Supplementing your dogs feed

To ensure that your dog’s immunity system is kept in top condition you will need to ensure that there is a good balance of vitamins and minerals in his diet. It is not uncommon in homemade foods that this balance is derived from a supplement.

As pet owners we need to know what vitamins are in the food and the symptoms of excess or deficiencies in each vitamin. We also need to know which vitamins need topping up daily and which are stored in the body. Vitamins B (thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine etc) and vitamin C are called water-soluble vitamins and they are not stored in the body and need replenishing each day. Vitamins A, D, E and K dissolve in fat before they are absorbed in the blood stream to carry out their functions. Excesses of these vitamins are stored in the liver. It is not therefore necessary to replenish these vitamins daily.

Cod liver oil is a very good source of Vitamin A and can help to avoid night blindness and is also very good for skin condition. Vitamin D can also be found in fish oils and egg yolks and promotes the healthy growth of bones by increasing the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Vitamin B1 is important as it helps to release the energy from foods. Typically B1 is found in peas, beans, lentils and other legumes so if possible try and get some of these vegetables into the food mix. It has been known for dogs that are fed with fish in frozen conditions that a supplement of B1 is required as they will not be getting the B1 from the fish and the conditions are not ripe for supplementing the food with vegetables.

It is also important to ensure that your dog is receiving the correct balance of minerals. To promote good skin health the dog must get the correct amount of zinc and he will need potassium for muscle health and for his teeth he will need calcium with phosphorous.

It may be possible that if your dogs feed includes a good variety of vegetables with meat such as chicken, beef or mutton that the requirement for artificial supplements may be greatly reduced. If, however, that balanced diet cannot be provided then you should consider supplementing the diet. As always it would be best to consult your veterinarian to evaluate your dogs feeding practices and then recommend the best supplement.