We love taking shortcuts, and vitamins and supplements are one such way we, as humans, go about your business of living a healthy life. Instead of eating a proper diet, we just stack our shelves with vitamins and supplements. We have the same approach when it comes to taking care of our animal companions. But are vitamins and supplements healthy for our dogs?
A lot of dog and cats in the United State receive some type of vitamin or supplement in order to address conditions such as coat health, joint pain, shedding, and gastrointestinal health. But do our dogs really need them? And more importantly, are these supplements and vitamins safe for the overall health and well-being of your dog?
Do Dogs Need Vitamins?
If you are feeding your dog a commercially made food, then she is most likely receiving all the vitamins and nutrients it needs; however, more and more dog owners are switching to homemade dog food, which can result deficiencies in nutrients and vitamins, if owners do not properly study their dog’s needs, and make sure their homemade dog food provides for those needs.
Is It Safe to Give Dogs Vitamins?
If your dog eats a well-balanced diet of high quality dog food (commercial or homemade) that provides all the vitamins and nutrients it needs, then adding supplements to the diet can have a harmful impact on the dog. This is according to the FDA as well as veterinary doctors who have studied the impact of supplements on dogs (and other pets).
For example, if your dog is getting too much calcium in its diet, it can develop skeletal problems, especially if this occurs during puppyhood. Too much vitamin A can be harmful to blood vessels, and joints.
This leads to the next question that often comes up, which is whether you should check with your veterinarian before starting a supplement regiment for your dog. The answer is an emphatic ‘yes’. It is absolutely necessary to get the advice of your veterinarian before starting your dog on such a course.
Picking Vitamins & Supplements
There are some things to keep in mind when picking a supplement or vitamin. Of course, if you receive recommendations for your veterinarian, it is important to follow those directions. But if you are tasked with picking the supplements then keep the following in mind.
- Look for supplements which specializes in a specific type of condition or supplement.
- Supplements should ideally have been put through clinical studies.
- Read labels, and be aware of the ingredients which your dog needs, so you are not providing your pooch with the wrong balance of nutrients.
- Don’t fall for outlandish claims on packaging.
As with any medical necessity, it is important to always seek out the advice of your veterinarian, and follow the recommendations in order to help your dog be healthy, and avoid making mistakes that may harm your dog in the short, as well as long term.