What is the difference between soluble and insoluble vitamins in canine nutrition?
Vitamins are one of the eight building blocks of canine nutrition. Vitamins are catalysts for enzyme reactions and many wonder if their dog really needs them if the food is “complete and balanced.”
So here’s a guide to help you determine if your dog suffers from a deficiency:
• Look at hair, gums and skin. Is the hair dull? Does your dog shed excessively? Gums may be discolored or inflamed. Skin may be itchy, flaky or red or there may even be sores or lesions.
• Look at the behavior patterns. When a dog needs vitamins, her patterns will often change. Appetite may increase or decrease sharply or she may be lethargic and prone to disease or engage in coprophagia.
• Is she thriving? Is growth on par, or is it delayed? How’s her hearing and vision?
• There are two types of vitamins; the fat soluble ones– A, D, E and K–and the water soluble ones, Bs and C. Fat soluble vitamins can’t be excreted so they just build up—sometimes with disastrous results.
• Vitamin C: Supplementation for cats AND dogs is totally unnecessary since they manufacture it in their bodies, unlike humans. While not a fat soluble vitamin, too much C can cause overly acidic urine, which can lead to crystal formation and a life-threatening blockage.
• Feed your dog food approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. If you suspect that your dog needs vitamins, give it a multivitamin until you can get it checked by your vet.
These days, with over-supplementation, overdose is a lot more common than a deficiency. Common vitamins that cause toxicity in dogs are vitamin C, A, and D. B6, although not fat-soluble, can also create toxicity. If your dog has ingested too many vitamins, symptoms may include lethargy, diarrhea and limping; for example, excess vitamin A may result in bone and joint pain, brittle bones and dry skin. Excess vitamin D may result in very dense bones, soft tissue calcification and joint calcification.
Never supplement without consulting your veterinarian.