Grocery stores and pharmacies are stocked with row upon row of human vitamins. With so many options for us, it is completely logical that we wonder if our pets might benefit from some of these vitamins, too.
But do dogs actually need vitamins? Are there any risks associated with dog vitamins? What vitamins should you give your dog? Here are some answers.
What Are Vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary to sustain life. Most are found naturally in food. Animals’ bodies need vitamins for growth and maintenance.
You are probably familiar with most of the vitamins human and animal bodies need:
B vitamins (biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12)
Dogs need these vitamins, too, although it is very important that we realize they may need them in different amounts than we do before we go popping them supplements for pets.
Vitamin A for Dogs
Vitamin A, in case you’ve ever wondered, is the vitamin in carrots that is responsible for that good vision your parents promised you. This fat-soluble vitamin is also responsible for growth, fetal development, immune function, and cell function.
B Vitamins for Dogs
The B vitamins are a group of important vitamins that play a role in your dog’s health.
Thiamine helps regulate energy and carbohydrate metabolism, and activates ion channels in neural tissue.
Riboflavin, B12, and niacin help facilitate enzyme function.
Vitamin B6 is especially vital. This vitamin is responsible for glucose generation, red blood cell and nervous system function, hormone regulation, immune response, niacin synthesis, and gene activation.
Pantothenic acid helps with energy metabolism.
Folic acid plays a role in amino acid and nucleotide metabolism and in mitochondrial protein synthesis.
Vitamin C for Dogs
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant. It scavenges potentially harmful free radicals in the body and can help reduce inflammation and cognitive aging. Dogs can actually synthesize vitamin C on their own in their livers, but in some cases supplementation may offer health benefits.
Vitamin D for Dogs
Vitamin D, or the “sunshine vitamin,” allows your dog’s body to balance minerals like phosphorous and calcium for healthy bone growth. Without it, your dog would not be able to develop properly or maintain healthy muscles and bones.