What are Pet Vitamins?

N. Phipps

Pet vitamins provide additional nourishment to pets. Just as humans may sometimes require supplemental vitamins and minerals, animals need their daily nutrients as well. Nutrients are important for fighting germs and other ailments, and in many cases, supplemental vitamins can help animals that may be suffering from nutrient deficiencies.

A cat with skin problems, which may be helped by pet vitamins.
A cat with skin problems, which may be helped by pet vitamins.

Pet vitamins help boost the immune system in animals, which is especially important for pets that are old or sick. Commercial pet foods oftentimes do not provide enough nutrients for the overall health of the animals. As a result of processing and the addition of by-products in these pet foods, vital nutrients may be depleted.

Vitamins for dogs might not be the same as those for cats.
Vitamins for dogs might not be the same as those for cats.

Animal vitamins perform many functions and are required for proper bone growth, healthy skin and hair, and regulating metabolism and digestion. Vitamins also help reduce stress levels in animals and promote healthy eyesight and hearing. Typical signs of vitamin deficiencies may include poor skin, hair or teeth; lethargy or anemia; and weak or brittle bones.

Commercially processed pet food is often lacking in nutritional value.
Commercially processed pet food is often lacking in nutritional value.

The vitamins contained in pet vitamins generally fit into one of two major groups: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are dissolved in fats and include vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy skin and a healthy coat. Vitamin D promotes healthy teeth and bones. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which is vital for fighting disease. Vitamin K is required for clotting blood.

Water-soluble vitamins are usually lost through the cooking or processing of foods; therefore, obtaining these in supplemental form can be very important for maintaining proper pet health. These vitamins include vitamins B and C. Vitamin B is crucial for muscle, skin and blood health while vitamin C, like E, is an important antioxidant.

Before giving pet vitamins or other supplements to any animal, it is highly recommended that people discuss the topic with their veterinarian. Since there are so many types of pet vitamins to choose from, the vet will be able to help thin down the list, as some products may be unsuitable.

When considering a particular supplement, checking out the list of ingredients is also important. Just as humans have allergic reactions to certain products, animals exhibit allergies too. And, just like humans, every animal is different. Once again, your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate supplement for your particular pet’s needs. For instance, vitamins for dogs can be quite different from vitamins for cats or vitamins for horse, etc.

A veterinarian can advise on necessary pet vitamins.
A veterinarian can advise on necessary pet vitamins.

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