Important vitamins for dogs are vitamins A, D E, K, B1, B2, B6, B12 and vitamin C.
Without vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and fat cannot be used by the dog. The dog or cat cannot produce most of the vitamins itself. Therefore, the vitamins must be fed through the feed as a food supplement.
What do the vitamins do in your dog's body?
Millions of biochemical reactions take place in the body every day. These reactions are controlled by enzymes (enzyme = catalyst / accelerator). Here, the vitamins as co-enzymes support the processes in the body.
Vitamins for dogs and cats are necessary for growth. Also for energy, for feelings and sensory perception, for digestion, detoxification and excretion and ultimately for the defense against diseases.
If dogs and cats take little vitamins, this can have catastrophic consequences for their health.
We differentiate between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.
Fat soluble vitamins are:
Vitamin A for dogs
For dogs, enough vitamin A is 4,000 to 6,500 IU daily. 3,000 IU a day is not enough. Vitamin A is found in liver, milk, fish oil and egg yolk. The body stores vitamin A in the liver. Extremely high amounts of vitamin A can be toxic (toxic / deadly).
The precursor of vitamin A is beta carotene, which is found in colored fruits and vegetables. The body is able to convert the beta carotene (provitamin A) into vitamin A and exactly the amount that it needs.
For dogs, vitamin A is good for the skin and night vision. Deficiency symptoms are dry, flaky skin, acne and canker sores (blisters in the mouth). In addition, there is a susceptibility to infection and the risk of developing cataracts.
Vitamin deficiency A in dogs
A vitamin deficiency A leads to growth disorders in dogs, high susceptibility to infections and bone growth disorders. On the other hand, excessive vitamin A administration in the long term can cause health disorders (low weight gain, hyperexcitability, breakdown of bone, hyperkalaemia (too much potassium in the blood), tendency to fracture (broken bones).
Excessive doses of vitamin A lead to the formation of bones on the spine. Vitamin A must not exceed 15,000 to 30,000 IU per kilogram of body mass. Longer cooking, oxygen and light destroy it completely. With ordinary cooking, the vitamin A content drops by a third.
Vitamin D for dogs
Vitamin D is required in dogs for bone formation and calcium / phosphorus utilization. Dogs in growth need a maximum of 20 IU (International Units) of vitamin D per kilogram of body weight per day.
With suboptimal calcium supply (calcium deficiency), the need for vitamin D increases. For adult dogs, 10 IU of vitamin D per kilogram of body weight per day is sufficient. The vitamin D2 derived from plants has an effect almost the same in dogs as the vitamin D3 found in the animal body.
During lactation (breastfeeding) and pregnancy, double the amount should be added. An excessive supply of vitamin D favors an excessive level of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, but there is a risk of vascular calcification and bloody diarrhea.
Overdosing on vitamin D for dogs promotes calcification throughout the body: premature vascular calcification can result in kidney failure, metabolic problems, heart failure and osteoarthritis.
After long-term daily intake of 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 per kilogram of body mass, kidney calcifications were observed. Even with therapeutic measures, 10 times the normal requirement should not be exceeded.
Vitamin E for dogs
Vitamin E is found in nuts, oils, seeds and cereals. Vitamin E protects fat-soluble tissue in the body from oxidation. In this function, it also protects against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin E supports energy production and helps muscles and nerves function with less energy.
The vitamin E requirement varies in particular from the simultaneous intake of unsaturated fatty acids. Growing puppies need 0.6 mg of vitamin E per kilogram of body weight per day. They need this amount to have a normal development. The demand is higher for pregnant and lactating bitches. Typical vitamin E deficiency conditions have rarely been observed under practical conditions. Central nervous disorders and rethinopathies (damage to the eye on the vitreous body) are the consequences of an insufficient supply of vitamin E. An overdose leads to dizziness, nausea and muscle weakness.
The dog's tolerance to vitamin E is high - no complications from overdose were observed. Light is the greatest enemy of this vitamin. Strong heat and oxygen reduce the dog food content. When heated strongly, only half of the vitamin content remains.
Vitamin K for dogs
Vitamin K is necessary for prothrombin formation (blood platelets) and for the production of other blood coagulation factors. A deficiency delays blood clotting and bleeding occurs in severe cases.
Vitamin K can be produced in the intestine because the dog does not rely solely on an exogenous intake. Vitamin K is contained in fishmeal, liver and green fodder. Vitamin K deficiency can occur after antibiotic or sulfonamide treatment.
The treatment damages the intestinal flora, which is responsible for the formation of vitamin K. Vitamin K is a particularly robust vitamin. Only light can damage it. n.
Water soluble vitamins for dogs are:
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) for dogs
Vitamin B plays a central role in the metabolic process. A daily intake of 20 micrograms is sufficient for the dog. The demand is higher for young dogs and breeding animals. A lack of vitamin B1 leads to reluctance to eat, coprophagia (eating feces), nervous symptoms (stargazing disease, paralysis of the hands), cramps and circulatory disorders.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) for dogs
This vitamin is involved in the hydrogen transfer. It is found in milk, yeast, liver, lungs and the forestomach. No vitamin B2 deficiencies have been diagnosed under normal circumstances. Foods containing vitamin B2 should be stored in a dark and cool place. This vitamin also damages light and heat. A loss of approx. 50% must be expected when cooking.
Vitamin B6 for dogs
Vitamin B6 is essential for the metabolism of amino acids and proteins. A lack of this vitamin can lead to the formation of oxalate stones (type of kidney stones) in the urine. Protein-rich rations such as a lack of essential fatty acids generally increase the vitamin B6 requirement.
A lack of vitamin B6 leads to loss of appetite, disturbed growth and even anemia.
The daily requirement for vitamin B6 for adult dogs is 20 micrograms. For growing and reproductive dogs one should estimate 60 micrograms per kg body weight per day. Most feeds have sufficient amounts of vitamin B6 so that symptoms of deficiency are not to be expected. Vitamin B6 does not tolerate heat or light. Approx. 40% is lost in the normal cooking process.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) for dogs
Vitamin B12 is found in almost all body cells and is important for cell division. This is why a vitamin B12 deficiency is noticeable in the bone marrow cells, where erythropoiesis (formation of red blood cells) takes place. Disorders of the small intestine, stomach, pancreas (pancreas) or increased bacterial colonization of the intestine lead to a lack of vitamin B12.
The health and growth of the dog is already secured with 0.5 micrograms of vitamin B12, growing dogs get 1 microgram daily per kilogram of body weight.
Vitamin B12 is found in animal feed. Especially with liver. A supplement is indicated for purely vegetarian food.
If the animal is a vegetarian, vitamin B12 should be added. Vitamin B12 is also destroyed by heat, light and oxygen. For this reason, containers that are easy to close should be kept and refrigerated.
A constant intake of group B vitamins puts a strain on the liver because it is stored there and released again as needed. The addition of these vitamins is therefore unnecessary in healthy animals with normal intestinal flora.
Vitamin C for dogs
Vitamin C is produced in dogs in sufficient quantities in the liver or kidneys. Therefore, feeding via the feed is generally not necessary. A temporary addition of vitamin C - 60 - 80 mg per kilogram of body mass has proven itself for heavily used sled dogs. Also for infections, liver diseases or after operations. A supply of vitamin C in healthy animals leads to depression of the phagocytic (phagocytes destroy foreign cells) leucocyte activity.
This vitamin is sensitive to oxygen and does not tolerate heat or prolonged storage. About 40% is lost through cooking. Regarding the shelf life of vitamins C, it can be said that it depends on how many degrees the dog food is heated.
The so-called "self-cookers" take a lot of effort and work, but it is not certain whether the feed is heated too high and the majority of the vitamins are destroyed.
Basically, you should keep in mind that the content of natural vitamins deteriorate over time. Vitamin content deteriorates over time.
What do you think? Is your dog taking vitamins?