You love your dog, and only want what’s best for their health. You feed them nutritious dog food, take them for their daily walks and exercise, provide plenty of mental stimulation, and ensure they visit the vet regularly. But did you know vitamins and supplements are also an essential part of your dog’s overall health?
Just like humans take multivitamins, sometimes dogs need to be taking a supplement or two to ensure they reach optimal levels of health and wellness. But what kinds of supplements do they really need, and how do you know if or when you should be providing them? Read on to learn the supplements your four-legged friend may require, and why.
Why are Supplements Important?
Vitamins and minerals are essential to human’s health – and your dog’s. Vitamins offer your pet a multitude of benefits, including helping to keep their skin healthy and their coat shiny, to help strengthen teeth and bones, and to provide them with the energy they need to function at their best. And just like a human’s diet, a dog’s diet (despite food manufacturers best intentions) doesn’t always provide all of the essential vitamins and nutrients your dog needs.
Additionally, certain diseases and health ailments that show up in dogs – such as arthritis and aging – can benefit from a vitamin supplement. As such, we can supplement some dietary deficits and diseases with a vitamin.
What Vitamins and Minerals Do Dogs Need?
While every dog’s health requirements vary, they all share similar nutritional needs which are already found in most foods lining your pet store shelves. These include:
- Vitamin K: helps with preventing blood clots, and helps maintain the health of bone and other proteins in the body
- Thiamin (Vitamin B1): aids the metabolism and breakdown of carbohydrates
- Riboflavin and Niacin (Vitamins B2 and B3): assists with enzyme functions
- Vitamin B6: helps with glucose generation and red blood cell and nervous system function, along with overall immune response and hormone regulation
- Folic Acid: helps with metabolism
While your dog’s kibble is already packed with their essential nutrients and vitamins, there are some supplements available that can boost your dog’s health. Just be sure to monitor their dosage (which varies by weight) to ensure you’re not overcompensating for vitamins and minerals already found in their food, and always purchase vitamins and supplements designed for dogs – not humans – to avoid potential harm to your pup’s health.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and cognitive aging in dogs. It can also support their immune system, improve their energy, and even help with UTIs.
Vitamin D helps dogs regulate the balance and retention of calcium and phosphorus – two key essentials to bone health. Additionally, vitamin D can be recommended for dogs with kidney disease and inflammatory bowel disease. As studies show it helps lessen symptoms and even slow down the disease progression.
Keep in mind, however, that too much vitamin D can be extremely toxic to dogs, so always consult with your vet to ensure you’re providing your pup with the proper dosage.
Along with vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps keep dog’s immune systems in peak performance. Whatsmore, vitamin E can help with skin irritations, as it has anti-inflammatory benefits.
Depending on your dog’s specific health needs, a multivitamin could offer beneficial support.
For added cardiovascular and digestive health, along with bone and joint support, some dogs can benefit from a multivitamin. Senior dogs, for example, could feel relief from arthritis and joint pain by taking a multivitamin containing glucosamine and chondroitin. For dogs with tummy troubles, a probiotic can help aid in digestion and offer some relief.
Finally, it’s worth noting that there are risks associated with dogs consuming too many vitamins. For example, too much calcium can lead to skeletal issues in larger dogs, while too much vitamin A can cause dehydration and joint pain.
Before giving your dog any new vitamins or supplements, it’s best to consult with your vet first to protect the health and safety of your dog.