Dogs should be fed a well-balanced diet. Commercial dog foods are regulated to make certain that they are well-balanced and provide your dog the proper amount of nutrition, vitamins and supplements needed. There are many choices of well-balanced diets available commercially ranging from choices in protein, age and cognitive changes. There should be no need to add additional vitamins to your dog’s diet. The concern in doing so is the potential to upset the balance achieved with its regular diet which could even lead to significant health problems and disease. If your veterinarian is concerned that your dog is in need of additional vitamins or supplements, they will let you know. It is best not to give your dog vitamins or supplements except under the direction of your veterinarian.
As humans we take certain vitamins that help improve our health. The same applies to your dog if you want him to live a long and wholesome life. Your dog gets many of his vitamins through his foods, but there may be certain periods in their life when they will need extra supplements for their health needs. Every dog’s needs will be different, therefore it’s best to get prior approval from your veterinarian. Your vet will create an ideal diet for your dog to fulfill his nutritional needs as well as select the right vitamins for him.
A quick rundown of some essential vitamins your dog needs include:
Vitamin A- This fat-soluble vitamin is key to help with growth, fetal development, immune function, and cell function.
B-Vitamins- Vitamins such as vitamin B1 are important because it helps convert your food into energy that your dog needs throughout the day. B12 on the other hand assists in
enzyme function, and vitamin B6 regulates glucose within the body, as well as hormone regulation, nervous system function, and more.
Vitamin C- This vitamin provides antioxidants which are important to reduce inflammation and helps eliminate harmful free radicals found in the body. Dogs can synthesize vitamin C on their own in their livers, but in some cases supplementation may offer health benefits.
Vitamin D- Vitamin D allows your dog’s body to balance minerals like phosphorous and calcium for healthy bone growth. Without this vitamin, your dog would have a hard time growing and maintaining healthy bones and muscles.
Choline- This vitamin supports a healthy brain and liver function, and is occasionally used as part of a treatment plan for pets with epilepsy.
As always, before adding a supplement to your dog’s diet, remember to consult with your veterinarian first.
Have a question for Dr. Klein? Email him at CVO@akc.org