Vitamin A for Dogs

Vitamin A like most other vitamins is essential for proper metabolism in the pet’s body. Vitamins are divided into two categories namely fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins. Some of the fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K while some of the water soluble vitamins include vitamins C and B. Vitamins are present in several foods like meats, vegetables and oils. Since they’re present in small quantities and are sometimes lost during the cooking process, it becomes necessary to supplement the pet’s diet with other sources of vitamins.

Vitamin A

Since vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, it is stored in the fat cells (lipocytes) in the dog’s body. Although vitamins are essential for metabolism, they can cause several problems if there is a buildup of vitamins in the fat cells. In general dogs require 2272 IU per pound of dry food consumed. If they are given more than this amount, it could lead to toxicity in the long run. Although foods such as milk and milk products, eggs, fish liver oil, vegetables and liver contain small amounts of vitamin A, dogs could also be fed nutritional supplements to meet the daily requirement of vitamins and minerals. Although over consumption of vitamin A leads to toxicity, deficiency of vitamin A is also known to cause several problems in dogs.

Problems Caused by Vitamin A Deficiency

  • Skin and Coat conditions
  • Poor Growth
  • Dull coat
  • Night Blindness

Other Problems from Deficient Vitamin A

Apart from these common conditions, dogs that are deficient in vitamin A suffer from several reproductive disorders. Female dog’s that are deficient in vitamin A give birth to puppies that face growth problems, loss of hair and eye disorders. It’s thus important to supplement a puppy’s diet with vitamin A and other nutrients for the first 2 years, to ensure proper growth.

Female dogs also face other reproductive problems like delayed ovulation, while male dog’s stand a chance of becoming sterile due to vitamin deficiencies. Due to this reason, it’s important to ascertain that dog’s used for breeding purposes are fed diets rich in vitamins and minerals.

Commercially Available Products

There are several commercially available supplements that consist of varying amounts of vitamins and minerals. VitaChews is one such supplement (available in chicken flavor) that offers balanced nutrition. Along with 1500 IU of vitamin A, the supplement contains 10 minerals and 11 vitamins. Although the supplement is a non prescription product, it should be administered according to the instructions listed on the package.

If your pet’s food already contains vitamin A you may prefer to use a supplement that contains a lower amount of the vitamin. Pet-Tabs Plus is another commercially available vitamin supplement that contains 1000 IU of vitamin A. As a general guideline, dogs weighing more than 10 lbs should be given one whole tablet every day, while those weighing less than 10 lbs should be given half a tablet, daily.

Before administering any supplement to your pet, it’s advisable to conduct a vet check to find out if the pet is suffering from any condition or deficiency. You should also watch for any symptoms of toxicity like abnormalities of the bone or muscle wasting, after administering supplements for a few month.