Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks that your dog’s body uses to produce and repair everything from skin cells to neural pathways. These vitamins and minerals are considered to be essential nutrients – without them your dog’s body is unable to function optimally. From wound healing to immune system function, vitamins and minerals are critical to you pet’s overall health and wellbeing.
While there are some vitamins and minerals that your dog is able to produce on its own, most are synthesized from the raw materials found in your pet’s food, which is why a balanced and nutritious diet is so crucial to good health. Here is a quick breakdown of the most common essential vitamins and minerals that your dog should be getting from his/her diet.
1. Vitamin A: Crucial for a strong immune system and healthy vision. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which means it gets stored in fatty tissue or the liver (versus being excreted by the body). This means that too much Vitamin A in the diet has the potential to build up to toxic levels so supplementation should be done cautiously and only under veterinary supervision.
2. Vitamin D: Also known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is vital in regulating the balance of calcium and phosphorus in your dog’s body. Since Vitamin D also promotes the retention of calcium it is important in the development and function of bone as well as nerve and muscle control.
3. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): A water soluble B vitamin necessary for healthy metabolism of carbohydrates as well as the maintenance of normal growth and nerve impulse transmission.
4. Vitamin B6: Only a small amount of this water soluble vitamin can be stored in your dog’s muscle tissue which means it must be replenished daily in order to maintain adequate levels. Vitamin B6 is important for hormone regulation, healthy immune function and red blood cell function.
5. Vitamin B12: An essential vitamin that is not commonly found in plants or vegetables but rather is most abundant in meat, specifically organ meat. Vitamin B12 is crucial for a healthy nervous system and a deficiency in this vitamin can lead to symptoms such as lethargy and lack of appetite.
6. Calcium: An important mineral necessary for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Calcium also plays a role in blood coagulation and nervous system health. A deficiency of this mineral can lead to skeletal abnormalities. Too much calcium can also lead to problems so any supplementation, especially in puppies, must be done with veterinary supervision.
7. Copper: Copper is a minor mineral often described in nutrition as a trace mineral since only small amounts are required to keep your dog healthy. But don’t let this fact fool you. Though only required in small amounts, Copper is still important and helps facilitate intestinal absorption of iron and its incorporation into red blood cells. Copper is also involved in the synthesis of melanin the hair pigment that gives your pet his or her unique markings.
8. Iron: Iron is critical for red blood cell health and since red blood cells are responsible for delivering oxygenated blood throughout your dog’s body a deficiency in this mineral can lead to health concerns.
9. Iodine: Iodine is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and the synthesis of thyroid hormones. The thyroid hormones help regulate the rate of metabolism in your dog’s body and play an important role in normal growth and development.
10. Zinc: One of the most common elements in the earth’s crust, zinc is an extremely important mineral that helps maintain healthy hair and skin. In addition, zinc is necessary for healthy immune function and wound healing.
BONUS! Vivamune (aka – Carotenoid blend): Though not technically considered a vitamin or mineral, Vivamune has been shown to operate on the cellular level to support and promoted healthy immune function and lead to optimized mobility and enhanced skin/coat health.
As you can see, vitamins and minerals are an important component of your dog’s overall health. If your dog is eating a healthy and balanced diet he should be receiving all the key vitamins and minerals needed to live a long, healthy and happy life!
1. Vitamins and Minerals for Dogs
2. Vitamins and Minerals Your Dog Needs
3. Vitamin D Toxicity in Dogs
4. Vitamin B12 for Dogs
5. Vitamin B6 for Dogs