Ensuring that your dog gets the proper amount of nutrients they need
As a dog owner, you want to be sure that you are giving your pet the best nutrition possible so that they receive enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that they require. Everyone wants their canine companion to live a long and healthy life.
So how do you know what vitamins and minerals are best for your dog? How can you tell which foods contain the proper amount of nutrition to ensure optimal health for your four-legged friend?
Taking the time to make sure that they have the right diet for their breed, size and age will make a tremendous difference in their overall health!
Your dog may have their own special dietary needs due to allergies or illness – if so, you should always consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.
Essential Vitamins & Minerals For Dogs
Tips for Providing Your Dog with the Essential Vitamins & Minerals for a Healthy Diet
1. Research first to save time
Familiarize yourself with what brands are suitable
Before you shop for food for your dog, take the time to do some research. It will pay off in the long run, as you will not have to spend time in the store reading the entirety of each and every product packaging before making a purchase. Plus, you might not always know the scientific terms for the ingredients.
2. Find out everything
Always be sure what’s exactly in the food you’re feeding your dog.
If for some reason, the product ingredients are not listed (or are not fully listed), take the time to directly contact the company. You do not want to change your dog’s nutrition on items you don’t know enough about. You’ll want to make sure that the food contains all the essential minerals and vitamins necessary for a full balanced canine diet.
3. Do not try to self-formulate homemade meals
Poorly planned meals might be unbalanced
Unless you are specifically advised by your veterinarian or canine nutritionist, you should never make your dog food from scratch.
While homemade pet food may seem like a healthier choice than store-bought food, it often lacks the proper nutrients that your dog needs to thrive.
A diet of rice and chicken may seem like a cheaper alternative to kibble, but it is neither complete nor balanced. More importantly, homemade raw diets can be extremely dangerous for your pooch if not properly prepared.
Always provide your dog meals that are complete and balanced.
An A-Z guide to Vitamins & Minerals For Dogs
Vitamins needed for a complete and balanced diet for your dog
Vitamin A is essential for fetal development, cell function, growth, immune function, skin and eye health. It also helps with weight loss. It can be found in fish oil, eggs, turnip greens, spinach, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
B vitamins are essential for the overall health of your dog.
- B12, Riboflavin, and Niacin assist with enzyme function
- B6 is responsible for hormone regulation, immune response, gene activation, niacin synthesis, red blood cells, nervous system function, glucose generation.
- Thiamine regulates carbohydrate and energy metabolism and helps to active ion channels in neural tissue.
- Folic acid helps with nucleotide and amino acid metabolism.
- Pantothenic acid assists with mitochondrial protein synthesis as well as energy metabolism
B Vitamins are found in whole grains such as teff or brown rice, bean, liver, nuts, brewers and nutritional yeast and green vegetables.
Vitamin C can help scavenge free radicals that are potentially harmful to your canine and help reduce cognitive ageing and inflammation. It is essential for your dog’s immune system function. Vitamin C can be found in many vegetables and fruits including zucchini, green beans, potatoes and organ meats.
Vitamin D helps to balance minerals such as calcium and phosphorus to promote healthy bone growth. Vitamin D can be found in egg yolks, cottage cheese, fish oil, beef, marine and fatty fish and liver. It also helps promote good dental health for your dog.
Vitamin E is beneficial for both eye and skin health. It also helps with fat metabolism and cell function. It is one of the best defenses against oxidative damage for your dog. Vitamin e can be found in seeds, whole grains, liver, bran, wheat germ, plant oils, and leafy green vegetables.
Vitamin K is crucial in assisting the blood with the ability to clot. It helps promote strong bones. It can be found in cabbage, leafy green vegetables, liver, and fish.
Note: Not a Vitamin but usually grouped with Vitamin B due to similarities.
Choline promotes healthy brain and liver function. Furthermore, it can be used to treat animals that are diagnosed with epilepsy. It is found in soybeans, wheat germ, meats, fish, eggs, and liver.
Minerals That Dogs Require
These minerals are a crucial part of your dog’s diet
Calcium & Phosphorus
Both Phosphorus and Calcium aid in muscle growth, nervous system function and blood coagulation. Too much of either of these can result in weakness and bone fractures and deformities. Too little can cause abnormal growth and development.
Calcium is found in green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and tofu while phosphorus is found in eggs, meat, and fish.
Copper assists in the distribution and use of iron as well as bone growth. It can be found in legumes, seeds, whole grains, and seafood.
Iodine helps produce the thyroid hormone necessary for metabolic health. It can be found in dairy, kelp, and seafood.
Iron assists in energy production, boosting the immune system and oxygenating red blood cells. Iron is commonly found in legumes, eggs, fish, red meat and poultry.
Magnesium aids in bone and muscle growth and development. It aids with calcium absorption. It can be found in leafy vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.
Potassium, Sodium & Chloride
These minerals are necessary to aid in the function of the heart and muscular system along with the nervous system. They help control the balance between the cells both inside and outside the body. Chloride is essential for your dog’s health as it aids in producing stomach acid.
Imbalances can lead to dehydration, hair loss, weakness, and even paralysis. A potassium deficiency can lead to an abnormal heartbeat. All of these can be found in grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Selenium works together with vitamin E to boost the immune system. It can be found in brown rice, meat, vegetables, and seafood.
Sulfur promotes skin, nail and hair health. It can be found in meat, eggs, fish and molasses.
Zinc promotes healthy skin and hair, aids in digestion and boosts the immune system. It is found in lamb meat, brewers yeast, pork, liver, and eggs.
Remember, the necessary amounts of these vitamins and minerals are breed, age, and size. Dogs with allergies and health conditions may need to modify their diets. Always be mindful of what your dog is eating at all times and contact your vet immediately if you notice any changes in their health, appearance or behavior. Remember to provide your dog with fresh water as water is essential for your pet’s health.
When Or Why Does My Dog Need Additional Supplements?
Cheap dog food brands tend to be lower in natural nutrients. If you find yourself having to supplement your dog’s diet with additional vitamins and nutrients, it’s time to change to a better diet.
Keep in mind that dog foods are geared toward different stages of your dog’s life: puppy food, adult food, and senior food. Each contains a different level of specific vitamins that are catered towards each stage of life. Your dog will need more vitamins and minerals as a growing puppy. And of course, this will change as they are ageing so you want to be careful to give them the right nutrients for their current life stage.
Always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog additional vitamin supplements. A lot of pet owners give these to their dogs because they think it will benefit them, not because they actually need it. If your dog has a vitamin or some other type of nutritional deficiency or a medical condition, they might need additional supplements.
However, you should always discuss the type and dosage with your vet. Too much of certain vitamins or minerals could actually be detrimental to your pet’s health. You should also give them supplements that are specially made for dogs, unless your vet says otherwise. Do not exceed the recommended dosage.
In some instances, your vet may recommend specific fruits and vegetables or your dog to make sure that they are getting a balanced diet.