Yes, our dogs need vitamins. And as they age, they also need additional vitamins as they grow older just like senior humans.
“All living organisms need vitamins and organic compounds essential for balanced nutrition and normal growth. Vitamins aren’t naturally synthesized by the body, so animals (and people) have to consume foods that provide them. Consider vitamin C: humans need it to survive, but our bodies don’t make it. So we eat fruits and vegetables, and maybe add some supplements, to ensure we get the right amount,” stressed Nia Martin in “Everything You Want to Know About Vitamin Supplements for Dogs” in The Dog People site in rover.com.
There are vitamins our dogs need which are usually contained in multivitamins for dogs. Please ask your vet for the best multivitamin for your dog.
“Dogs have specific vitamin requirements, which can include:
- Vitamin K for activation of clotting factors, bone proteins, and other proteins
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin) for carbohydrate metabolism and the activation of ion channels in neural tissue
- Riboflavin and niacin (also known as vitamins B2 and B3, respectively) for enzyme functions
- Vitamin B6 for glucose generation, red blood cell function, nervous system function, immune response, and hormone regulation
- Folic acid for metabolism and protein synthesis,” said Martin.
Martin stressed that when a commercial dog food is labeled “complete and balanced,” it has all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs.
When to use supplements for dogs
Some dogs have a specific health and wellness concerns. He or she may benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements.
Martin said that veterinary nutritionist Dr. Susan Wynn noted in an article for WebMD that supplements can be extra helpful for senior dogs: “Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E [can] reduce inflammation and help aging dogs with memory problems.”
Dogs who eat homemade meals may also need vitamins to balance out their diets. Homemade, whole food diets are great and highly recommended by Richter.
“But if you’re making dog food at home, you may not have access to the specific vitamins your pet needs. That’s where vitamin supplements for dogs can come in handy,” Martin said.
How to choose vitamin supplements
Please ask your vet to guide you when choosing vitamins for your dog.
“Ingredients in some herbal supplements can interact with medication, and it is possible for dogs to have too much of certain vitamins,” Martin said.
“If your dog is eating a complete and balanced diet, and not exhibiting any health issues, they probably don’t need a supplement. You can always integrate fresh fruits and vegetables into their diet for a boost of healthy and natural nutrition,” Martin added.
But if your dog has new health or behavioral issues, your veterinarian can run some tests to determine if your dog has vitamin deficiencies. The vet can also recommend dietary changes and the kind of vitamins your dog needs.
“In general, the best options will be available through your veterinarian. The bottom line about vitamin supplements for dogs: Talk to your vet first to find out if vitamin supplements could benefit your dog. Read labels on your dog’s food and on any potential supplements, and always look to your dog for cues,” Martin said.
She added, “To address a health condition, see your veterinarian for prescription supplements that can help. The over-the-counter supplements below are primarily for prevention and maintenance.”
Here are some tips from Martin:
1 Look for brands that have had clinical studies done on their products.
2 Check the labels carefully to ensure quality and safety.
3 The product should have a lot number on the packaging. This is part of quality control checks.
4 Choose products of brands with confirmed expertise.
5 Do not easily trust claims that sound too good to be true. Vitamin supplements are just supplements, not cure-alls or medications.
6 Do not give human supplements to dogs unless your vet said so. They may contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs.