Vitamins are very important to your dog's health. Their function is to help the body repair itself through cell reproduction, bone growth, nerve function, energy and amino acid metabolism, blood clotting, aid in vision, and much more. A prolonged deficiency in any of the vitamins can cause health challenges from dry skin, fatigue, and vomiting to more serious problems like seizures, heart and nerve diseases. In most cases, just choosing a variety of quality food sources will give your dog all the vitamins he needs to live a long happy and healthy life. Let's take a look at the two different types of vitamins: Water Soluble (All the B Vitamins and C), and Fat Soluble (Vitamins A, D, E, and K)
Water Soluble Vitamins
Let's talk a moment about water soluble B vitamins which are very important for a healthy nervous system, aiding the body in healing, and helping to convert food into energy. Signs of deficiency could be anything from weight loss, poor skin and coat, nerve damage, anemia, and heart failure. B vitamins are unstable and are destroyed when exposed to heat, they are also lost from the body when stressed, and since they can't be stored, they are flushed through the system quickly. These vitamins include: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid, cobalamin, and biotin. Vitamin C can be manufactured by the dog and supplementation is not necessary. However, aging and dogs under stress can benefit from having some extra C added to their diet.
Thiamin (B1) - Converts glucose to energy. Needed to jump start your dogs body. A must for proper function of the muscles and heart. Thiamine deficiency can result in a loss of appetite, spasms in the hind legs, heart and nerve disease. The best sources are found organ meat. Other sources are ground beef, chicken, turkey and brewer's yeast. Some even say that it makes a good flea repellent. Oxidation destroys thiamine and so supermarket pet foods are more likely to be thiamine deficient.
Riboflavin (B2) - Necessary for red blood formation. A deficiency can lead to improper growth, cataracts, and heart failure.
Niacin (B3) - Improves blood circulation, and aids in central nervous system functioning. A loss of appetite can mean a possible deficiency.
Pantothenic Acid (B5) -It is important for good immune system and adrenal function, and vitamin and food utilization. It is essential in fighting allergies, inflammations, asthma, and infections. Good for reducing anxiety and stress. Sometime allergy symptoms can means a deficiency in B5 as well as premature graying in young dogs, and hair loss.
Pyridoxine (B6) -Essential for the metabolism of protein. It is required in the utilization of some minerals for a healthy nervous system, red blood cell production, good brain function, and a strong immune system. Anemia, poor growth, artery disease, kidney stones are all signs of deficiency.
Folic Acid (B9) - Red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis, and protein metabolism depend on this vitamin. Anemia is a sure sign of deficiency. As well as, depression, anxiety, and birth defects
Cobalamin (B12) - Dry skin and coat.. This vitamin prevents nerve damage, aids fertility, and promotes normal growth and development. Also helps in the digestion of food.
Biotin - Biotin is involved in the metabolism of sugar and fat. It is essential for thyroid and adrenal health, a strong nervous system, healthy reproduction, healthy skin, and good muscle tone. It is necessary for utilization of fat, proteins, and carbohydrates in the body. Eggs are high in Biotin, However, raw egg whites contain and protein called avidin that depletes biotin. So it is a must to cook the eggs first.