Is It Healthy To Give My Dog Human Vitamins? (Find Out)
As humans, we know that vitamins and supplements can help boost our livelihood in many ways. As pet owners, we may have occasionally contemplated whether or not the same benefits that we enjoy from these vitamins can be experienced by our four-legged friends. Is there any harm in trying?
Your Dog’s Need for Vitamins
Vitamins are an essential part of keeping your pooch healthy. Collectively, they play vital roles in maintaining and regulating various bodily processes that are crucial for a healthy lifestyle. Shielding the body from toxins, easing digestion, building muscle, and coat health maintenance are just some of the things that vitamins can do.
Much like as it is with humans, certain vitamins target different, specific functions within a pooch’s body. What’s more, the functionality of these vitamins are similar in dogs as they are in people. For instance, Vitamin D is important for your dog’s teeth health, while Vitamin A is vital for your dog’s skin and hair.
Similar, but Different
Because of the similarities in how vitamins function between dogs and humans, it could be easy to assume that they are also somewhat interchangeable between species. However, thinking this way – and following through on this mindset – can unfortunately be a dangerous proposition.
The biggest reason for this comes down to a dog’s needs, which are largely dictated by size. Human vitamins work so well for us because they are specifically geared toward a grown person’s body structure. Not even the biggest dog breeds are not the size of the average human. By giving your pooch a human vitamin, you’re giving him too much of a good thing.
In the case of vitamins, an overabundance could lead to various issues for your pooch. If you provide too much of a specific vitamin, severe excess could have a toxic effect, particularly if the vitamins in question are vitamins A and D. What you thought would be a benefit can wind up giving him bone spurs, lethargy, muscle weakness, and other unpleasant stuff.
Think of it this way: You probably wouldn’t give your young, pre-teen child an adult vitamin supplement. Rather, you would opt to give him or her a vitamin specifically formulated for kids to be taken by kids. Why should treating your dog be any different than this?
Are Vitamins Necessary?
Once you’ve avoided the temptation of providing your pooch with your own supplements, you’re ready to explore the wide world of canine vitamins. But before you make the plunge, you might want to examine your pooch’s situation to confirm whether or not he actually needs a vitamin supplement.
This can be a confusing conundrum to face. On one hand, some experts warn against resorting to using vitamins as a regular everyday occurrence. Others feel that there’s no harm in providing your pooch with dog-specific vitamins provided that the usage directions are followed to the letter.
To further the conundrum, the answer regarding who is right seems to fall somewhere in the middle between both camps. There are indeed scenarios that can crop up where vitamins or mineral supplements are the right call. There are also situations where an extra vitamin is completely overkill.
When Giving Your Dog a Vitamin Makes Sense
There are a few situations that could occur in a dog’s life where even naysayers will confirm that a vitamin supplement is warranted. These scenarios tend to be highly specific, and they are built around the need to correct a noted deficiency.
If your dog is specifically diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency, your vet will most likely prescribe vitamins specifically pertaining to the deficient vitamin. You should not expect your dog to receive a multivitamin in this case. Your chief concern here is to get the targeted vitamin up to a normal count.
Conversely, if your dog has a disease that responds positively to supplementation, you should provide your pooch with the vitamin that triggers the reaction. For instance, if your pooch suffers from osteoarthritis, he may be prescribed with a vitamin E supplement. This is because vitamin E has been shown to have great anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s also roundly acceptable to supplement your dog with vitamins if you feed him a home-prepared diet. While a “home-cooked” meal may come with lots of love, it may not come with the sufficient amount of vitamins that he needs. If you go this route, you should consult a vet to ensure which vitamins he may be lacking in as a result of his food.
There are also some that suggest providing your pooch with vitamins is great because he’s eating a poor-quality diet, and a supplement will counteract the poorness. However, most experts will tell you that doing so makes for a poor substitute for an improved diet. You’re better off trying to overhaul the issue rather than slap it with a band-aid.
Does High-Quality Dog Food Make Vitamins Unnecessary?
Experts who discourage the use of a daily vitamin supplement will point to the dog’s food as the main reason why. The argument here is that if your dog is eating a well-balanced, nutritionally complete dog food filled with high-quality ingredients, then no supplement should be necessary.
The reason for this is because a high-quality dog food should already contain the proper level of vitamins and minerals that are needed to maintain proper balance. If anything, experts caution that introducing a supplement on top of the quality chow would potentially run the risk of overloading your pooch with vitamins. Again, this could be a bad thing.
Don’t Guess – Talk to Your Vet!
Because the answer to providing vitamins for your dog is so wide-reaching, it’s important that you work with your vet to craft a specific vitamin plan for your pooch – if he even needs one in the first place. Doing this step is critical not only to promote your dog’s health, but also to provide you with peace of mind as a dog owner. And why wouldn’t you want that?