Do dogs need vitamin supplements is a question that is as hard to answer as it is controversial as “Do we need school?”
But in summary, most dogs do receive a complete and balance diet which includes nearly all the necessary vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. However, not every dog can eat any dog food out there, dogs fed purely on homemade meals due to sensitive stomachs are more at risk of lacking in supplements.
There are two train of thought, with each one believing that their thought, is the correct one.
However, What I can do is provide you a overview scope of both sides so you understand and form your best decision for your own dog.
To begin with, AAFCO (Association of Animal Feed Control Officials) has set forth recommendations for levels of vitamins and minerals that are to be added to our pet food. AAFCO is like the pets FDA.
The guidelines given to the commercial pet food manufacturers cover only the bare minimum of vitamins and minerals that the “average” dog needs. The amounts recommended are only to prevent a vitamin and mineral deficiency and not to create a balanced health in your dog.
The question here is, “is your dog different?”
Every pet is different, in personality and life style and most every dog has different nutritional needs.
Since we have working dogs, couch potato dogs, dogs under stress, dogs who are fighting illnesses, dogs who have had surgery, and mommy dogs in our world.
How do you determine if the food you are feeding your pet has the nutritional value it needs?
Commercial pet food is processed with heat and heat destroys many nutrients.
Feeding extra food to our pets to make up for that loss more than likely will add weight. Extra weight can lead to obesity. Obesity carries it own list of detrimental problems for our pets.
What should a pet owner do?
Nearly everyone would just say, go buy “high quality pet food”, it’s all that’s needed.
But, premium quality pet food come in all forms size and shapes. Even the price range differs greatly at times. premium quality pet food is supposedly is made up of some meat, meat by-products and sometimes whole grains. Which is an whole entire argument, are corn or grain-free pet food better?
I personally for one, truly believe in feeding premium quality food to my animals, but there are other things to consider like the age of your pet and its lifestyle
What do vitamins and minerals do?
Vitamins help regulate a dog’s metabolism and assist in the processing of energy.
There are water soluble vitamins that need to be replaced daily and fat soluble vitamins that get stored in the fatty tissue and the liver.
There are natural vitamins gathered from the food that our dogs eat and then there are synthetic vitamins that we give our pets that are created in laboratories.
The problem with a synthetic vitamin is that it contains primarily only the specific vitamin and not other substances that might be found in a natural vitamin source.
Our dogs also need minerals for balancing their body fluids, to maintain healthy nerve function and muscle tone, along with building good bones and blood.
There is also two groups of minerals, macro-minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium and the micro-minerals such as copper, iodine, selenium, zinc and others.
All these things play an important part in our dog’s life as well as our own. The significant thing to remember is that every thing has to be in balance, the vitamins and minerals work together. Too much of one thing can deplete another and destroying the balance can make the whole process ineffective and possibly dangerous.
The best thing you can do is to talk to your vet or pet nutritionist for the right advice.
Most dogs will eat just about anything and they especially like “people food.”
The best way to get your dog to enjoy “natural vitamins” is by feeding it some raw fruits and vegetables. Most dogs love raw carrots, cucumbers, green beans, bits of cheese, pieces of raw beef, apples, celery, eggs (not raw, but cooked) and many more raw vegetables.
Use these things are treats and snacks, being careful not to overload your dog’s tummy with too many new things at once.
There are many people that believe the best diet for a dog is raw bones, meat, raw vegetables and fruit and that these foods will produce happy healthy dog.
This diet is called the BARF diet and information on it can be found on the Internet.
Be careful when feeding your dog fruit that you DO NOT feed grapes or raisins, as they are known to be toxic to most dogs.
If your dog has a healthy coat, no skin problems, is active and bright-eyed it is more than likely getting all the nutrients it needs.
It is ill-advised to change what you are doing without first discussing it with your vet or pet nutritionist.
Now what are some reasons to offer your pet some extra vitamins and minerals, with professional advice, of course. If your dog is a hard working dog (such as a herding dog,) a senior citizen, a mommy dog with new puppies, an arthritic dog, a dog under stress, a dog with allergies, a dog on a diet or a dog with dry flakey skin and dry coat, these pets are in need of some nutritional help.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are now being considered as vital to our pet’s health as they are to ours. They are essential to our immune system and to that of our dogs and cats.
These essential fatty acids play in important part in our pet’s cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems along with helping to regulate hormones.
Many vets are now finding that a daily dose of flaxseed oil or fish oil poured over a dog’s regular food is helping many dogs with skin conditions, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.