Vitamins for your Pets
By: Dr. George Obikoya
When trace minerals are deficient in our food and water, the body's defense systems cannot function properly. Likewise, animals lacking proper amounts of copper, iron, selenium, and others, have been found to be much more likely to develop diseases and have shorter lifespans.
Most animals are usually prescribed drugs, specifically antibiotics and vitamins, at times when they are ill. However, antibiotics kill all germs and rarely discriminate between good and bad germs. When the 'good' germs are constantly assaulted by antibiotics, the 'bad' germs can become super-germs which may then become impervious to drugs. Keeping the immune system healthy in the first place can vastly reduce the need for constant antibiotic treatment. Indeed, antibiotics are only indicated when the body cannot naturally fight against bacteria, not simply when you have a cold but are healthy enough to fight it off.
Vitamins help to fortify the immune system and also control the body's appropriation of minerals. However, if there are no vitamins and no trace minerals, the body has no ability to use the vitamins to help fight disease and therefore the vitamins are useless. It is for that reason that replacing lost minerals in both your diet and your pet's diet is essential.
Our pets need vitamins and minerals. Just like for us, vitamins and minerals are very important nutrients. In today's environment, they may need them more than we had originally thought as current diets rob us of much beneficial nutrients. Vitamins perform many important functions for our pets. If your pets depend on canned or dried food, it is necessary to consider supplementing their diet with vitamins and minerals. Our pets too live in a polluted world full of toxic chemicals. Besides, they live closer to the ground, closer to pollutants that emanate from synthetic carpets, or to cleaning solvents used on the floor, or to the herbicides and pesticides sprayed in the yard. Indeed, lawn fertilizers have been shown to increase the chance of disease in dogs that play on sprayed lawns.
Pets eat highly processed food, possibly the most highly processed on the planet. Often the ingredients are of questionable origin. Would you eat dog or cat food? Many pet foods are loaded with chemicals. Such as artificial colors that make the food look pretty to your eyes. Some of them are banned in other countries. It seems plausible that some pets are sensitive to such chemicals. The food may look good to you but it may be causing grief for your animal.
Did you know that advertising claims of "complete and balanced" pet diets are based on uncertain minimum nutritional requirements designed for maintenance of barely adequate health, not optimum health? Also it is hardly comforting to know that many vitamins and minerals are lost in the processing or are simply missing to begin with.
Vitamins are classified into 2 main groups: Fat soluble and water soluble. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble dissolved in fats. A is the skin vitamin. D is for healthy bones and teeth. E is the antioxidant vitamin and K is the blood clotting vitamin. Liver is an excellent food source for all these vitamins. Unfortunately you need to ensure adequate vitamin intake to stay healthy long term. The B vitamin group and vitamin C are water soluble. This means that they are easily lost through cooking and processing. However overdosing is not as big a concern as it is with the fat soluble vitamins. The problem is they flush out of your system regularly, so adequate intake is imperative.
The B family of vitamins is for healthy muscle, skin and blood. Vitamin C, the stress, antioxidant vitamin is a popular vitamin for us humans. Carnivores can make their own vitamin C but lately it is believed that they may not be making enough especially in stressful situations. Again liver and kidney are good food sources for pets. This does not mean liver flavor though!
How would we suspect a vitamin deficiency in your pet? Your dog or cat will show us the signs. For example: poor skin and hair coat when deficient in vitamins A and / or B; Your pet will be anemic and constantly tired if deficient in vitamin B; and will have cancer and heart problems if deficient in vitamin D.
Hopefully, you buy your animal a premium quality food: food that has no preservatives and artificial colors. You also may share some nutritious extras with your pet, things like carrots, broccoli, whole grain rice, oatmeal, and yogurt.
If you want to improve your pet's health you need to provide better than adequate nutrition. That means more than what is available in those bags of pet food. You need to fortify your animal's diet with extra vitamins and minerals.
That will help strengthen your pet internally so it can fight off the effects of contaminants and stress. Supplementation may also help your pet compensate for possible genetic defects that are becoming increasingly common, particularly among pure breed dogs and cats. Animal breeders supplement their animals with vitamin and mineral supplements. They will tell you that pet food is not enough to protect animals or enable them to achieve optimal health.
Well-meaning pet owners who supplement their animals' diets may, in fact, be helping them very little, and possibly causing problems. This is because many pet supplements contain low-quality vitamins and potentially allergenic ingredients such as brewer's yeast and artificial flavors and dyes.
Minerals are vital to digestion, growth, repair of tissues, to strong bones, teeth, claws, skin and hair coat. Major minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium are often present in supplements, but often enough, trace minerals are often lacking. Yet they are equally important to our pets.
Most pet supplements also lack vitamin C because dogs and cats, as do most mammals, produce their own vitamin C internally. However, dogs and cats are minimal producers compared to other animals. Vitamin C performs many critical tasks in your pets body. It is a natural pain reliever and detoxifier. It is a major antioxidant and contributor to immune function. And it plays a major role in the building of collagen, the connective tissue that literally holds the body together. It is, therefore, vital to your pet. Ensure adequate intake of vitamin c for your animal.
You should consult your veterinarian on the most appropriate vitamin supplement for your pet and the recommended doses of the vitamins and minerals it needs, as each pet is a bit different.
A good multivitamin is the foundation of health and nutrition. Take a look at our scientific reviews of many of the popular brands for factors such as ingredients, areas of improvement, quality level, and overall value. If you are looking for a high quality liquid multivitamin, we suggest that you take a look at the Multivitamin Product Comparisons.