Note To Reader: We are not veterinarians. This is not intended as a diagnosis article. If you have questions or concerns please contact your veterinarian.
Dog vitamins have become ever more popular over the years. But what vitamins are more important? how do you really know that your dog is getting enough? In this article, we will go over 5 of the most important vitamins for your dog, how much they can have, and what types of deficiencies can occur without them.
Vitamin A is essential to keep your dog's coat shiny and healthy. It also is vital to proper nerve and muscle function.
Without it, your dog could experience a duller coat as the first signs of a deficiency. If not caught in time it could lead to weakness and unable to move around as freely as before and eyesight will start to deteriorate.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that dogs get 5000 IU of vitamin A for every kilogram of dog food eaten in a day.
This can easily be found in meats like liver, fish oil, egg yolks, and vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, and kale.
Vitamin A is also available in almost every dog vitamin variety on the market.
Vitamin B12 is essential to heal the body and blood cell regrowth. It also aids in developing puppies to grow at normal rates and develop their minds. B12 is also essential in a good digestive system.
One of the first signs of B12 deficiency is weight loss. If you notice this, seek medical attention because it could be early signs of more serious problems.
All dog food has vitamin B12 fortified into it at the AAFCO recommended dosing. The B12 comes from liver, fish, poultry, eggs, and full-fat dairy products.
You can get B12 in dog vitamin supplements over the counter in 50-100 mcg/kg tablets, but a true deficiency can be signs of pancreatic distress.
If a true deficiency has occurred the only way to treat is by a veterinarian where they can do injections of a powerful dog vitamin.
Without vitamin D, your dog can not absorb calcium or phosphorus. These are both needed to keep bones and teeth healthy and strong. Deficiencies in any of these can lead to tooth loss, rickets, and cancer.
The AAFCO recommends 500 IU per kilogram of food daily which can be found in liver, fish, and eggs.
Dogs are unable to get vitamin D directly from the sunlight, so if supplementation is needed, dog vitamins are a must.
Vitamin E is essential for keeping good eyesight and to provide your dog with antioxidants. Antioxidants keep your cells from being damaged by the oxidation process.
Signs of vitamin E deficiency can include a decrease in eyesight, weakened muscles, and infertility.
The AAFCO recommends 50 UI of vitamin E.
Since vitamin E is commonly found in plants, they are usually a vegetable oil derivative in dog food and dog vitamins.
This is the vitamin that aids in blood clotting. Without it, your dog will easily be nicked and the smallest of cuts will bleed more than average. Deficiencies in vitamin K will lead to blood disorders.
Unlike most vitamins, dogs can produce vitamin K within their bodies. So no extra supplementation should be needed. Though vitamin K can naturally be found in dark leafy greens and egg yolks.
If a deficiency does occur, your vet will prescribe you a high dosage vitamin k to give orally, along with other treatment.
Most reputable dog food brands adhere to the AAFCO recommendations of vitamin dosages. Though adding a dog vitamin to your routine couldn't hurt.
Keep in mind that a dog's age and size will determine what you would want to supplement with, and how much of each.
High-quality dog vitamins are not only geared toward age but also size in dosing instructions.
Dog vitamins are just a way to be sure that your dog is getting what he/she needs before it becomes a problem. Not to treat an existing problem.
If your dog has serious health concerns, treatment by a licensed vet will be the only way to go. As no over the counter vitamins will reverse any damage done.