If you open someone’s kitchen cabinet these days it’s not uncommon to see a hoard of multivitamins staring back at you. People now take multiple types of vitamins and supplements to keep their body in picture perfect health, whether it’s to make up for a deficiency, keep a certain body function in check, or even just to promote the growth of hair or nails! The wide variety of available gummies, chews, tablets, and powders leaves pet owners wondering if maybe they should be giving pet-friendly supplements to their fur babies, too.
It’s true that some dogs would benefit from having additional vitamins incorporated into their meals, but it’s unnecessary for most pets. The idea of benefits associated with vitamins comes from humans. We vary and switch up our meals constantly - we’re in full control of them! So if we really wanted to eat fries and a milkshake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week, we could. It’s what makes it easier to skimp out or lack certain vitamins or minerals, causing us to buy supplements. This is in contrast to dogs, who are usually fed the same type of food each and every day until the bag runs empty. Commercially sold dog food is formulated to provide your pet with all the specific nutrients they need and at all the right levels. Of course, each brand and line of food differs from one another and offers different benefits, but for the most part they are created with the intention of supplying your pooch with their daily nutritional requirements.
This is the case for most pet food. For example, if you were to take an even closer look at many well known pet food brands, you would notice some have products designed specifically for a certain lifestage, breed, or size of a dog. They do that because they recognize and understand that nutritional requirements can vary depending on if you have a large dog vs. a small dog, a puppy vs. a senior, a Great Dane vs. a Chihuahua. So at the end of the day, if you’re purchasing nutritionally complete, well balanced dog food from a trusted company or manufacturer, one that you know uses high quality ingredients, you can for the most part bet that your canine is receiving their vitamins for the day. And don’t shy away from reading fine print or labels on the products to learn more or compare, either! Z
With that being said, there are some instances when your pooch could gain from taking a supplement or two. Situations where this would be appropriate can be determined by your veterinarian. This is usually the case if your dog has a deficiency in a certain vitamin or if you feed your pet homemade diets. A lot of pet parents like to cook or prepare their pet’s food instead of feeding them store bought products, such as kibble or canned wet food. But this is what most often leads to a deficiency of necessary vitamins and nutrients. Dogs can need specific things like Vitamins A to E (and K), glucosamine, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium, etc in their diet. You can easily forget or overlook these requirements when cooking your dog’s food, which is when your veterinarian will step in to determine what supplement your pup will need to make up for it. They may also recommend a supplement if your dog currently has a condition or illness that could benefit from additives in their diet. For example, there are many supplements that promote digestion, joint health, reduce stress and anxiety, relieve sore muscles or body pain, increase the softness or shine of coats, or even help with behavioral problems.
Lastly, you can simply ask your veterinarian if you’re interested in giving your canine a particular supplement. Pet parents’ interest in giving their dogs supplements stems from wanting them to be the healthiest, happiest version of themselves they can be. That’s why there’s no harm in asking if it’d be appropriate in your dog’s case or not. In fact, you can discuss with them what your options are and how to incorporate into your pet’s day to day life! This is better than you trying to supplement the vitamins on your own, as incorrect levels given can lead to your dog getting too much of a vitamin, which is very toxic. It is for that same reason that human vitamins cannot be fed to pets; the levels our bodies and our pet’s bodies need are very different.