It is common for people to take vitamins and supplements. In recent years there has also been a growth in the number of people giving vitamins to their pets as well. But is this really necessary? Is it safe to give vitamins to dogs?
Nearly a third of all dog owners in America give their dogs vitamins, mostly for joint pain, arthritis, multivitamins, and supplements to enhance a dog’s coat. So, with that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper into the subject.
Does Your Dog Get Enough Vitamins?
Many labels on dog food will claim to be complete and balance, even though they often get their nutrition synthetically from vitamins. This ends up doing more harm than good as many dogs struggle to absorb them.
However, there are a few dog labels that do provide genuine vitamins for dogs that are derived from whole foods. It can be very convenient to buy these bottled vitamins for your dog, as they are much healthier than using the synthetic kind.
But there’s also an even better option out there. Herbs are one of nature’s gifts that can provide some much-needed vitamins for your dog to supplement their diet.
Herbs Are the Key for Dog Vitamins
Herbs have some significant benefits for your dog as they provide essential vitamins, no matter how they are prepared.
Moreover, herbs also help your dog’s immune system, and because they contain plenty of Carbs, Proteins and Fats, they have all the ingredients of a healthful diet.
Let’s look into a few of the choices you have if you decide to use herbs as a vitamin source for your dog. Herbs can be used daily, and you can change them up as often as you like.
A sea plant, Kelp is full of nutrients. It contains vital trace minerals, and of course over seven of the 13 essential vitamins as well. As well as amino acids and magnesium, Kelp contains Vitamins K, B1 and B2, as well as Vitamins C, E and D.
With high iron content as well, Kelp can strengthen the blood, which in turn aids the heart in pumping blood. It could also assist in the digestive system, and improve your dog’s coat, by lessening its dryness and alleviating itchy skin.
On top of all that, your dog’s glands could be helped as well, as the iodine in Kelp aids in the natural process of the adrenal thyroid, and pituitary gland. It can even help in your dog’s general brain function, and its alginic acid can help fight radiation effects.
The recommended amount per day is a quarter teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight.
2) Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle is a great resource to give vitamins to your dog. Particularly high in Vitamin A, Nettles also have loads of potassium, calcium and iron. Another positive is that nettles will help your dog in the natural absorption of vitamins and minerals.
There are plenty of medicinal benefits to nettles, as it aids greatly indigestion. Dogs suffering joint pain could also benefit from nettles, as well as those with liver or kidney problems. Seasonal allergies are another problem that nettles may help with, and of course, they always help with cuts as well.
It's straightforward to find in most stores, and you can even collect some yourself from nature, provided you know the nettle has been left to grow naturally by itself.
Mix in nettles with your dog’s meal; about a half a teaspoon per pound of food.
Dandelion is an incredibly useful resource for Vitamins and one of the best for Vitamin A, only after liver sources. It also contains a great deal of beta-carotene.
Possessing loads of complex vitamins, Dandelion also contains Vitamins A, D, C, B and K. Like other herbs mentioned it also includes copious amounts of potassium, calcium and iron. It’s rich in protein, one of the cornerstones of nutrition, and has a substantial fiber content, which can aid your dog’s digestive system.
All parts of the dandelion can be used. The roots are good for the liver, as it contains a cleansing agent. As well as that, the leaves can also help with digestion and constipation. Kidney function can also be improved with the vitamins in dandelion as it works as a filter system that removes and then replaces potassium.
Dandelions grow almost everywhere so you should have no trouble finding them.
Recommended amount per day is usually a third of a cup for every 20 pounds of bodyweight, and you can serve it three times a day if you want. Just sprinkle some on your dog’s food. You can even make a tea from the leaves with 1 ounce of leaves per 8 ounces of water.
4) Burdock Root
A prevalent weed, Burdock root is quite beneficial to a dog’s overall diet. Containing a significant amount of insulin and carbs Burdock root also provides your dog with plenty of iron, thiamine and sodium as well.
Burdock can be very helpful in improving the blood work of your dog, as the many minerals and vitamins help in the function of the liver, and, in turn, clean the blood.
The digestive system can also benefit as both the bile secretion and juices for digestion are improved, which leads to a higher absorption rate of toxins from the body. Dog coats and skin can also be enhanced through Burdock root.
Many places contain Burdock, and it’s easily growable. You can stew Burdock and the add it alongside the rest of your dog’s meal. Always be minimal when first introducing your dog to new foods, to not upset their digestive systems.
Whenever you are unsure about vitamins for your dog, it’s always best to ask your local vet about them. Vets will know what the right course of action is, especially if they have a detailed medical record of your dog. While vitamins might not be a miracle cure, they could improve and lengthen your dog’s life tremendously.
Author Bio: Isabel Speckman is a North Carolina-based freelance writer and work-from-home mother of two. In her 10 years as a professional writer, she’s worked in proposal management, grant writing, and content creation. Personally, she’s passionate about teaching her family how to stay safe, secure and action-ready in the event of a disaster or emergency. She writes for Ritely