Animals usually get the correct amount of vitamins from well-balanced diets, with little need to supplement unless there are exigent circumstances where the veterinarian prescribes them as part of a treatment plan. A lack of vitamins can lead to health problems, but an excess of vitamins can as well, especially the fat-soluble ones because they are the ones that build up in the body.
Let's take a look at some very important dog health care information in the form of the different vitamins and their role in the body. We will also touch upon any important effects that a deficiency or excess can cause. The number beside the names of the vitamin is the recommended daily amount needed by the dog according to the National Research Council of the National Academies.
Vitamin A (Retinol)
Function: Retinol is a very important participant in vision, the immune system, bone metabolism and reproduction.
Deficiency/Excess: Deficiency can lead to blindness, a higher tendency to contract disease due to an effect on the immune system and abnormal bone growth.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) - 0.56 mg
Function: Thiamine participates in the metabolism of energy, especially carbohydrates.
Deficiency/Excess: Not getting enough vitamin B1 can lead to very serious, potentially fatal problems with brain and heart function.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin ) - 1.3 mg
Function: Riboflavin takes part in the correct function of enzymes.
Deficiency/Excess: If the dog doesn't receive enough vitamin B2, the canine can develop cataracts or fatty livers.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin ) - 4 mg
Function: Similar to B2, Niacin also participates in enzyme function.
Deficiency/Excess: Deficiency causes weight loss.
Vitamin B6 - 0.4 mg
Function: Vitamin B6 participates in the production of glucose and the function of the immune system, the nervous system, red blood cells and hormone regulation.
Deficiency/Excess: Because it participates in the function of fundamental systems, the deficiency of this vitamin can be dire, including growth and kidney problems as well as convulsions.
Vitamin B12 - 9 micrograms
Function: Similar to B2 and B3, B12 also participates in enzyme function.
Deficiency/Excess: Deficiency will cause gastrointestinal disturbances, loss of weight, vomiting and diarrhea.
Vitamin D - produced in the skin from sunlight
Function: Fundamental in mineral metabolism and bone growth. It participates in the absorption of calcium in the intestines as well as phosphate and magnesium
Deficiency/Excess: Deficiency causes Rickets, which is a disease where bones are deformed and bowed in young animals and osteomalacia in adults, which is a disease where the bones don't have the correct levels of minerals.
Function: Principle role of vitamin E is as an antioxidant, protecting cell membranes from the effects of free radicals.
Deficiency/Excess: Deficiency causes fertility problems, muscle problems, degeneration of the nervous system and red blood cells.
Vitamin K - 0.41 mg
Function: Vitamin K is important in protein synthesis, especially involved in coagulation and anticoagulation
Deficiency/Excess: Deficiency can lees to hemorrhage due to blood thinning.
As you can see from the information above, vitamins participate in pretty much every aspect of the canine body from the bones to the metabolism to the blood. These vitamins for dogs are essential for healthy dogs.
References: National Research Council of the National Academies. Your Dog's Nutritional Needs. 07/24/06. Accessed 03/01/2012.