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Dogs and Vitamins: What to Know

Your dog needs its daily vitamins just as much as you do, and here's where you should start looking if you're going to supplement Spot's diet.
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The access to too much information regarding dog vitamins has gotten pet dog owners confused. There are hundreds of dog supplements in the market, each one claiming to be superior over the competition, but distinguishing hype from real value can be a daunting task. What is unarguable, however, is the fact that dogs need their vitamins as much as people need theirs. Dog owners who love their dogs realize the important role of these supplements in the preservation and maintenance of their dogs’ health.

The foods you give your dog do not contain all the principal nutrients to keep it fit and healthy. Further, there are external factors in the environment and unavoidable events, such as aging, that affect your dog’s condition negatively and make it vulnerable to potential illnesses. Free radicals contribute to air, land and water pollution, which is a lethal combination for your dog if exposure is frequent and in large quantities. Thus, it helps to be correctly informed about the essential vitamins and minerals that you must give your dog to protect it from harmful elements and maintain its good health and attractive appearance. Here are the key dog vitamins and minerals you should look for when shopping for your dog.

1. Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine is a natural compound found in the cartilages of healthy dogs while chondroitin is a form of carbohydrate derived from the articular cartilages. As dogs grow older, arthritis sets in. Obesity and inactivity contribute to the onset of this very common canine disease. A glucosamine and chondroitin composition can help prevent arthritis and alleviate the symptoms of joint pains. Both amino sugar elements help in the repair of damaged cartilage and support cartilage growth in the joints and bones of dogs.

2. Calcium, Copper and Phosphorus
Calcium plays a vital role in the growth and maintenance of healthy and dense bones and in the function of important body systems. Calcium needs phosphorus for it to be absorbed and used properly in the dog’s body. Phosphorus is a major element in the formation of bones, teeth and RNA and DNA. Copper aids in the production of red blood cells, collagen, melanin and myelin. These three minerals are significant elements in dogs’ anatomy and physiology. A lack of any of them may bring about anemia, bone abnormalities, lowered immune system and abnormal metabolism. As dog supplements, they help in the prevention of infections, bone fractures and promote healthy bones and cells.

3. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)
MSM is a form of sulfur that's present in plants and animals. In combination with glucosamine, it alleviates the pain of arthritis, decreases bone deformities that're caused by osteoporosis and aids in the treatment of other skeletal disorders. It's also a remedy for skin diseases, hair loss and allergies. It promotes and speeds up wound healing. It may come in the form of creams or gels for direct application to the skin or it may be tablet or capsule forms to be taken by mouth.

4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are not produced naturally in dogs’ bodies; thus, they have to be supplied as dietary supplements. These essential fatty acids are abundant in fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, lake trout and sardines. Taken as dog vitamins and minerals, pet omega 3 fatty acids lower the risk for heart diseases, cancer and other chronic illnesses. They are also nutrients that enhance memory and brain performance and correct behavioral problems like lethargy and mood swings.

5. Vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E and K
Dog vitamins contain these principal vitamins to promote optimum health and maintain their hair and skin. They also function internally to preserve strong bones, muscles, nerves and tissues and support dogs’ physical and mental development. They are found in dog food but the amount may not be sufficient; hence, there is a need to add them to the dogs’ diets through tablet or liquid forms.

6. Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, Chloride and Zinc
Like vitamins, these are minerals found in dog food but in small quantities. Each one has its special purpose in promoting healthy canine anatomy and function of their various body systems. Working together or separately, they help develop healthy dog organs so that metabolism, circulation, heart and lung function, elimination of free radicals from the body and all the other physiological functions performance properly.

Signs of a Healthy Dog
A visual inspection of your dog will help you recognize signs of health and prompt you to take immediate action if you detect an approaching illness.

  • Skin and Hair – A healthy skin color is pale pink, brown or black depending on breed. It's smooth and elastic, not rough or limp. Check for the presence of scabs, red areas or growths by running your hand over the dog's back and stomach or part the hair and look for fleas, lice or cuts and wounds. The dog’s hair or coat should be glossy, smooth and not too oily.
  • Eyes – Eyes should be bright, alert and clear. The whites should not be yellowish. Watch out for excessive mucus and tearing, yellow discharges and eyelid inflammation. These are signs of eye disease that need a vet’s attention and treatment.
  • Ears – The skin inside the ears should be free from lice. It should be a healthy pink, smooth and clean. Some amount of wax is normal but too much leads to crusting. Dogs with ear problems often scratch or shake their heads frequently. Dog breeds with long, hairy ears need more care and attention than others who have normal size ears.
  • Mouth, Teeth and Gums – Normal, healthy gums should be pinkish, black or spotted depending on the dog’s breed. Teeth should be white and clean. Check for substances that cover or surround teeth; this is plaque or tartar that should be removed by brushing. Check your dog for bad breath and inspect the gums for infections. If you suspect mouth infection, take the dog to the vet immediately. Mouth diseases can lead to problems that are more serious.
  • Nose – A cool and moist nose without excessive nasal discharges is a sign of health; however, a warm nose is not a conclusive indicator of fever. Nasal discharges should not be yellowish, bubbly or foul smelling, as these are signs of respiratory illnesses.

Dogs make amazing friends and companions. They are playful, protective and loyal. Treat your dog well and care for it. Giving your pup the best dog vitamins as a part of its daily diet is one way of ensuring that your dog remains healthy and happy, giving you the priceless treasure of many years of dog devotion and friendship.

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Statements made about specific vitamins, supplements, procedures or other items sold on or through this website have not been evaluated by eVitamins or by the United States Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. As always, please consult with a licensed doctor or physician before starting any diet, exercise or supplement program, before taking any vitamin or medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a problem.

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