Many of us take vitamins and supplements to support our overall health and ensure that we are receiving the right level of nutrients that may not be taken in through food normally.
You can also do the same for your pet and your veterinarian may recommend that you introduce these to your pet’s diet.
Commonly, multivitamins are given, as well as supplements that support the functioning of joints, and fatty acids that help to improve your pet’s coat and reduce shedding. Probiotics may also be given to aid gastrointestinal problems, as well as antioxidants which help to combat the effects of aging.
It’s important to remember that providing your pet with additional vitamins and supplements should only be done under the recommendation of your veterinarian, as it can be harmful to overdose on these, despite the fact that we may think we are helping to improve the overall health of the animal.
What is the difference between a vitamin and a supplement?
Vitamins are organic substances that provide essential chemicals to keep your pet’s body healthy and are usually found in food.
Supplements are manufactured products that are designed to provide nutrients orally through a combination of several other ingredients, e.g. vitamins, minerals, fibre, fatty acids, or amino acids. They are normally taken when specific nutrients are not being consumed in sufficient quantities.
Should I give my pet vitamins?
Most pet foods are designed to provide a complete and balanced diet, including all of the vitamins and minerals your pet will typically require.
If you provide homemade food for your pet, you may need to consider adding additional supplements. However, you should seek the expert advice of your veterinarian to ensure that you are providing the right nutrients to your pet, and if any additional supplements are actually needed.
Can giving additional vitamins and supplements be dangerous?
If you’re already providing a balanced diet for your pet and introducing additional vitamins and supplements, this could be harmful to your pet. For example, an excess of calcium can cause problems with bone health. Vitamin D given in high doses can also cause your pet to lose appetite as well as problems with muscle wastage.
How do I know whether I should give vitamins and supplements to my pet?
Before you make any changes to your pet’s diet, you should always consult your veterinarian. Providing additional vitamins and supplements should be seen as an exception, rather than a rule. In addition, if you pet is also taking medication, your veterinarian will be able to advise whether other substances may interrupt treatment and put your pet at risk.