Are Vitamin Supplements Necessary for Pets?

Pet owners are learning to more ways to care for and extend the lives of their furry companions. There are all kinds of products and foods on the market that claim to help your pet live a longer and healthier life. As a pet owner, you may wonder whether or not you need to provide your pet with vitamin supplements. People take vitamins, so wouldn’t it make sense that Fido or Fluffy would also need vitamins, too? Not necessarily, although there are some instances when your pet might need vitamins.

Most pet owners feed their pets a commercial pet food. There are very few pet owners that exclusively feed their cat or dog table food or make their pet food. Most commercial pet foods can provide your pet with the necessary nutritional requirements without added vitamin supplements. These foods are already fortified with added vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids. For the most part, these meet the requirements of most cats and dogs. This is especially true for premium pet foods such as Science Diet or Iam’s. If your vet has recommended a prescription pet food for your cat or dog, chances are that it is a premium food and it will give your pet what he or she needs.

There are some cases where vitamin supplements are recommended. When your pet goes to the vet for regular check ups, he or she can tell you whether or not your pet can benefit from daily vitamin supplements. Here are some reasons why your pet might need to take vitamins:

Sick pets:
For cats or dogs that are ill or recovering from and injury, vitamin supplements may benefit. This also includes pets that are recovering from surgery. If your cat or dog was injured and is not eating well, your vet may recommend a vitamin supplement until he or she healthy. Cats and dogs that suffer from certain medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney disorders may need to take vitamin supplements forever. This can help make sure that a sick or injured pet is getting the adequate amounts of nutrition for optimal healing

Pregnant or nursing pets:
Female pets that are either pregnant or nursing can also benefit from vitamin supplements. Most of the time, however, your vet will recommend feeding a pregnant and nursing cat or dog kitten food. Kitten food has added nutrients and vitamins. If your pet eats well, she may not need added supplements to her diet.

Other pets that could benefit a great deal from added vitamin supplements are those that very active and working dogs, pets under stress, those on restricted diets and those on medications. If your pet receives regular medical care for an illness, you should ask your vet whether or not your dog or cat could benefit from vitamin supplements. Most of the time, vitamins are inexpensive and pets will take them with little to no problems.

In addition, some pets that are not cats or dogs must have added vitamin supplements. Guinea pigs are one such example. A guinea pig cannot produce Vitamin C, so it is essential that these pets are given vitamin drops (which are added to the water supply) every day. This will prevent scurvy and disease in guinea pigs.

There are two types of vitamin supplements that are available for your cat or dog. One type is fat-soluble and the other is water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins such as A, D, E and K and these are not easily eliminated. There is a real possible threat of overdosing your pet with these types of vitamins. However, some pets may suffer from deficiencies of these vitamins. This is commonly seen in kittens or puppies that are born in the winter months and need sunlight. Water-soluble vitamins include vitamins B and C. These vitamins are the types that need to be replenished daily. Usually, pets that have a deficiency of vitamins B or C are pets that have a diet of fresh fish and do not eat commercially made foods. If either of these circumstances applies to your pets, you will want to make sure your pet gets the correct amount of vitamins each day.

If it is decided that your pet can benefit from nutritional supplements, there are many brands that are available. Pet vitamins come in different forms and can be purchased over the counter, or through a veterinarian’s prescription. Most of the time, pet vitamins are relatively inexpensive. Some pets may do better with oral drops that are placed directly in the mouth. Other pets may need vitamin powder that is sprinkled on the pet’s food. There are even natural supplements that are made using whole foods and herbs. You will find that these types of natural vitamin products are tasty to your pet and are made in tempting chewable form. You can purchase drops for the picky pet. Supplementing your dog or cat’s diet with vitamin supplements and minerals can help boost your pet’s immune system and enable your pet’s body to function as well as possible.

It will be very important to follow the directions on the vitamin bottle or your vet’s instructions when you give your pet a dose of vitamins. While overdosing on vitamins is rare, it can happen. Cats or dogs that have too much vitamin intake can suffer from a wide range of health issues. If your cat or dog takes vitamin supplements, you should be aware of overdosing. This can often happen in cats or dogs that take vitamins and then do not eat. The vitamins are not properly eliminated from the body can cause unnecessary strain on the system.

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