Puppy vitamins are the subject of this post, as many are asking, “does my puppy need a vitamin supplement”? Your puppy’s food is fortified with a supply of vitamins already, which may lead you to wonder if you would be overdoing it by adding more to her diet. Also, you may wonder which vitamins are most important if puppies need them.
These are good questions, and we have answers.
What Are Vitamins for Dogs?
Vitamins are organic compounds, the building blocks for good health in dogs. They are naturally found in the foods we eat, and are necessary nutrients for supporting growth and metabolic health in puppies as they grow up into adult dogs. For a wild dog, he gets his vitamins from the entire raw carcass of his prey (including the stomach contents of his prey), in various raw plants he may eat, and he also produces his own within his body (non-essential vitamins). For example, your dog is able to produce his own vitamin C and vitamin B when properly nourished. Vitamins can also be provided through the form of supplements.
Your dog’s food likely contains a minimum requirement of vitamins and nutrients as outlined by the AAFCO to make sure they don’t die. Even with more expensive, “healthy” dog foods, that may contain a bit more of this or that vitamin, the bottom line is, there’s just so much nutrition that can fit into a kibble. Also, some vitamins are simply unable to hold their value well when put into processed food. We believe our puppies need more, and this means providing supplemental vitamins.
Why Puppies Need Vitamins
Puppies in the developing stages of life stand to benefit most from vitamin supplementation. Proper nutrition ensures good development of eyes, brain, gut, bones and joints. This is key for a long and vital life. That said, also knowing when to provide the right nutrients is important. For example, large breed puppies should avoid too much of certain vitamins and amino acids which cause the bones to grow too quickly until they’re past the initial growth period. In contrast, small breed puppies fair well with extra amino acids and higher protein content as they tend to grow faster in relation to larger breeds.
Your puppy will continue to need vitamins throughout their lifetime, however, these needs will change as they grow.
6 Vitamins Puppies Absolutely Need
- Vitamin A
- B vitamins (biotin, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, pyridoxine, and vitamin B-12)
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin D
Vitamin A for Dogs
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is very important for growth periods in puppies. Because it is fat soluble, it is best absorbed when eaten with his meal (containing some fat). Your puppy is also able to store vitamin A in their fatty tissues and draw from it later as available and needed. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and assists in healthy development of immune and cell function, including good eye health. A low-dose supplement will benefit your puppy as he grows.
B Vitamins for Dogs
B vitamins play an important role for all animals, including your puppy. The advantages of these water soluble vitamins on your dog’s body and mind are so vast, we would have to write a several part article to include them all. Your puppy is able to produce some of these vitamins on his own, and at the same time, will benefit greatly from a little B vitamin boost each day.
While Folic Acid is technically part of the B vitamin family, we single it out for being an essential vitamin (not naturally manufactured in the canine body). Your pup needs just a little bit, and while it's usually supplied in the dog food, it is better absorbed as a liquid. Folic acid plays an important role in neural development, and muscle and tissue generation.
Boron is important for puppies while bone growth is underway. It's the stuff that helps bind the calcium to the bone, giving it strength. This is an important vitamin, not just for puppies, but also adult dogs, and breeds prone to osteoporosis and arthritis.
Vitamin D for Dogs
Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, important for good bone growth in puppies. A modest boost of this fat soluble vitamin each day is a healthy way to maintain good skin condition and a strong structure for his later years.
Choline for Dogs
The brain and nervous system are in rapid development in your dog’s first few years, and choline is a great nutrient to support their healthy development. While choline is not technically a "vitamin", it is an organic compound with high nutritional value. Many dog foods do not contain this superhero, so make sure to provide a supplement while he’s a puppy and into adulthood.
Recommended: Spectrin for Dogs™, an 8-in-1 liquid vitamin for maximum wellness in dogs and puppies.
Choosing a Multivitamin for Your Puppy
First, it’s important to only give canine vitamins to your dog, as human supplements often have additives that can harm their health. Like any positive diet change, always consult with your vet to be sure the vitamin supplement you’re thinking of giving your puppy is appropriate. Too much of anything can be bad for a puppy. Further, if your puppy is taking medications or has special health requirements, your vet will be able to guide you through the contraindications and recommendations.
Lastly, remember that your puppy’s needs will change throughout his life and into his later dog years, so check with your veterinarian periodically as your dog grows into different stages. We've developed Spectrin™ for Dogs to provide for the health needs of puppies and young adult dogs.
Cites and References
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Dec 12;57(18):3850-3859. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2016.1171202. Current knowledge of vitamin D in dogs. Weidner N1, Verbrugghe A.
Br J Nutr. 2012 Nov 28;108(10):1800-9. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000128. Epub 2012 Feb 28. Safety evaluation of vitamin A in growing dogs. Morris PJ1, Salt C, Raila J, Brenten T, Kohn B, Schweigert FJ, Zentek J.
Vet Sci. 2017 Dec; 4(4): 59. Published online 2017 Nov 24. doi: 10.3390/vetsci4040059. The Role of Thiamine and Effects of Deficiency in Dogs and Cats Georgia Kritikos, Jacqueline M. Parr, and Adronie Verbrugghe.
J Vet Intern Med. 2013 Mar-Apr;27(2):217-26. doi: 10.1111/jvim.12033. Epub 2013 Jan 16. Potential adverse effects of omega-3 Fatty acids in dogs and cats. Lenox CE, Bauer JE.
Anaerobe. 2015 Aug;34:14-23. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2015.04.002. Epub 2015 Apr 8. Microbiota and probiotics in canine and feline welfare. Grześkowiak Ł, Endo A, Beasley S, Salminen S.
Br J Nutr. 2012 Nov 28; 108(10): 1800–1809. Published online 2012 Mar 1. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000128. Safety evaluation of vitamin A in growing dogs. Penelope J. Morris ,* Carina Salt, Jens Raila, Thomas Brenten, Barbara Kohn, Florian J. Schweigert, and Jürgen Zentek