Are Dog Vitamin Supplements Necessary?

Dog vitamin supplements are considered essential to the dog’s well-being as they boost the dog’s immune system. Although commercial dog foods claim to provide all essential nutrients, these nutrients are generally destroyed by the heating and processing that’s necessary in the manufacture of such food products. This results in a malnourished dog that would benefit from vitamin supplements.


Vitamins are required by the body for metabolism, bone growth, good vision and dental health. They're required in very small amounts in order to maintain optimum health. Vitamins deal with the removal of free radicals produced due to the oxidation process. These free radicals are responsible for diseases such as arthritis, heart diseases, cataracts, premature ageing and cancer. Dogs that are fed poor diets and aren’t given vitamin supplements show a buildup of free radicals in their systems and are more prone to ailments.

When Is Supplementation Necessary?

Although vitamin supplements are beneficial, they can’t replace a nutritious diet and regular exercise. Before administering vitamin supplements to your pet, consider several factors such as your dog’s age, his overall condition and how active he is. An older dog should be given vitamin supplements that boost his immune system as he finds it difficult to absorb all the vitamins present in food and also has a decreased appetite.

Pregnant dogs should also be given these supplements as their bodies require more vitamins from the fourth week of pregnancy. A dog that is less active does well with vitamin supplements. Similarly, dogs recovering from an illness, injury or surgery, arthritic dogs and working pets benefit from taking additional vitamin supplements.

Ingredients Present in Vitamin Supplements

  • Antioxidants essential for normal cell metabolism and the removal of free radicals.
  • Vitamin B Complex that stimulates the appetite.
  • Fatty acids that safeguard against illnesses and have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Choline that detoxifies the liver and produces nerve chemicals like dopamine and acetylcholine that are essential for brain function.
  • Vitamin E that acts as a mild anti-inflammatory and promotes healthy footpads.
  • Calcium and phosphorus that help keep the bones and teeth strong.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin that help prevent joint disease.

Adverse Effects of Vitamin Supplements

By administering vitamin supplements to your pet, you might run the risk of providing him with more amounts of the vitamins than his recommended daily intake.

Vitamin A

Although deficiency of Vitamin A can cause vision problems, skin problems, diarrhea and impaired growth, excess of this vitamin can cause bleeding disorders, hair loss and bone deformities. It may also damage the development of the fetus in pregnant dogs.

Vitamin C

It’s believed that Vitamin C supplements can prevent hip dysplasia but since this is a genetic abnormality, supplements can’t help prevent it. However, excess of this vitamin can cause liver and kidney problems, diarrhea, glandular problems and kidney stones.

Vitamin D

Deficiency of Vitamin D can cause rickets, vision problems and nervous disorders but an excess can give risk to polyuria, nausea and clarification of muscles.

Feeding your pet a balanced diet is the best way to ensure his continued good health. However, if you want to add vitamin supplements to his diet, you should conduct a vet check before doing so.