Benefits of multivitamins for Dogs
Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for the sustainability and longevity of life. A majority of these vitamins are present in natural foods. There are a variety of biological processes which require vitamins for effective metabolism. Vitamins play a vital role in well being of the body and vitamin deficiency can lead to several ailments in dogs.
Vitamin A is one of the essential vitamins which dogs need in their diet to maintain their optimal health. Organs like skin, hair coat, musculoskeletal system, and nervous system all require vitamin A for proper functioning. One of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency is manifested in the form of poor skin health and abnormalities in the vision of a dog. The deficiency of vitamin A also leads to the weakness of muscles. Vitamin A is particularly needed by pregnant females and puppies. This is because growing puppies need it for an ever-increasing mass as most of their body parts undergo size transformation.
As per the recommendations of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) the adult dog food product should contain 5000 IU of Vitamin A per kg of food. Vitamin A is commonly found in the liver; fish liver oil and egg yolks. It is also found in vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots. Overdosage is one of the serious complications associated with Vitamin A supplementations and one should be very careful while formulating the doze. Therefore, a healthy multi-vitamin supplement should contain appropriately balanced levels of vitamin A.
Vitamin B Complex
Thiamine (vitamin B1) is needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates in the body. It strengthens the immune system and plays a vital role in the functioning of the brain. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is essential for muscular strength, vision, and red blood cell production. Niacin (vitamin B3) plays a vital role in the metabolism and digestion of fatty acids. It enhances the functioning of the CNS system and endocrine systems. Folic acid (vitamin B9) is an integral part of red blood cell production. It is also required for the synthesis of DNA and is important for the initial days of pregnancy as it promotes early embryonic health. Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is essential for the synthesis of proteins and fatty acids. Biotin (vitamin B7) is essential for skin and fur health. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is required for electrolyte regulation in the body. It helps in cognitive purposes. It also plays role in red blood cell production. Cobalamin (vitamin B12) is essential for the proper functioning of nerves. B-complex vitamins are found in beef liver, milk, leafy greens, eggs, chicken, oats, fish, and beans.
The deficiency of vitamin B causes several ailments. Black tongue is typically caused by niacin deficiency. Thiamine deficiency causes absent reflexes, anorexia, and muscle weakness. Riboflavin deficiency causes stunted growth, general weakness, vision problems, hind leg weakness, and heart problems. Niacin deficiency causes anorexia, bloody stools, and bad breath. Folic acid deficiency leads to hemoglobinemia and fatigue. The deficiency of pantothenic acid causes alopecia, changes in the color of fur, and nausea. Biotin deficiency causes dullness of coat, sores in the skin, and muscular paralysis. Pyridoxine deficiency causes low levels of hemoglobin, tooth decay, and urolithiasis. Deficiency of cobalamin causes anorexia, lethargy, weight loss, and foul-smelling diarrhea. Overdosage of Vitamin B complex is not a major issue. This is because these vitamins are water-soluble and any excess vitamins are excreted out of the body. The only B vitamin associated with overdosage is pyridoxine whose extreme doses cause loss of muscle control and anemia.
Although dogs can synthesize vitamin c in their livers but in some circumstances, whereby the body might undergo a disease process and the levels of these vitamins may decline sharply. In such immune-compromised dogs, it is often helpful to supplement vitamin C from an external source. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays important role in eliminating harmful substances from the body. Vitamin C can be supplemented at the dose of 500-1500mg/kg/day. Overdosage can cause calcium oxalate stones in the bladder.
This vitamin is of tremendous value as far as the balance of minerals in the body is concerned. Minerals like calcium and phosphorous play a vital role in strengthening bones and maintaining other physiologic functions in the body. Vitamin D has a direct role in the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system of the body.
Vitamin E is one of the most potent immunity boosters. It along with selenium plays a vital role in the development of muscles in young ones. It defends the body against oxidative damage. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is also essential for various cellular functions and play role in the metabolism of fats. Its deficiencies can lead to ocular and muscular degeneration and reproductive problems.
The dog’s ability to recover from traumatic bleeding after an accident is one of the most essential survival skills. In toxicities like anti-coagulant toxicity, Vitamin K plays a significant role in saving the life of the dog. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and there are many factors in the coagulation cascade which depend upon Vitamin K. In other words, it is instrumental in activating your dog’s blood’s ability to clot.
Choline is an integral component of the cell membrane. Choline is associated with brain and liver health. It is also recommended for dogs with CNS problems like epilepsy.
Do Dogs Need Vitamin Supplements?
In most cases, all of these vitamins are included in commercial dog foods labeled “complete and balanced”. Feeds are formulated after keeping in mind the requirements of different age groups of dogs and their gender and breeds. For example, puppy food, adult dog food, and senior dog food contain different amounts of ingredients as per their age requirement. As far as breed-specific diet is concerned there are specific breeds that require a specific diet. For example, large-breed puppies need low levels of calcium because higher calcium levels can cause orthopedic disorders in them. On the contrary, female pregnant animals require large amounts of calcium. Dogs that are given a homemade diet should be given Vitamin supplements because they are at risk of vitamin deficiency.
How to Choose a Dog Vitamin
What is the best time and quantity of multivitamins, which one should give his dog is a question better addressed by a veterinarian. While prescribing vitamins a veterinarian might take into consideration several factors such as the health status of the dog, breed predilections, gender, and age. While choosing a vitamin supplement the dog owners should not go for vitamins in human use. This is because the human body has different nutrition requirements than dogs. Dosage is the main concern while choosing between the supplements. Human vitamin supplements are therefore not a good option.
Vitamins are an essential component of dog food. They play a vital role in maintaining the health of your dog. Therefore, dog owners should ensure that their dog is not missing the optimal quantity of vitamins in its feed.