Pet dogs are considered family members and they are no less than children when it comes to their everyday care, physical health and nutrition. Most commercial dog foods ensure all the essential nutrients and minerals required for a dog’s healthy growth and development. But many dogs are fed home-based food or other packaged dog food which may not be wholesome. It is logical then to wonder if supplements are available like vitamins for dogs to ensure that they are not affected by their deficiency.

The What

The essential vitamins that add to a dog’s balanced diet are vitamins, A, D, E, K, B-complex and choline. As dogs’ bodies produce vitamin C in abundance, it is not usually necessary to provide supplements for it. These vitamins can be found in both cooked and raw dog food. Generally, Vitamin A is in spinach, carrots, greens, fish and pumpkin; Vitamin D in fatty fish, liver, cottage cheese, egg yolks; Vitamin E in leafy vegetables, whole grains, bran, seeds; Vitamin K in the liver, fish, cabbage; Vitamin B complex in nuts, dairy products and greens.

The How

Although doctors recommend it, it isn’t easy to incorporate all the nutritional essentials in the dog food every day, especially the ones cooked at home. Therefore, multivitamin supplements in the form of chews, treats, tablets and oils are available in the market that would be easy to add in their meals.     

The Why

As vitamins do for humans, they help the dogs stay healthy and active. Vitamin A provides dogs with the required nutrients to grow and develop healthy cell functioning and immune systems. Vitamin B has a collection of chemicals like thiamine, riboflavin, B6, pantothenic and folic acid that help their healthy metabolism, skin growth, enzyme and nerve functioning, hormonal regulation, gene activation and protein synthesis. Vitamin D helps dogs grow strong and healthy bones and teeth. Fat-soluble vitamin E helps dogs defend against damages caused by oxidants, and also cure defects in the eye and muscles developed due to deficiencies. Intake of Vitamin K helps with blood clots, and choline helps with healthy brain and liver function in dogs.

The When

It is essential to consult the veterinarian before administering vitamin supplements to pet dogs. As mentioned above, dogs that survive on homemade food might require supplements. They are usually administered to dogs when they have special medical requirements to help them live a healthy and happy life, which they otherwise can’t. Some dogs require vitamin supplements due to deficiencies caused by genetic factors or malnutrition. Most dogs would not need them unless they are older and require an extra boost to stay active.

It is pertinent that dogs are not fed vitamins during certain stages of their life without consultation. Some dog breeds can develop diseases if they take in minerals and vitamins to grow quicker than they should.

The Which

 While choosing the right vitamins for dogs, it is essential to look for companies that have successfully conducted clinical trials and assure safety. A dog parent can determine the safety and quality through recommendations by the veterinarians or the product labels. One needs to know that vitamin supplements are not medications. Hence, one must avoid any brands that claim to cure dogs or make them super dogs must as they might contain chemicals that may cause harm. One must ensure that they don’t give dogs human vitamin supplements as their compositions might be toxic.

A good selection of safe and high-quality dog vitamins supplements is available in online veterinary shops. Vitamins for dogs are beneficial for their healthy growth and development as long as one administers them with caution and consultation.

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