Dog owners will often go to great lengths to keep their furry companions happy and healthy.
Daily exercise, regular bathing and grooming, vet visits, and high quality dog food are just a few ways to keep Fido in tip-top shape. But many wonder if it’s safe — or recommended — to add a daily multivitamin to the mix. Humans take them, so why shouldn’t dogs — right?
Depending on your pup’s age, size, diet, and health, it could be in their best interest to introduce a daily supplement. It’s important to first understand the benefits and risks so you can decide if a dog multivitamin is right for your pooch.
Can I Give My Dog a Multivitamin?
Although your vet should always be your guide when it comes to your dog’s health, multivitamins are generally safe for dogs — especially if you choose the right one.
Multivitamins are supplements that contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrient-dense ingredients that contribute to a healthy, sustainable life. Many foods contain necessary vitamins and minerals, but like humans, dogs don’t always get the recommended dosage from food alone.
There are a few factors to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to give your dog a multivitamin:
Age & Size
Your dog’s age, weight, and size (which likely changes over time) are important factors to consider when choosing the right multivitamin.
Different stages of life require different amounts of vitamins and nutrients. What’s right for a puppy might not work for a senior dog, and vice versa. For example, a 9-year-old golden retriever might benefit from a multivitamin that helps with joint pain, while for a 1-year-old Yorkie, that would be unnecessary.
Be careful not to jump to conclusions about your pup’s needs based on age and size alone. Too much of one mineral could have an adverse effect on your dog. For example, calcium consumed in excess can present skeletal problems for larger breeds. It’s important to consult your vet so they can help you navigate that decision safely.
Diet plays a large role in determining whether or not multivitamins will be beneficial for your pooch.
Some dog food brands are specifically formulated to include all necessary nutrients, and will often label their products as “complete and balanced.” If it’s properly designed to provide the necessary nutrients, you might not need a multivitamin. Like we mentioned above, it could even be detrimental if your pooch gets too much of a certain vitamin. For instance, too much Vitamin A can result in blood vessel damage, joint pain, and dehydration.
Work with your vet to understand what’s really going into your dog’s food. Sometimes, food products that claim to provide all the nutrients actually don’t, because the minerals might be synthetic and not properly absorbed by your dog.
In addition, dog owners who feed their dogs homemade diets are likely leaving out key nutrients necessary for long-term, sustainable health. A multivitamin may be a great way to round out their diet and give them the adequate amount of vitamins they need.
Your vet may also recommend a multivitamin if there’s been a recent change in your dog’s diet. For example, if your vet has your dog on a new diet for weight loss, a multivitamin may be necessary to make up for any lost nutrients.
Some dogs require additional supplements because of a medical condition or deficiency.
Your vet may recommend incorporating a multivitamin if your dog suffers from digestive issues, joint pain, or a compromised immune system.
It’s important to consult with your vet before you feed Fido anything outside of his normal diet.
Benefits of Dog Multivitamins
If your vet gives you the go-ahead to incorporate a multivitamin into your dog’s daily routine, there is a wide range of potential benefits.
- Immunity: Supports the immune system to help prevent illnesses
- Digestive Health: Eliminates bad gut bacteria and increases nutrient absorption, helping keep Fido regular
- Joint Pain: Fosters better joint mobility and flexibility, decreasing pain
- Energy: Prevents lethargy and boosts vitality
- Skin & Coat: Promotes a shinier coat and healthier skin
- Heart & Circulation: Stimulates circulatory system for better heart health and blood flow
While multivitamins have many advantages, it’s imperative that you do not give your dog human multivitamins, as these will often contain significantly more than the needed amount of nutrients.
It’s best to choose a dog multivitamin that is specifically made for canines and provides a well-rounded blend of the most essential supplements. These should provide a healthy combination of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, omegas, and glucosamine to address nearly all your pup’s health needs. It’s also helpful to choose a treat that is tasty and easy to give your dog — they’ll enjoy eating it and it increases the chances that it will be taken on a daily basis.
If your vet approves the use of a dog multivitamin, it can be a great way to set your pup up for a long, healthy, and happy life