Nutrition

3 minutes reading time (667 words)

Does your dog need vitamins?

Do dogs need vitamins? They might. Just like humans don’t always eat right or get the proper amount of exercise, our pets are in the same condition. Fido could benefit from taking vitamins to enhance his health and expand his life expectancy. But what vitamins should dogs take and why?

Science has proven that a good multivitamin is essential to the health and nutrition of both dogs and humans alike. And believe it or not, there are also antioxidants for your pet to protect them from harmful diseases caused by free radicals in the air.

Let’s start with older dogs. Just like their human counterparts need “joint juice” now for their aging bodies, your precious pets do as well. Glucosamine for canines works to keep dogs’ joints from deteriorating and strengths overall bone health. Glucosamine is a supplement derived from shellfish that works to improve the viscosity and volume of joint fluid. Older animals also seem to have trouble with vitamin absorption, thereby not getting their daily needs of vitamins and minerals. As dogs age there is sometimes tooth loss, so older animals may eat less and not be getting sufficient nutrition.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are puppies and highly active dogs. Did you know that dogs suffer from stress? Believe it or not, they do. Vitamins can help them deal with effects of stress or over-activity on their little doggie bodies.

When evaluating possible vitamins or supplements for your dog, consider his age, health status, and other factors to determine which items may or may not benefit his specific needs. You’ve heard of most if not all of these before because they have equivalent health benefits for humans, but we’ll run through them now with both their names and their benefits for your dog.

Vitamin B12: If your dog’s appetite isn’t what it’s supposed to do, this vitamin can improve it in low doses of 1-2cc/day.

Vitamin C: This vitamin helps dogs fight viral and other infection and also protects his immune system. Additionally, it helps keep your dog’s skin and coat health as well as strengthening ligaments and tendons. Dogs only need about 250-500 mg twice a day.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E acts as a mild anti-inflammatory and helps with Fido’s footpads in dosages of about 400IU twice each day.

Vitamins and minerals for your dogs help with bone growth, vision, strong teeth, and metabolism. Supplements are what the name implies, a supplement to, not a replacement for, the daily dietary requirements of your pooch. Doggie vitamins were created to bridge the nutritional gap between what’s in your dog’s commercial dog food and what he needs to grow up big and strong.

Dog vitamins come in either chewable tablets or liquid formulas and are available at pet stores online as well as locally and also in some discount stores or pharmacies.

Be careful not to over-medicate your pet, even if it’s only vitamins and/or supplements that you are giving him. There is the very real possibility of vitamin toxicity if there is over-supplementation. This usually isn’t done by giving too high a dose but by giving your pet vitamins that contain some of the same ingredients, such as a supplement that contains Vitamin A and also giving Vitamin A would be too much.

There is always some debate over whether vitamins and supplements are actually necessary. After all, if you are feeding your pet a quality dog food that contains some vitamins in the food, he could be getting a pretty balanced diet. There is some research out there that says that some of the vitamins in commercial dog food are destroyed through their manufacture or storage. If your dog eats primary table scraps, he too may be eating food that isn’t of the best nutritional quality for him and may need a boost for his health.

Before giving your dog vitamin or mineral supplements, talk to your veterinarian or perform some research on the specific needs for your best friend.

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