By Dr Daniel Aremu
One of the frequently asked questions by dog owners is the type and quantity of vitamins to be given to their dogs.
However, the first question to be asked is if these furry animals need vitamins at all in the first place. So is it necessary to place your dog on vitamins supplements? The answer is YES.
Dogs have unique nutritional requirements that might not be sufficiently provided by their diet. Many argue that feeding a raw food diet is enough to provide basic nutrients. Interestingly, even if a dog is fed on raw red meat, it still needs additional nutrients. As a matter of fact, boiling (not cooking) the meat provides more nutrients to your dog than raw meat diet.
Additional nutrients requirements or vitamins supplements depend on the breed, age and other factors. Older dogs need vitamin supplements because they are not eating as much food as before, and can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Vitamins needed for your dog include:
1. Vitamin A- This is needed for their skin and haircoat. When you always deal with itchy, dry, flaky, crusty or frequent skin lesions, this may be a pointer that your dog may be lacking from Vitamin A.
2. Vitamin D- This is helpful for strong bones and teeth. This vitamin is very important in the production and sequestration of calcium, for bone and teeth. Giving your pets enough of this vitamin can be very helpful in preventing arthritis and hip problems.
3.Vitamin B- This is required for healthy muscles, skin and blood.
4. Vitamin C helps in combating stress and prevents canine hypertrophic osteodystrophy which can be described as Scurvy.
Vitamins for a dog is not only when you talk about pills or tablets. It is a general call to give your dog a balanced diet. A dog fed with unbalanced diets like rice and noodles cannot attain the full phenotypic capabilities.
If your dog loses weight and starts losing its fur, it might be having a vitamin deficiency- Vitamin A, precisely.
These vitamins are prepared in multivitamin tablets for dogs. It is important to check in with your veterinarian before determining which multivitamins are appropriate. Do not randomly pick any at a pet store as you deem fit.
Many dog owners go ahead to buy calcium supplements and multivitamins which may eventually prove harmful to their pets, as too much calcium can cause skeletal problems in large breed of dogs. This is quite a common practice but can be dangerous.
It is also important to also note that most multivitamins tablets are not well regulated like drugs and it is possible to purchase substandard, harmful tablets of vitamins.