Are Dog Vitamins Necessary?
Providing your dog with vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional components is essential to your pet’s health and well-being. The best way to do that is by feeding it a high-quality, complete, and balanced diet. Often you may be tempted to supplement your pet’s diet with table scraps or vitamin supplements. It is, however, better for your dog if you forego supplementing its food.
Should I Give My Dog Vitamin Supplements?
Concerned pet owners like you need to realize that quality dog foods are carefully formulated to meet your pet’s caloric needs.
Also, quality dog food provides essential amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals specific to your dog’s nutritional requirements. Quality foods are complete and balanced for a particular life stage or lifestyle. By adding table scraps or other supplements, the delicate nutrient balance can be disrupted.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates the pet food industry and has established specific nutritional requirements for dogs and cats. These requirements are published annually in the AAFCO Manual. Only pet foods that have met the strict testing criteria established by AAFCO can carry the “complete and balanced” statement on the label. Check to make sure that your dog’s food has it.
Why Is Giving My Dog Supplements a Bad Idea?
So, while supplementing begins with good intentions, it is often unnecessary, and it can upset the delicately balanced nutritional requirements of your dog.
Part of this delicate balance occurs because the interaction between different minerals is very complicated. Research has shown that the individual mineral levels in a diet are essential, but so is the proper balance. An excess of one mineral may affect the absorption of a second. As a result, this excess could lead to a deficiency in that second mineral.
One common supplement is feeding additional meat. However, because meat contains 20 to 40 times more phosphorus than calcium, adding meat to a balanced diet will upset the calcium to phosphorus (or Ca:P) ratio, which is essential for proper bone development and maintenance. This imbalance may prompt your dog’s body to absorb calcium from the bones to reach the right balance. Ca:P ratio should range between 1.1 and 1.4 parts of calcium for each 1 part of phosphorus.
Excess amounts of calcium have been associated with several bone diseases that affect growing puppies. For example, if you own a large-breed puppy, you may believe it requires extra calcium for the proper development of bones. However, adding yogurt, cottage cheese, or calcium tablets to the pup’s diet will only upset the body’s delicate mineral balance. Remember that large-breed puppies will consume more food and receive the calcium their bodies need by eating the recommended portions.
The best way to support a healthy growth rate is to feed growing dogs adequate, but not excessive, amounts of food that are part of a balanced diet, using a portion-controlled regimen.
Article written by Author: Anne Black