If my dog’s diet states that it is “complete and balanced,” why would she need vitamin supplements?

A complete and balanced diet usually has all the vitamins your dog needs, but there are cases when she’ll need supplements. For example, if she’s very active or older, pregnant or nursing or if she has any other health problems.

Your veterinarian will be able to conduct the proper dosing.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are two types of vitamins: the fat soluble ones, such as A, D, E and K and the water soluble ones, such as C and the entire vitamin Bs. When a vitamin is fat soluble, it is not excreted, so it builds up and toxicity can occur.

Following is a breakdown as to when your dog might need supplementation:

• Working or excessive activity: Working dogs and highly active ones typically need more energy and they will have higher nutritional needs. Your vet may suggest a multi-vitamin.
• Pregnancy and nursing: Your pet will expend more energy during this time than any other stage of her life, and she might need extra nutrients from a multi-vitamin to support her body as well as the growth of her puppies.
• Aging and arthritis: As your dog ages, she may not be absorbing enough vitamins and minerals through her intestines. Giving her a multi-vitamin specifically for seniors should help provide her with the proper nutrients. Supplements that include glucosamine and chondroitin may be beneficial to dogs with arthritis.
• Health Issues: If you dog has recently had surgery or has specific health issues, she may not be eating enough to get the proper nutrients. A multi-vitamin can help to make up for the deficiencies. For digestive disorders, your dog may improve with a supplement of acidophilus.
• Allergies: A supplement that contains fatty acids can help.
• Weight loss diets: If she’s eating less food, she may not be getting all of the vitamins and minerals she needs. A multi-vitamin can help ensure good health.

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