Pets are like children and they depend on us for everything. As a responsible pet owner, we all want our pets to be happy and healthy.
It is hard for our pets to eat a well-rounded diet that offers all the nutrients and vitamins they need. Many home-made and commercial dog foods do not offer a complete range of vitamins and minerals. This results in missing out on the key vitamins that your pet needs to be healthy.
Benefits of Vitamins for Pets
Do our pets actually need vitamins? The answer is yes, they need vitamins along with other nutrients to thrive. Each individual vitamin plays a significant role in your pet's body. They can contribute to your pet's well being in several ways. A nutrient-rich diet, containing vitamins and minerals, ensures that your pets are less likely to suffer from health issues. Here are some of the benefits of vitamins for your pets:
They help to build a robust immune system. A strong immune system reduces your pet’s risk of heart disease, inflammation, cancers, osteoarthritis, and diabetes. Vitamins along with other essential nutrients will increase your pet's ability to fight illness throughout their life.
They promote healthy liver and kidney function.
They help to improve vision.
Vitamins increase your pet's mobility, muscle strength, and endurance.
They maintain healthy skin and a shiny coat. Skin problems include bacterial and fungal infections, itchy skin, excessive shedding, hotspots, and allergies.
Vitamins minimize urinary tract problems and prevent the onset or spread of the problem.
Promote gut health and efficient digestion.
Vitamins protect your pet’s cells against oxidation.
They improve your pet's cognitive development. A diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants can prevent cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) in growing pets.
Vitamins for Dogs with Anal Gland Issues
If your dog's anal glands fail to express properly, they may actually become impacted. This makes your furry friend very uncomfortable. Your dog begins scooting or keeps licking its rectum. You may notice a foul odor coming from your dog's rectum area.
If you notice such symptoms, the chances are that the glands may actually need to be manually expressed. Some of the factors contributing to anal gland problems include:
Poor quality of food a dog receives
Lack of exercise and physical activity
Here's how you can help your dog to prevent or overcome anal gland problems:
It is important to incorporate the right sources of fiber for dogs into their daily diet.
Digestive enzymes and probiotics can also help reduce anal gland issues.
The primary source of fiber is plant-based ingredients. Fruits and vegetables can be helpful for anal gland problems. Other sources of fiber are husk, flax seeds, and nuts, wheat and corn bran, the skin of potatoes, beans, peas, and tomatoes.
Important Vitamins for Pets
Let's have a look at the important vitamins for pets:
Vitamin A: This vitamin is important for your pet's good vision, growth, immune function, and fetal development.
B Vitamins: These vitamins play an important role in your dog's health. B vitamins include:
Thiamine: Helps regulate energy and carbohydrate metabolism.
Riboflavin, B12, and niacin: Helps facilitate enzyme function.
Vitamin B6: Responsible for glucose generation, nervous system function, hormone regulation, immune-boosting, niacin synthesis, and gene activation.
Pantothenic: Helps with energy metabolism.
Folic acid: Helps to regulate amino acid and nucleotide metabolism and in mitochondrial protein synthesis.
Vitamin C: This is a vital antioxidant for your pet. It reduces inflammation and harmful free radicals from your pet's body. Dogs' bodies can even synthesize vitamin C on their own in their livers.
Vitamin D: This vitamin is important to maintain healthy muscles and bones. Vitamin D allows your pet’s body to balance minerals like phosphorous and calcium for healthy bone growth.
Vitamin E: This vitamin is essential for cell function and fat metabolism. It protects your cats and dogs from eye and muscle degeneration and reproductive problems.
Vitamin K: This vitamin improves your pet's blood’s ability to clot.
Choline: This vitamin supports healthy brain and liver function of your pet.
Which Pets Require Vitamin Supplements?
Just like us, our pets need vitamins too. They need them in different amounts than we do. Here are some conditions where your pet needs vitamin supplements:
Your four-legged friend is diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency.
Your pet is suffering from a disease that can be treated with a vitamin supplement.
You prepare and cook your pet's food at home and can't exactly tell how much vitamins your pet is getting from his diet.
Pets on low-quality commercial food. They usually are not enriched with essential vitamins and minerals.
If you are feeding less because your cat or dog is overweight. This can result in a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals. Supplements can maintain recommended levels of vitamins and minerals without adding calories.
Senior pets usually have a compromised digestive system. Vitamin supplements will ensure that their nutrient requirements are met.
Young pets, specifically many dog breeds, have a rapid growth rate. Vitamin supplements ensure that their growing needs are maintained.
Cats and dogs who have arthritis or are prone to joint and mobility problems.
Pets who have recently recovered from an illness or surgery.
A sick pet who has reduced appetite and digestive discomfort from their medication.
Vitamin supplement ensures nutrient supply to maintain recovery and return to normal condition.
Foods Rich in Vitamins
It is easy to add vitamins to your cats and dog's diet through natural sources. Here is a list of some superfoods that are packed with vitamins:
Vitamin A: Carrots, spinach, liver, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, fish oil, eggs
Vitamin D: Cod liver oil, fatty fish, egg yolks, dairy products, beef, cottage cheese
Vitamin E: Vegetable oils, leafy green vegetables, seeds, wheat germ, bran, whole grains, liver
Vitamin K: Liver, leafy green vegetables, milk, cabbage, fish
Vitamin C: Fruits, vegetables including potatoes, green beans and zucchini
Vitamin B complex: Whole grains, nutritional or brewers yeast, liver, beans, green vegetables, nuts, dairy products
Side Effects Due to Overdose of Vitamin Supplements
The potential consequences of over-dose of vitamins are:
Vitamin A over-supplementation: Liver damage, fatigue, decreased appetite, constipation, skin and hair changes.
B vitamins over-supplementation: Drowsiness, liver damage, diarrhoea, nausea, heartburn, skin rash.
Vitamin C over-supplementation: Diarrhoea, kidney stones, increased oxygen demand, and acid erosion of the teeth.
Vitamin D over-supplementation: Dehydration, vomiting, reduced appetite, hard feces, tiredness, and weakness of the muscles.
Vitamin E over-supplementation: Increased risk for congestive heart failure.
Vitamin K over-supplementation: Increased blood coagulation.
Is It Safe To Give Human Vitamins To Pets?
It is not recommended to give human vitamins to your pets. Human vitamins usually come with varying concentrations of vitamins than vitamins specifically designed for pets.
Our pets have different nutrient requirements than we do. So, if you supplement your pet with human vitamins, this can be dangerous for them. For example, excessive calcium intake can make your pet sick.
If you feel your pet needs a vitamin or nutritional supplement, talk to your vet. He will suggest some suitable pet vitamin supplements designed especially for your four-legged friends.
How to Take Care of Your Pet's Health
So, there you have it. Although vitamin supplements can be an essential element of your pet’s health, it does not assure total health coverage.
As a pet parent, you are responsible for taking good care of your pet. Pet care is beyond a few rounds of shots. This involves many things including diet, training, grooming, taking them for check-ups to a vet, and much more.
You can practice the following things to ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy.
If you want your pet to be healthy and full of energy, it is essential to feed them properly. Look for a terrific balance of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbs, based on your pet's age, gender, and activity level.
Vaccination and vet visits
Regular vet visits are essential for your pets. Keep up with your pet’s vaccines to protect them from diseases and illnesses.
A comfy place to live
Our pets need a designated clean place to live where they feel comfortable and safe.
Regular grooming and careful weekly examination are essential as it will help you to spot potential health problems early.
Our pets love to play and thrive on human companionship. This is an effective way to develop a strong bond with them.
Training and socialization
Training and socialization are essential for the well-being of your pet, specifically your dog. A well-trained and socialized dog does not get bored and remains stress-free.
Pro Tip: Don't rely on vitamin recommendations from friends. It is always better to talk to your vet about your pet’s unique vitamin needs. Your vet knows the best!
Complete nutrition is essential for your pet's overall well being and vitality. As a responsible pet owner, you must ensure that your pet receives all vitamins in the right proportions.
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