Sometimes Our Dogs Need Vitamins
Humans take supplements to make sure we gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. We want to live longer, better lives, and supplements are one way to reach that goal. But, what about our dogs? Don’t we want them to live longer, healthier lives, too?
Some veterinarians suggest that healthy dogs can live anywhere from 20 to 25 years. Yet, the average dog generally lives no longer than 14 years. Why is that? In most cases, a shortened lifespan is due to poor nutrition.
The bag of dog food plucked from the grocery store shelf doesn’t always provide all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs.
Although the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has established guidelines for meeting the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) in animal food, these RDAs only meet the lowest levels needed by the “average” dog to prevent deficiency. They don’t contain levels needed for your dog to thrive, and they don’t address your dog’s individual needs based on his age, size, breed, and other factors.
To achieve and maintain good health, dogs sometimes need dietary supplements.
A deficiency in just one vitamin or mineral could make your dog more susceptible to certain diseases. Because vitamins and minerals work together to fortify your dog’s body, it’s important to find the right nutritional mix for your dog. Too little and your dog misses out on some important benefits, too much and you risk harming your dog. Before beginning any supplement program, consult your veterinarian to determine what’s right for your dog.
Some of the most common dog vitamins are…
Minerals are divided into two kinds, macro-minerals and micro-minerals. Macro-minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and others are needed in greater amounts. Micro-minerals like copper, iodine, iron, etc. are required in only trace amounts. A proper balance of minerals is essential in aiding your dog’s ability to properly metabolize the nutrients in his food and utilize vitamins properly.
Antioxidant supplements help fend off damage caused by free radicals, which are responsible for cancer and other diseases. They are found in such supplements as Vitamins A, C, and E, in the minerals Selenium and Zinc, as well as in other sources. Studies have shown that pets treated with antioxidant supplements during treatment for cancer have come through the treatments in a more successful manner than those who did not receive antioxidants. They lost less weight, enjoyed a better quality of life, and lived longer.
Glucosamine is essential to good bone and joint health. Its benefits include a reduction of joint swelling and discomfort, better cartilage repair after injury, better healing in joints, and easier movement for dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis. Glucosamine may also be useful for better urinary tract health since it’s found naturally in a dog’s bladder.
Dogs naturally produce enzymes in their salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, and liver. These enzymes are necessary for properly metabolizing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. As dogs get older, their natural production of enzyme slows down, so they’re less able to properly use the nutrition in the foods they eat. Since enzymes aren’t present in cooked and manufactured dry dog foods, it’s necessary to provide them in supplemental form to keep your dog’s digestive system running smoothly.
The supplements listed above are only some of the things your dog needs for good health. Your veterinarian can help you determine what’s best for your dog’s individual needs. Fortunately, nutritional supplements for dogs are available in a wide array. And, if you’ve ever tried to administer medication to a reluctant dog, you’ll be happy to hear they come in tasty dog-friendly chewables that your dog will happily gobble down as well as in powders that can be mixed with his normal food.