved in the metabolism of fat. Vitamin E can be found in several foods, such as peanut butter, almonds, sunflower seeds, red bell pepper, as well as pumpkin.
The instance where this vitamin definitely proves its worth is if your dog sustains an injury, goes through an accident, or is operated on. Vitamin K is involved in blood clotting.
This nutrient can be found in natural food sources such as egg yolks or dark leafy greens like kale and collard greens. Cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, as well as spinach also contain important amounts of vitamin K.
The B vitamin complex
Every B vitamin is important in its own way and performs different functions.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, is involved in a number of body processes, from nerve and muscle to heart functions. It is one of the most important components that regulate glucose metabolism.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) supports eye and muscle health and also makes it possible for red blood cells to be produced at an optimum level. Additionally, it is involved in digestion and energy production since it effectively assists with the breakdown of lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, makes it possible for a dog’s brain to function properly. It also assists with the production of some hormones and makes it easier for pets to digest food.
Vitamin B6 positively influences a lot of processes inside your dog’s body, such as hormone regulation, glucose metabolism, and the production of red blood cells.
Vitamin B7 is also called biotin, and its main benefit is that it ensures your dog keeps having healthy skin and coat.
Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, is an essential nutrient for producing red blood cells. Since it also aids DNA synthesis, it is a vitamin that pregnant dogs have to receive either from food or supplementation — especially since otherwise, their embryo health could be negatively influenced.
Vitamin B12 ensures that your dog’s nerves remain healthy for as long as possible. It also assists with treating anemia, a condition where dogs become weak and start suffering from chronic lethargy.
Choline is a nutrient that can be compared to a B vitamin. It is involved in a wide array of body processes such as brain and liver functions, and it’s also been found to improve metabolism as well as the functioning of the nervous system.
Fortunately, it is present in a multitude of foods, such as beans and nuts or meats and fish. It’s even found in some types of veggies and eggs. Due to the impact that it has on nerves, choline can sometimes be used in the treatment (or alleviation of the symptoms) of seizures and epilepsy.
Every vitamin is important in its own way and is often involved in several different processes. Dogs can suffer from vitamin deficiencies, especially in the absence of a species-appropriate diet.
Talk to your veterinarian about what vitamin supplements you should give to your canine friend, especially since they can run tests that can determine whether supplements are indeed necessary.