Vitamins For Dogs
Just like humans, dogs need a complete and balanced diet which provide them all the nutrients and minerals that their body needs in order to stay healthy. However, imbalances may occur sometimes, causing macro-mineral deficiencies.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for dogs, just like for us
Veterinarians say that vitamins generally work for dogs just like they work for humans: calcium and vitamin D strengthen the bones, vitamins A and E help burning fat and losing weight, slowing down the aging process and keeping the eyes' healthy. Iron is needed in the blood, potassium and magnesium are good for muscles and a balanced heart, vitamin B helps cells grow and vitamin C is powerful for immunity.
Warning signs about vitamin and mineral deficiency
- anemia, weakness, apathy, diarrhea, intestinal problems and even hemorrhage may warn about an iron deficiency
- spasms and muscular weaknesses may indicate a magnesium deficiency
- vomit, weight increase, as well as unhealthy looking skin or fur may indicate a deficiency of zinc
- different problems with the bones, as well as spasms or rachitis, warn about a lack of calcium.
What is to be done about it?
? A healthy, complete and balanced diet, whether we are talking about dry or wet food, created for different canine breeds and stages of their life, does not require extra vitamin supplements.
? Nutritional herbs are a great source of healthy natural vitamins and minerals. They must be taken into consideration especially by those owners who choose to feed their dog a home-cooked or raw diet. Examples: burdock root, dandelion, parsley, peppermint and fennel seeds are great iron sources; catnip, lemongrass, licorice and raspberry leafs provide magnesium; burdock root and turkey rhubarb provide phosphorus; alfalfa, nettle, red clover, rose hips and sage are great sources of vitamin A.
? Synthetic nutritional supplements must be considered after consulting a veterinarian, because overdoses cause the same amount of problems as deficiencies. Vitamins can be classified in two categories: water soluble and fat soluble. Vitamins from the first category are easily eliminated through urine, so they do not cause big problems, but the others are stored in the liver and can cause serious problems: dehydration, damage to the circulatory system (vitamin A), loss of appetite and muscular problems (vitamin D), skeletal problems, particularly in large-breed puppies (calcium) and much more. An important observation is that dogs should not be given human vitamins. Not to mention that the signs indicating a lack of vitamins and minerals could be actually related to other medical conditions that can be revealed only by a consultation and some tests, if necessary.
The question is whether all dog supplements really provide the promised nutrients or not. Veterinarians and other specialists say that it depends. Some reports conclude that there is actually still little information on the safety of pet vitamins and minerals. Dog owners should carefully choose only quality controlled supplements, according to the vet's indications.
Some Interesting Facts About Dog Food
Dogs are big fans of proteins and meat ? like their ancestors, which were fierce predators, dogs are equipped with sensors in their brain which help recognize the amount of protein found in the food they eat. If the amount of amino acids is too low and there is not enough protein to eat, the dog will lose interest and appetite in eating the food presented.
However, the commercial food nowadays is rich in carbohydrates and has less of the mandatory proteins for a nutritious dog meal. Statistics show that if the original diet of a dog was once comprised of over 50 percent protein, 30 percent fats and only 20 percent carbohydrates, nowadays, many of the dog food companies have switched the number in favor of the latter category.
Dry dog food, for example, will increase the intake of carbohydrates to up to 70 percent of the dog?s daily meal, while the proteins will be reduced to 30 percent or less and the fats will go as far 20 percent per meal. Following commercial and less expensive reasons, this switch does not take into account that the intestines of the dogs, where the grains are digested, are smaller than the intestines of humans or of the animals that eat corn and grass for a living. Therefore, it is more difficult for them to digest grain and carbohydrates than it is for herbivores.
A good advantage of corn food is that it can have high vitamin E levels, necessary for good dog nutrition. However, these levels depend on the type of soil the plant grew in, the storage conditions and the level of pesticides and fertilizers used for their growth ? the fewer pesticides used, the higher the Vitamin E level. This is why organic food is the best, both for humans and dogs.
Another interesting fact is that dog food with a high concentration of iodine can cause hyperthyroidism in dogs, which is why it is important to carefully dosage the vitamins and the nutrients presented in the commercial food. And if we talk about vitamins, we must also remember that the dogs? bodies are unable to synthesize vitamin D3 on their own, therefore it is necessary to include it in their diet. As a result, dogs should consume fish like cod, mackerel, salmon, tuna or herring, within reasonable amounts.
Also, if you have decided to buy your dog something sweet from the pet store, you may be surprised, after taking a bite of its food, that it contains higher levels of sugar than the human food. This is due to the fact that dogs have less sweet receptors on their tongue; therefore their perception of sweet things is different than in the case of humans. However, this should not be a reason for adding sugar in extreme quantities, as it can turn out to be really harmful for the dog?s health on the long term.
Last but not least, remember to choose well when shopping for dog food ? from the 8 million tons of pet food made every year and the 15,000 brands available, only a few have the right amount of nutrients and ingredients that will ensure a balanced meal and a long, happy life for your dog.