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13 vitamins your dog needs to lead a healthy lifestyle

Vitamins, the organic compounds necessary to sustain life, are critical to human existence. They are also just as crucial for your dog who needs vitamins for proper growth and maintenance. For dogs, vitamins are essential nutrients, and without them, your dog’s body is unable to function correctly. From immune system function to bone development to wound healing, vitamins are vital to your dog's health and wellbeing.
Many dog owners may turn to vitamin supplements to give their dog; however, unless specified by a veterinarian, your dog should receive all the vitamins she requires through a wholesome, high-quality diet. Check the back of the food bag or can to be sure that your dog's food includes these important vitamins through supplementation or the inclusion of meats and vegetables.
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1. Vitamin A (Retinol/Retinal/Beta Carotene)
A fat-soluble vitamin stored in the liver or fatty tissues, Vitamin A has many roles in your dog's health. It is important to your dog's vision, tissue growth and health, weight loss, dental development, reproductive processes, and skin and coat condition. Vitamin A is in carrots, eggs, fish oil, and spinach.
2. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
The water-soluble Vitamin B1 encourages the healthy metabolism of carbohydrates as well as the development of nerve impulse transmission and healthy growth. Look for thiamine in beef, pork, beans, and whole grains.
3. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
A critical vitamin for canines, riboflavin needs to be replenished in a dog's body on a daily basis. Vitamin B6 is responsible for red blood cell generation, nervous and immune system functions, heart health, and hormone regulation. It is in organ meats, muscle meats, green plants, and dairy products.
4. Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Niacin keeps your dog's coat and skin shiny and healthy. It also helps the canine body break down sugars and fats into energy. Vitamin B3 is found in foods such as fish, chicken, beef, and eggs.
5. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Because of its vital role in multiple biological functions, Vitamin B5 is critically important to the synthesis and metabolization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The most important sources of pantothenic acid are liver and heart meats, fish, and rice and wheat bran.
6. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
As a water-soluble vitamin, pyridoxine plays a significant role in amino aside metabolism, hormone regulation, and healthy immune system function. Vitamin B6 deficiency can be highly dangerous to dogs causing muscle weakness, neurological disorders, anorexia, irreversible kidney lesions, and reduced growth.
7. Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)
Folic acid is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and is critical to the development of the fetus in pregnant dogs. It also helps fight cataracts, depression, low cholesterol, and the hardening of the arteries. Vitamin B9 is found primarily in dark, leafy green vegetables as well as meats, fish, brown rice, and lentils.
8. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in the formation of blood and the functioning and operation of the brain and nervous systems. It affects DNA synthesis and regulation as well as energy production and fatty acid synthesis. Meat products and milk products are excellent sources of cobalamin.
9. Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
As an antioxidant, ascorbic acid is responsible for the neutralization of free radicals which can lead to the development of cancers, the metabolism of iron, and the strengthening of the immune system. Organ meats, fruits, and vegetables such as zucchini and green beans are all primary sources of Vitamin C.
10. Vitamin D
This fat-soluble vitamin is necessary for the intestinal absorption and retention of phosphorous and calcium. Often called the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is typically synthesized in adequate amounts by animals exposed to enough sunlight. However, dogs cannot manufacture Vitamin D effectively in this manner, so they must receive it in their diet. Fish oils and marine fish, as well as eggs, are the richest dietary sources of this vitamin.
11. Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E is used in nutrition to treat or prevent illnesses and disease caused by oxidative cell stress or aging. In particular, it works to mitigate or prevent cataracts, degenerative neurological disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. High concentrations of tocopherol are found in green leafy vegetables like kale, grains, chia seeds, and vegetable oils.
12. Vitamin K
The role of Vitamin K in the canine body is an important one: this vitamin encourages the coagulation (clotting) of blood and factors into the function of protein metabolisms which bind calcium in bone. Cabbage, fish, and leafy green vegetables are good sources if this vitamin.
13. Choline
Choline is critical to the development of neurotransmitters, memory, and muscle control. All natural fats contain choline, and meat, eggs, legumes, and grains are the best sources of this vitamin.
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Your dog can have all these vitamins via a whole food diet rather than a highly processed one. Speak with your veterinarian about crafting a diet for your dog that ensures he gets all the vitamins he needs to grow healthy and strong.
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