Our dogs are hardy animals, but even the best diet still has some holes. Thankfully, there are a ton of multivitamins for dogs out there, just waiting to make sure that your animal has the nutrients they need to get through the day. Most people aren’t up on dog nutrition, however, and that can be a problem when you’re trying to find the best canine multivitamin.
If you’re in that boat then it’s time to learn a few things. Read on and we’ll show you what to look for and how to avoid problems on your quest for perfect dog health.
Whether your dog needs a multivitamin or not depends on their activity level, metabolism, and diet. For the most part an animal isn’t going to suffer because they’re lacking a daily multivitamin, although those dogs fed with “real” food instead of balanced commercial kibble may have some deficiencies.
The same is true for humans, however, and multivitamins are still big business.
With careful attention to detail you can shore up any deficiencies which occur in a dog’s diet.
The question ends up being less about a dog needing the vitamin, since the majority of dogs are fed kibble which provides sufficient nutrients, but instead about maintaining optimal health.
While some careful thought has to go into your choice of canine multivitamin they’re great insurance against old age, chronic issues, and other problems that can occur when things fall out of balance.
Those dogs which are already on a high-quality dog food should skip the multivitamin. These are almost always formulated with optimal canine health in mind and the extra nutrients aren’t necessarily a good thing.
In any case, consult with a veterinarian before deciding on a daily vitamin.
What to Look for in a Dog Multivitamin
Our furry friends have different nutritional needs than we do. Even veterinary researchers are consistently finding new and exciting parts of canine metabolism, it just wasn’t a subject of serious study until the last few decades.
Because of that it’s hard to point out a specific multivitamin which is going to exceed expectations across the board.
Most multivitamins for dogs are assembled around what’s known about the differences in metabolism. That said, different dogs will have different needs so it’s important to take the following into consideration.
Most of the cheaper multivitamin brands source their nutrients synthetically. In other words: many of these ingredients are produced in a lab instead of extracted from whole foods.
That can be a bit of a problem.
You see, synthetic vitamins aren’t always exactly the same chemical. One of the most common instances of weird things happening is that stereoisomers of vitamins are often easier to synthesize than the original.
They’re the same molecule but essentially end up flipped over. This causes them to interact in a different fashion than the natural forms of the vitamin.
Others are just differing salts that absorb at different rates.
Without getting too technical here: you want to look for a multivitamin which uses natural sources for most, if not all, of their ingredients. They interact with your dog’s metabolism much better and your canine can’t really tell you if they feel better or not when vitamins enter their life so it’s a case of better safe than sorry.
Natural ingredients also cost more, if you’re trying to fix imbalances caused by a deficient diet your money may be better spent on a high-quality dog food.
Getting animals to take medication is a notoriously difficult problem. Now imagine having to do it every day.
It’s for that reason that the market is replete with meat-flavored gummies and treats, while pills and capsules have largely fallen by the wayside.
Gummies are usually the easiest way to ensure that your dog takes their vitamins, but some of the dry treats can work wonders as well if your dog enjoys them. You may need to try a few different flavors, but most have been extensively tested to make sure the majority of dogs find them palatable before they hit the market.
Many dog multivitamins are meant for different stages of a dog’s life. It’s important to match them since dogs will have varying nutritional requirements throughout their life.
It’s important to stay on script here. Some vitamins, such as Vitamin A, are fat-soluble and the differing amounts can prove to be harmful in the long run as they build up to higher-than-normal levels.
For the same reason you should make sure the dosage is appropriate for your dog’s size. Most multivitamins will come with a guide that lets you know how many to feed to your pet in order to make sure that they get the right dose.
Veterinarian Recommendation and Reputation
You should make sure you’re purchasing from a reputable brand. There are scandals in the supplement industry all the time stemming from lies, scams, and sometimes outright harmful behavior.
You really don’t want to use your pet as a guinea pig.
For that reason, checking on the reputation of a brand before making a purchase is essential.
The consumer will also be well served to also see if veterinarians’ are on-board with the brand. If so, the chances of finding a “dud” go way down. Both of these should be taken into account.
When you’re breaking down pricing you’ll want to make sure that you know how much you’ll be spending per month rather than how much the initial cost will be. A two month supply that costs 150% of a one month supply will end up saving money in the long run after all.
Just be sure to be reasonable rather than turn your nose up at a larger or higher dosage bottle that costs a few dollars more.
Q: My vet says my dog is deficient in a nutrient, is a canine multivitamin what I need?
A: If your dog is suffering from the removal of a specific nutrient from their diet then jumping to a multivitamin might not be the best option. Instead, find a supplement for pets that specifically contains the compound your dog is sufficient in.
Q: Can a dog multivitamin harm my pet?
A: If you overdose them, yes, vitamins can be harmful. Given in the correct quantitiy it’s unlikely that your dog will suffer from any ill effects and generally shoring up any nutrients they need is good practice for a long life.
Q: Are there any nutrients I should keep an eye out for in dog multivitamins?
A: Calcium can be a killer for large breed dogs. Increased calcium intake for a puppy in a breed prone to joint problems is a bad idea, studies show it leads to a higher occurrence down the line. Since these problems primarily plague larger dogs, it’s important to make sure you have a large breed vitamin for puppies if you’re opting to supplement while they’re young.
Q: Can I use a human multivitamin for my dogs?
A: No. Humans have different metabolisms and require different nutrients, all that introducing a human multivitamin to the equation will do is cause further problems. In this case, you should only use products intended specifically for canines.
Q: How can I know if my dog multivitamin is working?
A: For the most part, you’ll have to trust the process. Signs that things are working include increased activity levels, a healthier coat, and better formed claws. Vitamins are the building blocks of the body but the effects aren’t always obvious.