Do Dogs Need Vitamins?
Ever been taking your daily vitamin and thought, "I take a multivitamin daily. Should my dog take vitamins as well?" The answer may be yes! Vitamins keep your pets skin and coat healthy, strengthens bones and teeth, and give overall energy needed to function.
Nutritional Balance is Essential
Commercial pet foods are supposed to be formulated to meet all the nutritional requirements of a dog, but that is not always true. In fact, when it comes down to it, the actual definition of nutritionally complete and balanced is very vague. Nutritionally complete and balanced simply means the food can be feed to a pet as it's sole ration. For those dog owners providing and preparing a raw or homemade diet, finding the correct nutritional balance is difficult. Even with a diet rich in lean proteins and fresh produce, vital nutrients may be lacking. In this case, it’s likely that a multivitamin and supplement would be recommended. Additionally, growing puppies, highly active and working dogs have a higher need for calcium among other minerals; so they can benefit from supplements as well.
Every Dog has Individual Vitamin Needs
Be mindful that the nutritional needs of dogs differ. Toy breeds have vastly different requirements than large breed dogs. A two-year-old Chihuahua performing agility work compared to a nine-year-old senior Husky, and an immune-suppressed three-year-old German Shepherd will require different nutritional regimens than a young and healthy 120-pound Black Russian Terrier.
The systems of the body, whether human or animal, are delicate. A body in balance will function at optimal levels. A body lacking essential nutrients will continually be in a state of unhealthy flux.
As with humans, vitamins are essential for dogs’ systems to function properly, blood to clot, muscle to grow and the body to heal. Deficiency of a specific vitamin or mineral can manifest as digestion problems, loss of muscle or hair, or stunted growth. If your dog needs support for specific health concerns such as their skin, immune system, inflammatory response, joint mobility, G.I. tract, or bladder, then a condition-specific supplement in addition to a multivitamin, would be beneficial. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend a supplement based on your dog’s unique needs.
What About Fish Oils?
The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids can benefit many body systems, including the skin, nerve/brain, joints, immune system, internal organs, and others. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is a top strategy to reduce a pets reliance on anti-inflammatory based medications to help control arthritis and other musculoskeletal pains. The best way to introduce fish oil in your pet’s diet would be our easy to administer PetStrips. Capsules and liquid oils are also preferred delivery methods.
Vets do not recommend relying on omega fatty acids in dry dog or cat food or treats, as there’s a higher potential for rancidity that makes the fatty acids less-flavorful, potentially less-effective, and could foster the growth of bacterial organisms that can cause vomit, diarrhea, and other digestive upset.
Always consult with your veterinarian before starting any nutritional supplement regimen. Recommendations will be made based on the dog’s history, medical status, age, breed and health.