Vitamins are an essential part of a dog’s diet in terms of development and general wellbeing. A balanced diet with the right amount of vitamins can ensure that your pet is in optimum physical condition, both internally and externally – and the benefits are endless. Vitamins can help with the digestion of other nutrients, help protect your pet from disease, reduce the effects of aging, strengthen bones and teeth, enhance injury recovery, and more.
The amount of vitamins your dog requires can however, change over time. Their physical condition, level of health and life stage should be taken into account when assessing their dietary needs, and altered accordingly. It is also important to note that whilst vitamins reap numerous health benefits, a diet that is too high in vitamin intake can have detrimental effects on your dog’s health. Knowing the different types of vitamins and their potential sources can help ensure that your dog is getting the right nutrients to lead a happy, healthy life.
Speak to your vet
Consulting your vet in regards to vitamins will help you to assess whether your pet is consuming the right amount of vitamins. Your vet can provide a breakdown on what food sources contain what vitamins and direct you to the appropriate product to meet your dog’s dietary needs, whilst also assessing whether additional vitamin supplements are needed to treat health conditions.
The simplest way to ensure that your dog remains in good health is by providing a diet of high-quality pet food with the right balance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
Before purchasing pet food, it is good idea to check the label to ensure that the necessary vitamins are included in the nutritional ingredients. The best way to ensure that your pet’s vitamin needs are being met is by buying specially formulated pet food that accommodates lifestyle and life stage, available from companies such as Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
Food for thought
Although there are certain human foods that are rich in vitamins, such as liver, eggs and meat, homemade meals should be avoided, as they are unlikely to provide your pet with the right amount of vitamins that they require. Providing dogs with food scraps and simply giving them a vitamin supplement is extremely bad practice and can have detrimental effects on their health.
Whilst low-quality, cheaper pet food may contain some minerals, it will not have the right balance of nutrients that your dog needs to maintain a healthy life. When checking the nutritional label of your pet food, be careful to look out for vitamin-like substances and sources that are less conspicuous, such as animal by-products.
It is also worth noting the difference between water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins. Because of their dissolvent nature, water soluble vitamins are continually being excreted through urine and will require more regular top ups. However, whilst some vitamins should be provided in the diet, other vitamins, such as vitamin C, are produced naturally by your dog’s body, meaning that extra supplements can be harmful.
In certain circumstances, your dog may be suffering from an underlying health condition which prevents them from absorbing important nutrients. If this is the case, they may benefit from extra vitamin supplements to help to restore deficiencies. However, if you feel that your pet is not getting the vitamins they need, you should always consult your vet before using supplements.
If your dog is consuming a well-balanced diet, vitamin supplements are likely to be unnecessary, and a surplus of vitamins will cause more harm than good; too much calcium, for example, can damage the skeletal system.