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The Importance Of Vitamins In A Dog's Diet

Just like humans, dogs too can benefit from being given extra vitamins and minerals. In fact, some older dogs really do need some sort of supplement in order for their immune systems to remain nice and healthy and to make sure everything functions properly. A vitamin deficiency of any kind would negatively impact your dog's overall health and well-being which can have quite serious long-term consequences.

If fed the right type of diet and ideally this needs to one that's been specifically formulated which corresponds to a dog’s age, the chances are they are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. Puppy food is specifically made to suit a young dog's dietary needs and the same can be said of adult and senior commercially produced dog-food. However, lower quality pet food that includes more by-products than good sources of protein may not provide enough which can then lead to all sorts of deficiencies and health issues.

The Dangers of Over-Supplementing

Supplementing your dog's food with too many vitamins and minerals could actually do more harm than good. A deficiency will cause certain health issues, but over-supplementing their diet may also cause a lot of damage too. Water soluble vitamins are not so much of a problem because if you give too many to your pet, they will simply pee out any excesses. As such there is little risk of causing too much damage.

The same cannot be said for fat soluble vitamins which are stored in your dog's liver and fatty tissue like it is in people. As such, supplementing your dog's diet with too many and it could cause a real problem. Large breed puppies, like St Bernards may even develop skeletal issues if they are given too much calcium at a young age. Should they be given too much Vitamin A, it can lead to them becoming dehydrated or to experience joint pain. It may even lead to blood vessels being damaged. An excess of Vitamin D in your dog's diet and you may find they go off their food and have no appetite. It could lead to muscle wastage and even cause damage to their bones.

Does Your Dog Really Need a Vitamin Supplement?

If your dog has been ill or undergone any sort of surgery, the vet may have discovered they’re suffering from some sort of vitamin or mineral deficiency and as such they would recommend or prescribe a single vitamin supplement for them. However, there are other reasons why a dog might benefit from having their diet supplemented with certain specific vitamins and this includes for the following reasons:

  • If your pooch is diagnosed with a specific disease that a vet knows they can treat with a vitamin supplement. This includes conditions like dermatosis, a condition that responds well to a zinc supplement. However, you should always seek veterinary advice before adding any sort of vitamin to your pet's diet
  • If you feed your dog home-made dog food although it's a great way of knowing that your pooch is getting the best and most nutritious food possible, there's a good chance they may not be getting the right levels of vitamins and minerals. As such adding a dog specific multivitamin to their diet might offer many benefits and fill any gaps that may otherwise get overlooked
  • If your dog suffers from any sort of joint discomfort which many older dogs in their senior years tend to experience, then you would do well to discuss your concerns with the vet and get them to recommend the most effective vitamin and mineral supplement to help alleviate their pain. Some vets advocate giving dogs a glucosamine, chrondroitin sulphate supplement to dogs that suffer from arthritis although recent research shows the benefits are little to slight.

At the end of the day, if your dog doesn’t need any extra help, it would be a waste of money to give them a supplement especially as dog specific vitamins tend to be on the expensive side. The key is to always talk to the vet first and see what they recommend or prescribe which they may do if your dog has been ill or is suffering from any sort or long-term condition which leaves them suffering from a specific vitamin deficiency.

Conclusion

Just as in humans, there are times when a dog might benefit from being given extra vitamins and minerals, but it’s always much wiser to discuss things with a vet first because over-supplementing your pet’s diet can do more damage than good. Some young puppies if they’ve had a hard start in life and older dogs do benefit from having a supplemented to their diet. If you feed your dog a home-made diet it might be lacking in certain things and to fill the gaps you could add a dog specific multivitamin to their food, but again it’s worth talking to the vet first to see what they recommend.


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