The vitamins and minerals a dog needs are necessary for many complex chemical processes in the body. They deliver nutrition from food, regulate and affect many of the thousands of nervous system processes. AAFCO-approved dog foods are formulated to contain all the right vitamins in the proper amount for your dog. Each vitamin plays many roles in maintaining healthy function. A few are listed her:
- Biotin: Aids in enzymatic processes
- Choline: Helps maintain the nervous system
- Folic acid: Works with vitamin B12 and helps form red blood cells.
- Vitamin A: Helps maintain vision, bone growth, tissue and reproductive processes
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Aids in normal growth, appetite and energy production
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Aids in growth
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Helps produce energy and metabolize protein
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Helps metabolize protein and form red blood cells
- Vitamin B12: Helps synthesize DNA and aids intestinal function
- Vitamin C: Helps form tissue, heal skin and maintain bones and teeth; may help support healthy joint function as well as immune function
- Vitamin D: Helps use calcium and phosphorous to maintain bone and cartilage
- Vitamin E: Important for muscle function and normal reproduction; protects muscle cells from damage due to oxidation in the body
- Vitamin K: Facilitates proper blood clotting
Dogs also require some of the same minerals humans require. The following are the most important of these minerals:
Calcium and phosphorous work together to strengthen bone. Magnesium helps with cell action and nutrient metabolism. Sulfur helps the body synthesize protein and protects joints.
Dogs don’t just need these minerals, but in the correct amounts. For example, insufficient calcium can result in muscle, nerve, bone and blood problems, but excessive calcium can cause bones to grow too quickly and lead to future orthopedic disorders such as hip dysplasia.
Dogs also need trace minerals, such as:
Mineral requirements differ slightly for different dog breeds. Check with your veterinarian to be sure the food you have chosen has the correct nutritional profile for your individual dog.
Many of these important vitamins and nutrients can be found in fruits and vegetables.
Excerpted from the Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition with permission from its publisher, i5-Publishing.