Are Vitamins and Minerals Important for Dogs? 


Like humans, dogs need essential vitamins and minerals to live healthy and happy lives. Did you know that dogs make vitamin C in their body? It’s true, but they get other essential nutrients through their diet. Giving your dog kibble or vitamin and mineral supplements isn’t the best route. Instead, consider feeding your pup fruits, veggies, and other snacks packed with nutrients to maintain strong bones, a healthy heart, shiny fur, and prevent diseases.

Strong Bones

If you have a growing puppy, a senior dog with brittle bones, or any pup in between, having strong bones is essential. And looking into food for dogs that can provide the vitamins and minerals needed to help foster strong bones is a necessary first step in the right direction. As you may have suspected, calcium is a great way to build strong bones. The top five dog-safe foods that contain calcium are broccoli, bones, dark leafy greens, fish, and chicken. Adding these ingredients to your dog’s diet can boost nutrition, especially if they only eat dry kibble. Vitamin D is also important to bone health as it helps your dog’s body absorb calcium. Up your dog’s intake of this vitamin by adding salmon, liver, eggs, yogurt, kefir, and cheese to their diet. Combining vitamin D and calcium will help your dog get the biggest bone benefits out of their diet. Vitamin K and magnesium are also worth considering adding to your dog’s diet if your goal is strong bones.

Healthy Heart

Dog owners are in the driver’s seat regarding potentially preventing heart conditions for their furry friends. The best thing owners concerned about their dog’s cardiac health can do offer well-balanced heart-healthy nutrition. Specifically, a diet provides healthy levels of iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium chloride, and B vitamins. Some foods to help achieve heart health are Peanut butter (without xylitol), cooked tuna, beef liver, cantaloupe, cabbage, beans, yellow egg yolk, banana, apple, spinach, carrot, beets, broccoli, oats, and milk.

Depending on the brand, traditional kibble can hurt your progress to heart health. In July 2018, the FDA opened an investigation into a potential link between grain-free dog foods and a form of heart failure in dogs called dilated cardiomyopathy (or DCM). The FDA has confirmed around 500 cases, but it’s likely many times more. The number of dogs affected is likely many times more than the 500 reported because the tests required to prove DCM is expensive and time-consuming, so relatively few dog owners pursue them. In June 2019, the FDA issued an update sharing what they’ve learned and named 16 grain-free brands that make affected foods. The investigation is ongoing.

Shiny Fur

You’ve tried virtually every shiny coat shampoo and even splurged on a trip to the groomer, but you still can’t figure out how to get your dog’s coat to shine. It might be because of a vitamin or mineral deficiency in their diet. Did you know that up to 35% of dogs’ daily protein intake is used to maintain their skin and coat? Dogs need a healthy dose of Omega-3s, B7, vitamin H, biotin, zinc, copper, selenium, and vitamins A and E to have healthy skin and a shiny coat. You can add Sweet potatoes to your dog’s diet, and they are considered a skin superfood as they hold a high level of beta carotene (a form of vitamin A) and are a good source of vitamin E. In addition, their vitamin C content facilitates collagen production and supports wound healing. Another great additive is chia seeds, as they are abundant in a plant-based form of omega-3, which combats skin inflammation and improves the skin’s texture and softness.

Prevent Diseases

Being conscious about what vitamins and minerals are getting into your dog’s diet can drastically improve their body’s ability to prevent and fight off diseases. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of all cancers are preventable by lifestyle choices. Antioxidants are vital in helping your dog’s body counter the destructive forces of free radicals that can cause various cancers. Some studies have found that leafy green vegetables, blueberries, and raspberries can assist in blocking the absorption of cancer-causing aflatoxins. Broccoli is a great way to prevent cancer as they contain companies that inhibit the effect of carcinogens and boost the production of cancer-blocking enzymes. Vitamin D3 is a hormone that is very important for immune function and cancer prevention. It can be found in seafood like herring, shrimp, cod, and sardines.

Like any other change of care for your furry friend, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to ensure your dog is getting the proper nutrition for their breed and activity level.