Dogs are meant to get all the vitamins and minerals they need from their diet to stay fit and healthy. In some cases, however, pups can develop a deficiency due to other underlying health problems or need a vitamin top-up for other reasons. In such cases, a vet may recommend giving your dog vitamins.
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Here’s what you probably need to know…
- Vitamins for Senior Dogs
- Vitamins for Dog Skin and Coat
- Eye Vitamins for Dogs
- Vitamins for Dogs with Allergies
- Joint and Bone Vitamins for Dogs
- Kidney Liver and Heart Vitamins for Dogs
Vitamins for Senior Dogs
Senior dogs have different nutritional needs than adult dogs and puppies. Old age and related restrictions slow dogs down, so calorie requirements are lower. Certain medical conditions may require supplements in the form of vitamins and minerals, and many of those conditions are more common in elderly dogs. One example of this is arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Alongside other therapies, a vet will recommend or prescribe joint-focused supplements, such as:
- Green-Lipped Mussel (GLM)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are designed and have been proven to help reduce pain and inflammation in the body, particularly in the joints. If you’ve noticed your pup limping on your Petcube Camera while you’re at work or it looks like they’re having a little trouble getting around, it might be time to have a chat about these mobility-boosting vitamins for dogs.
Vitamins for Dog Skin and Coat
There are many commercially available, safe daily multivitamins for dogs. Many of them are designed with a dog’s skin and coat in mind, so it’s well worth looking for one that specifically mentions it.
Omega-3 fatty acids and biotin are great for improving skin and coat health in dogs. Vitamin E is also recommended, but this is usually covered by a ‘complete’ dog food.
If you are in any doubt about your dog’s vitamin and mineral levels, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet. A couple of quick blood tests will reveal any deficiencies and will also help catch any underlying medical conditions early.
Deficiencies in vitamin A and zinc can lead to poor skin and coat conditions. A vitamin B12 deficiency will also cause fur and hair problems.
Eye Vitamins for Dogs
Beta-carotene is important for good dog eye health, and it’s beneficial to human eyesight too! Good-quality eye vitamins for dogs will often contain lutein, which has been described by the American Kennel Club as "an antioxidant good for skin, heart, and eye health."
Another common ‘hot’ ingredient is zeaxanthin (which took me three times to spell correctly). This carotenoid is naturally found in your dog’s eyes (and in human eyes), and adding a supplement containing it to your dog’s diet could keep eye-related disorders at bay for much longer. This includes cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related degeneration.
Other vitamins for good eye health in dogs include vitamins A and E.
Vitamins for Dogs with Allergies
Multivitamins with ingredients such as vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, and zinc will improve your dog’s immune system function, which will make life with allergies a little easier. Itching can be reduced with the help of vitamin E, Omega-3, and other fish oils. Supplements containing probiotics will help boost your pup’s immune system, too.
Quercetin is another compound to be on the lookout for. It’s a flavonoid from plants, and it can help reduce itching and other symptoms related to allergies. With anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties, it’s a supplement you’ll want to bring out in the spring and summer!
Joint and Bone Vitamins for Dogs
It’s never too late to provide joint and bone-boosting supplements for your dog. Taking them earlier in life could mean keeping arthritis and other related conditions at bay for much longer and even completely.
Joint and bone vitamins for dogs are similar to vitamins for senior dogs: omega-3 fatty acids, green-lipped mussel, chondroitin, and glucosamine.
Never give your dog vitamins designed for humans. Pets require different concentrations than humans, and there will often be ingredients in human vitamins that aren’t dog- or pet-safe.
Kidney, Liver, and Heart Vitamins for Dogs
Before I get into the vitamins you might need to add to your dog’s diet, I’m first going to tell you about four that you definitely shouldn’t. (Unless specified by your vet.)
Calcium, iron, xylitol, and vitamin D are toxic in abnormally high amounts and can require an emergency trip to the vet and a claim on your Emergency Fund plan. Your vet should perform blood tests (among other diagnostic tests) to determine the deficiency before prescribing or recommending a suitable supplement.
Dogs should get the nutrients they need for healthy kidneys, livers, and hearts from the food they eat. Choline is found in egg yolks, fish, and meat (especially liver) and can improve the function of internal organs, muscles, and healthy brain development.
Complete dog food will contain the vital nutrients for that specific age range: puppy, one year+, adult, senior, etc. Fish and leafy vegetables can provide vitamin K. Beef, liver, or fish can also help with vitamin D levels. These foods have been thoroughly researched and developed with healthy and complete nutrition in mind.
Homemade dog foods are not always complete, which means they don’t contain the right amounts of vital vitamins and minerals. You should never feed pet supplements unless you’ve discussed them with your vet first.
Most dogs will not need vitamins, provided they’re fed a healthy, balanced, and complete diet. If you’re in any doubt, have a chat with your vet. A quick blood test later, and you could have all the answers you need, which means your pet will be given the appropriate treatment for them — supplements or otherwise.
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