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How to Pick the Best Vitamins for Your Dog

Updated on September 16, 2012

People treat their pets like they are humans

Dogs and Vitamins

We love our dogs. Many people treat their pets as their human counterparts.  Over the years, there has been a trend of dogs having people names, entire businesses have profited from clothing for dogs. There are hotels and spas for dogs, and recently Mariah Carey who is pregnant with twins and husband Nick Cannon sent their 4 Jack Russell terriers to a pet psychologist to make sure the dogs adjust well to the arrival of the babies.

For the same reasons people take vitamins, they are now giving to their pets too.  Pet owners buy their beloved animals   multivitamins and supplements to improve the health and longevity of their canines.

Just as people overeat, obesity is becoming an ever increasing problem in domesticated pets too.

Vitamins May or May Not Be Good for Your Dog

Dogs and Vitamins

We love our dogs. Many people treat their pets as their human counterparts.  Over the years, there has been a trend of dogs having people names, entire businesses have profited from clothing for dogs. There are hotels and spas for dogs, and recently Mariah Carey who is pregnant with twins and husband Nick Cannon sent their 4 Jack Russell terriers to a pet psychologist to make sure the dogs adjust well to the arrival of the babies.

For the same reasons people take vitamins, they are now giving to their pets too.  Pet owners buy their beloved animals   multivitamins and supplements to improve the health and longevity of their canines.

Just as people overeat, obesity is becoming an ever increasing problem in domesticated pets too.

Know Why You are Giving VPetitamins and Supplements to Your

When it comes to vitamins, people need to be judicious when choosing what to give their pets. Most of the supplements and vitamins are not necessary, and some can even be harmful.

If your dogs are being fed a balanced and nutritious diet, they probably don’t need vitamins and supplements added to their diet.
The FDA states that most commercially processed food has everything a dog needs without having to add additional supplements.  Dogs that are fed home made food may need vitamins for the most balanced diet.

It is important to understand the value of vitamins. An excessive amount of calcium given to your pet, can cause skeletal problems. The bigger the dog, the more likely this could be an issue.  Too much vitamin A can be extremely harmful and even life threatening.  Too much vitamin A can cause dehydration, interfere with blood vessels, and even cause joint pain.  Too much vitamin D can make a dog lose their appetite, cause damage to bones and muscles.

Talk to Your Veterinarian About Vitamins and Supplements

It is always a good idea to discuss nutritional supplements and vitamins with your veterinarian.  Sometimes a person might be sure symptoms signify something, when they really are indicative of something else. Dogs, for example who have trouble walking are not always suffering from arthritis. Sometimes, they may have a neurological issue, or something else that is going on with them.  Skin problems can sometimes indicate dry skin, or it could be something with their thyroid or hormones, or any number of other concerns ranging from minor to major. Your vet will be able to diagnose, treat and suggest  what your pet needs.

Also, just like with people, vitamins and supplements given to your pet can interact with other medications they are taking.  Make sure you tell your vet everything about their nutritional regime, so that they get a full picture of your dog’s needs.   

Educate Yourself to Make the Right Choices for Your Pet

Vitamins can serve a useful purpose for your pets in some cases.  It is largely dependent on what your pet’s needs are.  Some dogs who are arthritic have benefitted from glucosamine chondroitin.  The Veterinary Journal in a study done in 2007, found tht after 70 days of the dogs getting this supplement, the animals had less pain, greater mobility, an overall improvement. Vitamine E and vitamin C are good for the older pet to help reduce inflammation. It it thought this may help with an older dogs memory too. According to the American Journal of Veterinary Research, fish oil supplements were effective in reducing inflammation in pets. To help a dog’s coat look better fatty acids are a good source.  You can easily get this from flaxseed oil and linseed oil.  These can also be found in some dog foods to help a dog’s coat.

It is best not to give younger dogs and puppies any supplements and vitamins, unless advised by a veterinarian.   

Dog food sometimes include supplements, but you need to be educated and read the label.  Many times, the label will state that it contains vitamins such as glucosamine chondroitin, but the dosage may be so minimal that it may not be effective for treating the pet.  There are prescription dog foods that you can buy from your vet and they very often do have therapeutic levels that are high enough.

Some dog foods use a holistic approach that may work for your dog. As an example, a dog food might contain cranberries and this may work to alleviate a urinary tract infection. DHA is sometimes added to some dog foods and this helps the cognitive development of puppies.

While there is some debate as to whether vitamins are necessary for your pet, educating yourself will help you make the best choice for your loving furry friend.   There may not be enough research out there to go by data alone. Learn what you can about what your pet needs so that the choice you make for them provide a  balanced, happy, healthy and long life.
 

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    • Paulart profile image

      Paulart 6 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      Great hub.Keep on sharing.

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