A balanced diet and nutrition is paramount to an individual’s overall health and wellness. While you know certain measures to keep yourself healthy, your pets aren’t completely aware of these. This is when your responsibilities as a pet owner comes into the picture. You have to make sure that they maintain good health.
As a part of an animal’s diet, they need constant vitamin consumption to keep their body in regulated function. If you’re wondering what vitamins are okay for dogs, cats and horses, and other domestic animals, you should keep yourself well-informed about its benefits and effects.
Why Would My Pet Need Vitamins?
Before providing different forms of vitamins for your pet, you should initially know the importance of doing so. You might wonder why your pet would need more vitamins if they can already obtain it from their diet. While this is entirely true, your pet will still need essential vitamins in small amounts, taken from supplements.
Upon taking vitamin supplements, your pet can achieve these general benefits:
- Healthier skin and shinier coat
- Increased energy levels
- Stronger immune system
- Prevent and heal diseases
- Keep senior dogs active and healthy
Pet vitamins are present in various forms – pills, syrup, chewable, vitamin-infused treats, and many more. Having your pet take vitamins may be difficult, but this simple guide will help you give pills to your dog.
You can also watch this video to help you plan your next move:
Lastly, make sure that you consult with a licensed veterinarian first before taking any actions concerning your pet’s vitamin intake. Now, here is an overview of the most important vitamins that your pet’s body need:
Generally, vitamin A encompasses numerous body functions in animals. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that fundamentally aids in your pet’s vision, growth, reproduction, and skin health. This explains vitamin A deficiency when you notice the following on your pet:
- Night blindness: Since vitamin A is essential in your pet’s eye health and vision, experiencing night blindness indicates they’re vitamin A deficient. You will notice this when your pet hesitates to move around the house at night, or when lights are off, and their pupillary reflex to light is delayed.
- Poor growth: Pets with vitamin A deficiency have poor growth rates. Their bone remodeling during the stage of bone growth is defective, specifically in the cranium. This defect can lead to deafness.
- Difficulty in breeding: Pack your female dog with an adequate amount of vitamin A to keep them stable and healthy during their breeding period. This maintains their reproductive processes occurring effectively.
- Skin and coat conditions: Vitamin A deficiency usually occurs physically by witnessing your pet’s dull coat. Sometimes, it is accompanied by itching and skin lesions. This is because vitamin A plays a crucial role in your pet’s skin cell growth and reproduction, as well as the follicles.
Vitamins forming the group vitamin B has a lot to contribute to your pet’s health. These hydrosoluble vitamins, or vitamins that are soluble in water, have major contributions to the skin barrier function. Specifically, here are the essential functions of each vitamin B:
- Riboflavin (B2): Riboflavin metabolizes carbohydrates and fats to be converted into energy and the production of red blood cells. It also works with other minerals to produce antibodies to fight against diseases.
- Niacin (B3): Niacin is a vital vitamin that aids in cognitive function, synthesis of hormones (such as vasopressin, corticotropin, and oxytocin), and effective metabolism. It maintains the pH level in the digestive tract and regulates the production of bile and stomach acids.
- Choline (B4): Like humans, pets are also susceptible to dementia brought by aging. Choline is a multifunctional supplement that can provide a variety of benefits for your pet but mainly contributes to dementia prevention. Vitamin B4 produces acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter crucial in cognitive and muscle function.
- Pantothenic acid (B5): An anti-stress vitamin that is responsible for producing adrenal hormones. Its role in the production of neurotransmitters potentially helps in preventing and treating depression and anxiety in pets.
- Pyridoxine (B6): Pyridoxine is needed in many bodily functions, which includes water regulation, fat and protein absorption, and absorption of vitamin B12. It is also responsible for glucose generation, gene activation, red blood cell function, and many more.
- Biotin (B8): This vitamin is paramount to the cutaneous system of animals, affecting the hair, nails, and skin greatly. An obvious sign of biotin deficiency will reflect on your pet’s skin and coat condition.
Vitamin C has rich antioxidant properties that keep your pet’s coat look lustrous and healthy, and vitamin E, which will be discussed later, is also a vital contributor to this. Just like in humans, vitamin C has an important role in keeping your pet’s immune system strong. It also serves as an antihistamine against inflammation and allergic reactions.
Moreover, vitamin C also keeps collagen production effective, which improves bone and joint health. Eventually, a good bone and joint health will prevent your pet from developing bone and joint disorders such as degenerative joint disease, hip dysplasia, and spinal issues.
However, keep in mind the proper dosage of vitamin C to administer to your pet. Excessive doses of vitamin C can result in diarrhea. The recommended daily dosage to provide your pet depends on their size and age:
- Puppies and small dogs: 250 mg
- Medium-sized dogs: 500 mg
- Large dogs: 750 mg
- Senior dogs: Since they have weaker immune systems, they should receive the largest dosage, which is 500 to 1000 mg for every 40 to 50 pound of body weight.
Being fat-soluble vitamins, vitamin D are stored mostly on the fatty tissues of your pet’s body. It regulates phosphorus and calcium in the body for bone formation and muscle and nerve control.
Unlike humans, pets can’t take in vitamin D effectively from the sun, so you might need to provide more sources of this vitamin. Without vitamin D, your pet wouldn’t achieve healthy and strong bones and muscles.
Take note that too much vitamin D administered to your pet can lead to serious health conditions as well. The most common source of vitamin D poisoning comes from excessive consumption of vitamin D supplements and rodent killing chemicals. The effects develop 12 to 36 hours upon ingestion.
Another fat-soluble nutrient, vitamin E, is a strong antioxidant that protects the cells in your pet’s body from free radicals. They’re responsible for developing a healthy and strong immune system, circulatory system, and muscular system.
Although free radicals are naturally produced through metabolic processes in your pet’s body, excessive production occurs when your pet is ill, exposed to toxins, and of old age. These free radicals can cause cellular damage, but sufficient amounts of vitamin E can combat these serious conditions.
Aside from dietary supplements, your pet can also acquire vitamin E from oils and shampoos used topically and from food incorporated into their diet. The best sources of vitamin E to provide for your pet are sunflower oil, soybean oil, salmon, spinach, eggs, spinach, and peanut butter.
You can find myriad ways to take good care of your pet, and providing them the proper vitamins and minerals is just one of them. Amidst different vitamin requirements of your pet, the vitamins listed above, vitamins A to E, are considered the most essential ones. Aside from including these vitamins on your pet’s food, you can administer these to your pet through supplements.