Important Dog Supplements: Vitamins and Minerals
Just as we need vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, they are important for dogs, especially puppies who are growing and developing. Although nothing beats a complete and balanced age appropriate dog food, supplements can help to get the necessary vitamins and minerals, particularly if your vet has suggested it or if you think your dog isn’t getting enough of them. This is particularly true if you feed your dog a homemade diet, as it hasn’t been formulated with comprehensive vitamin and mineral considerations like good quality branded foods have.
Vitamins for Dogs
Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, and B vitamins like B-6 and B-12 are vital to a dog’s health. These vitamins, along with choline, are very important for everyday functionality and provide the same benefits as they do with humans. Vitamin D allows for healthy bones, vitamin E aids fat metabolism and vitamin A helps eyesight and the immune system, among other benefits. Although your dog should be getting enough vitamins in their food, vets will recommend vitamins when your dog has a deficiency or medical condition. However, you should be careful not to overfeed vitamins as large quantities can be potentially dangerous. Dogs should not be given too much vitamin A, for instance, as it would cause dehydration. Yet when paired correctly with food through nutritional plan, vitamins are immensely beneficial toward a dog’s health and wellbeing.
Minerals for Dogs
Vitamins are fairly easy to get your head around, but minerals come in two sub-groups, both of which are required by dogs in different ways: macro minerals and micro minerals. Macro minerals are required in greater quantities than micro minerals and are more prevalently found in a dog’s system. Macro minerals include many things necessary for a dog’s everyday health, including calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulphur. Trace minerals, on the other hand, include chromium, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese selenium and zinc, all of which are vital but required only in smaller doses. Zinc, for instance, is very important for maintaining a healthy coat of hair and aiding metabolism. Yet because it is not stored in a dog’s body, it must be provided through diet / supplement. It is important, then, to understand which minerals your dog may require and not to overfeed them. Large breed puppies, for instance, should not get too much calcium as it causes skeletal problems in growth.
Should You Feed a Dog Vitamins and Minerals?
Provided you know what you’re doing and what your dog is getting, vitamins and minerals can help alleviate both deficiencies and skin / hair problems like dry skin or dry coats of hair. Supplemented fatty acids, for instance, have been found to help coats look better, and vitamins C and E can help elderly dogs with memory issues. Just be sure to consult your vet before trying anything new.