Vitamins are one of six essential nutrients required by your dog. Read on to learn more about vitamins in dog food, and why they’re best provided by foods such as you see pictured above.
Vitamins are divided into two categories. Water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins are dissolved in water. They are flushed from the body quickly and cannot be stored within the body. Water-soluble vitamins include:
Vitamin B, which is responsible for such things as nerve development, kidney function and vision. It’s also responsible for healthy skin and muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin B is found in organ meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, meat, poultry and fish.
Vitamin C, which is responsible for the likes of building collagen, adrenal gland function and strengthening the immune system. It is also responsible for fighting bacteria and viruses, prevention of high blood pressure and cholesterol and wound healing.
Foods rich in vitamin C include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, parsley, strawberries, spinach, turnip greens and collard greens.
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body within fat cells. Fat-soluble vitamins include:
Vitamin A, which is responsible for keeping body tissue healthy, fighting respiratory infections and maintaining healthy eyes and skin. It is also responsible for slowing down the damage caused by the effects of oxygen. In other words, it has antioxidant properties which help reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.
Vitamin D, which improves the ability of your dog’s body to absorb calcium. It also helps with healthy teeth and bone development, improves heart health, improves muscle tone and aids with nerve development. Vitamin D can be found in abundance in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.
I recommend adding a tin or two of salmon, mackerel or sardines, ideally in spring water, to your weekly shopping list to add to your dog’s diet.
Vitamin E helps fight cancer, benefits circulation, helps prevent cell damage and assists with wound healing. It also has anti-aging properties, supports the nervous system and helps treat arthritis.
Vitamin K is beneficial for good bone health, helps with normal blood clotting and also has wound healing properties. It can be found in the likes of beef, liver and other organ meats, eggs and plain natural yogurt. Vitamin K can also be found in fruits and vegetables such as blackberries, carrots and tomatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens and dandelion greens.
If you feed a wide variety of the foods and in the right quantities, Mother Nature will take care of your dog’s vitamin requirements. Vitamins in dog food are always better than synthetic vitamins.
Homemade dog food
And if you really want to improve your dog’s health, nothing beats homemade dog food.
Especially for anyone new to home cooked dog food, I’ve created a step-by-step guide to making healthy homemade dog food. It includes a number of canine nutritionist- formulated homemade dog food recipes.