Giving your dog a diet well supplied with essential nutrients is one of the master’s many responsibilities towards his little companion. This allows the animal to live in good health and guarantees its perfect development. But you have to be careful because the excess of vitamins can be detrimental to the health of the dog. It is therefore necessary to respect the perfect balance and not to supplement your dog with vitamins without the advice of the veterinarian.
Role of vitamins essential for dog health
These vitamins are classified into two groups.
Fat-soluble vitamins needed by dogs
Soluble in fats, they are supplied by food of animal origin. Absorbed by the intestine, they are stored in the body and then drawn off as needed. These vitamins have a very specific role, namely:
- The vitamin A (axerophtol or retinol): participates in the good health of tissues, is mainly involved in vision, is essential for the growth of teeth and bones, plays an important role in reproduction, promotes the proper development of the embryo.
- The vitamin D or calcipherol: essential for the skeleton, it helps the body to assimilate calcium.
- The vitamin K: it plays a role in blood clotting and a deficiency promotes anemia. It is found for example in dark green leafy vegetables.
- The Vitamin E or tocopherol: this antioxidant is essential for the immune system, neutralizes the free radicals responsible for the aging of cells, promotes the production of red blood cells (red blood cells), it is useful for reproduction but also for the growth of the puppy. It prevents the formation of clots in the blood and participates in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Water soluble vitamins vital for dogs
These are the water soluble vitamins, namely:
- The group B vitamins (B1, B2, B3 or PP, B5, B6, B8, B9 and B12): this group is involved in the metabolism of amino acids, proteins, sugars, fats, in the transport of lipids, the production of cell energy, energy exchanges, participates in the functions of different organs or in the production of red blood cells … B vitamins – for the most part of them – are not storable in the body, they are provided by the daily diet.
- The vitamin Cor ascorbic acid : it is an antioxidant. It is involved in immune reactions and is essential for the body for iron metabolism.
It is strongly recommended not to give your dog a supplementation of fat-soluble vitamins because there is a real risk of overstocking. The consequences are harmful for the health of the animal. But, whether fat soluble or water soluble, excess vitamins can be very dangerous for the health of the dog.
When to supplement your dog with essential vitamins?
In general, if the dog receives a perfectly balanced diet he should not receive a food supplement fortified with vitamins. In some cases, however, the veterinarian may find it useful for the animal to receive specific supplementation. It could be a dog:
- Very active (sports dog, hunting dog, police dog, herding dog, sled dog, etc.),
- Large breed whose vitamin requirements are much greater than those of smaller dogs,
- Who has a neuro-muscular deficiency,
- Aged and arthritis,
- Fed exclusively by a so-called household diet, that is to say that the master prepares himself, because it can lead to vitamin deficiency,
- Who receives Raw, Biologically Appropriate, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF).
However, it should be noted that giving vitamins to your dog through food supplements can lead to problems following:
- An intoxication,
- A dermatological problem,
- Toxic damage to the nervous system, tissues, bones or certain organs such as the kidneys, the heart, etc.
- Weight loss,
- Vision problems,
- Growth disturbances in the puppy.
It may happen that the dog needs a food supplement in vitamins A, group B, C, D, E or K, but only the veterinarian can deem it essential. In this case, it establishes a prescription that should be follow by the book, or he advises the master to modify his dog’s diet so that it is better balanced.