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Petology: Pet Nutrition Products

Updated on January 12, 2011

Pet Vitamins and  Pet Nutrition Products  

People take vitamins and it is becoming increasingly popular for their pets to get the same nutritional supplements, as part of the pet nutrition products we give them. It is estimated that ⅓ of dogs and cats in the United States get vitamins and supplements. Most take multivitamins or supplements for their joints. Some other common supplements reduce shedding and improve a pet’s coat. Pets with gastrointestinal disorders take probiotics and antioxidants are also common to protect against the affects of aging. The pet vitamin market is expect to continue to expand as pet owners continue to give their dogs and cats these vitamins. In a 2009-2010 national survey of pet owners, done by APPA (American Pet Products Association), the average pet owner spends about $61 a year on vitamins for their dogs and $28 a year on vitamins for their cats. It is important, as a pet owner to understand the value of these vitamins. Some work and some do not. Some are necessary and some could cause harm. Educating yourself about these supplements and the variety of pet nutrition products is doing you and your loyal pet a favor.

Most dogs do not need vitamins as long as their food consists of a balanced and a complete diet. If your quality dog food has vitamins and minerals in its ingredients, it may be sufficient for your pet. There is some debate about what balanced and complete really means. Some say it is the minimal nutritional requirements for your pet. Some say, vitamins are not needed to supplement a pet’s nutrition. The FDA believes most commercially processed food for dogs has the necessary supplements. Homemade dog food usually does need additional vitamins. Your veterinarian will know best if your pet needs vitamins and supplements. A vet will look at some of the issues your pet has and may diagnose a problem that vitamins may not help with. There are some very important things to understand when it comes to giving your dog vitamins by avoiding excess vitamin supplementation. Do not give your pet human doses of vitamins. It is important it be formulated for your pet according to your dog and cat’s age and weight.

Vitamin Cautions

  • Excessive calcium can cause problems with your dog’s bones.
  • Vitamin A in excess can cause harm to your dog’s blood vessels and cause pain in the joints and even dehydration.
  • Vitamin D can affect a dog’s appetite and cause a degeneration of the cells in the muscles, causing the muscles to waste away.
  • If your dog is taking any other medication, it is important to know if the supplements will interact negatively.
  • Most vitamins for pets have not been tested for long term safety
  • Be cautious about giving young pets supplements, they very often do not need it, until they become much older.
  • ConsumerLab tested pet vitamins and probioticsfound the majority did not pass their certification testing, or they were of lower quality than for humans.
  • The National Animal Supplement Council found that 25% of joint supplement didn’t meet labeling claims.
  • Avoid garlic, and garlic supplements. It can be harmful to dogs

Vitamins serve a useful purpose in the health of your pet. Other pet nutrition products include probiotics.  Probiotics are generally good supplements to give to your pet. Glucosamine chondroitin is usually given to pets for their joint health and generally helps to reduce pain and increase mobility after about two and a half months of supplementation. Fatty acids are known to help a pet’s coat look shinier. According to the American Journal of Veterinary Research, fish oil helps in reducing inflammation. Vitamins C and E, which are antioxidants, also helps reduce inflammation. In addition to these supplements, it is always good to add fruits and vegetables to your pet’s diet. Multivitamins offer a supplementation to food that may not have all the nutrients you want your pet to have. Vitamins can help strenghten your pets immune system.

Vitamins and supplements can offer a lot of benefits for your pet. Vitamin A can help your pet’s coat look more luxurious. Vitamin C may help prevent hip dysplasia. Vitamin D helps bones and teeth. Vitamin B complex balances all the B’s in a correct formulation to help neural regeneration. Often it can take eight weeks or more to see the good effects of these vitamins. 

What to Look for in Pet Vitamins and Pet Nutrition Products

There are many good quality vitamins on the market and by educating yourself you can make good choices for you and your pets. Here are some suggestions:
~~~~ Read labels (be in the know about the ingredients supplied in the vitamins)
~~~~ Know the brands you are buying
~~~~ Look for a lot number that shows the company has set up some kind of quality
control for its products
~~~~ Look for a phone number so you can call the company and ask any formulation
~~~~ Be cautious about bolstering claims the manufacturing is making, they may be
too good to be true.
~~~~ Look for a company that independently certified and verified the label ingredients
~~~~ Know who you are buying the products from
~~~~ When it comes to dog food, you need to know how much of the supplement is in
the food. Sometimes it will be listed, but the dosage may not be of sufficient quantity.
~~~~ Look for linoleic acid, it contains omega 6 fatty acids which are good for the skin
and fur of your pet.
~~~~ It is beneficial to have at least 14 essential vitamins (Vitamin A, B-Complex, D, and E).
Your pets immune system will be healthier with antioxidants like vitamins A and E

Educate Yourself About the Vitamins for Your Pet

The option to give your pet vitamins offers many benefits to your cats and dogs. The National Animal Council is looking to raise standards and increase guidelines for improving the quality of vitamins, minerals and supplements given to pets. Remember, all vitamin manufacturers are not equal. Talk to your veterinarian and educate yourself about the vitamins that are on the market. It is important to buy a good quality vitamin, give it in the right dosage, and for the right purpose. Good choices are what we all want to do for our loyal pets. There is an array of pet nutrition products available and they vary in quality, price and what they can do for your pet. 


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    • profile image

      Cat Supplies 6 years ago

      Supplementation with other compounds such as glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM may be more beneficial. There is also some research that supports the idea of supplementing aggressive dogs with tryptophan. But before you start your dog on any vitamin or supplement I would highly recommend having your veterinarian perform both a blood test and a urinalysis. Then have those values rechecked 60 days later to check for any potential problems that may be caused by giving the supplement's, started giving my dog a glucosamine supplement only to find later on that it almost gave her bladders stones. Luckily I caught the problem early on, but if I hadn't been monitoring her closely she may have needed surgery. Remember just because everything looks fine on the outside doesn't mean it is the same way on the inside! And that I think is the most important lesson of all…

      Cat Supplies

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      With pets, there is always more to learn (from them) and from the different ways we can take care of them.

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

      Whoa . . . quite interesting, never gave a thought to vitamins for my petchild, and I call my self a petparent. Voted up marked useful, bookmarked and shared.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Pets are similiar to us. We must use "common sense" in terms of their food supplements. Most are a waste of money... if they are given "balanced" food. Flag up.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi toknowinfo thanks for all this great information. It always good to try and keep your pet healthy because it is so expensive when they get sick, giving them the right food and vitamins will help,

      Awesome hub!!!

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      Thanks for all the great feedback. To Living-n-Grace's question about protein in food. Where the protein comes from is more important than the amount of percentages listed on the label. Good protein comes from real sources like chicken and beef, etc. Crude protein doesn't matter. So you want to buy food that has quality protein, not quantity crude percentages. Look for my upcoming hub about protein in pet food.

    • profile image

      Wooded 7 years ago

      Thanks for all of this very helpful information. At this point I have bookmarked this hub so I can refer to it when I do my shopping.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 7 years ago

      Just as we need vitamins, I am a believer that our animals do too. Excellent Hub on this subject, lots of good and useful information. Thanks for sharing.

    • Living-n-Grace profile image

      Living-n-Grace 7 years ago from Virginia, USA

      hello ... thank you for this article! great info .... i now have 2 cats and a neighbor who "knows all" and keeps giving me (unwated) advice. recently she told me that i needed to get food for them that has more protene and suggested a specific brand which, when i compared labels (and can you believe the labels??) had less protene than the brand i was /am using ...

      any help you have would be greatly appreciated! thanks!

      Lee (aka, Living-n-Grace)

    • onceuponatime66 profile image

      Jackie Paulson 7 years ago from USA IL

      I love all of the helpful vitamins to feed all sorts of animals. Thanks.