Multivitamins for Puppies: What You Need to Know

19 June, 2020
What is ideal source of multivitamins for puppies? Providing high quality nutrition is the best way to make sure puppies get all of the vitamins they need.

Now that you have a puppy, you’ll want to do everything within your power to make sure it enjoys a long and healthy life. For that reason, you may have wondered if your pet needs vitamins in order to grow healthy and strong. But, before you go out and purchase multivitamins for puppies, there are a few things you should know.

In the following article, we’ll let you know everything you need to know. That way, you’ll be able to decide if it’s a good idea to administer multivitamins for puppies as part of your little one’s diet.

The best place to start: Choose the best nutrition

First of all, evaluating the options available when it comes to vitamins for puppies can be a complicated task. Where should you start and what do you need to pay attention to? Well, the first thing you need to do is look at your dog’s food bowl.

Proper nutrition starts with the food you choose to give your pet to eat every day. This may sound simple, but it’s effective.

A puppy eating from a food bowl.

With a bit of knowledge about essential nutrients and what foods offer a supply of multivitamins for puppies. That way, you’ll feel more confident and sure that you’re making the right decision.

A dog needs six classes of nutrients in order to live healthily: water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Without a doubt, each dog will require varying amounts of these essential elements. The key to getting it right is understanding your dog’s nutritional requirements.

These requirements vary according to a dog’s age, breed, state of health, and activity level. With these factors in mind, you’ll be able to find the right foods to satisfy your puppy’s individual needs.

The nutritional needs of dogs

If your dog is just a few weeks old, then it’s probably still nursingDuring the lactation period, puppies obtain all of the nutrition they need from their mother’s milk.

If you’re bottle-feeding, then your pup’s probably still getting all the nutrients it needs. Commercial formulas that replace the mother’s milk contain the proper amount of vitamins and minerals for growing puppies.

In fact, during the first year of life, if a dog’s diet consists of good quality commercial food for puppies–those that are “complete and balanced”–then the animal will be getting the vitamins it needs for its development.

Puppies have a lot of nutritional requirements to grow, but if they have the right diet, they don’t need supplements.

Why is it important to provide a source of multivitamins for puppies?

A puppy taking a multivitamin tablet.

Below, you’ll find a brief summary of the role of different vitamins in a puppy’s health:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential for the normal functioning of the retina. It’s also responsible for growth, fetal development, and the functioning of the immune system.

B vitamins

B vitamins are vitamins that are important for metabolism.

  • Vitamin B1, or thymine, helps to regulate energy and metabolism from carbohydrates as well as neuronal transmission.
  • Riboflavin (B2), cobalamin (B12), and niacin (B3) help to facilitate enzymatic functions.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is responsible for glucose production, red blood cell functioning, and the nervous system. What’s more, it participates in hormonal regulation, immune response, the synthesis of niacin, and cell growth.

Vitamin C

This is a powerful antioxidant. It eliminates potentially harmful free radicals and can help to reduce inflammation and aging.

Vitamin D

This vitamin allows the body to balance minerals like phosphates and calcium for healthy bones.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E protects against oxidative damage. It’s essential for cell functioning and the metabolism of fat. It’s also important in ocular and muscular regeneration and the reproductive process.

Vitamin K

This vitamin is key in the activation of the blood’s ability to coagulate.

Multivitamins for puppies: Yes or no?

Dogs that receive a proper commercial diet don’t require vitamin supplements. This is, of course, unless your animal’s veterinarian recommends otherwise.

A dog eating commercial dog food.

In contrast, dogs that consume homemade food may require multivitamins in some cases. However, you should only give your pet vitamin supplements under the supervision of a veterinarian.

Although humans and canines need vitamins, it’s important to know that dogs need different amounts than we do. For that reason, they need formulations that are specifically elaborated for dogs.

Are there risks associated with multivitamins for dogs?

We’ve already established that vitamins are absolutely vital to life. However, multivitamins for puppies in excessive amounts can be potentially dangerous. 

Some supplements contain other ingredients, like herbs, that can interact with certain medications. You can avoid these risks by elaborating a plan along with your veterinarian.

Too much vitamin A can lead to dehydration, joint pain, and even damage to an animal’s blood vessels. Excess vitamin D can cause animals to become ill and lead to potentially fatal consequences.

A dachshund at the veterinarian.

Why you should never give your own multivitamins to your puppy

The main reason is that multivitamins can be poisonous when ingested in large quantities. In that sense, there are 4 potentially toxic ingredients that are often present in multivitamins for humans. These are xylitol, vitamin D, iron, and calcium.

Chewable sugar-free vitamins often contain xylitol. This compound can produce signs of low blood sugar and can even cause liver failure in dogs.

Vitamin D, when ingested in toxic amounts, can produce a very high level of calcium in the body. This usually results in secondary kidney failure.

Iron, which is present in very high levels in prenatal vitamins, can produce intense vomiting, diarrhea, and even organ damage or failure.

Finally, now you know that it’s crucial to discuss vitamin supplements with your veterinarian. If your vet believes that your dog needs additional nutrients, he or she will prescribe specific food or multivitamins for puppies.

What’s more, your veterinarian can recommend that you incorporate specific fruits and vegetables in your puppy’s diet in the place of multivitamins.

  • Risso, A. L. (2016). Conceptos Básicos de Nutrición en perros y gatos.
  • Dauvergne, C. (2018). La alimentación del perro. Parkstone International.
  • Gutierrez, C. (2017) Nutrición de perros sanos, enfermos, cachorros.