Let me tell you the basics of vitamins for dogs.
What Are Vitamins?
Vitamins are bio-molecules that are required for metabolic processes in all mammals including you and your dog. These processes are the basis of life, without these chemical reactions cells are not able to grow, reproduce, respond or just maintain their structure. In these metabolic reactions, a particular vitamin can act as a catalyst (facilitating the chemical reaction as a cofactor; the enzyme’s sidekick) or a substrate (taking part in the chemical reaction).
And this already is much more than you need to know. I’ll spare you the trouble of getting into the details of these metabolic pathways. That would be way outside the scope of learning how to choose the best dog food. Just continue reading for some fact-finding about vitamins for dogs. Which ones are or should be present in his dog food?
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These vital molecules can be classified based on their solvability in either fat or water.
Water Solvable Vitamins For Dogs
Water-soluble vitamins are absorbed in the small intestines and excess amounts can easily leave the body via the urine. Because these vitamins can’t be stored, your dog needs his daily portion of each. The plus side is that toxicity effects are less likely to occur as opposed to the fat solvable ones.
VITAMIN B COMPLEX
There is no single one substance vitamin B but a whole range of chemical compounds that have been given a number for easy pronunciation.
Required in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Thiamin deficiency can result in heart and nerve disease.
B-2 (Riboflavin, also known as vitamin G)
Used in skin and hair cells.
B-3 (Niacin, also known as vitamin PP)
Essential to the nervous system and required in processes that convert dog food to energy. Deficiencies can lead to ulcerations in the oral cavity.
B-5 (Pantothenic acid)
For maintenance of proper blood sugar levels and formation of certain hormones and nerve-regulating substances.
Required for nerves and involved in protein metabolism.
B-7 (Biotin, also known as vitamin H)
For healthy skin and hair. Deficiencies are rare but can be induced by long-term use of oral antibiotics.
B-9 (Folic acid, also known as vitamin M)
Essential for growth and health of unborn puppies.
Essential for red blood cell development and function.
VITAMIN C (ASCORBIC ACID)
Vitamin C has anti-oxidative functions. Unlike you, your dog is capable of synthesizing this essential compound in his liver (find some more differences between you and your canine companion).
Fat Solvable Vitamins For Dogs
VITAMIN A (RETINOL)
Important for proper vision, normal bone growth, and skin renewal. Toxicity: Liver failure.
VITAMIN D (CALCIFEROL)
Promotes absorption of calcium and phosphorus and thus helps the development of teeth and bones.
VITAMIN E (TOCOPHEROL)
Protects against cell oxidation, involved in reproduction and it helps the body use vitamin A.
VITAMIN K (NAPHTHOQUINONE)
Involved in regulation of blood clotting.
Can be synthesized by bacteria in the intestines of your dog. But only when his intestinal flora is healthy! Deficiencies, therefore, could occur after prolonged treatment with oral antibiotics. Tip: Supplement your dog with prebiotics or probiotics when this is the case.
What else is on the menu?
Handpicked related content:
- Learn about the differences in digestion between you and your pooch.
- Proteins, 10 essential amino acids, are your dog’s building blocks.
- Find out about some fantastic fats for dogs.
- Many different carbohydrates exist, playing various roles in your dog.
- Minerals play an essential part in many life processes.
- Water, both too little and too much is hazardous.
- Learn more about chewing, saliva production and caries in your dog.
- Vomiting can be because of stomach irritation or motion sickness.